London to Edinburgh: BA vs. Train

Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:00 pm
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London to Edinburgh: BA vs. Train

I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been to Edinburgh; I'm going for the first time in August. If departing from London (Bethnal Green) and headed to the Leith Waterfront area, and wanting to arrive by noon on a Friday in August, do folks think I should book a BA flight from LHR or take a train from King's Cross (and I know this is a BA board, but if I do take the train, does it matter whether I take a lumo train or a lner train and should I pay for first class?)?
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:03 pm
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if youre a tourist in both cities I would recommend the overnight sleeper train from euston.

Its more expensive than the daytime train but generally cheaper than a train ticket plus that nights hotel stay, and quite a civilized way to travel.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:09 pm
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I woud personally get a flight from LCY to EDI and then take the tram that goes direct to Leith waterfront. LCY is a very easy and convenient airport to navigate.

Overall timing roughly: 45 mins from Bethnal Green to LCY. 1hr in the airport before hand. 1hr15min (ish) flight block time. 15 mins in EDI airport. 1hr tram to Leith. 4hr15mins total.

For the train you're looking about 30mins from Bethnal Green to KX. 15 mins in the station before hand. 4hr30min train time. 20 mins tram to Leith. 5hrs30mins total.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:09 pm
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I caught the 07.50 BA to EDI (ex LHR) last Sunday. We were airborne for 49 minutes. From EDI airport you can catch the tram which departs a very short walk from Arrivals. The tram takes 54 minutes from the airport to Leith waterfront with no changes. Easy as pie. If you happen to be visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia alight the tram one stop from the end at the Ocean Terminal stop (54 minutes from airport).
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:11 pm
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Why not consider LCY as well?

The most comfortable option is First Class on the train. I'd personally not take the train owing to the ongoing possibility of strikes ruining my plans, but perhaps the problems will be sorted by then.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:11 pm
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The train takes between 4h 20 and 5h depending on number of stops. Flight has a block time of 90 minutes and actual flying time of around an hour. But when you factor in travel to Heathrow, going through security, etc, the time difference isnt so stark.

one other option, if starting in Bethnal Green, would be to fly from London City to Edinburgh.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Bohinjska Bistrica
Why not consider LCY as well?

The most comfortable option is First Class on the train. I'd personally not take the train owing to the ongoing possibility of strikes ruining my plans, but perhaps the problems will be sorted by then.
The problem with LCY is theres only one morning flight, at 0700, which gets the OP into EDI very early.

Theres an 0855 from LHR which is well-timed for the OPs requirements. Theyd obviously have to schlep across London to get there, but the Elizabeth line direct from Whitechapel makes it far less painful than it used to be.

The most convenient train leaves Kings Cross at 0700 so theres very little in it time-wise as both would involve the OP leaving home around 0630.

(Forget Lumo unless you want to be on a train at 0548!)

Last edited by GumshoeW12; Mar 9, 2024 at 1:30 pm
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie
I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been to Edinburgh; I'm going for the first time in August. If departing from London (Bethnal Green) and headed to the Leith Waterfront area, and wanting to arrive by noon on a Friday in August, do folks think I should book a BA flight from LHR or take a train from King's Cross (and I know this is a BA board, but if I do take the train, does it matter whether I take a lumo train or a lner train and should I pay for first class?)?
If it's a Friday in August (during the festival) I would try to pay the extra for first class if you are taking the train. It can get very busy. Lumo don't have a first class option.

If you do get the train, a tram from St Andrew Square (2 mins from Waverley station) takes around 10 mins to take you to Leith. LNER tickets go on sale about 3 months in advance - you can set up an alert on their site so you find out when the tickets go on sale.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:20 pm
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My wife and I took the train from London to Edinburgh with her sister and husband. We found a very favorable group rate and rode First Class. It is a very enjoyable way to travel.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:28 pm
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Thanks everyone. I've narrowed my choices to BA's 700a departure from LCY and first class on the train.

I have traveled between NYC and Boston dozens (perhaps hundreds) of times and go through this same debate every time. For years I was a regular flying LGA-BOS, particularly when the hourly shuttle flights were in operation, but now almost always take the train (FWIW, on the Amtrak Acela trains I actually prefer sitting in the Quiet Car to sitting in first class). It costs me about an hour extra door-to-door, but it's so much more relaxing. For that reason, my inclination is to take the train, but I'll continue to follow the discussion on this thread.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:33 pm
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I'd personallytake the train without much hesitation.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:42 pm
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We did an LCY-EDI (BA) followed by the sleeper back to London on the sleeper. It meant that we got to experience the sleeper as well as a quick hop up from City. Best of both worlds.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 1:51 pm
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Having done the LCY to EDI flight not so long ago and also having spent far too much time on the Edinburgh/London train to/from Newcastle my unequivocal advice based on recent personal experience is to fly from LCY.
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 2:01 pm
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Sleeper > LCY >normal train > other flight.

I presume you're going for the festival. So the cost of the travel will be nothing compared to the cost of the accommodation.

I did it once and it was super-crazy but lots of fun,Japanese ballet at 1pm followed by brilliant comics at 5pm and some complete moron in a pub at 8pm. Mix rinse repeat
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Old Mar 9, 2024, 2:08 pm
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One thing to watch out for on LNER is the industrial action (strikes) that they have been conducting. At the moment, there are none planned but anything could happen.

I’ve travelled first class on LNER from London to Newcastle twice in the last few years and if you can get one of the single seats (layout is 2-1 across the carriage) on a train with minimum stops, it’s quite a pleasant journey. There’s often a hot meal as well as snacks and drinks included in the ticket price and served direct to your seat.
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