Edinburgh (Gaelic: Dùn Èideann) is the capital of Scotland, located in the Central Belt of the country. With a population of 526,470 in the urban area in 2021, and 901,455 in the metropolitans, Edinburgh fizzes with a cosmopolitan yet uniquely Scottish atmosphere. Old volcanoes ensure a dramatic natural setting, with the imposing castle atop one. The city combines medieval relics, Georgian grandeur and a powerful layer of modern life with contemporary avant-garde. Medieval palaces, Gothic churches and fascinating historical buildings rub shoulders with the best of modern architecture, such as the Scottish Parliament and the National Museum of Scotland. Variously dubbed "Auld Reekie" or "Athens of the North", but usually just plain "Embruh", it hosts great restaurants, shops, pubs, wild and mild clubs, and an unrivalled programme of events and festivals throughout the year.

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1995. In 2004, Edinburgh became the first member of the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was designated a "City of Literature".


  Old Town
The city's medieval heart along the Royal Mile, which courses down from the Castle to Holyrood Palace, with the National Museum a short way south. Further east is the volcanic crag of Arthur's Seat, some 340 million years older than Old Town.
  New Town
This elegant grid of mansions and gardens was laid out from the 1770s; it's now the principal shopping district and has the plushest hotels. Major sights include Calton Hill and four branches of the National Gallery.
  Stockbridge and Canonmills
These neighbourhoods are just north of New Town. They have interesting independent shopping and the extensive Royal Botanic Garden.
Edinburgh's raffish former port is the permanent mooring place of Royal Yacht Britannia.
Mostly residential, but Portobello beach and the historic village of Duddingston lie in the east of the city.
This has the bulk of student accommodation, and plenty of places to eat and drink. Further out are Craigmillar Castle, Blackford Hill, the Pentland Hills, and the upper glen of the Water of Leith.
Location of Murrayfield rugby stadiums and the zoo. Further out are a sculpture park, the charming village of Cramond and a tidal island.
  • South Queensferry is nowadays governed as a city district, but retains its own identity as a town and is separately described.


The Castle


This was an exciting place to be 300-350 million years ago, as volcanoes raged and flared across the region. The biggest was what we now call Arthur's Seat, with smaller cones at Castle Rock, Calton Hill, and elsewhere. Then they fizzled out and started to be buried by other rock layers. Much later came the Ice Ages, the last some 20,000 years ago. Vast glaciers from the west scoured away the surface, but where they hit Castle Rock they had to divide and flow around. They left the Rock intact with a scooped-out hollow to its north, west and south, and a tail of stone debris dumped in its lee to the east. This created an obvious defensible spot for early settlement. By the 12th century Edinburgh was the chief city of Scotland; the Old Town grew up with the Castle at its head, the Royal Mile stretching down the debris tail, and Holyrood Palace at its foot.

And up and up it grew: space was limited, so buildings became taller, ten or more storeys high even in medieval times. But no lifts or pumped water of course, and sanitation was taken care of by opening a window, shouting "Gardyloo!" and letting gravity do the rest. Every medieval city stank, but Edinburgh became known as "Auld Reekie" from the distinctive stench of sewage mingled with smoke from coal, mined and burned here from early times.

Edinburgh lost much of its importance after 1707, when Scotland united with England and political power ebbed away to London. But in the mid-18th century it revived, when it broke out of the confines of the Old Town, by creating a graceful New Town to the north. The intervening midden, the "Nor Loch", was drained, bridged, and an earth mound pushed across. There was similar expansion on the south side. Victorian times saw an industrial boom fuelled by the coal deposits nearby to the east, and by shale oil produced to the west. Canals and then railways brought in materials and a labour force.

Glasgow grew bigger, but Edinburgh remained the cultural capital of Scotland, and the Edinburgh International Festival was launched in 1947. A year later the first Military Tattoo was performed at the castle and soon became an official part of the Festival. In 1993, the first Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party was held as an organised event.

And from 1998 Edinburgh is in a stronger sense a capital city again, as the Scotland Act (and subsequent legislation) established a devolved Scottish Parliament and civil Government. These, based in Edinburgh, are responsible for governing Scotland excluding reserved matters such as defence and foreign affairs which remain with the Westminster Parliament in London. Between 1999 and 2004 the Scottish Parliament Building (designed by Enric Miralles, the Spanish Catalan architect) was constructed. The debate about full independence for Scotland continues.


Princes Street is now a tram route

Edinburgh has two principal spines, both running east-west. The spine of the Old Town is the Royal Mile, which starts with the Castle perched atop its volcanic crag, and the Esplanade commanding the best overall view of the city. From here the Royal Mile slopes down east, variously called Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate, to end at Holyrood Palace. George IV Bridge spans south from Old Town to the University quarter, Meadows and Southside, while the Mound and North Bridge span north to New Town.

The newer spine is Princes Street (one "s", no apostrophe, named for the princely sons of George III). Princes Street Gardens fill the depression between the Street and the Old Town heights, with the railway tracks at their base and the Mound crossing midway. The grid pattern of the New Town starts with Princes Street and stretches north, with George Street and Queen Street its main boulevards. Close to the east end of Princes Street are the main railway station Waverley, and the main bus station St Andrew Square. The street ends in Waterloo Place, historic terminus of the A1 to London, A7 to Carlisle, A8 to Glasgow, and A9 to John O'Groats - no modern motorist should ever heed these directions. The small hill just east of Princes Street with an ersatz Acropolis is Calton Hill, while the looming crags further SE are Arthur's Seat. The Firth of Forth glitters to the north, merging into the open North Sea.

Literary tradition[edit]

Edinburgh is noted as a long-lived literary capital of the English-speaking world.

The great Scottish historical novelist Sir Walter Scott was born in the city and has his great monument on Princes Street. Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were also natives of Edinburgh. Edinburgh has also variously been the home and inspiration for such well-known modern writers as Muriel Spark (author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Irvine Welsh (author of the 1993 novel Trainspotting, set in the gritty district of Leith), Ian Rankin (a crime writer best known for the Inspector Rebus series, set in Edinburgh), Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Lady Detective's Agency and several novels set in the Scottish capital) and J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.

When to go[edit]

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
See the 5 day forecast for Edinburgh at the Met Office
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Edinburgh is a year-round destination. It gets mobbed around Hogmanay (Dec 31 / Jan 1), the Six Nations rugby internationals in Feb / March, and the Festival in August - book accommodation well in advance for these.

Old and New Towns are on exposed ridges so they're often breezy, and you can expect rain and a wrecked umbrella any day. The city is most comfortable from May to September - never stifling hot, the main summer irritation (if you have flimsy curtains) is sunrise at 4:30AM and dusk at 11PM. Nights draw in rapidly during the Festival. Winters are snell: rarely sub-zero or snowy, but the wind-chill makes them feel so. The sun then is only up between 8:30AM and 4PM, and if there's a bank of drizzle off the sea, the short day will pass in a grey gloom. Fortunately there's plenty to see and do indoors.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Edinburgh Airport (EDI  IATA), Ingliston EH12 9DN (off A8 Glasgow Rd), +44 131 357 6337. This is Scotland's main airport, with direct flights from most major cities in west Europe, Scandinavia and the Med. There are seasonal flights from Calgary, Halifax, Toronto and New York. The only Gulf flight is from Doha in Qatar. Domestic links include Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derry, Exeter, Islay, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Kirkwall, Manchester, London (City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, and Stansted), Newquay, Orkney Islands, Southampton, Shetland Islands, Stornoway and Wick. The airport has a single terminal with the usual facilities including car hire. The only drinking water fountains are airside immediately to the left when you exit the duty-free shop. Currency exchange land - and airside is operated by ICE, with rates for major currencies about 20% off the official rate: poor, but average for a UK airport. Edinburgh Airport (Q8716) on Wikidata Edinburgh Airport on Wikipedia

Airport hotels: four are within walking distance and another handful within a ten minute shuttle ride, see Edinburgh/West#Sleep.

Onward transport: Buses to the city, and to Glasgow, Fife, and West Lothian, leave from stops just outside Arrivals. The tram station and shuttles to off-site car parks are at the east end of the Terminal, beyond the multi-storey car park. There's no railway station, the nearest (Haymarket and Waverley) are in city centre.

Airlink 100 is the direct bus to city centre. This runs from airport stop A via Haymarket and Princes Street to Waverley Bridge, just outside the main railway station and close to the bus station. It's a distinctive bright blue double-decker, which runs daily 24 hours every 10 min, and takes 20-30 min. Adult fares as of Dec 2023 are £5.50 single, £8 open return (children £2.75 / £4 respectively). Pay the driver in cash (change given within reason, the only city bus route that does so) or by contactless debit or credit card. The buses have free Wi-Fi, sockets for charging electrical equipment, CCTV allowing top-deck passengers to monitor their luggage, and "next-stop" info screens.

Skylink 200 is for north side of the city and Leith. This runs from airport stop B via Corstorphine down to Newhaven seafront and Leith Ocean Terminal - it doesn't pass anywhere near the city centre. It runs daily every 30 min, 5AM-midnight towards Leith and 4AM-11PM out to the airport, taking an hour. Same fares as Airlink 100, but the exact fare is needed.

Cat Stane

While taxiing, if you have a view north, spare a glance for the Cat Stane midway along the runway.

It's a Bronze Age standing stone that's within the airport perimeter fence, so this is the only way to admire it.

Skylink 300 to Tollcross and Southside was axed in 2022.

Skylink 400 is for the south fringes of town. This runs from airport stop C via Gogarburn, South Gyle, Wester Hailes, Oxgangs, Kaimes, Royal Infirmary, and Niddrie to Fort Kinnaird / Newcraighall near Musselburgh - it doesn't pass anywhere near the city centre. It runs daily every 30 min from 5:30AM to 9:30PM.

At night Airlink 100 still runs to the city centre very tn minutes, and the 200 and 400 make a single run out to the airport at 3AM, arriving by 4AM.

Bright Bus Airport Express is a new service introduced in 2024, run by McGills using orange buses. Runs between 3AM and midnight. Single £4, return £6.50 payable by cash or card. It is in competition with the Lothian buses on this route, and it would be worth checking whether it is still running before depending on it.

Trams run from the airport to the city centre, taking 40 min via Edinburgh Park, Murrayfield, Haymarket, and along Princes St to Waverley railway station and York Place. As of Dec 2023, adult fares are £7.50 single, £9.50 open return, child £3.80 / £5. If you're making other city journeys the same day, consider buying a day ticket for £12 (child £6) valid for all tram and daytime bus services. Buy tickets from machines at any tram stop within 30 minutes of starting travel (cards accepted, no change given) and validate your ticket before boarding. Trams run daily every 8-15 min, to the city centre 6:20AM-10:45PM and out to the airport 5:30AM-11:30PM.

Or walk! If you only have light baggage, it's a fine day and you want to save money, you can walk the mile-and-a-half footpath between the airport and Ingliston Park & Ride. This brings you within the City Zone tariff, so the single tram fare to the city centre drops to £2 adult, £1 child, and a day ticket for all trams and buses is £5 / £2.50. Coming out from the city, do not be tempted just to buy a City Zone ticket and stay aboard to the airport, since ticket inspectors always patrol this section.

Out of town: Buses run from airport stop C to Glasgow Buchanan Station. This is the Citylink Air which takes 1 hour and costs £16 single. It runs daily from 6AM to 11:30PM every 30 min. Bus 902 takes 80 min to Glasgow via Livingston, and this run hourly through the night.

Buses run from airport stop G across the old Forth Road Bridge to Inverkeithing and Halbeath in Fife. This is the Stagecoach Jet 747 bus which takes 45 min to Halbeath. It runs daily for 24 hours, every 20 minutes in the daytime. Change at Inverkeithing for trains to Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

First Bus 600 runs from airport stop E every 30 min into West Lothian, via Ratho, Newbridge, Kirkliston, Winchburgh, Broxburn, Uphall, Livingston and Whitburn.

Local buses pass by on the A8, a mile south of the airport. These run from Edinburgh out to Ratho, Kirkliston, South Queensferry, Linlithgow, and Falkirk.

Other airports you might consider:

  • Glasgow (GLA IATA) has a few destinations not linked to Edinburgh, such as Dubai, Reykjavik and several Hebridean islands.
  • Manchester (MAN IATA) has much better connections to North America and the Gulf.

By train[edit]

Old Booking Hall in Waverley Station
Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in Great Britain

2 Edinburgh Waverley railway station (EDB), EH1 3EG. M-Sa 4AM-1AM, Su 7AM-1AM. The main railway station is always called "Waverley" but National Rail doesn't recognise that name, and calls it "Edinburgh". Opened in 1846 and rebuilt 1892-1902, Waverley is a sight in itself, with wreathed cherubs cavorting across its elaborate domed ceiling and thicket of scrolled ironwork. It lies at the east end of Princes Street between the Old and New Towns, with the crags of Calton Hill and the castle looming above as your train pulls in, and serves over 14 million people per annum. There are waiting rooms, shops, cafes, toilets, and car hire, and step-free access to all platforms. Left luggage is £15 per item per 24 hours in 2023, much more expensive than at the main bus station. The nearest tram stop is at St Andrew Square, a 300 yard walk over Princes St and up St Andrew St, while dozens of buses call at Princes St. Edinburgh Waverley railway station (Q800716) on Wikidata Edinburgh Waverley railway station on Wikipedia

Waverley Station is a major hub for the Scottish rail network, with trains operated by ScotRail.

From Glasgow there are five routes:

  • best is from Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High, 50 min, every 15-30 min;
  • trains from Queen Street via Cumbernauld and Falkirk Grahamstoun, 70 min, every 30 min;
  • slow trains from Helensburgh or Milngavie via Queen Street (low level), Airdrie and Livingston North, 75 min, every 30 min;
  • long-distance trains from Glasgow Central taking an hour via Motherwell to Edinburgh and continuing down into England, plus slow trains from Ayr making more stops;
  • slow trains from Glasgow Central via Livingston South, 80 min, hourly.

From the north: trains run hourly from Aberdeen and Dundee, every two hours from Inverness via Aviemore and Perth, and every 30 min from Stirling.

From London: LNER daytime trains from London King's Cross run hourly up the east coast, the fastest taking 4 hr 20 min, variously stopping at Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Many continue north from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central, Dundee, Aberdeen or Inverness. Lumo runs three times daily from King's Cross via Newcastle and Morpeth. Trains operated by Avanti (see below) leave London Euston every couple of hours and travel via the Midlands and Preston; this is a slower journey that takes 5 hr 35 min. There's also an overnight train from Euston to Edinburgh, described below.

From the Midlands and South West England, the fastest is to take the hourly Avanti West Coast train from Birmingham New Street towards Glasgow and change at Preston, journey time just over four hours. A little slower but avoiding a change is the Crosscountry train, which trundles all the way up from Penzance via Plymouth, Exeter St David's, Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham New Street, Derby, Sheffield, Wakefield Westgate, Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed, and continuing from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central.

From Manchester: Transpennine Express runs every couple of hours from Manchester Airport via Piccadilly and Carlisle, taking four hours, with many other connections by changing at Piccadilly, Preston or Lancaster.

From the Borders trains run every 30 min from Tweedbank via Galashiels. There's no through-line, but Galashiels has connecting buses from Jedburgh, Melrose, Carlisle, Hawick and Selkirk.

Overnight: The Caledonian Lowland Sleeper runs Su-F from London Euston, departing around 11:30PM to arrive by 7:30AM. However, you can stay aboard until 8AM. The southbound train leaves around 11:30PM to reach Euston at 7AM. Again you can stay aboard until 8AM. No trains on Saturday night, and you can't travel on the Highland Sleeper, which only makes a service stop in Edinburgh for its three portions to be split or re-combined. Compartments have two berths and are sold like hotel rooms: you pay extra for single occupancy, and you won't be sharing with a stranger. Tickets can be booked at any UK mainline railway station or online: in 2023 a double bunk is around £250. You can also just use the sitting saloon, single £50. If you have an existing ticket for a daytime train you need to buy a sleeper supplement. Pricing is dynamic - weekends and the Festival will cost more if indeed there are berths available. Booking is open 12 months ahead, and you need to print out your e-ticket to present when boarding.

Murrayfield rugby stadium is near Haymarket

3 Edinburgh Haymarket railway station (HYM), EH12 5EY. M-Sa 4AM-1AM, Su 7AM-1AM. The city's second mainline station is a mile west of Waverley. It's the better station to use for the airport, zoo or modern art galleries, or if your accommodation is on the west side of town. It's on the major westbound bus routes and the tram line, with indicator boards for the next buses and trams. The station was rebuilt in 2013 and now has a large, clean concourse. Street-side (before the ticket barriers) are half-a-dozen ticket machines, a staffed ticket office, an ATM, two coffee kiosks, an M&S newsagent and convenience store and a "Bike & Go" bike-docking area. Train-side of the barriers has a staffed desk, eg for excess fares. There are lifts as well as stairs to the platforms, which include the mysterious "Platform 0". Lots of pubs and eating places cluster around the station. Haymarket railway station (Q800709) on Wikidata Edinburgh Haymarket railway station on Wikipedia

Both Waverley and Haymarket stations have ticket barriers so you will need to purchase a ticket in order to enter or leave the platform area. If you get on a train at an unmanned station, buy from the train conductor or a ticket inspector near the barrier gates. These gates retain spent single journey tickets so be sure to get a receipt if you need one. If you have a non-standard ticket that does not fit the gate, show it to staff who'll let you through.

Suburban stations within the city are mostly unstaffed. These are:

  • West towards Linlithgow, Falkirk and Glasgow Queens Street: Edinburgh Park (EDP) which also has trams.
  • Northwest towards the Forth Bridge, Fife and Highlands: South Gyle (SGL) and Edinburgh Gateway (EGY), which has a tram interchange (outside, Gateway is signed as "Park" which is confusing).
  • Southwest to Shotts and Glasgow Central: Slateford (SLA), Kingsknowe (KGE) and Wester Hailes (WTA).
  • East from Waverley towards Newcastle and to the Borders: Brunstane (BSU) and Newcraighall (NEW), the latter with park and ride.

You'd only use them if your accommodation happened to be nearby, or as a park and ride, as they're not close to the tourist sights.

PlusBus. If you require onward travel by tram or bus after your arrival. Consider buying a PlusBus rail add on with your rail ticket. However they are not valid to the airport. £4.50; child £2.35; Railcard holder £2.95. Plusbus (Q7205621) on Wikidata Plusbus on Wikipedia

By road[edit]

Calton Hill looks down on Princes St

Main routes are the M8 from Glasgow and the west, M9 (from Stirling and the north-west, A90/M90 from Perth, Dundee and northern Scotland, A1 from Newcastle upon Tyne and north-east England, and A702/M74 (from Carlisle and north-western England.

From London the fastest route to Edinburgh is the M1, which flows into the A1(M) and the A1 - a journey of 400 mils / 700 km and 8-9 hr driving time. More scenic routes, which are shorter mileage and take only a little longer, include:

  • From A1(M) north of Scotch Corner, follow A68 through West Auckland, Corrbridge and Jedburgh.
  • From A1(M) north of Newcastle, follow A696 past the airport to join A68 near Otterburn.
  • From A1(M) at Morpeth, follow A697 through Wooler and Coldstream.

Edinburgh is not a car-friendly city, with many central streets closed-off or dead-ended to private vehicles, including Princes Street. This can only get worse, as sensitive areas (eg Festival venues) are being hardened against vehicle-based terrorism. And if you think the driving's a hassle, just wait till you try parking. There's little of it, it's pricey and time-limited, and the parking wardens are zealous. Monday to Saturday, you'd need to be 3-4 miles out to find free street parking. There are several multi-storey car parks in the city centre: particularly central are Castle Terrace for the west end, and St James Quarter and Greenside at the east end. If visiting for the day, use the park and ride facilities, leaving your car on the city's edge. There are seven of these: working clockwise (east > south > west) these are Wallyford and Newcraighall serving the A1, Sheriffhall and Straiton for the southeast, Hermiston and Ingliston for the west, and Ferrytoll just north of the new Forth Road Bridge for Fife and the North.

From 1 June 2024, the Old and New Town will be a Low Emission Zone, with camera-enforced penalties for entering in a non-compliant vehicle. Cars built after 2015 are generally compliant, but check online.

By bus[edit]

The zoo is west on Glasgow Road

Long-distance buses run to Edinburgh from England, Belfast and the rest of Scotland. Buses from major towns in Scotland are mainly operated by Citylink, while buses from England are mainly run by National Express with others including Megabus. For instance National Express from London Victoria takes nine hours, with one daytime and one overnight run.

Ember Electric Bus glides quietly from Dundee every hour or two, with two late night runs, taking 90 min.

4 Edinburgh Bus Station Edinburgh bus station on Wikipedia is on the corner of St Andrew Square, very central. The main (west) entrance is on North St Andrew Street (next to Louis Vuitton; trams stop here) and the back (east) entrance is on Elder Street. Left luggage lockers here are much cheaper than the "charged by the piece" left luggage service at Waverley, the main railway station (about 400 m south, 5-10 min walk). The bus station is open daily 4:30AM-midnight.

Edinburgh Airport, described above, has morphed into a secondary bus station. Buses linking airport and city are much improved, so to reach the outer parts of Edinburgh from (say) Glasgow, it may be easier to change at the airport rather than the traditional change at St Andrew Square. However fares are higher by this route.

By boat[edit]

North Sea ferries no longer sail to Rosyth, so sailing from the continent means travelling via Newcastle, Hull, Harwich or the Channel ports.

Ferries from Northern Ireland dock at Cairnryan, near Stranraer on the west coast. You can buy a through ticket between Belfast and Edinburgh (and other destinations in Scotland and the island of Ireland) either by bus (Citylink), or by train (ScotRail). Either way it's a 7- to 9-hour journey costing around £30.

Cruise ships often visit Edinburgh but are nowadays too large to dock, so they anchor out in the Firth of Forth and bring in their passengers by tender.

Get around[edit]

On foot[edit]

Walking should always be your first choice within central Edinburgh. The centre is compact - most sights and attractions are on or near the Royal Mile in Old Town or Princes St in New Town. But factor in the hills, barriers such as the railway tracks and deep glen of Water of Leith, and bridges that span lower streets without a connection.

By bus[edit]

Craigmillar Castle is too far to walk

The suburbs stretch out for several miles. Attractions that are too far to walk (especially with children) include the Zoo, the Botanic Gardens, Leith and the Royal Yacht Britannia, Craigmillar Castle and the Pentland Hills. For these, first choice is the bus.

Lothian Buses are distinctive burgundy and cream-coloured. There are 37 daytime city routes, three airport routes, and 17 night buses. Another 18 routes link nearby towns such as South Queensferry. Their online network map shows real-time positions of buses, and central stops have displays of approaching buses - not all buses serve every stop. In 2024, some displays at bus stops only show the timetabled buses, with the live times only shown online or in the "Transport for Edinburgh" app.

Buy tickets on boarding the bus either with exact fare in coins (no change is given) but better still with a contactless credit or debit card. This not only avoids keeping the right change, but if you make three or more journeys on the same day and same card, your fare is automatically capped at the day-ticket price.

A single ticket is a flat fare regardless of distance and with no transfers - if you change to another bus, you need another ticket. In 2023 these cost £2 adult, £1 for under-18s. A day-ticket can also be bought on boarding the bus, for £5 adult, £2.50 child, or £10.50 for a family of 2 adults and 3 children. These cover the city but exclude sightseeing buses, night buses and the airport - though you can ride the airport bus within the city, say to the zoo. At night a single ticket is £3, and a "Late ticket" pass from 6PM to 4:30 AM is £4.50.

Ridacards for regular travellers are available from Travel Hubs at Shandwick Place in the west end, Waverley, and Musselburgh - bus drivers can't sell these. The minimum period is one week, for £22 adult, £19 student, £15 5-15. You can also buy bundles of single M-tickets to display on your phone, but with no saving over the standard price.

McGills buses mostly serve west of the city, for instance to Falkirk.

Hop-on-Hop-off are the city sightseeing buses. Fares start from £16, with more expensive tickets covering entry to attractions.

By tram[edit]

Tram route map

A tram line links city centre with the airport west and Leith east. It passes through New Town along Princes Street and Shandwick Place to Haymarket, then takes an off-road track through the western suburbs. Thus it links the airport, rugby stadiums, both mainline railway stations, the bus station and Princes Street.

in 2023 a single journey (excluding the airport) costs £2. Day tickets cost £5 and can also be used (or purchased) on Lothian Buses. A single to or from the airport costs £7.50, with a return ticket costing £9.50, so it's more expensive and slower than the Airlink bus. You must buy a ticket before boarding the tram. The machines at tram stops accept credit cards and coins (5p to £2 coins, no change is given). Holders of the Scottish National Entitlement Card (free travel for locals over 60) can only travel free on the tram only if their card was issued by Edinburgh Council. The PLUSBUS rail ticket add-on allows you to travel on the tram but not to the airport.

When the tram line opened in 2014, it was to widespread scorn, as it was way over-budget and long-delayed, with protracted disruption of city streets. Gradually it has won people over, but it's limited to the single east-west route. The east section to Leith and Newhaven was cut when the budget ballooned, but was eventually completed in June 2023.

By train[edit]

You're most unlikely to use the train to get around within the city. It's more relevant for "Getting in" - see that section above - or for trips out to the likes of North Berwick, Dunbar, and Tweedbank - see "Go Next".

By car[edit]

Central Edinburgh is a nightmare to drive in, particularly the Old Town with its tangle of medieval streets with their associated one way systems. The New Town fares slightly better, but the scourge "Blue Meanies" mercilessly swoop on vehicles which may have only been illegally parked for a matter of minutes. It is best to take a bus and/or walk. park and ride facilities provide access to the city centre.

As many other cities in the UK, Edinburgh has a 20 mph (32 km/h) speed limit on many of the roads in the city centre.

Edinburgh operates a Controlled Parking Zone in the city centre. On-street parking is mostly for residents with a parking permit. However, some Pay and Display on-street parking bays are available for anyone. To find these bays, the Edinburgh Council provides an interactive and detailed map for on-street parking bays. It lists charges for different parking areas as well as days and times when the charges are required. Typically parking tickets are free of charge after 6:30PM and before 8:30AM, and for the entire day on Sundays.

Parking fines are £40 and vehicles parked in an obstructive manner are liable to be towed away with a £150 release fee to be paid for its retrieval. Even the suburbs (especially Morningside, The Grange, The Meadows) have little parking available. Leith seems to fare a bit better for parking, but there's no guarantee.

Drivers should beware of trams and cyclists.

By taxi[edit]

Take the bus to Swanston village

Co Traditional Black Cabs carrying up to 5 passengers can be hailed on the street, but minicabs must be pre-booked. Black Cabs display an orange light above the windscreen when they are available to hire. It's usually quite easy to find a cab around the city centre, and on the main radial routes. Taxi ranks around the centre include:

  • Outside the main entrances of Haymarket and Waverley train stations.
  • Opposite the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Sheraton hotels in the west end, and Intercontinental George Hotel east end of George Street.
  • St Patrick's Square off South Bridge
  • Leith Bridge, close to The Shore and Commercial Quay in Leith.

The main firms are Central Taxis (+44 131 229 2468), City Cabs (+44 131 228 1211) and Capital Cars (+44 131 777 7777).

By bicycle[edit]

The Edinburgh Innertube map gives a good overview of off-street cycle paths in and around the city centre. Many paths are along canals or rivers, through parks and on former railway lines.

Edinburgh is well connected to the National Cycle Network (NCN) and there are many routes around Edinburgh with a variety of places accessible within a days cycling - Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Musselburgh, and Dunbar - all of which have train stations for the return journey. The number 1 route which goes south from Edinburgh to Melrose in the borders and then east to Berwick-upon-Tweed (and then back on the train) can be done in one weekend with a variety of accommodation available for an overnight stay in the historic border town of Melrose.

Cycle hire[edit]

Edinburgh's app-based bicycle hire scheme closed in September 2021. You can rent bikes from the following places:


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle
Old Town has most major sights:
  • Edinburgh Castle sits on the crag at the top of Old Town. In summer it often sells out, best book online.
  • Royal Mile is the long street descending from castle to palace. The best of it is High Street, the broad upper traffic-free section, with medieval "closes" (alleys) descending steeply on either side.
  • Holyrood Palace is sumptuously furnished and still a royal residence.
  • Scottish Parliament meets in a modern building near the palace, and you can look in on debates.
  • Arthur's Seat is the extinct volcano looming over the city: you have to go round to its far side for the simple ascent.
  • National Museum of Scotland is in Chambers St half a mile south of High St, an amazing free collection that will absorb a whole afternoon.
New Town:
  • Princes Street is architecturally dull, but has a great view of the castle and Old Town.
  • National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery are side-by-side midway along Princes St.
  • Modern One & Two are modern art galleries a mile beyond Haymarket.
  • Calton Hill is the miniature Arthur's Seat at the east end of Princes St, much more accessible for city views.
Holyrood Palace
  • The Botanic Gardens are in Canonmills. Their glasshouses are closed until 2025.
  • Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently moored in Leith.
  • Craigmillar Castle is an extensive medieval ruin in the south.

If you are staying in Scotland a while, consider buying membership of one of the heritage organisations such as Historic Scotland, see Scotland Page for details. National Trust members get free entry to National Trust for Scotland properties and vice versa, but in general there's no reciprocity between these organisations, and you have to see several sites to make a saving on the regular admission price.

Doors Open Day throws open historic or important buildings across the country, free of charge though you may need to book. Many are not otherwise open, so it's a rare opportunity to visit them. It's usually on the last weekend in September.

Scotland's Gardens similarly opens up private gardens once a year, with all proceeds going to charity. There are about 25 participating gardens across the city, dates staggered so there's one open most weekends in summer.


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles

Performing arts[edit]

Edinburgh has an excellent concert and theatre life. The Usher Hall (Lothian Road, Old Town) has weekly orchestral concerts all year round with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Queen's Hall (South Clerk Street, South) is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The Lyceum (Lothian Road, Old Town) offers theatre performances. The Festival Theatre (Nicolson Street, Old Town) frequently hosts opera and ballet. Europe's largest theatre, the 3000-seat Edinburgh Playhouse (top of Leith Walk, New Town) hosts major West End shows. For a cheaper option, the excellent Bedlam Theatre (Old Town) regularly puts on good student theatre and is the home to Scotland's oldest improvised comedy troupe, The Improverts.

Experience traditional Folk Music at one of the pubs in the Old Town or Leith which host regular sessions.

  • Research your ancestors. The National Register lists all births, marriages and deaths in Scotland from 1841. It's in General Register House at the east end of Princes St opposite Waverley Station, but always start your search online. You'll need to pay for extended access to look back beyond 1841, for instance in parish records mostly held at West Register House in Charlotte Square.
Central Reference Library on George IV Bridge in Old Town has old newspapers and other publications, many of them digitised.


  • Walk along the Water of Leith, a small river that meanders through Edinburgh, providing a peaceful haven from the busy city. Check out the Leith or Stockbridge and Canonmills sections of the route.
  • Climbing Arthur's Seat, the extinct volcano, is a popular activity as well and rewards you with great views over the city (Old Town).
  • If you have more time, then you should go hiking in the Pentland Hills for a (half) day trip (South).
  • Steam railway excursions run from Edinburgh in summer: one operator is Tornado Railtours.

Festival season[edit]

The Hub houses the Festival admin

Edinburgh in the summer becomes "festival city" when a huge number of major national and international arts festivals are hosted by the city. Most of these occur virtually simultaneously in August (or end of July). These cater for a wide variety of interests and include:

  • Edinburgh International Festival. In August. The original that spawned all the rest. Founded in 1947 and still seen as more "high-brow" than any of its offspring. Surprisingly, tickets are often priced more reasonably than for many Fringe shows. Some events have preview performances at a much lower price.
  • Edinburgh Military Tattoo. In August. One of the iconic images of Edinburgh for millions worldwide is the yearly Tattoo, kilted pipers skirling below the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Although tickets sell out well in advance, persevering individuals are likely to find one or two tickets still for sale due to cancellations. Just be prepared to ask, ask, and ask again! There are usually fireworks at the end of the shows which can also be seen from e.g. the Grassmarket area.
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Fringe). In August. As the name might suggest, this festival developed on the fringe of the main International Festival and offers more alternative performances, with an emphasis on comedy and avant-garde; it is now the largest arts festival in the world. Many shows offer cheaper preview tickets on the first two days of the festival or a 2-for-1 ticket special on two selected dates. There are a few sub-festivals that are part of the Fringe such as the Assembly Festival, Summerhall Festival and CtheFestival. Part of the Fringe are also many free events (with donation if you liked the show) across the city grouped mostly under the PBH's Free Fringe or Free Festival.
  • Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. 10 days in July. Festival of about 150 concerts in 11 venues.
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival. In August. Takes place in a temporary village of marquees at Charlotte Square Gardens (West End of George Street, New Town).
  • Edinburgh Art Festival. In August. Some permanent outdoor commissions which can be seen all year, and temporary exhibitions and events during the festival.
  • Edinburgh Mela. End of August. Multicultural festival held in Leith.
  • Edinburgh International Television Festival. End of August. Predominantly a "closed shop" for industry professionals only.

One important thing to decide when planning a trip to Edinburgh is whether you wish to go at festival time, which runs from early August through to mid-September. Hotel rooms in and around the city are noticeably much more expensive then, and you will need to book well (at least six months!) in advance.

Christmas and Hogmanay[edit]

Edinburgh in the winter festive season is also huge with various concerts and other activities taking place starting a couple of weeks before Christmas and running up to a week into January. Princes Street Gardens play host to a Big Wheel, outdoor ice rink and various festive markets. As in most of the rest of Scotland, Hogmanay, the New Year celebrations, are the main focus of the festive season rather than Christmas. One night before on December 30, a torchlight procession takes place, finishing with a fireworks display. On the night itself whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Hogmanay street party, which takes place across several stages and is easily the largest in Scotland. Hogmanay and Edinburgh fit together like hand and glove. On day one of the new year, you can watch or if you are brave enough take part in the Loony Dook in South Queensferry (people taking a dip in the ice-cold River Forth).

Other events[edit]

Arthur's Seat
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival. Takes place annually in March or April. Emphasis on "hands-on" science.
  • Beltane Fire Festival, Calton Hill, New Town. Fire Festival marking the beginning of summer (evening of April 30). The festival has its origins in the pre-Christian Celtic festival of the same name, which was held to herald the coming of spring and to celebrate the fertility of the countryside. Drums, dancing, semi-nudity, pagan ritual, home-brew and lots of fire and fireworks. Crowds of around 12,000 enjoy the ceremony and spectacle every year. For the full traditional experience stay awake until dawn and head across to Arthurs Seat to wash your face in the dew.
  • Hidden Door. Annual non-profit art, music, theatre, etc. event taking place in unused spaces in the city that change from year to year. End of May/beginning of June.
  • Degree Show, Edinburgh College of Art, Old Town. Around the end of May the Edinburgh College of Art opens its doors and exhibits the works on art, design and architecture of their students. A similar event, the Masters Degree Show, takes place in August as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. See the ECA event calendar for details. Free.
  • Imaginate Festival. Every May/June, an international festival of children's theatre.
  • Meadows Festival. A free festival in the Meadows (South) on a weekend in early June with lots of food stalls, second-hand merchandise and live music.
  • The Royal Highland Show is a Highland Games & Gathering, Agricultural Show and much else, held at Ingliston (west), towards the airport) over a weekend in mid- to late June.
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival. Now moved to June from its former slot in August, so that it no longer clashes with all the others! Centred around the Filmhouse Cinema on Lothian Road, though other cinemas take part too. In 2022 it is back in August, but it is not clear if this is a permanent change.
  • Samhuinn Fire Festival, Royal Mile, Old Town. Fire Festival marking the beginning of winter (evening of October 31). Procession and enacted fight between the King of Summer and Prince of Winter with great accompanying percussion. Free, donations are collected.
  • Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night). Evening of November 5. With ticketed fireworks (£6.50) in the Meadowbank Sports Centre (East). Can be seen (for free) from several locations in the city.
  • St Andrew's Day. Celebrate St Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day on November 30. There are many free events on the nearest weekend in Edinburgh. Historic Scotland opens many of its sites for free (free tickets are required and can be booked online).


Go to the cinema. Edinburgh has a number of cinemas covering mainstream, foreign language and arthouse films. Most interesting are the Filmhouse and Cameo (Old Town) and the Dominion (South).


Hearts (in maroon) play at Tynecastle
  • Rugby Union: the top matches are the internationals, played at Murrayfield Stadium west of the centre. Highlight of these are the 6 Nations games played Jan-March each year between Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and England. They only play each other once each year, so in even-numbered years England and France visit Murrayfield, while in odd-numbered years Wales, Ireland and Italy are the visitors. City and stadium are packed when these games are in town, so be sure to book accommodation and match tickets well in advance.
Week in week out during winter there are club rugby matches, where you'll often see international famous names in action. The city's professional club Edinburgh Rugby play in the United Rugby Championship (formerly Pro-14), the super-league of mostly Irish and Welsh clubs; their home ground is Murrayfield. Top tier of Scottish competition is the Premiership, and Edinburgh teams in this are Boroughmuir (Meggetland, Colinton), Currie (Malleny Park, Balerno), Heriot's (Goldenacre), Watsonians (Myreside Road, Merchiston) and (hanging on by their fingertips) Edinburgh Accies (Raeburn Place). Tickets will be no problem, just rock up at the stadium.
  • Football: Edinburgh has four professional soccer teams. Hibernian ("Hibs") play at Easter Road Stadium in Leith in the Scottish Premiership, the game's top tier. Heart of Midlothian ("Hearts") play at Tynecastle Park near Murrayfield west of the centre, likewise in the Premiership. Edinburgh City play at Meadowbank, 2 miles east of city centre, in Scottish League One the third tier. Newcomers in 2023 are The Spartans, playing in League Two at Ainslie Park in Pilton north side of the city.
  • American Football: Edinburgh Wolves play at Meadowbank Stadium two miles east of the centre.
  • Swim in the Royal Commonwealth Pool, used for the Commonwealth Games in 1970, 1986 and for the diving in the 2014 Glasgow games.
  • Horse racing is at Musselburgh five miles east of the city. There's flat-racing in summer and jumps in winter.


Edinburgh University's Old College

Edinburgh is host to a number of higher and further education organisations including four Universities. Some offer summer schools of a week or more on topics such as creative writing or printmaking.



  • Edinburgh College of Art. ECA is part of the University of Edinburgh and offers education in the areas of art, design, (landscape) architecture and history of art and music.
  • Edinburgh College. Offers courses for UK and international students throughout the year and also runs an English Language summer school accredited by the British Council.

Private language schools[edit]

Heriot-Watt has a campus in Dubai

Edinburgh is a popular destination for language students, looking to learn English, or build on their existing English language skills. Most schools offer a "homestay" option where accommodation is with a local family, which can be a great introduction to Scottish life. Language schools in the city include:


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles
Pubs and small stores line Cockburn Street
  • Princes Street in New Town is the main shopping street, lined by chain and department stores.
  • George Street, parallel to Princes Street, has more upmarket stores.
  • The Royal Mile near the castle is mostly an overpriced tourist trap.
  • Cockburn Street and Victoria Street in Old Town have small independent stores.
  • Grassmarket at the foot of Victoria Street has more, plus castle views.
  • Multrees Walk has upmarket labels. It's next to the bus station in New Town.
  • Other malls include St James Mall east of Princes Street, and Ocean Terminal in Leith.


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles

Edinburgh has a great selection in all price ranges, cosmopolitan cuisines, and caters for diets such as vegan, halal and GF. Good areas for value food are Elm Row at the top of Leith Walk, Rose and Thistle streets flanking George St, along South Bridge including the "Little Cairo" around the Central Mosque, Forrest Rd by Greyfriars Bobby, Tolcross and Lothian Rd, and west end from Queensferry St to Haymarket station. Overpriced areas to be cautious are the Royal Mile from castle to Tron Kirk, Princes St and the Grassmarket.

Edinburgh Rock

The Scots are well known for having a penchant for fried food which has resulted in such gastronomic delights as deep fried pizza, deep fried hamburgers, deep fried Black Pudding (a type of blood sausage), deep fried haggis and deep fried Mars bars, which are not just a myth. If you're up to it, be sure to drop by a chippy (fish and chip shop) and experience these Scottish delights. Edinburgh chippys are unique in the UK for offering salt'n'sauce as standard in place of the salt'n'vinegar usually provided elsewhere in the country. The sauce is a kind of runny, vinegary version of HP or Daddys style brown sauce. Most chippys will provide vinegar on request if you prefer, but you really should try salt'n'sauce at least once!

Edinburgh Rock is a soft confectionery, made from sugar and cream of tartar with various flavourings and colours, including peppermint and ginger. It can often be seen in tourist shops in tartan boxes.


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles

For a non-alcoholic beverage give Scotland's second national drink a try Irn-Bru. It's a great cure for hangover.

As for Scotland's first drink, you will find The Scotch Whisky Experience at the top of the Royal Mile, which offers an interactive "tour" of the history and practice of whisky distilling. For a less touristic experience simply enjoy your whisky in one of the many pubs. The closest single malt whisky distillery to Edinburgh is the Glenkinchie Distillery out in the country towards Haddington. The North British Distillery in Edinburgh (near Murrayfield) produces grain whisky which is all used in blending and the distillery is not open for visits.

There are a few gin distilleries opened in and around Edinburgh producing Pickering's Gin, Edinburgh Gin or NB Gin (from North Berwick).

The two major local beer breweries are the Caledonian Brewery and Stewart Brewing.

Decor at the Scotch Whisky Experience

There are lots of (traditional) pubs all around the city and many of them offer - next to all the standard choices - a changing selection of guest ales. The bartenders can usually give you detailed taste information about each guest ale and are often willing to let you try a small sample. Most pubs also have a great selection of whiskies. As with eating, the Grassmarket and upper Royal Mile are overpriced.

Clubs are around Cowgate and Lothian Road.


Individual listings can be found in Edinburgh's district articles

Edinburgh has been established as a tourist destination for centuries, and so there is a huge choice of accommodation available for travellers. If you're planning a visit during festival time (Aug), around Christmas and New Year, or on the weekend of a Scotland home game in the 6-nations Rugby (Mar/Apr, 2 or 3 matches per year), then you will find that all types of accommodation get booked up well in advance, and a premium may be applied to the room-rate. It's not impossible to get somewhere to stay at short notice at these times, but you won't be able to be fussy and it will probably be expensive. The average cost of hotel accommodation in Edinburgh is higher than anywhere else in Scotland.

All short-term accommodation in Scotland must be registered, otherwise it's illegal and probably a flea-pit or fire-trap. This applies throughout Scotland but is especially pertinent to Edinburgh, where demand far exceeds supply and encourages exploitive providers. The law (which does not apply to England) was introduced in 2022 but there is considerable wriggle room until July 2024, so for the time being proprietors can reasonably say that their registration is still being processed. Be increasingly sceptical as the deadline approaches. It's unwelcome extra bureaucracy for B&Bs, campsites and so on but in the long-term should better protect travellers and honest providers.

Balmoral Hotel above Waverley Station

For those on a budget, there are cheap youth hostels available with prices from £20 upward. The private, independent hostels centre around the Cowgate area, the lower Royal Mile and its side streets. The hostels of the HI affiliated Scottish Youth Hostel Association can be booked on-line and are an especially good deal during summer, when the SYHA rents student accommodation as summer hostels: Single rooms in the city centre for a very modest price.

There are guest houses and small hotels dotted around almost every part of the city, however there are high concentrations in two areas, namely around Newington Road and Minto Street on the South side, and on Pilrig Street and Newhaven Road in Leith. Both areas are within a brisk 15–20 minute walk of the city centre and both have excellent round-the-clock bus services. If arriving in town without having booked accommodation, it may be worth heading for one or the other of these areas and looking out for the "Vacancies" signs, though probably not during the festival or around Hogmanay.

Some of the guest houses and even hotels can be booked for as little as the hostels at certain times of year, while more upmarket accommodation ranges from boutique B&Bs, with just a few rooms, lovingly run by a family, to world-renowned large 5-star hotels.

Another good alternative for accommodation is self-catering holiday apartments. Edinburgh has a wide offer of short term holiday apartments steps away from its main tourist attractions. It is a great opportunity to experience the city as a local. Apartments can be booked on-line. For summer months, especially August, it is highly recommended to book well in advance as most tourists tend to make their bookings in February for this period.

Due to the excellent and frequent rail links between the two cities, savvy travellers can cut the costs by basing themselves in Glasgow, where deals in mainstream chain hotels are easier to come by – and you get the advantage of being able to "do" both cities. Bear in mind of course when your last train leaves - though hourly coaches run through the night if you do stay out too long!


Telcoms mast on Blackford Hill

As of Nov 2023, the entire city and its approach roads have 5G from all UK carriers. Wifi is widely available in public places.

Because Edinburgh has multiple expat communities, you may find SIM cards for their countries' carriers in local shops.

Public libraries have internet stations, accessible if you hold a city library card. You can register free online, which gives you temporary membership for 3 months. Convert this to full membership by presenting ID in person, and they'll post out a card. There are over 30 libraries across the city.

Stay safe[edit]

In general Edinburgh is a safe destination. Take care of valuables, especially in crowded places where pickpockets operate.

Swerve clear of drunks, especially after football matches and at pub closing times, and don't get drunk yourself.

Like every other city, there are rundown areas where you have simply no reason to go. Examples are Niddrie and Craigmillar in the southeast, Saughton, Sighthill and Wester Hailes in the west, and Muirhouse and Pilton in the north.

In an emergency call 999. The non-emergency police contact number is 101.

Stay healthy[edit]

In emergency, dial 999 (preferably from a landline, a free call from any phone including payphones), 112 also works.

For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the free 24-hour NHS 24 service on 111 or for textphone users 18001 111.

Hospitals and clinics[edit]

Burk & Hare supplied the medical students
  • 1 Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (R.I.E.), 51 Little France Crescent, Old Dalkeith Road (On the southern fringe of the city, it can take up to 30 min from the city centre in a bus or taxi), +44 131 536-1000. 24 hour opening. The R.I.E. hosts the main Accident and Emergency (A&E) facility for the city.
  • 2 Minor Injuries Clinic, Crewe Road South (at Western General Hospital), +44 131 537-1330. Daily from 08:00-21:00. No appointment is necessary. Last patient admission 30 min before closing time.


During normal shopping hours (M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM), you won't have any problem locating a pharmacy as they are dotted all around the city. Any row of local shops will usually include one. Common brands include Boots (city centre branches in the New Town at 101-103 Princes St and 48 Shandwick Pl; in the Old Town at 40-44 North Bridge), Alliance and Numark.

Outside of these hours you will face more of a challenge. There are no 24 h pharmacies in the city.

Some of the major supermarkets include a pharmacy counter, but the pharmacy does not necessarily follow the same opening hours as the supermarket. The pharmacy counter within the Tesco supermarket at 7 Broughton Road in Canonmills is quite close to the city centre and opens M-Sa 8AM-8PM and Su 10AM-4PM.

To find a pharmacy that is open on a Sunday or has late opening times call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 (between 8AM-10PM daily) or check online with NHS Inform.


  • Money: Scottish, English, and Northern Irish banknotes are all acceptable. The Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland issue their own banknotes, so that is what their ATMs dispense. ATMs of English banks (Barclays, Natwest and HSBC) dispense English notes. This is only an issue if you return home with a wad of Scottish notes: English retailers are obliged to accept them, but exchange desks may be sniffy or give poor rates.
  • Babysitting: Super Mums Childcare, 22a Great King St EH3 6QH, +44 131 225 1744. Bookings 24 hr service. Round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term at an hourly rate (3 hour minimum) plus sitters' travel expenses. Multilingual sitters are also available.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners: over a dozen around the city, ask your accommodation which is best.


Always check your country's embassy website first - help for things like stolen passports and emergency travel documents might be organised from the London embassy or even your home country rather than a local consulate.

Diplomatic missions list 

Go next[edit]

Edinburgh is so well-connected that anywhere in Scotland is a reasonable destination to go next. Here are some highlights within a day trip.

Going west:

Forth Rail Bridge to Fife
  • South Queensferry is an old harbour with the iconic Forth Bridge for rail, and two modern road bridges crossing to Fife.
  • Linlithgow has a ruined Palace, abode of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Falkirk has the ingenious Falkirk Wheel to lift boats between two canals.
  • Stirling is a miniature Edinburgh with its castle perched on a crag and ancient streets.
  • Glasgow is a lively city, Scotland's largest, deserving a longer stay.

Going east:

  • Gullane has an excellent beach, backed by sand-hills and a great golf course. The Museum of Flight is a few miles inland.
  • North Berwick is a fishing village near the sea-bird reserve of Bass Rock and the 14th century Tantallon Castle.
  • Dunbar is a charming harbour town, birthplace of conservationist John Muir.

Going north:

  • Dunfermline is the ancient royal capital of Scotland, and birthplace of industrialist Andrew Carnegie.
  • Culross is a gem of a 17th-18th century village to the east of the bridges.
  • Anstruther is the largest of the little fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife.
  • St Andrews is a venerable university town and home of the Royal and Ancient, the ruling body of Golf.
  • Dundee, once a grubby industrial city, is now rejuvenated, with a great setting by the River Tay.

Going south:

  • Jedburgh, Melrose and Kelso in the Borders have ruined medieval abbeys.
  • Abbotsford House, grand mansion of Sir Walter Scott, is near Melrose.

Routes through Edinburgh
GlasgowLivingston  W  E  ENDS AT HERMISTON GAIT (Edinburgh City Bypass)
StirlingLinlithgow  NW  SE  merges with M8
PerthSouth Queensferry  N  S  merges with M9
ENDS AT PRINCES STREET  W  E  MusselburghNewcastle upon Tyne
ENDS AT PRINCES STREET  N  S  DalkeithCarlisle
AyrLanark  SW Lang Whang NE  ENDS AT HAYMARKET
KilmarnockLivingston  SW  NE  merges with

This city travel guide to Edinburgh is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.