Edinburgh Travel Guide

     

Travel

Air
There is an airport to the north of the city centre which operates daily flights to International and Domestic destinations.  British Airways and BMI both operate multiple daily flights to London airports and budget airline EasyJet operates daily flights to popular European citys such as Paris and Amsterdam.

To get to the airport from the city centre you can get a bus from outside Waverley train station, the cost one way is £4.50.

Train

There are 2 railway stations in Edinburgh, Haymarket and Waverley.  The most popular station is Waverley as this is situated in the city centre of Edinburgh just a few hundred yards from Princes Street.  Haymarket Station is ideal for connecting to Edinburgh Airport or traveling to the west side of the city.

There are direct train services from Edinburgh to various destinations in Scotland, these include Glasgow, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness.  To book tickets you should go to Scotrail's official website (http://www.scotrail.co.uk).  It is advisable to book in advance as tickets purchased on the day can cost as much as 60% more.

Bus

The main bus company in Edinburgh is Lothian Buses, you can purchase a single ticket for £1.40 and a Day Ticket (which enables unlimited bus travel in Edinburgh for a day) for £3.50.  The bus service in the city is pretty good with most areas having bus connections which leave every 10 minutes.
The main bus station in Edinburgh is situated at ST Andrews Square and from here you can get bus connections with other citys and towns in Scotland.  These services are mainly run by Stagecoach and CityLink and prices vary.  To get full details on times and connections we recommend Traveline Scotlands Journey Planner (http://www.travelinescotland.com/journeyplanner/enterJourneyPlan.do?).

Taxi
There are many taxis operating inside the city centre, these operate 24hrs a day.  Most taxis in the city centre are tall black vehicles, similar to ones in other UK citys of London and Glasgow.  The rates change depending on what time you get a taxi at, different higher tariffs apply when getting a taxi after midnight and when getting one on a public holiday (such as Christmas).

Popular Free attractions in Edinburgh

National Museum of Scotland
Writers Museum
National Gallery of Modern Art
Scottish Parliament Tour

 

Other Attractions

Edinburgh Castle
The castle is the most visited attraction in Edinburgh and it stands on an elevated location overlooking the city centre.  There is a lot to see inside the castle grounds and you can join a guided tour from the entrance or get a self guided tour with a headset (for additional cost). Highlights inside include the grand hall, spectacular views of the city of Edinburgh and seeing the Scottish crown jewels.

Camera Obscura
Situated just outside Edinburgh castle, Camera Obscura has five levels and a variety of illusions and interactive exhibits inside.  Inside exhibits include pictures which transform as you look at them from different angles, an illusion maze and the Electric room where you can conduct electricity with your body.
The main attraction is the Camera Obscura show where you get a panoramic view of the city of Edinburgh with light projected through a periscope onto a curved table.  You are able to pick up cars and people and you learn about the history of the city.  Multiple shows run throughout the day.

Scotch Whisky Experience
There are a variety of different tours available and these are operated daily, these tours include tasting sessions of some nice single malts (the number of malts you get to taste depends on which tour you take).  You also learn about the history of whisky and the difference between regional malts in Scotland.

Edinburgh Zoo
The only zoo in Scotland and it has been open since 1913 and there are over 1,000 animals to view inside.  The main highlights are the daily Penguin Parade (which takes place at 2.15pm) and the newest addition 2 giant Pandas which are on loan from China.

Accommodation in Edinburgh

There are numerous types of accommodation in Edinburgh and these are situated throughout the city centre and surrounding area.  The average price for a hotel room in the peak months (June – September) is around £100 a night.  Depending on your budget and type of accommodation you are looking for there are numerous options. 

If you do not have a budget and are looking for luxurious accommodation in a central location then there is either the Missioni Edinburgh or the Balmoral Hotel.  Both hotels are 5 star, the Missioni is situated in the heart of the Royal Mile on a short distance from the Grassmarket and from Edinburgh Castle.  The Balmoral is known to be one of the landmarks of the city, dating from 1902 and it sits on Princes Street in the city centre.

IF you are looking for a good value cheap hotel in Edinburgh then either the King James by Thistle or the Mercure Edinburgh are good options.  Both are in the city centre and within walking distance of numerous attractions in the city.  The often have very reasonable rates, especially in the off season when rooms can go for as little as £50 a night.

If you are on a really tight budget and just looking for a bed for the night then why not try one of the citys many hostels.  The hostels are the cheapest type of accommodation in Edinburgh and a couple of good options are either Smart City or St Christopher’s.  Both have really good locations in the city and the price for a single person in a dorm ranges £8-£15 per night.  Ideal for backpackers and for meeting fellow travellers.

 

Shopping in Edinburgh

Princes Street is the most famous street in the city and one of the most popular locations for shopping.  There are numerous popular branded stores along Princes Street, these include Debenhams, House of Fraser and Boots.   If you are looking for a souvenir or some good malt whiskies there are several suitable store up the Royal Mile.

There are also several shopping centres in the city, The Princes Mall is between Waverley Train Station and Princes Street and it offers 2 floors of shops.  Then there is also the St James Centre which is opposite the Balmoral Hotel and it is home to John Lewis.  The largest shopping centre is outside the city centre, it is called the Gyle Shopping Centre, you can drive to this in around 30 minutes or get a bus from the city (the number 2 goes directly there).

Events

The summer is the busiest time in Edinburgh with both the Tattoo and the Fringe Festival the highlights.  The Edinburgh Tattoo is often sold out well in advance and it takes place outside Edinburgh Castle.  The Fringe Festival I the largest arts festival in the world and it has a mix of free and paid shows as well as a mix of professional and amateur acts.

At the end of the year Edinburgh has one of the biggest New Year street parties in Europe, the event takes place over 3 days and involves dancing, music and drinking. On New Year’s Eve there is a massive fireworks display which takes place over the castle, a concert in Princes Street Gardens and of course the main street party which takes place on Princes Street.