Edinburgh Travel Help


Getting to Edinburgh is easy! Scotland's capital is well-served by road and rail networks and has both Edinburgh International Airport and Rosyth ferry port within easy reach of the city centre. This section is dedicated to directing you to Travel Information, travel to and around Edinburgh by sea, road, bus/coach, air and rail, travel guides, transport in Edinburgh, directions, street maps of Edinburgh, as well as car hire and automobile rental. The Rail network connects Edinburgh with London in just over 4 hours. The mainland of Europe is now also linked directly to Rosyth by sea from Zeebrugge.

All of Edinburgh's access points boast excellent bus, taxi or rail facilities linking them with the city centre.

By Car

Because Edinburgh is located at the heart of the Scottish motorway network, it can be surprisingly quick and easy to get here by car. If you're travelling from the north of Scotland, for example, Edinburgh is only 3 hours from Inverness and just over 2 hours from Aberdeen. Journey times from England are just as good; you can get here from Birmingham in about 5.5 hours, from Manchester and York in about 4 hours, and the city is just 2.5 hours from Newcastle.

Edinburgh has excellent road connections to other parts of Scotland and the rest of the UK. There are motorway links via the M8 to Glasgow and the west of Scotland; the M9 to Stirling and central Scotland; the M90 to Fife and Perth (with further links via the A9 to Inverness and the Highlands and the A90 to Dundee, Aberdeen and the north-east).

From the south and east there is a choice of routes. The A1 via Newcastle and Berwick is the main east coast route from the south, connecting south of Newcastle with the M1. More scenic and possibly less busy routes from the Newcastle area northwards to Edinburgh include the A697 and A68.

Travellers from the north-west of England taking the M6 to Carlisle then have the choice of continuing to Edinburgh on the M74 (and then either the M8 or the A702, via Biggar) or alternatively taking the quieter and more scenic A7 through the Scottish Borders.

To help plan your journey you might find the following websites useful.

By Air

Edinburgh is one of the UK's fastest growing airports, offering direct and connecting flights from many UK, European and International airlines.

The flight from London takes around an hour and there are over 40 flights from London airports every day. Regular services arrive in Edinburgh from other major UK cities and there are frequent scheduled flights from 40 European airports, including Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt and Zurich. Continental Airlines offers a daily direct service from New York's Newark airport, while Delta Airlines offer a daily direct flight between Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Edinburgh. Further transatlantic flights arrive at Glasgow International Airport, one hour's drive away.

Edinburgh International Airport is 8 miles (12km) west of the city centre.

The Airlink 100 operates a frequent bus service (every 10 minutes at peak times) between Edinburgh Airport and the city centre, with designated stops en route. Journey time is about 25 minutes and tickets cost £3.00 single and £5.00 return. www.flybybus.com

Taxis are also widely available at the airport and cost around £15 to the city centre. And Edinburgh airport is 20 minutes by car from the city centre. You may find it easier/cheaper to get a flight to Glasgow on the West Coast and then travel by train or bus to Edinburgh. It takes a little over an hour to drive between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

You can buy a bus ticket when you get off the train at Glasgow airport which is good all the way to Edinburgh city centre (St Andrews Square) - there are several bus companies so ask for directions. You'll probably have to change buses at Glasgow Queen Street bus station first though. Bus fare is around £6 to Edinburgh and under £3 to Glasgow City Centre.

The Glasgow Queen Street bus station is next door to the train station. It's a few pounds more expensive to go by train to Edinburgh city centre. It's about an hour trip and the trains run around every 15 minutes peak times, every half hour otherwise.

By Sea

It's easy to get to Edinburgh by sea. An overnight Superfast ferry service operates between Zeebrugge and Rosyth 3 times a week, with a crossing time of 18 hours. Rosyth is about half an hour's drive from Edinburgh, so getting to the city is plain sailing.

The port of Rosyth is in the wonderful county of Fife with its picturesque fishing villages tucked along the coast. The haven for golf-lovers is St Andrews. In fact this east-coast city is the birthplace of this sport. Fife's central location also makes it the ideal start for your exploration of the other parts of Scotland. The captivating city of Edinburgh is only a stone's throw and you can get to trendy Glasgow in less than no time. To the south the Lowlands call, with their gently rolling hills, while to the north lie the Highlands with their wild and romantic natural landscape.

You can also reach Edinburgh easily by road from the continental ferry ports of Newcastle and Hull and the Irish ferry ports of Stranraer and Cairnryan.

The following companies can provide more information:

From Zeebrugge

From Ireland

By Coach

If you're on a budget then buses are a great travel option. And because Edinburgh is well placed on the Scottish motorway network, getting here by bus or coach could be quicker than you might think. There are regular coach services to Edinburgh from all major UK cities.

The following companies can provide more information:

Linking Edinburgh to England:
National Express contact number - 08705 80 80 80.

Linking Edinburgh to England and to cities across Scotland:
Mega Bus contact number - 0900 160 0900

Linking Edinburgh to towns and cities across Scotland:
Scottish Citylink contact number - 08705 50 50 50
Stagecoach contact number - 0870 608 2 608.

By Train

Edinburgh is easy to reach by train, in fact, the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) line is the fastest intercity railway in the UK, with a journey time of just under 5 hours between Edinburgh (Waverley) and London (King's Cross).

ScotRail operate an overnight service, the Caledonian Sleeper, between London (Euston) and Edinburgh 7 nights a week.

Edinburgh has two stations - Haymarket (map) and Waverley (map). The main station is Edinburgh Waverley which is located in the city centre, sandwiched betweeen the New and Old towns. This has recently been renovated with limited public parking, making it very difficult for drivers to stay for any length of time.

Visitors arriving from London for the first time often make the mistake of getting off at Haymarket, the smaller station in the West end. There is about a mile's distance between the two stations.

Edinburgh Waverley train station has great rail links to other major cities too. York, Newcastle, Inverness and Aberdeen are all about 2 hours away by train, and Glasgow is just 50 minutes away on the First ScotRail shuttle service which leaves Waverley train station every 15 minutes.

The following companies can provide more information on rail travel to Edinburgh:

Linking Edinburgh train station and London via the east coast main line:
GNER - contact number : 08457 48 49 50

Linking Edinburgh to towns and cities in England:
Virgin - contact number : 08457 222 333

Travelling to and from Edinburgh to all around Scotland:
First Scotrail - contact number : 08457 48 49 50

For all your timetables and fares UK wide:
National Rail Enquiries - contact number : 08457 48 49 50

For all your rail travel requirements:
Traveline - contact number : 0870 608 2 608

More Travel Tips

Edinburgh Airport, 7 miles west of the city center, offers only a few transatlantic flights. It does, however, have air connections throughout the United Kingdom -- London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and City), Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Humberside, Jersey, Kirkwall (Orkney), Inverness, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, Norwich, Sumburgh (Shetlands), Southampton, Wick, and Belfast (in Northern Ireland) -- as well as with a number of European cities, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Cork, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, and Zurich. Flights take off for Edinburgh Airport virtually every hour from London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports; it's usually faster and less complicated to fly through Gatwick, which has excellent rail service from London's Victoria Station.

There are no rail links to the city center, despite the fact that the airport sits between two main lines. By bus or car you can usually make it to Edinburgh in a comfortable half hour, unless you hit the morning (7:30 to 9) or evening (4 to 6) rush hours. Lothian Buses run between Edinburgh Airport and the city center every 15 minutes daily from 9 to 5 and less frequently (roughly every hour) during off-peak hours. The trip takes about 30 minutes, or about 45 minutes during rush hour. A single-fare ticket costs £3.

You can arrange for a chauffeur-driven limousine to meet your flight at Edinburgh Airport through David Grieve Chauffeur Drive for about £45 plus V.A.T; Little's Chauffeur Drive, £47 plus V.A.T; and W L Sleigh Ltd., £50 plus V.A.T.

Taxis are readily available outside the terminal. The trip takes 20-30 minutes to the city center, 15 minutes longer during rush hour. The fare is roughly £20. Note that airport taxis picking up fares from the terminal are any color, not the typical black cabs.

National Express provides bus service to and from London and other major towns and cities. The main terminal, St. Andrew Square bus station, is only a couple of minutes (on foot) north of Waverley station, immediately east of St. Andrew Square. Long-distance coaches must be booked in advance from the booking office in the terminal. Edinburgh is approximately eight hours by bus from London.

Lothian Buses provides much of the service between Edinburgh and the Lothians and conducts day tours around and beyond the city. First also runs buses out of Edinburgh into the surrounding area.

Edinburgh's main train hub, Waverley Station, is downtown, below Waverley Bridge and around the corner from the unmistakable spire of the Scott Monument. Travel time from Edinburgh to London by train is as little as 4½ hours for the fastest service.

Edinburgh's other main station is Haymarket, about four minutes (by rail) west of Waverley. Most Glasgow and other western and northern services stop here. Haymarket can be more convenient if you're staying in hotels beyond the west end of Princes Street.