The Best Ways to Find Cheap Train Tickets in Scotland

Cheap Train Tickets in Scotland

A train trip is an excellent way to explore Scotland. If you’re planning a trip this article is going to give you 4 tips on how to find cheap train tickets in Scotland.

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There are many factors to consider when planning a train journey. One of the most important is the cost. This guide will help you find the cheapest ticket for your route and show you how to get it.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to visit Scotland. Scotland by train is a great way to explore, and we are here to help you.

Grab Scotland by train itinerary which takes you from Edinburgh Castle and out through Perthshire to the Highlands, all in less than you can imagine!

One of the best ways to find cheap train tickets in Scotland is by looking at the rail company’s website.

Train companies often have promotions and discounts on certain days or times of the day so it is worth checking the site before buying a ticket.

Another way to find cheap train tickets in Scotland is by using an app such as Omio, which has a lot of information about trains and tickets available.

It can be used to search for specific journeys and then show all the prices for that journey, including any discounts that are available.

Scotland by train The Essential Guide for Independent Travellers

4 Tips for Finding Cheap Train Tickets in Scotland


1. Book In Advance “Booking in advance will allow you some peace of mind and comfort knowing what your trip will cost.”

Train tickets in the UK usually go on sale 3 months (12 weeks) before the date of travel.

Advanced tickets are usually cheaper when they’re released but can sell out quickly on busier routes. For example, Advance Single tickets let you save up to 65%.


2. Travel on Off-Peak When possible

When travelling by train in the UK, you can save on tickets by travelling during off-peak times and for trains that are less busy. Available all day on any service at the weekend, and Monday to Friday on trains departing after 09:15. 

So choose the departure time after 09.15 am or avoid rush times in the afternoon, which are typically 16-18.

Super Off-Peak gets the cheapest fares and flexibility when trains are less busy between 11:00-15:00 and return from 20:00. Omio shows you all the available tickets & prices and will highlight the cheapest ones.

3. Consider a Railcard

They’re types of train discount cards you can buy for £30 for unlimited use. You can get up to 1/3 off the price of Off-Peak train tickets when using a Railcard.

From kids to elderly people, there are great discounts out there to be had.

Scotland’s railway fares are cheaper the more you use the trains, but if you’re a visitor beware. For first-time travellers, there is an annual fee upfront, which would make these railcards better suited to regular UK travellers. 

The most popular railcards are below:

Two Together Railcard

Get 30% off when you travel off-peak for any two people over the age of 16 travelling together.

When you purchase an annual ticket it comes at about £30 per year which is negligible considering the savings you get through discounts on tours. You’ll need your card with you to get the discounted prices too.

26-30 Railcard 

This card is perfect for 26 to 30-year-olds and like the Two Together card, this also costs around £30 and gives a third off rail travel. Order it here

Senior Railcard

Great for seniors, grandparents, and retirees. What do you get with this card? Well first and foremost, if you’re aged 60 or over, you’ll save 30% on standard fares as long as it’s a senior fare.

Unlike the other railcards listed here, you can purchase a card that lasts up from 1 to 3 years and you can save £20 with a 3-year Railcard (as of 2022).

Disabled Persons Railcard

If you are someone with a disability and meet the appropriate requirements, then you can get 1/3 discounted railway tickets for yourself and a friend or companion via the Disabled Persons Railcard.

Just £20 for 1 year or £54 for 3 years, discounts are applicable on both peak and off-peak tickets.

Family & Friends Railcard

GroupSave is a discount for passengers travelling together. You can save up to 34% when you travel with 3 – 9 people with Off-Peak tickets on selected routes.

Great for families and groups of friends, you can find this option in the Railcards drop-down menu when booking your train tickets.

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4. Buy ScotRail travel passes

Scotrail travel passes offer a big deal of flexibility. The freedom to roam around Scotland does not always come cheap but can be incredibly liberating.

However, for those committed to keeping costs to a minimum, provided they book well in advance and do not change their itinerary, a Scotrail travel pass may seem an expensive luxury. 

There are several passes to choose from:

Cheap Train Tickets in Scotland

Scotland Travel passes

You can buy a Scotland travel pass from the ticket office at any staffed station or As an M-Pass Mobile ticket 

Other passes

Rail and Sail:

One ticket for the train and ferry. Travel to Orkney, Shetland, Mull,  the Outer Hebrides, Clyde coast and Belfast. No need to book in advance (unless you’re going to Belfast)

Rail and bus 

Rail and bus tickets allow you to book train and bus travel together, making it easier to travel to far-flung places and get out of town. Includes: 

  • The PlusBus ticket
  • Borders Explorer
  • Rail & City Bus Tour ticket rail travel from Glasgow or Edinburgh combined with a Hop-on, Hop-off open-top city bus tour.

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How to book your ticket

There are four different ways available for you to book train tickets in Scotland.

  • Buying online is a great way of looking at Advance ticket options and train times picking up travel tips along the way. The best savvy option
  • Using the app to book your tickets means you’ve got more control over your train travel.
  • In the UK, you still have the choice of buying printed “paper tickets” from a machine at the station
  • On the train In some rural and quiet areas of the UK, there won’t be ticket machines. Trains in these parts of Scotland will travel with a conductor who’ll be able to sell you a ticket. It’s the most expensive option


Can I reserve seats on trains in Scotland?

If you book a flexible ticket, you may be given the option to reserve a seat and travel time for your outbound journey, but you won’t be guaranteed a reserved seat if you don’t travel on the train you’ve booked the ticket for. 

You can’t choose your exact seat like you can when booking a plane ticket, but you can only request services like an aisle or window seat, a forward or rear-facing seat, a seat in a quiet carriage, a table seat, or a seat near a toilet.

If you do not reserve your seat, there are sometimes unreserved seats on trains, so don’t hesitate to walk up and down the aisle looking for a place without a ticket.

The seats on a train are often reserved only for certain parts of the journey. There may be a printed slip on the headrest.

If nobody is sitting in that seat, then you may be able to sit there for some parts of the journey. 

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How to collect your tickets

There are several options for you to pick up, and they’re all quick and easy.

  • eticket is fast and secure – simply store the PDF (portable document format) on your phone and portable device or print at home
  • Mobile Ticket Skip the queues at the machine and get your ticket straight in the Trainline app. Simply scan the barcode at the gates.
  • Collect at the station Print a paper ticket at the ticket machine at the station using a unique collection code. You’ll need to bring any credit or debit card to collect the tickets.
  • By post tickets, they’ll be delivered straight to your door. (Additional postage fees apply). I will not recommend this option. If tickets get lost in the post, you will not get a refund. 



Examples of train tickets – single-way fares (2023)

Cheap Train Tickets in Scotland

Examples of train tickets – single-way fares (2022)

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Scotland Itinerary planning

My name is Kate and I created Scotland Itinerary Planning to give you those life-changing experiences right in the beautiful country I call home.

I’m proud to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities. Living in Edinburgh has provided me a base to explore extensively around this magical little country.

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