Carlisle Line

Carlisle Line: Glasgow – Kilmarnock – Carlisle

Head south through the lowlands of Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, crossing the border with England to the historic city of Carlisle.

The scenic route to Carlisle takes you deep into Scotland’s history, past the battlefields of Robert the Bruce, through Dumfries and Gretna Green. Look out for the rolling farmland, forests, and Beltie cows from the train.

Journey time

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Look out for

  • Loudoun Hill – just south of Kilmarnock, a volcanic plug and scene of one of Robert the Bruce’s great victories in battle against the English army
  • Belties – the iconic black and white cows of Galloway
  • Portrack House and their Garden of Cosmic Speculation – you’ll see them as you cross the River Nith on the Portrack Viaduct. The garden only opens once a year, for five hours

Consider stopping at

  • Kilmarnock station – to view its impressive tower and beautiful floral clock
  • Gretna Green – to see the small town where over 5,000 weddings take place every year, a tradition going back centuries to a time when England’s marriage laws prompted young lovers to head across the border to be wed
  • Dumfries – look for otters in the weir, or visit the Globe Inn, established in 1610 and one of Robert Burns’ favourite haunts

The route: across the border...

Heading south from Glasgow Central, the city recedes and Scotland’s lowland farms come into view. The line takes you through Barrhead and Kilmaurs and Stewarton, onwards to Kilmarnock. The landscape here is very different to the Highlands: a broad green sweep of rolling farmland all the way to the scenic Nith Valley. Look out for Belties, the iconic Galloway cow.

The stop at Dumfries makes a sensible calling point – the largest town for 30 miles, with a few connections to Robert Burns. Head for the 17th century Globe Inn, Robert Burns’ favourite, or stroll along the river Nith in search of otters.

From there the line takes you south to Gretna Green, the legendary choice of eloping couples, where they could get married at the Blacksmith’s anvil.

Just after Gretna you’ll cross the River Sark, and with it the border into England, arriving in Carlisle, home to an 11th century castle and gateway to the Lake District.

Tickets to Carlisle