How to Travel From London to Glasgow by Train, Bus, Plane, and Car

View of Glasgow cityscape through a window

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

Over 400 miles away from London, it's a long drive to Glasgow but thankfully, there are faster and cheaper ways to travel between the English capital and the largest city in Scotland. Taking the train is a fantastic way to enjoy the green scenery of the UK's countryside, but it can be more expensive than you think. Naturally, a coach bus is the cheapest option but even flying can be more affordable than the train occasionally.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 4 hours, 30 minutes from $55 A scenic rail journey
Bus 8 hours, 35 minutes from $14 Budget travel
Flight 1 hour, 30 minutes from $29 Convenience
Car 7 hours 403 miles An exciting road trip

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Glasgow?

National Express Coaches
run bus service between London and Glasgow. The trip takes between eight hours and 13, depending on whether the bus is a direct service or requires a change, and fares range from a bargain $14 to $23. You can also find cheap fares with BlaBlaBus, but their service takes longer—typically 11 hours, 30 minutes.

Most National Express journeys between London and Glasgow involve either overnight trips or arriving at unsociable hours. Since tickets are sold on a one-way basis only, it can be confusing trying to put together the best combinations of schedules and fares. It's much easier to just use the company's low fare finder. It will show you a selection of what National Express call "fun fares" which are the cheapest options available. Generally these have to be purchased well in advance and are limited in supply.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Glasgow?

Usually, it's ill-advised to fly between two destinations in the UK because the country's rail system is much more practical. However with Glasgow being so far away, and tickets being so expensive, the London to Glasgow route is the exception. Unless you are making your way up the country over several days, London to Glasgow by car or train is a long and tiring trip. The flight takes just one hour, 30 minutes, which is much faster than the other options even when you factor in travel time to whichever one of London's airports you'll leave from. Direct flights from London to Glasgow are only offered by easyJet and British Airways and although one-way tickets can sometimes be found for as low as $21, they typically cost between the range of $50 and $150.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

It takes at least seven hours to drive all the way from Glasgow from London. Although it's not impossible to complete this trip in a single day, there are many places worth stopping along the way, such as Liverpool and Lake District National Park, if you want to break up the long hours of driving.

To get to Glasgow, you'll travel northwest of London along the M40 and get on the M6 as you pass Birmingham. You'll follow this road north all the way to Gretna Green until you can get on the A74(M) which will then take you all the way to Glasgow. Traffic is likely on this route, so the trip will probably take much longer than seven hours especially if you make a lot of stops along the way. If you've never driven in the UK before, be sure you familiarize yourself with all the rules of the road before getting behind the wheel.

How Long Is the Train Ride?

The fastest trains from London to Glasgow take about four hours, 30 minutes, but could also take as long as five hours, 30 minutes, depending on the number of stops and transfers. You can purchase a ticket with Avanti West Coast if you want to travel during the day, but it could cost you anywhere between $180 to $240. A more affordable alternative is to take the Caledonian Sleeper night train, where a reclining sleeper seat typically costs between $55 and $60. However, this overnight trip takes seven hours, 30 minutes, which is considerably longer than the daytime train. A first class ticket on the sleeper train is more comfortable, but also more expensive—between $180 and $230—than a basic ticket on the day train.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Glasgow?

After Cardiff in Wales, Glasgow is the second rainiest city in all of the UK. No matter what time of year you visit, you can count on wet weather. Because summer has the best chance at experiencing some actually nice weather in Scotland, tourist attractions tend to be more crowded and hotel rates are higher. However, the fall is also a lovely time to visit Glasgow as there will be less crowds and you may be able to see some beautiful fall foliage at the nearby Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park. Glasgow also plays hosts to various cultural events throughout the year like the Glasgow Film Festival in February, The Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March, and the Glasgow Whisky Festival in November.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Glasgow?

Despite Scotland technically being a different country than England, neither are independent and both Glasgow and London are a part of the UK. The UK is made up of four countries: England Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and visitors are permitted to travel freely across borders without a visa. The borders are open and there is no requirement to pass through any kind of border control. The process is very similar to crossing state lines in the U.S.

Can I Use Public Transportation to Travel From the Airport?

Only nine miles away from the city center, a cab ride from the Glasgow Airport would only take about 15 minutes. If you're on a tight budget however, you can also make use of public transportation. The 24-hour express bus costs about $11 one-way and tickets can be purchased onboard or via the First Bus App. Technically, it's also possible to walk or bike from the airport to the city center thanks to the National Cycle Network footpaths, but biking would take about an hour walking would most likely take over two hours.

What Is There to Do in Glasgow?

Glasgow may be a historic city, but it's also renowned for its contemporary architecture which can be appreciated in buildings like the Riverside Museum and the Clydeside Distillery. If you prefer older buildings from the medieval era, Glasgow has plenty of those too like Provand's Lordship, which was built over 500 years ago and is one of the city's oldest houses. Among the city's many landmarks worth visiting, the most popular is the Glasgow Cathedral. As Scotland's oldest cathedral, the building has an incredible history, so it's wise to take advantage of the free guided tours to better appreciate what you're looking at.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How long is the train ride from London to Glasgow?

    The train takes between four hours and 30 minutes to five hours and 30 minutes depending on the number of stops.

  • How much does a train ticket from London to Glasgow cost?

    If you're riding on the day train, expect to pay between $180 and $240. If you take the night train (which is considerably slower than the day train) you'll pay between $55 and $60 for a reclining sleeper seat.

  • Which airlines fly from London to Glasgow?

    British Airways and easyJet are the two airlines that offer direct flights between London and Glasgow

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