Getting Around Edinburgh

Edinburgh (and in particular its city centre) is a very compact city, which means that you can often get from place to place on foot. Having said that, it is also rather hilly and prone to variable weather, so you might want to consider some other options.

Bus

Whether it be for commuting into the centre of Edinburgh, taking a trip outside of the city or simply getting from A to B, the bus probably has it covered. Whilst it may not be the quickest way to get about, the low prices make up for that. The bus is by far the cheapest mode of transport, and Edinburgh is lucky enough to have an efficient and widespread local bus network.

Airport

Chances are the bus will be the first form of transport you encounter after you arrive at Edinburgh Airport - the Airlink service runs from Edinburgh Airport to the City Centre in less than half an hour. It departs (from outside the terminal building and Waverley Bridge) every 10 minutes during the day and is replaced by the N22 night bus service which operates every half hour through the night. Tickets can be purchased from inside the terminal building or on the bus for just £3.50 (£2 for children) for a single and £6 (£3) for a return. 

City Centre

Lothian Buses (identified by their red and white vehicles) operate the majority of services that run through Edinburgh. Their flat-rate fares are some of the lowest in the UK at £1.40 (70p for children) for single tickets and £3.50 (£2.40) for unlimited travel for one day. Tickets are purchased from the driver when you board the bus, but do note that Lothian Buses do not offer change so make sure you are carrying the correct amount! A night service also runs on selected routes for £3.

First Bus Route Map

Lothian Bus Route Map

Further Afield

First Buses connect Edinburgh with the rest of the Lothians and beyond. They can be used to travel within the city limits but most of their passengers are heading out of the city. First Buses serve all the major towns in the Lothians and continue on to Falkirk, Stirling, Glasgow and the Scottish Borders.

Coach travel

National Express and Scottish CityLink operate out of Edinburgh Bus Station offering regular coach travel to cities all over the UK.

Further details and timetables for all bus services can be found at Edinburgh Bus Station. Alternatively, follow one of the links below.

Bus Service Website Contact
Lothian Buses http://www.lothianbuses.com +44 (0)131 555 6363
First Buses http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland_east/ +44 (0)870 872 7271
National Express http://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx +44 (0)871 781 8178
CityLink http://www.citylink.co.uk/ +44 (0)870 550 5050
Edinburgh Bus Station Map bus.station@edinburgh.gov.uk

 

Tram

A tram service operated in Edinburgh 1871 and 1956, but was replaced by bus services. In a bid to go clean and green, infrastructure for a 21st century tram network is currently being built in the city centre. The tram line will run from Leith to Edinburgh Airport via the town centre, with further extensions planned for the future. Run by Edinburgh City Council, the trams will be fully amalgamated with the Lothian Bus service. The trams are due to commence operation in 2014, but whilst construction is underway, many bus routes and roads will be effected. For an idea of how the trams will look, check out this interactive tour.

Tourists should be advised not to bring up the subject of the trams with the locals, the disruption caused by the construction work is an especially sensitive subject for the taxi drivers.

Taxis

If you are looking for a more personal and door-to-door service, then why not take a ride in the beloved black cab. Edinburgh is arguably as synonymous with the traditional black taxi cab as London is, although there are a couple of newer designs on the roads nowadays. Taxis in Edinburgh are plentiful, are not too expensive, and are a quick and effective method of travelling about the city. Alternatively, during the summer months, you can flag down a rickshaw for a more romantic journey for two.

Taxis can be found at the many taxi ranks about the town centre or hailed down off the street; the general rule is that the yellow "TAXI" light on top of the cab indicates availability. Alternatively, phone one of the companies to book ahead or call out to your current location, which is advised during busy times and bad weather. Taxis in Edinburgh tend to be reasonably priced; they run on a council-approved meter that takes duration, distance and time of day into account in the fee. As they can hold up to 6 passengers, taxis can often work out cheaper than alternative transport options.

Company Website Contact
Central Taxis http://taxis-edinburgh.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 229 2468
City Cabs http://www.citycabs.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 228 1211
ComCab http://www.comcab-edinburgh.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 272 8000
Aerial ABW Cabs (Midlothian) http://www.aerialabwcabs.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 663 3232

 

Train

Arguably the most spectacular route into Edinburgh is via rail. Not only is the East Coast line visually stunning, but the exit from Waverley Station to the heart of city is enough to take your breath away. For journeys further afield beyond Edinburgh, you should consider our railways, which connect to every major city in the country. Some options include a regular one hour service to Glasgow and services to other stations in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Edinburgh is also easily accessible by rail from England with direct links to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cornwall and lots in between. London can be reached in under 4 hours and 30 minutes. Alternately, if you head up north by the West Highland Line to Mallaig and Skye - voted top rail journey in the world - the trains will take you through the highlands and across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, recently seen as the route for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. All trains out of Edinburgh pass through or depart from Waverley, although many also stop at Haymarket in the West End.

Rail services in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Edinburgh Waverley

Edinburgh's principal train station is located between the old and new towns, and the view of the city once you emerge from the station is quite unique.

There are a number of fast food outlets and shops in Waverley although you will find a much greater choice outside of the station. There is also a Left Luggage, car parking, bicycle storage and a car hire centre. A taxi rank can be found inside the station or walk up to Waverley Bridge to catch a bus. Several different train operators run out of Edinburgh Waverley, namely First ScotRailEast CoastVirgin TrainsCross Country Trains and First TransPennine.

Service Contact
Station Reception +44 (0)131 550 2031
Left Luggage +44 (0)131 558 3829
Lost Property +44 (0)131 550 2333
Car Parking +44 (0)845 077 4224
National Rail Enquiries +44 (0)845 748 4950
First ScotRail (ticket sales) +44 (0)845 755 0033
East Coast (ticket sales) +44 (0)845 722 5225
Virgin Trains (ticket sales) +44 (0)845 722 2333
Cross Country Trains (ticket sales) +44 (0)844 811 0124
First TransPennine (ticket sales) +44 (0)845 678 6974

Car Hire

Edinburgh is well-served by public transport, so hiring a car is completely optional depending on your personal preferences and what you plan to do on your trip to the area. If you are planning on exploring the more rural parts of Edinburgh and Lothians (or the rest of Scotland for that matter), then hiring (renting) a car may be the most effective way of doing so. Cars can be hired in advance of your journey or requisitioned whilst you are here; there are car hire centres at Edinburgh Airport and Waverley Rail Station. Why not compare the best prices using our online booking form?

In the UK you must be at least 21 years old to hire a car and you must produce your driving license and some photographic identification. Be sure to check the national driving laws and your individual rental agreement before driving off!

Car parking in Edinburgh city centre can be quite hard to come by but there are several multi-storey car parks dotted around town. Make yourself aware of the local restrictions and prices when parking in the street (these vary depending on location and time of day). Avoid double yellow lines at all times and single yellow lines from 8:30am – 6:30pm Monday to Saturday.

Car Parking Map

Private Transfer

Travel in style on your trip to Edinburgh with your own chauffeur-driven transport. Pre-book a people carrier or mini-bus to ensure that your party can all travel together, or opt for a high-end luxury car to make that all-important first impression. Private transfer companies offer valuable services for all sorts of people and budgets; My Guide Edinburgh has compiled a list of the best.

Service Website Phone
Farrell Chauffeur Drive http://www.farrellchauffeur.co.uk/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi/ +44 (0)7964 240 654
Edinburgh Airport Cars http://www.edinburghairportcars.co.uk/ +44 (0)780 135 2848
Transvercia Chauffeur Drive http://www.transvercia.com/ +44 (0)800 334 5825 / +44 (0)131 555 0459
Onward Travel http://www.onwardtravel.com/ +44 (0)131 272 8222
Edinburgh Airport Taxi http://www.airporttaxiedinburgh.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 440 2525
Avantgarde http://www.avantgardehire.com/ +44 (0)131 453 1111
Capital Cars http://www.capitalcarsscotland.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 622 6000
Airline Cabs and Cars http://www.aircabedinburgh.co.uk/ +44 (0)150 685 2473
Edinburgh Airport Taxis http://www.edinburghairporttaxis.com/ +44 (0)131 663 6526
Airport Taxis Edinburgh http://www.airporttaxisedinburgh.co.uk/ +44 (0)771 875 1409
DeVere http://www.deverelimos.com/ +44 (0)131 339 9636
     
Butler’s Chauffeur Drive http://www.edinburghchauffeur.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 335 0111
Festival City Cars http://www.festivalcitycars.co.uk/ +44 (0)131 552 1777
Glenn’s Private Hire http://www.glennsprivatehire.co.uk/ +44 (0)150 644 4777
Bruce Taxis http://www.brucetaxis.co.uk/ +44 (0)500 636 000 / +44 (0)132 463 6000
East Lothian Private Hire http://www.eastlothianprivatehire.co.uk/ +44 (0)187 585 2711

 

Cycling

Edinburgh is a cycle-friendly city, with cycle lanes on many of the main streets and a diverse and far-reaching network of cycle pathways.