Climbing aboard the Caledonian sleeper train at London Euston, filled with an excitement that you only get when undertaking a new adventure. We were about to embark on a 12-hour journey to the highlands of Scotland from the bustle of London. Did Britain’s best train journey lay ahead?
There is a magic about taking a sleeper train, you board, relax, read a book, sleep, and then you arrive 12 hours later in a new country. This was my first sleeper train and even in the midst of COVID, we had a fantastic trip. As the train pulls out of London Euston, the steady rock gathers momentum and you start your journey north. The city lights are left behind and you can bunker down for the night. A 9pm departure, meant we had already eaten, we did bring a bottle of wine onboard so we could enjoy the luxury of a nightcap before climbing the ladder into bed.
Due to Covid there was a change to the Caledonian Sleeper, all passengers were confined to their rooms or seats, no dining car or bar were open. No food or drinks were served. A little part of me was sad, train travel is communal. You meet interesting people grabbing a coffee, talking the evening away over a beer or a parent escaping their children while grabbing snacks. These interactions were missed. A little.
As you plan your route, there are 2 options for the sleeper. The highlands or the lowlands. In the dead night, the train splits. 3 Carriages go to the highlands and 2 to the lowlands. The traveler who sleeps deep will not even notice the bump. The light sleeper like me will wonder what the sudden jolt is. Then not long after the sudden stop, the melodic rock of the train returns as we slowly depart.
In 2019 there was a complete refurbishment of the Caledonian Sleeper. You will now find hotel-style luxury, USB charging points, and WIFI if you need to stay connected. However, I am a fan of using the time to disconnect apart from checking how far on the journey we are. The refurbishment gave a facelift to Caledonian Double where you will find a double bed with ensuite facilities, Club Rooms these have either solo or shared use with en-suite, Classic Rooms (solo or shared use) with an option of interconnecting rooms, and Comfort Seats (with personal locker, reading light and charging point).
How to Book Tickets?
We booked tickets over on the Caledonian Sleeper website direct – https://www.sleeper.scot/tickets/ tickets can be booked 12 months in advanced and popular dates around holidays can get booked up sooner. So we suggest booking as far in advance as you can.
Prices start around £50 per person one way for a seat and go up to £300+ for a double bed ensuite. These prices do vary around popular dates and school holidays.
Would I travel the sleeper train again?
Yes, 100%. I loved the experience. The rooms were small and cozy, we had an ensuite which I think was perfect for my first sleeper experience. As the Caledonian Sleeper Train has had the recent restoration I enjoyed the ability to charge my phone and take a shower before arriving in Fort William. Watch this video to get a real feel of the experience.
The next train journey I would love to take is the only other UK Sleeper train the Night Riviera from London to Penzance.