Getting to – and Around – Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland

Getting to – and Around – Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland

How to Get There
Edinburgh International Airport, T0131-333-1000 (general inquiries), T0131-344-3136 (airport information), is eight miles west of the city center. Terminal facilities include a tourist information desk, Bureau de Change, ATMs, restaurants and bars (first floor) and shops (ground floor and first floor). The tourist information desk is in the international arrivals area, and will book accommodation and car rentals. The main international car rental companies are in the main UK arrivals area.

There is an Airlink bus to the airport from Waverley Bridge, T0131-555-6363. Fares are �3.30 single for adults, �2 for children. An open return is �5 for adults and �3 for children. Tickets can be bought from the driver or at the tourist information center. Approximate travel time is 25 minutes (plan for longer during peak rush hours). Buses leave from Waverley Bridge to the airport and from the airport to the city center every 10-20 minutes, 0450 to 0025. The main pick-up and drop-off points in town are at the west end of Princes Street and Haymarket Station. The N22 night bus service runs to the airport from St. Andrew Square Bus Station. The white airport taxis will take you from the airport to the city center for about �16; the black taxis charge �13-14. Allow 20-30 minutes to arrive at your destination.

There are direct buses from most British cities to Edinburgh. The main operator is National Express, T0870-580-8080. You can buy tickets at the bus stations or from agents located throughout the country. An economy advance return ticket from London to Edinburgh starts at �28. From Manchester it costs around �21. Inquire about student discounts, and passes for families and those traveling over a period of days. Edinburgh’s bus station in St. Andrew’s Square is the terminal for all regional and national buses.

There are two main roads to Edinburgh from the south: M1/M2 in the east; and M6 in the west. If you drive from London, the trip takes around eight to ten hours.

All trains to Edinburgh go to Waverley Station, off Waverley Bridge at the east end of Princes Street. Two companies operate direct services from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley: GNER, T0845-722-5225; and Virgin, T0845-722-2333. Fares vary depending on time of travel and advance booking. Scotrail, T0845-755-0033, operates the Caledonian Sleeper service which travels overnight (seven hours) from London Euston to Edinburgh. The main ticket booth is at Waverley Station. Expect to wait at least 30-40 minutes during peak hours. Taxi ranks are located at the station concourse and on Waverley Bridge.

How to Get Around
Most of what you’ll want to see and do is located in Central Edinburgh; and since the city center is compact you’ll find that it is easy to explore it on foot. Cycling is also an excellent way to tour Edinburgh because many of the main roads have cycle lanes and there are plenty of cycle routes around the town and out into the surrounding countryside. The local cycling association, Spokes, 232 Dalry Road, T131-313-2114, publishes a useful cycle map available at the TIC for �4.95. If you’re not up for a nice stroll or ride (or more likely, if the weather is proving an obstacle), other options include the black taxis and local bus service. I recommend that you take advantage of the efficient public transportation (it will also save you big bucks). On most main routes, buses generally run every 10-15 minutes, Monday through Friday 0700-1900. Check time tables for bus frequency on specific routes. Princes Street is Edinburgh’s main transport hub and you can get a bus to any part of the city from there. Fares range from �0.60-1. Night buses operate in between 0015 to 0315, leaving every hour from Waverley Bridge. All night bust routes charge a flat fee of �2, but it includes one free transfer to another night bus at Waverley Bridge. Don’t forget your free map of the different bus routes around Edinburgh available at the TIC! Avoid exploring the center by car because the streets are narrow, congested with traffic, and parking is impossible.

Local Services
Edinburgh’s main tourist office (TIC) is located at 3 Princes Street on top of Waverley Market, T0131-473-3800, Office hours vary depending on the time of year. It offers services such as currency exchange, and will book accommodation, provide travel information, and book tickets for various events and excursions. The Backpacker’s Center, 6 Blackfriars Street, T0131-557-9393, has information about hostels and tours and will book coach tickets.