Scotland is gifted with gorgeous natural beauty. Pretty much everybody who knows Scotland knows that this is true. But for those who don’t, a scenic trip on a train, or even in a car, can reveal the country’s amazing landscape. With train routes so beautiful that some wonder why you’d take a car at all, the latter option can provide a sense of independence that train rides can’t offer. It’s tough to argue though, there is nothing quite like traveling through Scotland on the rails.
Scotland’s Rail System
Some of the world’s most iconic rail journeys are in Scotland, and they make for a great way to see the country. You will see nature, charming villages, and lovely architecture. To put it mildly, Scotland will get inside you while taking you in. The rolling hills of the Lowlands and the mountains of the Highlands are both famous landscapes that have remained deep inside the Scottish consciousness and in the imaginations of people abroad.
There are many routes to choose from, including the West Highlands, the Leadhills and Wanlockhead railway, as well as the Jacobite steam train. It doesn’t end there. Whichever route you choose you are sure to have a unique and traditional experience. Don’t be afraid to stop in old towns, have a bite to eat, and take some shots with the locals.
From the highest funicular railway, you can see the tallest mountain vistas and immerse yourself of rugged landscape in a fun, unique way. You can also take old trains, like the old Jacobite steam train and the Bo’Ness and Kinneil railway.
Just a 40-minute drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Bo’Ness and Kinneil Railway offers the chance to take a vintage diesel-hauled or steam train. This is not only a unique experience, but you will also be able to go back in history less than an hour away from the major city you are visiting. The train comes equipped with vintage style, including an on-train buffet and afternoon tea that is served on the weekends. This route is only running on the weekends from April and October while offering midweek days during holidays.
You can also take more modern trains along the Borders Railway in the south east of Scotland. Here the rich history, landscape, and outdoor activities collide. This is a great way to travel from Edinburgh to some more rugged land. Traveling the full length of the train takes less than an hour and passes through 140 tunnels and bridges. These include the Lothianbridge Viaduct in Newtongrange, which is quite majestic, and the gorgeous Redbridge Viaduct on the outskirts of Tweedbank.
According to MoneyPug, which is regularly used to compare holidays, perhaps the most popular train route for Scotland is through the iconic wilderness of the Highlands. Enjoy some of Scotland’s most untamed nature from a comfortable seat. It is regularly deemed one of the best train routes in the world. Start in Glasgow and experience the great city before making your way to the wild. Taking this railway can also be connected to a larger island hopping trip. You can sail to the Isle of Skye, the Inner Hebrides, and to smaller islands from Mallaig.
Road Trips in Scotland
If you want more freedom or want to include both a train ride and a road trip, you can find some great itineraries around the country. Some of the most popular drives are along the coast, on both the Angus, Clyde Sea Lochs, and Argyll routes. You can drive from the Scottish border to Edinburgh for a historical route, which can include textile heritage sites and family attractions. There are tourist routes that include lush valleys, outdoor sports, and trips to castles and national parks. Each drive has its own unique attractions and destinations, you only need to curate your own experience.
However you choose to travel to Scotland, it is best when you have the beauty of the country out of your window. Get out into the smaller towns, see the lesser known attractions, and have an original vacation that you will keep fondly in your heart for the rest of your days. What are you waiting for? Come see how beautiful Scotland really is.