Travel to Edinburgh & The Lothians

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  • A Scottish Citylink bus stops in Aviemore, en route to Edinburgh
    A Scottish Citylink bus stops in Aviemore, en route to Edinburgh
  • A plane lands at Edinburgh Airport
    A plane lands at Edinburgh Airport
  • A train crosses the Forth Rail Bridge
    A train crosses the Forth Rail Bridge
  • Forth Valley Tourist Route sign
    Forth Valley Tourist Route sign

An extensive network of road, rail and flight links makes travel to Edinburgh & The Lothians from London and the rest of the UK, continental Europe and North America quick and convenient.

By car

As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh enjoys easy access to the Scottish motorway network as does the Lothians, so it can be surprisingly quick and easy to get here by car.

If you're travelling from the north of Scotland, for example, Edinburgh is only 3 hours from Inverness and just over 2 hours from Aberdeen. Journey times from England are just as good; you can get here from Birmingham in about 5.5 hours, from Manchester and York in about 4 hours, and the city is just 2.5 hours from Newcastle.

Route planners

To help plan your journey, you might find the following websites useful.

• The AA Route Planner 
RAC Route Planner
TransportDirect 

Car parking in Edinburgh

A range of on-street and covered parking facilities are available across the city. Use the links below for details of

pricing and the locations of 'pay and display' street parking 
registering to pay for parking using your mobile phone

National Tourist Routes

Scotland has three National Tourist Routes that you can take to drive to Edinburgh. These are scenic alternatives to the main roads and motorways that are well signposted and easy to follow, with visitor attractions along the way.

If you’re coming from the north, take the Fife Coastal Route to experience 85 miles/136 km of spectacular coastal scenery and charming towns before arriving in Edinburgh. The Forth Valley Tourist Route runs from Stirling to the capital and en route takes stunning views of the mighty Forth road and rail bridges.

If you are travelling to Edinburgh from the south, take the Borders Historic Route to get to the city through royal market towns and impressive scenery.

By bus

If you're on a budget then buses and coaches are a great travel option. Edinburgh is well placed on the Scottish motorway network, so getting here by bus or coach could be easier than you might think.

There are regular coach services from London and all major UK cities to Edinburgh. While they are usually cheaper than train services covering the same routes, journey times are longer.

The following companies can provide more information:

To plan your trip to Edinburgh using Scottish public transport, visit the Traveline Scotland website.

To plan your trip to Edinburgh from elsewhere in the UK by public transport, visit the TransportDirect website.

By train

Edinburgh is easy to reach by train. Regular services run to the capital from around the country and the East Coast line is the fastest intercity railway in the UK, meaning trains from London to Edinburgh take less than 5 hours.

Edinburgh has great rail links to other major cities too. York, Newcastle, Inverness and Aberdeen are all about 2 hours away while Glasgow is just 50 minutes away on the First ScotRail service which leaves Waverley train station every 15 minutes.

ScotRail also operate an overnight service, the Caledonian Sleeper between London (Euston) and Edinburgh every night of the week.

More information on cross-border rail services

  • East Coast - for routes from London via the East Coast main line.
  • Virgin Trains - for routes from Birmingham via the Lake District, Carlisle and Lockerbie.
  • First TransPennine Express - for routes from Manchester and Manchester Airport, via the Lake District, Carlisle and Lockerbie.
  • Cross Country Trains - for routes from south west England via Birmingham and Newcastle.
  • First Scotrail - for all routes from around Scotland.

Timetables and fares across UK

Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket stations

Edinburgh has two main train stations: Edinburgh Waverley, which is in the heart of the city centre and Haymarket which lies a mile or so west of Princes Street.

Both stations operate security barriers so you need to buy your tickets before boarding the train (for some services you can't get onto the platform without a ticket). There are other stations in the area which operate local and fast express services, tickets for these trains can be purchased at the station you're travelling from or on board the train. Remember that it may be better value to buy your ticket at the station rather than on the train.

By ferry

Although there are no direct passenger ferry services to Edinburgh, it can be reached easily by road from ports in the north of England and in south west Scotland.

For travellers from continental Europe, the ferry port of Newcastle is 2.5 hours’ drive from Edinburgh and the port of Hull is 5 hours’ drive.

For travellers from Ireland, the ferry ports of Stranraer and Cairnryan in Dumfries & Galloway are just under 3 hours’ drive from Edinburgh.

Ferry companies

  • DFDS Seaways - from Amsterdam to Newcastle.
  • P&O Ferries - from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge to Hull; from Larne to Cairnryan and Troon.
  • Stenaline - from Belfast to Cairnryan.

By air

Edinburgh Airport is one of Scotland's busiest airports, with over 25 airlines offering direct and connecting flights to and from more than 100 UK, European and international destinations.

Edinburgh Airport is also a busy transatlantic gateway with regular flights to and from New York and Toronto.

The airport is located 8 miles (12 km) west of the capital and there are a range of transport options for travelling to and from the city centre.

Find out more information about direct flights to Scotland.

By bus

There are a number of bus services at the airport, including the Airlink 100 express bus service which operates a 24-hour shuttle service between Edinburgh Airport and Waverley Bridge (near Princes Street and the main rail and bus stations), with designated stops en route. The service is frequent - every 10 minutes at peak times – with a journey time of about 25 minutes.

By taxi

Taxis at Edinburgh Aiport include offical airport taxis, pre-booked private hire taxis and city black cabs are all available, each with separate ranks. Many taxis are wheelchair-accessible and the journey time is around 25 minutes, although this may be longer during rush hours.

Car hire and driving

For driving from Edinburgh Airport, vehicles can be hired from all major companies at the airport’s car rental facility close to the main terminal building. For satellite navigation systems, the postcode to use for the airport is EH12 9DN.

Train and tram

At present, there is no direct rail access between central Edinburgh and the airport.

A high-quality, modern and efficient tram network is currently being built for Edinburgh and is scheduled to be running from the airport to the city centre from 2014.

The Edinburgh Trams website gives up-to-date information on the current progress of the project.

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