I've been doing a lot of sitting on my arse recently - you'll have probably seen why - and one of the various places that's played host to said arse these past few weeks has been the Caledonian Sleeper train, from London to Edinburgh.
Luckily, my sis-in-law's hen do fell very near the end of my six-week hiatus from real life, so rather than faffing about for hours getting to, and waiting at the airport for an 80-minute flight, I thought I'd treat myself to the overnight train.
Not just any train mind you - the Caledonian Sleeper train to Scotland.
Seduced by the romanticism of the railway and the novelty of having the option to get horizontal and actually be comfortable on an overnight journey - not to mention the promised 6:30am wake up call of hot tea and Scottish shortbread - I upgraded my ticket from the reclining seats to a standard cabin.
As far as decisions go, it was a pretty epic one.
How often do you get excited about a journey? As in looking forward to the actual process of going somewhere, rather than just the end point? Sure, we've all got excited to fly abroad for a holiday, or drive a long way to a family wedding - but can you remember the last time you actively enjoyed a journey for the journey itself?
More specifically, a train journey? (Ask anyone in the South East that question right now and you may well get punched in the face).
|First Class sleepover pack|
At £110 one way, the ticket wasn't cheap, but was around the same price for a flight the same weekend, and a whole lot more comfy. From start to finish, I literally had the best experience. I was greeted and ticked off the list at the door of my coach by a lovely member of staff, and directed to my cabin.
The standard class cabins are twin bunk beds, with a foldable table each, two plump pillows, duvets and a shared sink and clothes hangers. You get a towel, eye mask and free magazine (which smells really nice, btw. The first thing I do when I open magazines with nice paper is smell them).
The beds are comfy and as well as the main light you get a dimmer light for each berth. If you book a Standard Cabin as a single passenger, you may have to share with a stranger, but they always match sexes and try not to put you with any axe murdering weirdos.
If you have two broken bones and the air conditioning in your coach is broken, the lovely attendant will move you to another coach. And if you flutter your eyelids and make noises about making sure you still have the lower bunk because of your broken collarbone, you get moved to First Class :) *
* Broken bones do not guarantee moving to First Class. Do not go out and break bones.
The First Class Cabins are wicked. You get a whole room to yourself, so no bunk bed, a brilliant sleepover kit with an eye mask, flannel, hair and body wash, moisturiser and (wait for it...) PILLOW SPRAY. There's also a little more room to swing a cat. (Incidentally, you are allowed to bring your cat, but please don't swing it).
If you're lucky enough to not have any broken arms and book First Class in the first instance, you get a full English breakfast included and priority booking in the Lounge Car restaurant for dinner.
That's right. LOUNGE CAR.
You can order haggis, neeps and tattis (as long as there's some left and all the First Class peeps haven't nabbed it!), enjoy a wee dram of whisky or a cold beer, or get a take out dinner back to your cabin if there's no space to sit down.
This was the (very friendly) conductor telling everyone to calm down after a (very friendly and fun) stag do burst into the car behind me:
The staff are the most wonderful train staff you'll ever meet, the food is brilliant, atmosphere great, cabins comfy - it really is the perfect journey.
Me and hubs have been meaning to do the sleeper train for ages as we love Scotland, but I've never had the chance until now. Next time I book I'll bring him with me and it'll be up to Fort William - or maybe even Inverness as we've never been that far into the highlands before.
To book your sleeper train to Scotland, visit sleeper.scot.
This post was not written in collaboration with Caledonian Sleeper, I just had the most epic experience that I paid for myself and wanted to share with you!
Have you ever travelled by sleeper train?
If not you must!