British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297, or 0870/850-9850 in the U.K.; www.ba.com) offers frequent nonstop flights daily from London's Heathrow Airport to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. BMI (formerly British Midland; tel. 0870/607-0555; www.flybmi.com) also flies from Heathrow to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is a member of the international "Star Alliance," which includes carriers such as Air Canada, Air New Zealand, United, and US Airways. From overseas, carriers that fly directly to Edinburgh and Glasgow from the U.S. have changed over the past few years. What long-haul flights there are tend to arrive and depart from Glasgow's airport.
London, of course, has flights from all corners of the globe. Internally, it is worth remembering Ryanair (tel. 0871/246-0000; www.ryanair.com), which is a budget airline that flies from Stansted outside London to Prestwick south of Glasgow. Also Flybe, another discount carrier, with flights into Edinburgh and Glasgow from other U.K. airports.
If you're driving north to Scotland from England, it's fastest to take the M1 Motorway (freeway or expressway) north from London. You can reach the M1 by driving to the ring road from any point in the British capital. Southeast of Leeds, you'll need to connect with the A1 (not a motorway), which you take north to Scotch Corner. Here the M1 resumes, ending south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Then you can take the A696, which becomes the A68, for its final run north into Edinburgh.
If you're in the west of England, go north along the M5, which begins at Exeter (Devon). Eventually this will merge with the M6. Continue north on the M6 until you reach a point north of Carlisle. From Carlisle, cross into Scotland near Gretna Green. Continue north along the A74 via Moffat. The A74 soon becomes the M74 heading toward Glasgow. If your goal is Edinburgh, not Glasgow, various roads will take you east to the Scottish capital, including the M8, which goes part of the way, as do the A702, A70, and A71 (all these routes are well signposted).
By Train or Bus
From England, two main rail lines link London to Scotland. The most popular and fastest route is the one departing King's Cross Station in London to Edinburgh's Waverley Station, going by way of Newcastle. This is the so-called East Coast Mainline. Trains cross from England into Scotland at Berwick-upon-Tweed. But future attention is on the West Coast Mainline, where trains leave Euston Station in London for Glasgow's Central Station, by way of Carlisle. The line has been upgraded once for faster trains and there has been some talk (but no money) of building a high-speed line like the ones you see in France or Japan, cutting the travel time from London to Glasgow to about 2 hours. Most of the current trains still take at least 4 hours to reach the heart of Scotland's main city centers. Fares vary quite widely but advance reservations for non-flexible tickets are the cheapest and as low as about £10 each way. Bought on the day or for a ticket offering travel any time with no restrictions, the price will be considerably more expensive.
The journey from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh by bus or coach can take up to 12 long hours, although express buses can make the trip in fewer than 10 hours. National Express (tel. 0870/580-8080; www.nationalexpress.com) runs buses daily (typically 9:30am, noon, and 11pm for direct services) from London's Victoria Coach Station to Edinburgh's Bus Station near St. Andrew Square; while direct buses for Glasgow's Buchanan Street Bus Station, north of the Queen Street Station on North Hanover Street (tel. 0870-608-2608), leave London's Victoria Coach Station at 9am and 11:30pm. The standard fare is around £35, though Internet and advance purchase discounts are available. Scottish CityLink (tel. 0870/550-5050; www.citylink.co.uk) also has a frequent bus service between Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a standard one-way ticket costing £6.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.