Caledonian Sleeper reduces services and amends refund policy due to COVID-19 outbreak

Caledonian Sleeper is introducing a special timetable from Sunday 22 March due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

The decision to reduce services has been taken in full cooperation with Transport Scotland and will allow Caledonian Sleeper to protect the service and staff while ensuring vital links remain in place.

Under the temporary timetable, the overnight rail operator will run an eight-carriage train from Glasgow Central and an eight-carriage train from Inverness. The two sections will join up at Edinburgh Waverley before making the journey southbound to London Euston.

Similarly, one 16-carriage train will leave London before splitting at Edinburgh to carry on the journey to Glasgow and Inverness respectively.

Services will not run between Fort William and London or Aberdeen and London while the special timetable is in place. Caledonian Sleeper’s refund policy is also being amended to reflect the special timetable.

Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We are absolutely determined that we continue to provide vital services during this difficult period, while taking into account the welfare of guests, staff and industry partners.

“The reduced timetable will see trains run on both our Highland and Lowland lines, providing crucial links to London for those who need to travel. The decision, taken alongside Transport Scotland, will increase the resilience of Caledonian Sleeper and we look forward to returning to a full timetable in due course.”

Under the new timetable, trains will depart Inverness at 20:45 and Glasgow Central at 23:40 before joining at Edinburgh Waverley. Guests in Edinburgh can join the Glasgow portion of the train at 00:40.

Services from London Euston will depart at 21:15. Guests can disembark at Edinburgh Waverley prior to 06:00 before the trains carry on to Glasgow and Inverness.

All existing reservations with Caledonian Sleeper from 22 March until 30 May 2020 will be cancelled and refunded except for the Inverness route. Those due to travel to/from Inverness will be able to receive a refund should they choose not to travel.

Guests who still wish to travel on operating services from Glasgow and Edinburgh should re-book via sleeper.scot where fares have been lowered to ensure that those requiring essential travel can access services.

Earlier this week, Caledonian Sleeper took the decision to close its Club Car on all trains. No catering services are currently being offered in the evening and the breakfast service is simply a standard in-room offering.

Station Lounges at Dundee, Fort Williams, Inverness, Perth and Stirling have also been closed.

Cleaning arrangements have been extensively reviewed, with Caledonian Sleeper implementing a more robust anti-bacterial treatment of hard surfaces and key touch points, including hand rails and door buttons.

Due to expected demand on the Guest Service Centre, guests are requested to email gsc@sleeper.scot with enquiries to be processed as quickly as possible.

Burns Night Celebrations

Each year on 25 January, Scots around the world celebrate Robert Burns, the famous Bard.

Haggis, whisky, poetry and ceilidh dancing is the perfect recipe for a Burns Night celebration. Typically, a Burns Supper includes a gathering, before the haggis is piped in and the host performs Address to a Haggis. The meal – which includes haggis, neeps and tatties, and cranachan, clootie dumpling or a tipsy laird for dessert, often followed by a cheeseboard, is enjoyed widely across the world.

Traditionally, the first Burns recital is performed after the meal, followed by the Immortal Memory – a speech highlighting the work of Burns. Other toasts may also follow, including A Toast to the Lassies, followed by a Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. Entertainment includes recitals of Burns poems and songs including A Red, Red Rose and Tam O’ Shanter.

A vote of thanks concludes the evening, followed by a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, where guests come together with a parting song.

We’ve created a list of some of the top events across Scotland and London this January. If you’re travelling with Caledonian Sleeper, enjoy a meal of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties in our Club Car in celebration of Robert Burns.

 

Edinburgh

Ghillie Dhu will be celebrating the great bard with a Rabbie Burns Experience until Sunday 26 January. Greeted with a dram on arrival, the haggis will be piped into the room with a Robert Burns reading and toast, with live Scottish folk music throughout the night and a ceilidh to round off the celebrations.

The Royal Yacht Britannia will be hosting a traditional Burns Supper on the weekend of 24 and 25 January. The supper will be prepared in the original Royal Galleys, with Scottish music played throughout the evening.

 

Glasgow

Each year, Oran Mor in Glasgow’s West End hosts one of the city’s biggest Burns Night celebrations. Led by BAFTA award-winning actor Iain Robertson, guests will be piped in, served a three course Scottish menu and will include performances by Iain, Dave Anderson and friends.

 

Alloway

Under an hour from Glasgow, Alloway is the birthplace of Robert Burns, so it is no surprise that the town has a big celebration for Burns Night. Burns On the Beach takes place on Ayr beach, with winter bonfires, an aerial light show, poetry path and moving images at The Watchful boat. The event will launch Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters programme in South Ayrshire and is free.

 

London

Celebrate Burns Night on the River Lee at Burns on the Barge. Toast the haggis and enjoy a traditional supper, with live music and poetry readings.

 

Inverness

Inverness’ very own Burns Club holds a Burns Supper each year, with a meal and speakers taking each of the toasts and recitals.

St Andrews – More than just the ‘Home of Golf’

St Andrews has long been known as the ‘Home of Golf’ – housing one of the oldest golf courses in the world and host to some of the biggest golfing events in the calendar.

Golf has been played in St Andrews since the 15th century and the picturesque town features seven public golf courses including the Old Course, arguably the most famous golf course in the world.

But beyond golf, there are plenty of other attractions and activities which bring visitors to St Andrews every year. We’ve written a guide to the best of this historic town – and you can get there with ease by travelling to nearby Leuchars with Caledonian Sleeper this year.

 

Play a round of golf

Whether you’re a keen golfer or just want to try out a new sport, there’s no better place to play than one of St Andrews’ courses.

The Old Course is one of the most sought-after courses where the very best of the golfing world have played so it is no surprise that the course is one of the busiest. And the famous course is also a record breaker, having hosted 29 Open Championships – more than any other course.

With views across the sea and beyond, the New Course is the oldest ‘new’ course in the world – and the second to be built in St Andrews.

If you want to combine the local sport with breathtaking views, then look no further than The Castle Course. Set on a cliff-top with views across the sea and St Andrews, the course is the latest golf course in the area.

 

Experience the St Andrews food scene

 

As well as its reputation for the most famous golf course in the world, the Old Course Hotel is home to a number of restaurants and bars. Road Hole restaurant, awarded 3 AA Rosettes, offers guests a fine-dining experience with the best Scottish produce. The Road Hole Bar allows guests the chance to enjoy one of over 300 whiskies in its selection whilst overlooking the Old Course.

If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, visit the Jigger Inn for some pub food and Scottish beer at the 19th hole of the Old Course.

One of St Andrews’ most well-known restaurants, Forgan’s, offers a truly Scottish experience. A former cleek factory, golf clubs used on the local courses and other famous courses across the world were once manufactured there. Forgan’s often hosts events including traditional Scottish ceilidhs, and has bothies available for private dining.

Haar Restaurant, opened by Masterchef finalist Dean Banks, focuses on sustainability, local produce and flavours and cooking styles from across the world.

 

Take a walk around the local area

Even if you’re not going to be golfing, take a walk around the town which is steeped in history and scenery. The golf courses themselves are scenic, and the beach has views across the North Sea and beyond.

St Andrew’s Cathedral was once Scotland’s largest cathedral and is popular with visitors. The museum has a collection of medieval sculptures and relics to learn about.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, visit the British Golf Museum. Opened in 1990, the museum explores golf through the ages with displays, activities and interactive opportunities. Take it all in and visit the café for a bite to eat, with views across the first tee of the Old Course and West Sands Beach.

Brighten up January with a trip to the bright lights of London

Winter Walks

Get some crisp winter air with a walk in some of London’s best green spaces.

Visit UNESCO World Heritage site Kew Gardens and explore the area, with a range of plants, flowers and wildlife, including conservatories, an arboretum, alpine houses and lakes.

Explore Hampstead Heath, the inspiration behind many famous films, books and poems. The Hampstead Ponds are great to walk around in winter – and are popular with swimmers in the summer months.

Regent’s Park offers something for everyone, including gardens, rowing boats on the boating lake, London Zoo and Primrose Hill. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – the park is home to over 100 species of wild bird and a population of hedgehogs.

 

Explore a bookshop

Warm up from the cold weather and immerse yourself in literature in a cosy bookshop.

Stanfords in Covent Garden is an iconic literary location where you can browse floor to ceiling bookshelves while enjoying a warm drink in the in-store café.

Step inside Daunt Books in Marylebone and you’ll feel transported to a bygone era with its stained glass windows and the Edwardian building it occupies. Although mainly travel books, Daunt is home to a range of genres for everyone.

 

Take part in Burns Night Celebrations

Celebrate the life and work of Scotland’s national bard with Burns Night in London. Across the city, restaurants and bars will be holding Burns Night events with classic dishes of haggis, neeps, tatties and Scottish whisky.

Events include a Burns Night Supper at London Scottish House, a Burns Night Whisky Tasting Evening with Glenlivet at Rotunda Bar and Restaurant, Epping Forest’s Burns Supper, while Scottish-themed restaurant chain Boisdale will also be hosting celebrations.

 

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Join the largest celebration of Chinese New Year outside of China on 26 January. Held in Chinatown and the West End, the celebrations include a parade, lion dances, Chinese street food and street entertainment in Trafalgar Square.

 

Visit the Natural History Museum

Shelter from the January weather and enjoy one of London’s best known and loved museums, the Natural History Museum.

Discover some of the world’s best wildlife photography at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, showcasing some of the most spectacular animals on the planet.

On 31 January, explore the museum after dark with the monthly Lates event. Chat with scientists, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoology spirit collection and have a dance at the Silent Disco – it’s a night not to be missed.

 

Christmas shopping city breaks

If you’re one of those people who says every year that they are going to be more organised with their Christmas shopping – this is your chance. Enjoy a last-minute festive getaway and complete your Christmas shopping at the same time with Caledonian Sleeper. With no luggage restrictions, you can shop as much as you like, while taking in the festivities.

We’ve come up with a list of the best places to finish (or start!) your Christmas shopping in London, Edinburgh or Glasgow.

 

London

There’s no better place to get in the Christmas spirit than London. With so much to see and do, we’ve pulled together a list of the best places to shop in London.

 

Covent Garden

One of the most magical places in London at Christmas, Covent Garden is one of the best places in London to get in the festive spirit.

As well as designer shops, the Covent Garden Market offers a range of handmade goods from local suppliers – the perfect place to buy a unique gift for your friends and family.

 

Oxford Street

Immerse yourself in the heart of London with a trip to Oxford Street. With over 300 shops, you are sure to find the perfect gift.

Shops include high street labels, designer brand names and department stores including the famous Selfridges’ flagship store, where you can take the hassle out of shopping with a personal shopping experience.

 

Harrods

The largest shop in the UK, a visit to Harrods is a festive experience in itself. Not only is it the most famous department store in the world, it has its own dedicated Christmas shop to visit too.

Sit back, relax and dine at one of seven-floor Harrods’ many award-winning restaurants, which include The Grill, Sushi Bar, Pasta Bar, Wine Bar and Fish Bar.

 

Westfield Shopping Centre

With over 350 shops under one roof, the Westfield Shopping Centre is one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK. With a range of high street and luxury stores, there’s something for everyone.

There’s also a range of events including Santa’s Grotto, wreath making classes and calligraphy workshops. And a number of restaurants and coffee shops are available for those much-needed refreshment breaks during a busy day of shopping.

Enjoy a range of winter sports in Scotland

We’re into December and the snow is lying on the hills, meaning one thing – ski season is here. Scotland’s five ski resorts offer the best winter sports experiences in the UK – perfect for winter sports enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Pack up your skis and travel with Caledonian Sleeper to any of the Scottish resorts for a winter sports adventure.

 

Cairngorm Mountain Range

The Cairngorms offer breathtaking scenery year-round, but the mountain transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months.

For skiers, there are plenty of opportunities on the slopes for both the experienced and beginners. A mountain exhibition allows visitors to find out more about the history of the area, and those who have been influenced by it, including Olympians, mountain rescuers and poets, and to learn about the wildlife who call the mountain their home.

Other activities include tubing, geocaching, guided walks and a winter garden for children. Warm up with a hot chocolate in the Cairngorm Café or Cas Bar before you continue your journey.

 

Nevis Range

Nevis Range offers families and snowsports enthusiasts alike the chance to enjoy the great outdoors and crisp winter air, a stone’s throw from Fort William.

Take in the views across the highlands, enjoy some mountain biking, a treetop adventure or snowsports including skiing and snowboarding on a range of slopes.

The Pinemarten Café boasts locally sourced food and drink to warm you up after a day on the slopes.

 

Glencoe Mountain

Situated near the most remote station on Caledonian Sleeper’s route, Glencoe Mountain is home to an array of activities. The mountain has a camping area, mountain biking, tubing, hillwalking, climbing and snowsports, including the longest and steepest ski run in Scotland.

Visit the Log Cabin Café where you can sit beside the wood burner with a hot drink.

 

The Lecht

In the east of the Cairngorms, The Lecht is easily reached from both Aviemore and Aberdeen. Snowsports are available to all levels, including the Penguin Park for children aged two to seven years learning to ski.

With the addition of a snow factory, the Lecht can produce man-made snow in order to operate some of the slopes from early December.

 

Glenshee

The UK’s largest resort, Glenshee spans four mountains and three valleys and offers 36 ski runs. Located near Ballater, the resort is easily accessible from Aberdeen.

The resort offers sledging, skiing, snowboarding and ski touring, with three cafes offering a range of food and drink.