7 of the best places to visit in Scotland by train

3rd February 2023

With exciting cities, crumbling castles and wild scenery, Scotland is one epic adventure after another.  Well-connected by rail, Alba (as the locals say) is easy to discover by train, with some of the most scenic routes in Britain waiting to be explored. 


Not only is it better for the environment, but with a Railcard, you can save money, too. Here are 7 of the best places in Scotland to visit by train. 




Edinburgh has everything you want for a city break. There’s world-class culture in its museums and festivals, history at every turn along the narrow Old Town alleys, and fine restaurants and traditional pubs making sure you’ve had your fill. 


At the heart of it all, Edinburgh Castle looms over the city. All towering spires and battle-scarred walls, it sits atop a dormant volcano at the end of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s medieval spine. For epic views of the castle, be sure to climb Arthur’s Seat. 


Stations: Edinburgh Waverley, Edinburgh Haymarket 


Loch Lomond and The Trossachs 



Picture Scotland in your mind and there’s a good chance it looks a lot like Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. A long, winding lake dotted with wild islands and hemmed in by snow-capped mountains, Loch Lomond is a vast chunk of wild Scotland, just an hour’s train ride from Glasgow. 


This area has adventures on tap, with hiking – the park is packed with well-signposted routes for all levels of difficulty – kayaking, outdoor rock climbing, cycling and fishing to keep you busy.  


Station: Balloch 


Far North Line and Orkney 


One of Britain’s greatest rail routes, the Far North Line follows an old fishing trail from Inverness to the very tip of Scotland’s north. Along the way you’ll pass untouched beaches, mighty rivers filled with salmon, and jagged mountain peaks.  


Besides the dramatic scenery, Scotland’s far north is famed for its whisky. At the very end of the route, you’ll find Pulteney in Wick, the most northerly distillery in mainland Scotland. From here, you can also set sail for Orkney, an archipelago of wild islands. 


Stations: Inverness to Thurso or Wick 




Dundee is a city on the up. A billion-pound regeneration scheme has transformed this once faded port city into a hub of art, creativity and entertainment. At the heart of it all stands the V&A Dundee, a world-class museum of art, photography and design. 


But it’s not all about the V&A. The McManus has 8 epic art galleries to explore, while Verdant Works tells the story of Dundee’s rich jute-manufacturing past. With pubs, restaurants and venues aplenty, this coastal gem makes for a great city break by rail. 


Station: Dundee 


Cairngorms National Park 


The Cairngorms is pure mountain country. 5 of the 6 tallest peaks in the UK stand here, alongside 55 smaller mountains over 3,000ft (known as Munros). There are 100s of walking trails and paths across the park, from beginners’ treks to serious mountain summits. 


Given the park’s remote location, the Cairngorms is one of the UK’s best spots for stargazing. Head to Tomintoul and Glenlivet – Cairngorms Dark Sky Park – for spectacular constellations and stars. If you’re lucky, you might even see the Northern Lights. 


Stations: Aviemore, Dalwhinnie, Carrbridge, Kingussie and Newtonmore 


Inverness and Loch Ness 


Go on a monster hunt in Scotland’s legendary Loch Ness. While you might not see Nessie, a boat trip across the lake and a tour of the ruins of Urquhart Castle will provide plenty of adventure. 


In Inverness, dip into the city’s history with a tour of Inverness Castle, an ancient fort which dates back to the 11th century. Round off your trip with a visit to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery where exhibitions tell of life and culture in the Highlands. 


Station: Inverness 




With world-class culture and a lively nightlife, Glasgow burns the candle at both ends. 


The Gallery of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Gallery lead the charge for museums. Both house masterpieces, while the latter adds a quirky dose of natural history, cultural artifacts from around the world and Scottish history. 


After a day of culture, hit the West End for some evening entertainment. There are loads of bars and restaurants around Ashton Lane, with regular live music and a picture house. 


Stations: Glasgow Queen Street, Glasgow Central 


Discover Scotland by train and save when you use a Railcard – you can save up to 1/3 off your fares and enjoy average annual savings of up to £140.