London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper

I have always loved trains with their soothing lull and being able to watch the scenery as it gets closer and closer to my destination. When I was little, we didn’t have a car, so we would always travel by train to go on holiday. We would take an overnight train similar to the Caledonian Sleeper between Reims and Perpignan most summers. I fondly remember those journeys with my mum, my baby brother, our dog and I crammed into a small cabin with three bunk beds. I didn’t see the train journey merely as a way to get from A to B. Au contraire! It was a real treat and an integral part of our holiday.

When I last went to Inverness with my family, we drove as we had a range of activities and places to see all over the place, and taking the car was by far the cheapest and most practical option.

When I started planning a retreat for a group of friendly bloggers to Eagle Brae, I didn’t think about how I would get there. I only had the destination in mind, and I focused on our activities, where we would stay and what I would pack.

Then the girls started talking about flights and booking from Gatwick or Heathrow. That’s when I started feeling queasy at the thought of flying. I haven’t flown since my best friend’s wedding, 6 years ago, you see… I could not face the thought of getting into a metal box with wings. I just couldn’t… I buried my head deep (deep deep) in the sand and blissfully avoided the discussions in our Facebook group. I didn’t book a seat on that EasyJet  plane when the girls did and simply avoided thinking about it.

I have a terrible phobia of flying and trains have always been my favourite way of getting around. Luckily for me, the lovely people at Caledonian Sleeper were more than happy to have me on board (thank goodness) and all my worries evaporated as soon as my cabin was booked. It would take just over twelve hours to travel between London and Inverness and I would have some privacy in my first class cabin. It is the ideal way for me to travel as Euston station, where it departs from, is the closest Central London station for me.

It turned out that my friend Sara-Jayne, who was coming to Inverness too, was not fond of flying either, so we became travelling buddies and arranged to meet before boarding. I arrived over an hour before my home for the night was due to leave. Since I am never ever on time for anything, that says a lot!

Ever wondered what it's like to travel on the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Inverness? Look no further and check my little review!

We had a nice cup of coffee and aboard we went. As soon as we had settled in, the attendant took our order for breakfast. We could have porridge, natural yoghurt and granola, a full Scottish breakfast or scrambled eggs and salmon. I went for the latter, with coffee.

We each had a cabin and the attendant opened the door between our two rooms so we proceeded to chat for hours before nodding off to sleep. We had a small bottle of water in our cabin as well as a sleepover kit, complete with eye mask, pillow spray, toiletries and ear plugs. I put on my pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers and it felt like home.

In the morning, it was all very civilised, with a gentle knock on the door to make sure we were awake and breakfast served in our cabins. We arrived in Inverness as the sun was rising, refreshed and ready to explore Inverness.

Ever wondered what it's like to travel on the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Inverness? Look no further and check my little review!

Nothing could have made me happier than another night aboard the Caledonian Sleeper to end a wonderful retreat, full of laughter, memories, relaxation, welcoming people and immersion in the Highlands’ culture and beauty.

Sara-Jayne and I had lunch in town and spent our evening in the comfortable sleeper lounge where complimentary drinks and snacks were  provided. As soon as we were told we could board, we dropped our bags in our respective cabins and headed straight for the dining cart for some food. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact all meals and snacks were made using fresh, sustainable ingredients sourced from Highland suppliers. Sara-Jayne went for the Salmon and Butternut Squash Curry and I went for Scottish the Cheeseboard: Highland Brie, Strathdon Blue and Tain Truckle Cheddar.

Although it is really comfortable and all members of staff are wonderful, there is no denying the Caledonian Sleeper is tired (no pun intended!) and is in need of an update.  Later this year, a fleet of new trains will be introduced and they look absolutely incredible, with their wide a range of accommodation options like suites (double bed with an en-suite), club rooms (twin or single with en-suite), Classic Rooms (twin or single) and Comfort Seats.

I am about to get home and I am now daydreaming about the Orient Express or the Maharajas’ Express… I wonder where my next travels will take me.

Ever wondered what it's like to travel on the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Inverness? Look no further and check my little review!

Disclosure: I travelled on the Caledonian Sleeper free of charge. As always, all opinions and photos are my own, with a little help from my friend Sara-Jayne, who took the photos of me.

30 Comments

  1. 11/01/2018 / 12:54 pm

    That sounds like the BEST way to travel! I love the idea of waking up in a different city, ready to go!

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 1:00 pm

      It really is brilliant because you don’t get the exhaustion you would normally feel after a long journey. There is no weight restriction when it comes to luggage and it meant I could bring lots of snacks, Champagne and games (amongst a lot of other things!). x

  2. 11/01/2018 / 1:42 pm

    Only you could convince me that maybe this is an option when next travelling to Scotland – loving the idea of the lounge and your cheeseboard looked incredible. I’ve also just headed over to the website and explored the new trains coming later this year!

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 2:01 pm

      How stunning do those new trains look! I can picture myself in a cabin with ensuite. They look just like small hotel rooms. Swish!

  3. 11/01/2018 / 2:34 pm

    WOW! Honestly this looks amazing. I’d love to do this. It looks like you had the absolute best time Mel! So much more cosy than a plane too or normal night train!

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 9:58 pm

      It really was so cosy and felt more like a small hotel room than a train to be honest.

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 9:58 pm

      I was really pleased with myself when I found that top hahaha!

  4. 11/01/2018 / 3:40 pm

    I’m a big fan of train travel (though I have no problem with flying) and have taken some of the world’s most iconic train trips such as the Trans-Siberian twice. I’d love to do this but the cost is totally prohibitive. You travelled free which is wonderful, but sleepers in the UK just can’t compete with budget airlines. I wish they could and until they bring down prices (or offer me a free trip!) I’ll just have to stick with flying. Shame as my son is now at uni in Scotland so it’s becoming a place I regularly visit.

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 10:01 pm

      Oh wow, the Trans-Siberian is on my bucket list. I agree with you: trains are exorbitant in England compared to France. It’s a shame as it doesn’t really encourage people to use public transport. When the whole family went to the Highlands, we couldn’t even afford low-cost airlines as they inflate their prices during holidays. We had to drive in the end, which was pretty nice.

  5. 11/01/2018 / 4:43 pm

    Wow this looks amazing. I would love to travel this way one day. Never thought to travel the sleeper. Looks great and hope you had a great time xx

    • Mel
      Author
      11/01/2018 / 10:02 pm

      I had a wonderful time, and the sleeper was 100% part of the trip rather than a means to get from A to B. 🙂

  6. 11/01/2018 / 7:36 pm

    Love trains so love the sound of this. How cute do you look and hello all that food! x

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:57 pm

      I look tired! I should never allow anyone to take photos of me before 3 p.m. he he! The train journey was incredible though. Such a lovely part of my trip. x

  7. 12/01/2018 / 12:00 am

    I often travel to Edinburgh for work and some of my colleagues get the sleeper. I find know you could open doors between cabins thats fab and I have always wanted to go on the Orient Express. Maybe I will consider this next time I need to get to Scotland… Just think of all the blogging work I could get done! Thank you for organising our trip away lovely x

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:57 pm

      My pleasure Clare! It was so nice spending a bit of time with you, chatting and enjoying the great Scottish weather, food, scenery and hospitality! You should definitely try the overnight sleeper, although I quite like the ‘regular’ trains that go to Edinburgh. They’re pretty spacious and comfy. xx

  8. 12/01/2018 / 12:50 am

    Ooh what an exciting way to start your break away and end it too! I can’t think of anything nicer than the idea of being rocked to sleep on a train 🙂

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:55 pm

      Me neither. It’s incredibly soothing 🙂

  9. 12/01/2018 / 11:35 am

    I would love this! I totally hate flying too !

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:55 pm

      It really is a great, refreshing way to travel. No lengthy check-ins, no journey to the middle of nowhere to airports and breakfast served in bed. Very civilised!

  10. 12/01/2018 / 7:22 pm

    I didn’t even know this was a “thing”!!
    My parents went on the Orient Express at the end of last year – a proper once in a lifetime experience!

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:54 pm

      Oh my…. the Orient Express is my absolute dream! Life goals, hey! I had no idea there were overnight trains in the UK, until I started looking into it as a means to avoid flying 🙂 x

  11. 12/01/2018 / 10:12 pm

    This sounds a really great way to travel and lovely you could have your cabin door between you open so you could chat. Mich x

    • Mel
      Author
      12/01/2018 / 10:58 pm

      When we found out we could sit in bed yet chat to each other, the mood was set for the whole trip. It was incredible!

  12. 13/01/2018 / 10:27 am

    I travelled back from Edinburgh on the Caledonian Sleeper and it was brilliant! I was so impressed with the food & had the best sleep with the motion of the train. I’ll definitely be looking at trying it next time I go to Scotland 🙂 So wonderful spending time with you on the retreat xx

    • Mel
      Author
      15/01/2018 / 12:08 am

      It’s such a lovely way to travel, isn’t it? I like the fact it’s not ‘instant’ and it makes you realise just how far the Highlands are!

  13. 15/01/2018 / 11:29 am

    Sounds like the perfect way to start and end a little break. What a wonderful time you all had x

    • Mel
      Author
      15/01/2018 / 2:30 pm

      We really did. It was much needed too 🙂

  14. 18/01/2018 / 3:45 pm

    I love travelling by train, like you, it’s steeped in nostalgia, my grandfather was a train driver and so my granny could take me anywhere for £1 while she got free travel, I’ve been on so many adventures and I love the journeys as much as the destinations. I haven’t ever been on a sleeper though and would love to try it, there’s a big bodacious train line north of Inverness I want to go on next.

    • Mel
      Author
      18/01/2018 / 4:02 pm

      I absolutely love travelling by train and your travels with your granny sound like my idea of heaven!

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