Inside the Caledonian Sleeper

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Sleeper trains can save you time and money, but of the ones I’ve had the opportunity to try, the most that can be said about their comfort level is that they’re tolerable. I’ve been on one of the top bunks of a 6-couchette compartment and I can tell you it’s no fun not being able to sit upright and sleeping with the ceiling barely a foot above my nose.

The Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train service between London and Scotland, is by far the most luxurious sleeper I’ve ever been on. My sister and I took it both ways — from London to Inverness, and from Fort William back to London. (The photo above was taken at Fort William.)

On the Caledonian Sleeper, you actually feel kind of pampered. There’s a steward who comes to your compartment and orients you if it’s your first time on the sleeper. He also asks you what time you would be like to woken up, what drink you would like to have in the morning, and whether or not you want breakfast.

The hallways are naturally narrow…
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…but that’s probably because they allocated as much space as they could to the compartments themselves.
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This is a standard class compartment — it contains only 2 beds so my sister and I had one all to ourselves. Standard class amenities include a hot drink in the morning, a bottle of mineral water, and a sleep kit containing an eye mask, ear plugs and soap.
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Oh, the joy of being able to sit upright. 😀 The bed is super comfortable to sleep in too. Each one has a reading light in addition to the main light and a night light. There’s ample space for storing luggage and plenty of hooks and hangers for coats and stuff. There’s also a washbasin which, when closed, can double as a seat with a view. (There are, of course, more comfortable seating options at the lounge car.)
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At £66.30 and £81.80 per person for London-Inverness and Fort William-London, respectively, the Caledonian Sleeper isn’t exactly cheap but considering its comfort level and the time saved by sleeping and traveling all at once, if you can find room for it in your budget, I think it’s absolutely worth it. The best part is the Caledonian Sleeper has a policy of refunding you 100% of your fare if you arrive more than 2 hours late at your destination. And what do you know: on our journey from London to the Highlands, the sleeper had a rare breakdown at Edinburgh and we arrived in Inverness 4 hours late. First time I’ve ever been overjoyed to be four hours late for anything! Luckily we didn’t have anything planned for that day so the delay didn’t affect us at all and it was a great way to get a virtual free ride on the sleeper.

I actually found myself wishing the Fort William-London leg would get delayed too, but it didn’t, which is okay. This was my view when we left Fort William…
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…and the view when we approached London the next morning.
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Worth it.

See seat61.com for detailed information on the Caledonian Sleeper and practically every other train in the world. | Inside the Caledonian Sleeper | © Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.



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10 thoughts on “Inside the Caledonian Sleeper

  1. We love travelling by train. This looks like a very nice ride. We just did an overnight from Izmir to Konya in Turkey in a train that looks very similar. It was about 2 or 3 hours late. No refund though 🙁
    Best train trips were in first-class day-time trips in India – you get to see the countryside in relative comfort for not much money.
    Alison

    • Oh, you guys are in Turkey right now! That’s wonderful. Enjoy your travels. 🙂 Izmir to Konya — will keep that in mind.

  2. Great info. Thank you. I’m thinking about riding this train.
    Is there enough space underneath the bed to store a medium size check-in luggage? or is there any luggage storage facility on the train? Thanks, Robin.

    • Hi Robin! Yes, there’s space under the bed to store luggage. I don’t remember if it was big enough for a medium size check-in luggage (I’m awful at estimating sizes) but in case it isn’t, there’s also a good-sized luggage rack just under the top bunk (beside the washbasin), and there’s also an overhead luggage rack. I’ve read somewhere that for really large luggage, you can store it in the guard’s van, I’m sure the steward in charge of your compartment will be able to help if necessary. Good luck and safe travels!

    • Yay! Thank you for your kind words mj! And I’m glad nakakainspire din ang blog ko kahit papaano. So thrilled for you dun sa SG trip mo and crossing my fingers you’ll get to travel again soon. 🙂 xx

      • words are not enough nga po ate eh :”> kaya *virtual hug* po for you! thanks ate, simula nga po nung sa SG, nagcrave na ako sa travel, and iba nga po pala talaga yung feeling no tapos may mga mababago sa perspectives mo kapag pumunta ka sa ibang lugar <3 Sakto nga po eh, gagraduate na ako this April, yung makakatrabaho na rin po ako and traveeeel <3

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