If you’re heading to Scotland to travel this marvellous part of the UK, then it’s likely you’ll be hitting up the country’s 2 largest cities, so here’s all you need to know about travelling between them – including the best way to do it, what to pay and how to get your tickets.
And what a great idea, because Glasgow and Edinburgh are definitely 2 of Scotland’s top destinations!
The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is an incredible travel city thanks to its gorgeous historic architecture, its atmospheric castle, the beautiful Arthur’s Seat views and its amazing August Fringe Festival.
And who could forget its iconic Harry Potter connections too of course?!
And while Edinburgh is known for being one of the prettiest cities in the UK, Glasgow is known for being one of the most vibrant and culturally rich, with some of Scotland’s best museums, best grassroots communities and best Scottish heritage all just waiting to be experienced here.
But how best to travel the 50km between them?
Well if you’re looking for the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways to journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh, then you’ve come to the right place!
Covering train, bus and self-drive options, this full guide has you covered when it comes to getting from Glasgow to Edinburgh (or visa-versa), to make sure you don’t miss out on anything these 2 wonderful destinations have to offer!
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How to Travel to Glasgow?
When it comes to getting from Glasgow to Edinburgh, I thought it might first be useful to briefly mention how you can get to Glasgow in the first place.
Scotland’s largest city (even though it’s not the capital), most people arrive into Glasgow via its international airport or its large, central train station.
As always, I use Skyscanner to find the best flight deals (as they include budget airlines in their search) and once you arrive at Glasgow airport, you can then head straight to the city centre via taxi, Uber, car or a handy, direct bus service.
Alternatively, for those looking to get to Glasgow by train, I highly recommend Trainline, who I use to book all my rail tickets from across the UK.
The main train station in Glasgow – Glasgow Central – is where most services from London, and other major UK destinations, arrive into. The station is located on Gordon Street, right in the centre of the city, meaning you can likely walk straight to your accommodation from there.
I then recommend you spend at least 2 days in Glasgow, exploring all the has to offer before travelling on to Edinburgh.
And when you’re ready, here’s how to make the journey on to the Scottish capital…
#1 By Train
Good for Speed, Comfort & Price
So the first way to travel between Glasgow and Edinburgh is by train.
Incidentally, this is also the best option in my opinion.
Used by locals and tourists alike, the train journey between these 2 cities is cheap, quick and straightforward.
I travelled to Edinburgh myself from Glasgow using the train and found the service clean, comfortable and easy.
Most trains to the capital depart from Glasgow’s second train station – Glasgow Queen Street – which is located in North Hanover St in the city centre.
Some trains to Edinburgh also run from Glasgow Central, although those from Queen Street are quickest.
The train journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh is direct and takes around 1 hour 10 minutes on average, with the fastest routes actually only taking 45 minutes.
Tickets can cost as little as £6 when booked in advance online.
Rail operators who run this route include CrossCountry, ScotRail and London North Eastern Railway, and there’s actually over 200 trains a day, so plenty to choose from!
The quickest route (the one you want to opt for), is the train that runs from Glasgow Queen Street and only has 3 stops – namely Croy, Falkirk High and Polmont.
I used Trainline to book my Glasgow to Edinburgh rail tickets, as they quikcly compared tons of journeys for me, making it simple to choose, book and pay for the quickest service, as well as receive an instant eTicket.
Using Trainline will also save you the hassle of having to go to the station in Glasgow to buy your train ticket and waste time when you could be sightseeing!
With the first train leaving Glasgow at 5am and the last at 11:45pm, no matter what time you want to travel between the 2 cities, there’s sure to be a service that suits you.
A great option for a day trip to Edinburgh from Glasgow, or an overnight stay, you don’t need to travel back to Glasgow from the capital either, with Edinburgh boasting an international and busy train station, it’s easy to depart from there.
Otherwise, if you are returning to Glasgow from Edinburgh, then buying a return train ticket will also save you time and money, so I’d opt for that.
All trains from Glasgow arrive into Edinburgh’s Waverley station – the main one in the capital – which is just a few minute’s walk away from central Princes Street.
Check out these great things to do in Edinburgh once you arrive.
#2 By Bus
Good for Price
You also have the option to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh (or in the other direction) by bus.
The main company that offers this route is called National Express and they run 2 bus services a day between the cities – one at 7:20am and one at 8pm.
Both services take just over an hour and costs start from under £5, even on the day of travel.
This makes a bus between Glasgow and Edinburgh a great option if you’re booking last minute.
On most services, there’s free wifi, as well as charging points and a toilet – although I suggest using the bathroom before the journey to be honest!
Compare services and book using Trainline or the National Express website or app directly.
There’s also a Megabus service that runs between the 2 cities.
With over 70 departures a day, this journey takes under 1 hour 15 minutes and again is incredibly cheap, with tickets costing as little as £1!
Book your Megabus tickets here.
Flixbus and Scottish Citylink also run bus services between the 2 cities, so check their sites too for the best deals and departure times.
Most buses depart from Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow and arrive into the main Edinburgh Bus Station.
#3 By Rental Car
Good for Flexibility & Greater Exploration
And the third way to travel between Glasgow and Edinburgh and is by renting a car.
You can usually rent a car either from Glasgow airport if you’re flying in there, or from the city centre too.
I’d opt for the city centre if you’re spending a few days in Glasgow before you travel to Edinburgh, as that way you don’t need to pay for a car during your time in the city (you probably won’t need a vehicle in Glasgow) and can avoid the hassle and costs of city parking too.
Car hire also tends to be quite expensive, so only rent for the days you’ll actually use the car and grab a great deal here.
If you’re driving from Glasgow to Edinburgh, then it’s great to know it only takes just over an hour to cover the 50km distance between the 2 cities – you simply need to follow the M8!
Don’t forget to add fuel costs to the expense of renting a vehicle, as well as parking costs.
You’ll definitely need to pay for parking in Edinburgh if your accommodation doesn’t offer it, so this is well worth asking about!
Mini Travel Guide to Glasgow and Edinburgh
When to Visit?
The best time to visit these Scottish cities in my opinion is during the summer months of June, July and August when the best weather comes to Scotland.
Midges tend to be a problem in the countryside here during the summer months, but you don’t need to worry about these in the cities.
Visiting during the festive season, when the wintery, atmospheric celebrations are in their full splendour is also a great time to visit both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Where to Stay?
For a list of recommended places to stay in Glasgow, check out these great options.
For top Edinburgh accommodation picks, click here.
How Long to Spend There?
I loved both Glasgow and Edinburgh and highly recommend at least a stay of 2 nights in each city.
Alternatively, you could spend 3-4 nights in each if you want to enjoy some fab day trips that include castle visits, whisky tastings and hiking excursions.
Here’s my pick of the best Glasgow day trips.
Travel Insurance for Scotland
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Travel Money in Scotland
When it comes to getting paying for things in Scotland, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free British pound account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Scotland.. and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
SAVE THIS TO PINTEREST!
So that’s my guide about how best to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
Hopefully you’ve found this information useful, but any other top tips you have to add that could help a fellow traveller out, please drop them into the comments box below…