More than just a manner of getting from A to B, a train journey around Scotland can be one of the best (and most comfortable!) ways of admiring the stunning landscapes around the country. Where else can you see hundreds of miles of misty mountains, glittering lochs, quaint villages and even elegant mansions, all with a cup of tea in hand and no chance of getting caught in the rain?!

From great railways of the Scottish Highlands, to quick round trips perfect for kids, Scotland's railways offer dozens of unforgettable journeys with great service and amazing views. Read on to find out more about some of the best steam train trips in the UK and start planning your next trip.

West Highland Railway Tours & The Jacobite Steam Train

Jacobite Steam Train on Glenfinnan Viaduct

  • Pick up the line from Glasgow Queen Street Station
  • Perfect for: sweeping cinematic scenery and Highland loch views

Widely regarded as one of the world's greatest train journeys, the West Highland Line is known to millions as the railway that took Harry Potter from Platform 9 and ¾ all the way to Hogwarts. The route, serviced by Scotrail, leads from Glasgow to Mallaig, takes around 5 hours and 15 minutes in total, and is an incredibly scenic steam train ride. As the train heads west, it passes over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct and offers breathtaking views of locations such as Loch Shiel, Loch Eilt and Ben Nevis, many of which can also be seen in the Harry Potter films.

For a truly magical day out, hop on the old-fashioned Jacobite Steam Train at Fort William - one of the most famous trains in Scotland. Pack a picnic to enjoy as you explore the charming Mallaig Bay, or stop off at Arisaig to take a walk along one of the Highlands' best beaches. Visitors travelling from England can also catch the Caledonian Sleeper at London Euston and be swept up to the Highlands overnight, waking up to stunning views of Rannoch Moor before arriving in Fort William.

Follow the West Highland Line itinerary.

The Far North Line

Dunrobin Castle

  • Pick up the line from Inverness Train Station, Highlands
  • Perfect for: varied coastline, pleasant farmland, traditional distilleries

Britain's most rural railway, the Far North Lines is run by Scotrail and connects Inverness with Thurso and Wick at the northern limits of the Highlands. The full journey takes around four hours and leads you through hundreds of miles of beautiful varied landscapes, from peatland bogs and minuscule hamlets to the gates of the magnificent Dunrobin Castle. Venture on a Scottish Highland railway tour and you won't be disappointed by the scenery, attractions or experience.

Follow the Far North Line itinerary.

The Kyle Line


  • Pick up the line from Inverness Train Station, Highlands
  • Perfect for: magnificent rocky shoreline, wild mountain vistas, red deer spotting

Departing from Inverness, the Kyle Line leads through charming Highland villages such as Achnasheen and Plockton before arriving in Kyle of Lochalsh, taking just two and a half hours. Along the route, also run by Scotrail, you'll pass idyllic beaches and tranquil lochs, all set to a backdrop of untouched Highland hillsides. Along Scottish Highland railways you might even spot herons, eagles or otters if you're lucky!

Follow the Kyle Line itinerary.

The Belmond Royal Scotsman

Belmond Royal Scotsman

  • Catch the train from Waverley Station, Edinburgh
  • Perfect for: luxury travel, breathtaking scenery, first-class service, exquisite food and drink

Should you ever happen to be looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on a luxury train in Scotland, then treat yourself to a trip aboard the truly glamorous Belmond Royal Scotsman. This ultra-exclusive train offers fine-dining and 5-star hospitality as guests are whisked away on luxury breaks around the country, stopping off along the way for unforgettable experiences and excursions.

Travel in style on the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

The Strathspey Steam Railway

Strathspey Railway

  • Pick up the line from Aviemore, Highlands
  • Perfect for: a fun family day out, vintage steam train trips, wild birds of prey

See the majestic Cairngorm mountains from the comfort of a plush carriage on a trip along the Strathspey Steam Railway. Ideal for kids, the journey lasts 90 minutes round trip and connects Aviemore with Broomhill, a truly memorably steam train experience in Scotland. Tuck into afternoon tea or a three-course Sunday lunch on board the train, or hop off at Boat of Garten to spot ospreys and other wildlife at the nearby RSPB reserve.

Hop aboard the Strathspey Steam Railway.

The Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway

Bo'Ness and Kinneil Railway

  • Pick up the line from Bo'ness, near Falkirk
  • Perfect for: a fun family day out, themed steam train rides, wild birds of prey

Another great option for young travellers and a steam train holiday in Scotland, the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway located just outside Falkirk. Taking just over an hour for a return journey, the route passes by the local nature reserve, estate and museum at Kinneil and the charming vintage railway station at Birkhill. Wee ones can enjoy a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine, while bigger kids climb aboard heritage locomotives at the Museum of Scottish Railways in Bo'ness, the largest of its kind in Scotland.

Learn more about the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway.

The Forth Rail Bridge

Forth Bridge at sunset

  • Pick up the line from Waverley Station, Edinburgh
  • Perfect for: engineering wonders, elevated estuary views, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

No Scottish rail experience is complete without a trip across the Forth Bridge! One of the greatest rail journeys in the UK, this remarkable structure connects Edinburgh with Fife, has the second-longest single cantilever span of any bridge in the world, and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Look out onto great views of the Firth of Forth as you speed across the rails.

Discover more about the Forth Bridges.

The Borders Railway

Borders Railway Stow

  • Pick up the line from Waverley Station, Edinburgh
  • Perfect for: rolling countryside, historical gems, engaging family attractions

The Borders Railway will take you through the breathtaking landscapes of Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, giving you direct access to the rich history and thrilling outdoor activities available in all three areas. It takes just an hour to travel from Edinburgh to Tweedbank following the scheduled timetable, and there are also steam train journeys on certain days.

Follow the Borders Railway itinerary.

Find more information on planning and booking your trip on our travel page.