What’s the Caledonian Sleeper Train Really Like?
*This article has been written as part of a paid partnership with Visit Scotland*
Did you know the UK has its own sleeper train? I recently took the journey from London Euston to Glasgow so I could tell you guys what its really like.
The Caledonian Sleeper train offers a comfortable overnight service from London to various places in Scotland and England. But what’s the point? Despite it being a fun and unique experience, it is actually extremely handy.
To get from London to Glasgow is either a 7-8 hour car journey (depending on traffic), a flight away, or a 4 and a half day train journey. The Caledonian Sleeper offers an excellent alternative, take the train late at night, get 7 hours of sleep and wake up refreshed and in the centre of Glasgow, all before 7:30 in the morning so you can make the most of your time.
I was lucky enough to travel in the Caledonian Double guest room, this is like flying business class on a plane, but doesn’t cost you thousands of pounds for the pleasure (and you get your own en-suite bathroom and double bed too!). Perks include access into the lounge at the station, breakfast included, an in-room wash basin, loo and en-suite shower, complimentary sleep kit with toiletries, priority Club Car access, Wi-Fi, charging points, room service, temperature control and dimmable lights. So actually… it has FAR more than business class on any plane I have ever been on!
Other sleeping arrangements include a Club room which has the same inclusions as the double but with bunk beds instead. The Classic Room doesn’t have quite the same inclusions but offers a comfortable way to travel at a cheaper price. The Classic Room is set up the same as the Club but breakfast is an extra purchase and there is no lounge access at the station, interconnecting doors are available which is great for families wanting to travel in comfort.
The comfort Seats are the most affordable way to travel, these aren’t in private rooms but offers plush seating with foot rests, lockable storage for your baggage, a dedicated food and drinks menu, tray table, reading light, sleep kit, charging point and Wi-Fi.
Our train was scheduled to leave London Euston at 23:50, a great option if you are working during the day, you can go home pack, get ready and arrive at the station without the stress of rushing around.
We ended up boarding our train 40 minutes early which was great, it meant we could sit in the Club Car and enjoy a bite to eat and a drink before settling down for the night. There was a brilliant menu available, full of fresh, Scottish produce that changes seasonally in order to deliver you the best quality food possible.
Options included Scottish Smoked Salmon, Strathdon Blue Cheese Linguine, McSween’s Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, Cod Loin with Anchovy Butter, and great desserts such as Creamed Rice Pudding and Clootie McToot’s Dumpling!
Bedtime felt like an exciting affair, the last time I slept on a train was a 12 hour overnight trip in Vietnam with food poisoning, so this time around was always miles better. Our bed was super comfortable thanks to our Glencraft mattress and I found the gentle movement of the train very soothing. This is where I think personal preference comes in. I am usually a very light sleeper but love sleeping on boats etc as I love the movement, the train was exactly like that.
We woke up around 7am and popped into the Club Car where we were served with our pre-booked breakfasts (just like a hotel, all we had to do was fill out the breakfast form and hang it on our cabin door). We caught the last bit of countryside before heading into Glasgow itself where we arrived halfway through eating our bacon rolls!
I was worried we would be hurried off the train and unable to finish breakfast, but absolutely not, we were left to continue at our leisure, there was no rush at all despite being parked up at Glasgow Central Station.
We popped back to our room after eating, packed our bags and said goodbye to our comfort for the night. Glasgow Central is just as described, right in the centre of the city so there’s no long taxi journeys or extra train journeys to get into the city. Lucky for us we were booked into the voco Grand Central Hotel so our walk from the train to the hotel was approximately two minutes!
Need to know
How to buy a ticket
All tickets can be bought via the Caledonian Sleeper website here. You can now purchase your space on the Caledonian Sleeper up to 12 months in advance, book early to save money. You can also book your space on the train with an Interrail or EU Rail pass.
It’s important to note you won’t be able to buy tickets for Saturday night travel as the Caledonian Sleeper operates 6 days a week, not on a Saturday.
Travelling with a disability
Accessible rooms are available on board to ensure the comfort of all guests, there are also dedicated accessible seating areas within the seated coaches.
All trains have onboard hosts who will ensure the safety and help of all guests. They will operate the on board ramps and are happy to assist with luggage when needed. All staff are trained in assisting guests with both visible and non-visible impairments.
Passenger assistance can be booked online here or via freephone on 0800 904 7267.
Can I bring my pet?
Another perk, cats and dogs are very welcome and other pets will be considered upon asking.
You can bring up to two pets for just £30 (this is a cleaning fee rather than a fee to bring your pet). Pets cannot sit in the seated carriage so you must book either a Caledonian, Club or Classic room.
Where else does the Caledonian Sleeper visit?
Whilst we went to Glasgow (and highly recommend it!), there is a whole host of destinations you can travel to, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Inverness, Dundee, Aviemore, Perth, Stirling, and Gleneagles.
Travelling with children
Infants aged between 0 and 4 are permitted to travel free of charge. Children aged under 12 must travel in the same room or interconnecting room (Classic Room) with their accompanying adult. Children under 12 eat free from our on-board menu when accompanied by an adult purchasing a meal.
Bespoke family tickets are available to all guests travelling with children on any route, the ticket offers a saving of up to 33%. To book a Family Ticket online, select the number of adults and children required on your chosen route and date of travel and the option will display in the next window.
Train bookings in Europe: Trainline
Car hire: RentalCars
Hotel bookings: Booking.com
Airport transfers: Kiwi taxis
Book trips and attractions: Getyourguide
Holiday home rentals: Vrbo