Planning a scenic rail trip around the U.K.

June 16, 2015
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. This isn’t an “air” question unless you include the fact that we’ll be flying to London, but I hope you can help. We’d like to take several of the more famous U.K. “branch line” trains when we visit London the end of August. We’ve checked out websites but we’re still confused, so maybe you can map it out for us. We want to take the Settle to Carlisle train, the Glasgow to Maillaig run, the Inverness to Kyle line, and we want to get to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper overnight express, returning to London at the end of the trip. In what order should we organize this trip so that we get all the trains most efficiently?

    A. I’ve actually done some of these trains and they are indeed spectacular. Start by taking the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston Station to Inverness (a recent offer online for a couple occupying a double berth was priced at 38 pounds). From Inverness take the train to the Kyle of Lochalsh. From there, take a ferry to Skye, just because it’s so pretty and the heather will be in bloom. Overnight. From Skye, take a bus or ferry to Mallaig for the famous Highland Line via Ft. William and onward to Glasgow. Overnight. Then onto the Glasgow to Carlisle train (about an hour and 20 minutes on a fast service) and then hop on the scenic Carlisle to Settle train, and onward back to London from there.

    You'll find more on U.K. rail trips here.