National Express coaches leave from Chorlton Street bus station in Manchester and take 7 - 9 hours to travel to Edinburgh. There is one direct bus at 10:30. Two others change at Glasgow, and one goes via Leeds and Newcastle. It is generally fastest to take the service that transfers at Glasgow. A single ticket costs 29.50 GBP or it is 34-42 GBP return.
After booking online, you will be issued with an e-ticket, which you need to print out and take with you, or an m-ticket, which is sent to your mobile phone. Otherwise you can get a ticket at the bus station.
Megabus also operate a service between Manchester and Edinburgh. Megabus offer some amazingly cheap fares, starting at as little as 4.50 GBP for a single between Manchester and Edinburgh if you book far enough in advance. To check timetables and prices click the button below:
There are around four trains per hour from Manchester's Piccadilly Station to Edinburgh; on most services you have to change at Preston. There is a direct train every 1-2 hours. The journey takes 3-4 hours. A single ticket costs around 14 GBP or 59 GBP off peak return.
The UK train ticketing system is notoriously complicated. It is usually cheaper to buy your tickets up to 6pm on the day before you travel than on the day. And fares are more expensive if you travel before 09:30. You get the best fares by booking up to three months in advance. You can buy your tickets online, at the station ticket counter, or from the ticket machines on the main concourse. If you book online you will need to collect your tickets from the ticket machine using the same credit card you used to book your tickets online.