Travel to Edinburgh
Travel to Edinburgh
Voted one of the greatest places in the world by TIME Magazine, it’s no wonder Edinburgh is the UK’s most popular city to visit, after London.
Beyond the famous sights lies a super-convenient travel destination. The major international airport serves connections to all continents, transport around the city is affordable and accessible, and there are excellent train links across the UK. In fact, visitors can get to London in just 4.5 hours. In addition, there’s a range of hotels, restaurants and attractions to suit all ages and budgets.
The city of Edinburgh is home to around 500,000 residents.
Passports and Identity Documents
Depending on your citizenship and where you are flying from, you may have to present a passport or identity document (ID) upon arrival to the UK. All passports and IDs must be valid for the entirety of your stay.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport, Irish passport card or, if eligible, an identity card issued by the EU, EEA or Switzerland
Irish citizens may continue to use their national ID card.
Nationals from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland will need a valid passport.
For up-to-date information please visit the GOV.UK website.
You may need a visa to visit the UK.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can stay in the UK as a visitor for up to 6 months without a visa.
Irish citizens have no visa requirements and can travel to the UK.
Nationals from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland may need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
To check if you need a UK visa, visit the GOV.UK website.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)
People travelling to the UK without a visa will soon need to get an ETA. Find out more here.
Whether you’re coming from overseas or elsewhere in the UK, getting to Edinburgh couldn’t be easier.
Edinburgh’s two major railway stations, Waverley and Haymarket, operate regular services to other parts of Scotland and the UK on a frequent basis.
LNER provide links from Edinburgh to London, Newcastle, York, Leeds and Aberdeen. Rail travellers can travel to London in approximately five hours.
TransPennine Express has services into Edinburgh from Manchester Airport, Manchester, Preston, Leeds, York and Newcastle. Save over 50% on train travel to Edinburgh when you book in advance.
Virgin Rail operates a service on the west coast to London via Lockerbie, Preston, Birmingham and Coventry.
Caledonian Sleeper is a popular overnight service operating between Edinburgh and London (Euston) every night (except Saturday). With a range of accommodation types, guests can wake up in Edinburgh refreshed and ready to start their day.
Scotrail operates a full schedule of trains throughout Scotland.
Other useful links:
Edinburgh Airport lies 8km to the west of Edinburgh and welcomes millions of visitors every year. Visitors can get to and from the airport by bus, tram, car and taxi. Subject to the time of day and mode of the transport, journey time from the airport to the city centre can take between 25 to 45 minutes.
Glasgow Airport and Newcastle Airport are also well connected to Edinburgh via coach and train services.
Find out more about travelling to Edinburgh by plane on our Flights to Edinburgh page.
An extensive road network links Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland and UK making access to Scotland’s capital easy by car.
Travelling west, Edinburgh to Glasgow can take just over an hour along the M8 and travelling northwards, it will take approximately 2.5 hours to reach Aberdeen and 3.5 hours to arrive in Inverness. Newcastle is approximately a 2.5 hour drive and Manchester and Birmingham, 4 and 6 hours respectively.
Coach services duplicate many train routes, often with much cheaper ticket prices. Coach services to Scotland are operated by National Express, which runs routes to Edinburgh.
Megabus cover routes including, Edinburgh. On some overnight services, passengers have their own berth as well as a standard seat for greater comfort during their journey. Full details of coach routes and timetables of services running to Scotland can be found on the Traveline website.
Flights to Edinburgh arrive into Edinburgh Airport, which lies to the west of the city in Ingliston. Transport links from the airport are frequent, easy and fast. Find out more about how you can fly into Edinburgh in our guide below.
About Edinburgh Airport
Flights to Edinburgh come into Edinburgh Airport, which is the busiest airport in Scotland and the 6th busiest in the UK, with 11.13 million passengers passing through in 2015 (that’s an average of 30,495 air passengers a day).
The airport hosts over 313 flights a day, with 32 airlines serving 173 routes to 122 destinations. No matter where you are in the world, flying to Edinburgh has never been so easy.
Book your Flight to Edinburgh
You can fly to Edinburgh from many destinations around the globe – take a look at our guide below for some of key routes.
For a full list of all services available see the Edinburgh Airport website.
No matter your plans while in Edinburgh, there are plenty of options to help you get from A to B. You can explore the city on foot, via public transport or in your own car.
Travelling within Edinburgh couldn’t be easier thanks to its world-class and easy-to-use public transport network and walkability.
Edinburgh is a great walking city – you can reach most of the attractions in the centre on foot.
In the Old Town, walking the cobbled streets is all part of the experience, with something to explore around every corner or visitors can enjoy luxury shopping, international dining options, and Scottish pubs in the city’s 250 year old New Town.
Visitors can walk between the Old and New Town, which is also one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites, easily and quickly.
An excellent bus service transports residents and visitors across the city throughout the day and night including a regular 24 hour service to Edinburgh Airport. Visitors can plan their journey within Edinburgh with Lothian Buses or with First Group for those coming from further afield.
Glide your way through the city with Edinburgh Trams. Running every 7 minutes from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven in the north of the city, there are 23 stops along the route, including Ingliston Park and Ride, Murrayfield Stadium, Haymarket Station, St Andrew Square and Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre at Leith.
All trams have two dedicated spaces for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, high visibility handrails and passenger alert buttons signposted in Braille for blind and partially sighted users.
All tickets should be purchased before boarding from either the ticket machines on the platforms, via the Edinburgh Tram website, or via the Transport for Edinburgh app.
There are over 1000 black cabs which can be hailed in the street or picked up from one of the taxi ranks within the city centre. Generally, there are clusters of taxis gathered outside any of the big hotels waiting for a fare. There are also designated taxi ranks dotted across the city – a few of the most notable are on Market Street, South St Andrew Street, and Lothian Road. If their lights are on, your customers can flag them down.
The majority of taxis can carry up to 5 passengers and are accessible for wheelchairs although it is worth noting that for medical reasons, some taxi drivers are exempt from carrying wheelchair users. Such drivers will have a wheelchair exemption certificate clearly displayed within the taxi.
There are two licensed black cab taxi companies in Edinburgh:
Central Taxis is a key provider of taxis in the city, they can be hailed in the street or pre booked on. Telephone: 0131 229 2468.
City Cabs is one of of Edinburgh’s major taxi companies, they can be hailed in the street or pre booked on Telephone: 0131 228 1211.
Whether you are driving your own car or renting one, it is important to familiarise yourself with the UK Highway Code and traffic laws within Edinburgh itself. Below is some useful information to know before driving in the city:
- In the UK you drive on the left-hand side of the road.
- Drivers and passengers are required by law to wear seat belts.
- Look out for 20mph signs in many residential, shopping and city centre streets.
- Scotland has a zero tolerance approach to driving under the influence.
Click on the button below to start planning your visit in Edinburgh.