Travel around Edinburgh & the Lothians

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  • An Edinburgh taxi outside Fisher's Bar Bistro at the Shore, Leith
    An Edinburgh taxi outside Fisher's Bar Bistro at the Shore, Leith
  • A Guided City Tour bus stops on the Lawnmarket with St Giles Cathedral beyond, the Old Town
    A Guided City Tour bus on the Lawnmarket with St Giles Cathedral beyond, the Old Town
  • The Forth Rail Bridge
    The Forth Rail Bridge
  • Looking down on Princes Street
    Looking down on Princes Street
  • A rickshaw journey during Edinburgh Festivals
    A rickshaw journey during Edinburgh Festivals

Getting around Edinburgh is easy as it's a compact city that's easy to explore on foot, by bike or using the excellent local bus network that covers the majority of the city. Good train and bus services also allow you to explore the wider Lothians region.

By foot

Edinburgh is a compact city so it's easy to get around on foot. The city is built on several hills, so expect a few gradients but most of them are easily tackled by anyone of average fitness, and the views on offer are worth the effort.

If you fancy a quiet stroll away from the traffic, the city has a number of peaceful parks you may like to explore.

In the city centre itself, you'll find Princes Street Gardens where you can relax with an ice cream or cup of coffee as you take in one of the best views of the castle there is.

Beyond the city centre, the Meadows and Inverleith Park are well worth exploring while not far from the Royal Mile, Holyrood Park offers great views of the impressive Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano that's a well-known Edinburgh landmark and is worth climbing if you're feeling energetic (but remember to wear sensible walking shoes if you decide to do this).

For a relaxing walk and the chance to glimpse some local wildlife, take a stroll along the Union Canal or Water of Leith walk ways.

Outside the city itself, you'll find some great countryside and country parks which are great places to take a walk. To the west of the city you'll find Almondell Country Park, Beecraigs Country Park and Polkemmet Country Park.

Head south of the city and you can explore Vogrie Country Park, Roslin Glen Country Park and the Penicuik to Dalkeith Walkway. You can find details of these and other good walks in this area by checking out the parks and landscape pages of the Sports and Leisure section of Midlothian Council's website.

East and south east of the city, you'll find stunning coastal walks, railway routes and the Lammermuir Hills.  Find some great ideas for walks in this area at the East Lothian Council website.

Make sure and take a look at all the other country and city walks in Edinburgh & The Lothians in our walking section.

By bus

Edinburgh has a network of local bus services allowing frequent and cost-effective travel throughout Edinburgh & The Lothians.

Take advantage of Lothian Buses DayTicket, which allows you unlimited daily travel in and around Edinburgh. First Buses also operate approximately 300 services throughout the Edinburgh area.

If you're heading further afield, you can buy your coach tickets for UK and Scottish travel from the bus station in St Andrew Square in advance.

Sightseeing by tour bus

You can also take in the sights of the city on one of the many Edinburgh bus tours. City Bus Tour tickets can be bought in person at the Edinburgh and Scotland Information Centre, 3 Princes Street or on Waverley Bridge (next to the main railway station, off Princes Street), which is where the tours start.

By car

Edinburgh is readily accessible by car but it can be easier to use public transport or one of the park-and-ride facilities to avoid parking in the city centre.

Useful information on all aspects of parking and driving in Edinburgh can be found on the parking pages of the City of Edinburgh Council website.

Short-term car parking

A range of on-street and covered parking facilities are available across the city. Time limits vary so it is essential to check the parking ticket machine you're using for the maximum amount of time allowed. Check for restrictions too, as you may be required to move your car once your ticket expires. Parking attendants regularly check cars throughout the city so please be careful and if you get a parking ticket don't ignore it.

Park & Ride

Park & Ride is a great way to travel into Edinburgh city centre, letting someone else do the driving and avoiding parking charges. Edinburgh's main Park & Ride sites are located at Ingliston, Hermiston, Straiton, Sheriffhall, Wallyford on key routes into the city centre served by Lothian Buses

Motorcycle parking

Providing your bike doesn't have a sidecar, you can park it free of charge in designated bays.

By bike

Edinburgh & The Lothians is a great place to see and explore on two wheels, thanks to its great cycle network, free maps and scenic routes.

The city is very cycle friendly. At peak times, cyclists are allowed to share the buses' green lanes in and around the city centre which means you can keep moving. The city also has about 50 junctions with advance cycle stop lines.

There's also an extensive network of traffic-free cycle routes in Edinburgh, often running along old railway lines. Cycle campaign group Spokes have excellent maps of them while the Innertube Map project is another excellent source of information and advice for getting around the city on two wheels.

Away from the city centre, you can generally avoid heavy traffic by using quieter side streets instead of the main roads. A map or A-Z guide of the city will help you find your way and it's a great way to see a new side of the city.

It's also worth remembering that some streets in the Old and New Towns have cobbles, which, while perfectly safe for cyclists, may take some getting used to if you've never cycled on this kind of road surface before.