I have always dreamed of hopping on a Harry Potter-like train and venture out through the English countryside to the North. Finally, the day has come when we took an overnight train, the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston to Edinburgh. Taking this overnight sleeper train is certainly the best way to travel from London To Edinburgh. We were excited about the big train journey as it was on one of the most iconic train routes of Europe. The night before the train ride I watched Murder on the Orient Express. This made the whole experience a bit spooky. You never know what can happen on a long overnight train ride…..
Read about overnight train journeys across Europe.
The Journey on the Caledonian Sleeper
We headed to Euston station on a Friday night and hopped on the train around 11 pm. The train departed at 11:50 pm and we arrived in Edinburgh just after 7 am. Our host, Joe, greeted us with a big smile. He took us to our first class cabins. We both had one for ourselves. He asked whether we wanted two separate cabins or open the two cabins into one by opening the door in between the 2 cabins. We decided to expand our cabins into one large one. The cabins were otherwise private. Everyone had a single bed, a towel, a sink. We had a small bag of travel kits such as shower gel, lotion, eye cover, ear plugs etc.
The Breakfast on the Caledonian Sleeper
Joe asked us what we wanted to get for breakfast and disappeared. We had a choice between the Highland breakfast, which was a Scottish breakfast with Cockburn’s Black Pudding, Sausage, Ayrshire Bacon, Breakfast Potato, Tomato, and Mushrooms. I opted for the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs on the way there and chose the creamy highland porridge with honey on the way back. Both of the breakfast options were really tasty. They came with orange or apple juice and coffee or tea.
The bed was nice and cozy and we enjoyed the ride across England on this legendary train. We were woken up after 6 am to have our breakfast before arrival. We were offered the option to eat our breakfast in the lounge of the train or in our cabins. When the train was approaching Edinburgh, Joe, the host told us that is was snowing in the Scottish capital. It was only the end of November and it was our first time to see snow this year! The journey was very comfortable and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride. The breakfast was a real treat. If you are looking for an authentic train experience, hop on the Caledonian Express and have a comfortable train ride from London to Edinburgh.
Things to Do in Scotland
Visit the Christmas Market
December is a good time to visit Scotland because you can visit the Christmas Market in Edinburgh. As soon as we got off the train, we headed over to the market on Princess Street. It is right in the middle of the city center, so you can’t miss it. Here you can buy the usual mulled wine and sweets, as well as colorful local souvenirs. Adventurous people can hop on a ride on one of the swirls or rollercoasters in the market. I m not that adventurous. Even if my travel partner Cynthia was insisting on getting on one of those. I was too scared! It is a really beautiful market with lots of cool things to buy. We bought some nice Scottish souvenirs and some handicrafts. Drank some mulled wine and some local sweets and headed to the old town from there.
Join a Free Walking Tour
We joined a free walking tour of Edinburgh Free Tour. The tour leaves at 11 am and 1 pm and gives you a good introduction to Scottish history and takes you to see many of the most important landmarks of the city. You are advised to register online before the tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable. He gave us a good intro to Scotland’s history, told us about the food we must try in Scotland and pointed us to some good restaurants. The tour lasted about an hour and a half, but it was filled with much information about the city and the Scottish culture in general. Although the tour is free, you are expected to tip the guide at the end of the tour. These tours are one of the best ways to see a city and learn about its history from a local.
Pub Crawl at Night
Edinburgh has a vibrant pub scene. If you are a tourist from out of town, you can join an organized pub crawl tour. Otherwise, you can visit the pubs in the center and meet up with some friendly locals. The Scots are fun, welcoming people. I enjoyed meeting them and learning how different they are from the English.
Tour the Scottish Highland
The next day, we joined a tour that took us around the Scottish Highlands. We saw some really beautiful mountains covered with snow. The guide told us many things about the Scottish history. They took us to some beautiful Scottish villages. We tasted whiskey along the way and we even stopped by Loch Ness for lunch. Here we heard fascinating stories about the Loch Ness monster that lives in the lake. Apparently, Tony Blair declared him to be a protected species. The tour operator of the boat cruise on the lake claims that there is a family of 19 monsters living in the lake. The lake has more water than all the lakes and rivers of the United Kingdom combined, so there is plenty of room for 19 monsters.
Our tour across Scotland took from 8 am to 7 pm. It was a very beautiful tour visiting the entire country. We saw so many beautiful sites of Scotland and had some great food. The Scotts are much better cooks than the English, I must say. We heard lots of stories about the conflict between the Scotts and the English.
It was an eye-opening weekend to discover how rich and interesting Scotland was. The country has friendly locals, interesting history, delicious food and beautiful landscapes. I must say, Scotland was one of the biggest surprises I had in 2017.