Sleeper Trains link London with various Scottish cities and the South-West (Devon and Cornwall).  They provide three levels of sleeping accommodation - single-bed cabins, twin-bed cabins and reclining seats.  There is also a buffet service available all night. Twin-bed cabins can be occupied by strangers only of the same gender.

Travellers can usually join the train 45 minutes before departure and can usually remain onboard after arrival until 08:00.

Service details

The trains run six days a week (not Saturday nights) and the timings below are indicative (they do differ on Sunday nights).

The London-Scotland services ("The Caledonian Sleeper") are centred on London's Euston station. There are two main trains, which split into portions once inside Scotland (or join on the return).

  • The Glasgow & Edinburgh service leaves London at 23:50 and reaches the two destinations by 07:20.
  • The other train has three portions, for Aberdeen,Inverness and Fort William.  This leaves earlier at 21:15 and arrives at 07:30, 08:40 and 10:00 respectively.

The London-Cornwall service ("The Night Riviera") is a single portion only.  It leaves London's Paddington station at around 23:45, with arrival in Penzance by 08:00.

Benefits

  • The trains leave from city-centre stations, not from distant airports
  • The trains serve other stations, which may otherwise be difficult to reach by air
  • There are no weight restrictions for baggage.  Important: bicycles spaces do need to be reseved but are conveyed free of charge
  • The traveller saves the expense of an overnight hotel.

Points to watch

  •  Services can be very busy during the summer months and at weekends. So advance booking is advisable and discounted tickets might be hard to come by.  At other times, you can have the train almost to yourself, and it is possible to travel 600 miles/1000km for as little as £35 one-way.
  • Restful sleep is not guaranteed.  Joining or splitting of  the portions will probably shake you awake (the southbound Scottish shunting takes place at around 01:00).
  • Washing facilities are adequate but there are no showers onboard. Euston and Paddington stations have showers for First Class passengers.

How to book 

Sleeper services are made available for booking up to twelve weeks before departure date - it is pointless trying to book any earlier.  

 Fares vary; this will depend on how early you book (taking into account that bookings are not released more than 12 weeks ahead) and whether you want a fixed, non-refundable non-exchangeable ticket, or someting more flexible.   

It is possible to buy return tickets which allow travel by Sleeper in one direction and by conventional daytime train in the other.   

London - Scotland 'Caledonian Sleeper' services are operated by First Scotrail, and have their own dedicated website: http://www.scotrail.co.uk/caledonians...  

The London - Cornwall 'Night Riviera' is operated by First Great Western and it too has its own dedicated website: http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Yo...