London/Edinburgh Day 3 – Morning – Train to Edinburgh
It was time to bid farewell to London, at least for now.
I made my way to King’s Cross Station via the Tube relatively early in the morning to catch a train up to Edinburgh. And, as any self-respecting Harry Potter fan had to do, I found Platform 9 3/4.
I thought it simply a plaque on the wall, but as it turned out, there was a whole set-up for the Harry Potter-minded including a trolly and other items “disappearing” into the wall by the platform. Photographers were taking pictures with the house scarves flowing out behind each person – child and adult alike. Of course, the pictures were expensive to pick up in the themed shop nearby, but it was a fun memory to bring home for my family.
The four hour train to Edinburgh, however, was a picture worth a thousand words. As it neared the Scottish border, the scenery opened up to reveal the sea, as the train traveled quite close to the coast. Emerald green fields were dotted with little sheep, and thick, hearty rivers poured their hearts out around old ruins. Here and there, stately homes were revealed, or cliffside cottages and the steeple of a cathedral in a red-roofed town appeared and disappeared on the landscape. This train ride was not to be missed, and it hardly seemed like four hours had gone by when I arrived at Waverley Station in Edinburgh.
Travel Tip #5 – If you plan on many train journeys in the UK (or just England or Scotland or Wales), I recommend a rail pass. In the long run, I saved a lot of money and hassle by leaving when I wanted to, using it as many times daily as I wanted, and not having to worry about scheduled and timed tickets. I had a nonconsecutive pass to use over 8 days, and I could choose any 8 days I wanted within that month. It is especially economical if you are taking longer journeys or traveling during peak times.
Train Tip: For long journeys, you can buy food, drinks, and snacks on the train, but it might be cheaper to bring along your own meals and drinks. I had a mini-tapas party on this journey with meats, cheeses, olives, bread, and possibly yogurt, which isn’t tapas, but it was like dessert. Also, there was free WiFi for 15 min. on the Virgin train I took, and after that, you pay for usage. I ended up tethering my phone (which had a big data plan from a SIM I got at the airport) to my laptop to do some trip research along the way.
Besides, train travel was a relatively stress-free for me when compared to plane travel. Bringing bags on trains was not a big deal, and I didn’t have to arrive so far in advance. Flying a local carrier between London and Edinburgh would have resulted in me paying a baggage fee and likely needing to travel to one of the smaller airports. King’s Cross was much easier to access, and it was a far more scenic journey.
Trains in the UK – what a marvelous way to travel – most of the time, I’m sure.