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I will be visiting Scotland for 12 days in late May/early June, and will be with two 9 year old children.  It would be fun to take a short train ride, if possible, to see Scotland in a relaxing way.  (We don't have good trains in Texas. Sigh.)  Do you have a recommended train ride for a few hours (not an overnight ride), which is a loop (start and end at the same location.)  Thank you.


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @smooretexan, I am a self-proclaimed train expert :wink: and will try to give you my top recommendations to combine a train ride and an attraction. Firstly familiarize yourself with the ScotRail website (you can also buy your tix after coming to Scotland but for a couple of recommendations, it'll be cheaper to buy tix in advance, more details here). 

    - Will you be visiting Fort William on your trip? If so, the kids will thank you for a chance to ride the Jacobite steam train (aka Harry Potter train) from Fort William to Mallaig. This is super-touristy but boy is it pretty (the old-fashioned steam train and the route). This is a proper day trip (4 hours on the train total + some time at the port of Mallaig). If this train is booked out as happens during summer, you can take the normal passenger train on the exact same route, it is a Harry Potter fan's dream.

    - My favourite train trip from Edinburgh is to Stonehaven, the line hugs the East Coast for 30 exhilarating minutes. Stonehaven is also home to Dunnottar castle but it is a bit of a walk from the station so have a taxi pick you up, take you to the castle and you can walk back along some fascinating coastline. Take the Virgin Trains East Coast train back (3ish PM) for a moderately high speed journey.

    - Other round trips from Edinburgh by train that I love are to Dunkeld & Birnam (then taxi to the Hermitage falls), Pitlochry (multiple things to do), Dunbar / North Berwick (coastal goodness, short rides) & Tweedbank (Scottish borders, best beer in Scotland for you perhaps at Tempest).

    - Finally, Scotland has very few high speed rail lines so if the kids are speed junkies (like I am), the only true loop I recommend is Edinburgh - Carlisle - Glasgow all by Virgin Trains (125 mph tilting trains). Definitely book in advance if you want to take this.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • MogMJMRMogMJMR Member ✭✭
    Hi there
    There are some fantastic scenic rail routes in Scotland.

    A journey over the Forth Rail Bridge (on the Edinburgh - Aberdeen line) is well worth considering - with Children this could be combined with a visit to a favourite attraction of mine Deep Sea World - combined tickets are available. The train goes through the middle of the bridge and is quite something!

    If this is the journey you choose - bear in mind that at peak times this route will be busy!

    Based in the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire has a special place in my heart.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2017
    [Deleted Content]
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