We've refreshed our website design so things may look a little different if you've been here before. We'll be making more improvements soon so watch this space.

plan journey edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle viewed from Salisbury Crags

© VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Edinburgh in 3 Days - 72-Hour Itinerary

So, you've got three days in Edinburgh, you lucky thing. Much of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there’s no shortage of brilliant museums, dramatic vistas, fascinating historical attractions, and stunning architecture to soak in.

Make the most your short stay in this enchanting city with our Edinburgh travel itinerary

  • Distance 7 Miles 11 km
  • Transport Walking
  • Main theme Sightseeing

Day 1 The Old Town: The Royal Mile, Canongate and Holyrood

Edinburgh's Old Town lives and breathes history. It's a warren of cobbled streets, winding wynds, long lanes, and dark alleys - it's easy to feel like you've stepped out of a time machine! Spend today discovering historic places and iconic sites and soak up the bustling Old Town atmosphere.

Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle in the sunshine

Time your visit just right so you're there to witness the firing of the famous One o'Clock Gun. 

Just walking up the esplanade on approach, you know you're about to step into one of Scotland's most special historic buildings. Take in the views across the city and learn about the dramatic events which have played out between these ancient walls as you explore great halls, royal chambers, monuments and dungeons. To avoid disappointment, make sure to book your tickets far in advance for guaranteed entry.

  • On Public Transport Route
  • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  • Level Access
  • Cafe or Restaurant

Palace of Holyroodhouse Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

© Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2022.

In September 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie established his court at Holyroodhouse for six weeks. This is portrayed in the Outlander novels when Claire and Jamie visit the Prince at the palace and beg him to abandon his hopeless cause.

At the bottom of the Royal Mile you'll find the Canongate and Holyrood area of the Old Town which dates back over 800 years. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is an elegant royal residence with links to monarchs from throughout the centuries situated at the foot of the Royal Mile. Today it is the official Scottish residence of His Majesty The King.

Take a tour and see Mary Queen of Scots' bedchamber and the room where her confidante, David Rizzio, was brutally murdered. If you've got time afterwards, pop into the Scottish Parliament opposite for a tour.

  • Hearing Loop
  • Accessible toilets

Edinburgh bus tour Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

The shore in Leith, Edinburgh

Another great way to get a feel for this exciting city is to take an open-top Edinburgh Bus Tour. Departing from Waverley Bridge, the tour is an hour in total. It's a hop-on, hop-off service which gives you the freedom to do a bit of exploring along the route. You'll pass some awesome parts of the city such as the New Town, Old Town and Grassmarket, and see Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, and much more.

Day 2 Royal connections: Leith and New Town

The next 24 hours are going to be just as awesome as the last!  In fact, we'd say that day two is a royally good day indeed. Taking in the historic Port of Leith and the handsome Georgian New Town, you'll find there are some rather wonderful sites to uncover.

The Royal Yacht Britannia Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

Exterior photograph of The Royal Yacht Britannia.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is named by many as one of the UK's best attractions. Step on board the late Queen Elizabeth II's former floating Royal residence, where you'll see the engine room, a Rolls Royce and state apartments across five decks. After the tour, take some time to explore the Shore in Leith, one of the most fashionable areas to live in Edinburgh.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

You might want to visit nearby Stockbridge in the elegant New Town - it's a bustling village-like area with a superb blend of independent retailers, delicatessens, charity shops, bars and restaurants.

Spend a few hours touring the Royal Botanic Garden with its wonderful glasshouses, exhibitions and a world of colourful plants and shrubs. It's located in the Inverleith part of the city and is just a mile from the city centre.

Shopping and galleries in Edinburgh Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

St James Quarter

Head to Princes Street and George Street, the ideal destinations for some retail therapy. There's a huge range of top high street brands, or if you like designer stores, head to Multrees Walk and the new St James Quarter which also has an amazing selection of eateries.

If shopping isn't your thing, then why not head to Calton Hill to the east of Princes Street? It's home to the National Monument and offers some superb city skyline views. Or, if you're in the mood for a bit of culture, head to the Scottish National Gallery to see some masterpieces for free.

Day 3 The Old Town: The Royal Mile and Grassmarket

It's your final day in the city, and there is still plenty to pack in! Today's a day of discovery where you'll sample the national drink, experience Victorian innovations, and discover a treasure trove of artefacts.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

Vortex Tunnel at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh

© Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh

Stroll up the Royal Mile and pay a visit to the fascinating Camera Obscura and World of Illusions which has captivated visitors with its amazing optical illusions and panoramic views of Edinburgh for over 150 years. Step inside a darkened room and watch incredible live moving images of the city and its inhabitants projected onto a table by a giant periscope while listening to colourful tales from the past.

  • Pets Welcome

Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

The stunning Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection

You can stand in the room with the world's largest collection of whisky. It's pretty impressive!

Head toward the top of the Royal Mile and join a tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you can enjoy a barrel ride to learn all about the whisky-making process and identify which whiskies suit your palate. 

National Museum of Scotland Edinburgh - City Centre

plan journey edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland

© VisitScotland / Peter Dibdin

Located just a short walk from the Royal Mile on Chamber’s Street, the National Museum of Scotland is full of intriguing objects and brilliant stories.

This world-class museum is the most visited attraction outside of London and is filled with incredible displays covering history, natural heritage, world cultures, design, innovation, technology and more. Best of all? It's completely free. 

Find experiences

JavaScript needs to be enabled to see this product search form. You can turn this on in your browser settings.

Other things you might like

plan journey edinburgh

Top 14 Things to Do in Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

10 Amazing Free Attractions in Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

A weekend in Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

Scotland's 8 cities

plan journey edinburgh

Accommodation in Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

Leith: One of the World's Coolest Neighbourhoods

Edinburgh Public Buses

Getting around Edinburgh

Edinburgh public buses.

The public buses are the best way  and sometimes the only way of getting to the city centre from the outskirts . Buses run 24 hours a day and are extremely frequent.

Various companies

Edinburgh has several bus companies that run through the heart of the city, but the most important are Lothian and First . Both companies share the same bus stops, but the bus numbers are different and each company has its own ticket.

Lothian is the dominant city operator with most buses and routes , while First, has fewer bus routes and focuses on the city's outskirts. 

If you’re not going to buy a day-ticket, then you won’t have to worry about what bus you take. However, if you decide to stay a little further away from the centre and need to buy a day-ticket, it’s important to see which bus line runs closest to your accommodation. Normally, the best option is to get a Lothian day-ticket, but it will depend on where you're staying. 

First and Lothian have similar prices but not exactly the same. For example: 

  • Single-journey adult ticket : A First ticket costs from £ 1.80 ( US$ 2.30) (depends on the distance of your trip), and a Lothian ticket is £ 1.70 ( US$ 2.20).
  • Single-journey child ticket : Both Lothian and First single tickets cost £ 0.90 ( US$ 1.10).
  • Lothian adult DAYticket : Lothian offers unlimited use of their buses and Edinburgh trams for one day for £ 4.50 ( US$ 5.70). First doesn't offer this type of ticket.
  • Lothian child DAYticket : £ 2.20 ( US$ 2.80).
  • Lothian Adult Airport DAYticket : This ticket offers unlimited use of Lothian buses and trams and includes travel to and from Edinburgh Airport for one day for £ 9 ( US$ 11.50). First buses do not run to the airport. 
  • Lothian Child Airport DAYticket :  £ 4.50 ( US$ 5.70).

Lothian and First both allow its passengers to purchase the tickets on the bus.

Note that a Lothian DAYticket is not valid on the night buses or on the Airlink (service 100) to Edinburgh Airport .

Exact change

If you want to purchase your single, return or day-ticket from the bus driver you have to have the correct fare as the drivers cannot give you any change . The tickets are bought from small ticket vending machines on the bus, so remember to save your change for these occasions .

The day buses run from 6 am until midnight . Outside this schedule, Edinburgh has night buses (the N lines).

Lothian bus on Princes Street

You may also be interested in

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Edinburgh is a relatively small city, and its medieval air makes it ideal to visit by foot.

The Edinburgh tram was inaugurated, following several years of delays, in mid-2014. It has fifteen stations, which connect the airport with the new part of the city.

plan journey edinburgh

Discovering Edinburgh

Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide + Local Tips (2024)

Discovering Edinburgh contains affiliate links, if you purchase from one of these links I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information

Welcome to your ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide, a comprehensive resource for exploring Scotland’s capital.

Whether you’re a first time visitor or returning to discover more, this guide covers everything from transportation and accommodation to top attractions and hidden gems.

As someone who lived in Edinburgh for nearly three years and visits frequently as a tourist, I understand the unique challenges and joys of exploring this vibrant city.

Here, you’ll find practical tips and insider insights to help you make the most of your Edinburgh adventure, from must-see landmarks to the best local spots. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

Getting to Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s strategic location makes it accessible by air, train, and road. Here’s a breakdown of how to get to Scotland’s historic capital .

Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is the primary gateway, with direct flights from major European and international cities. Located about 8 miles west of the city center, it’s easy to reach via various transportation options. Glasgow Airport (GLA), about 50 miles west of Edinburgh, also offers connections to the city by train or bus.

Transportation from Edinburgh Airport

Once you land at Edinburgh Airport, choose from these options to reach the city center:

  • Tram : The Edinburgh Trams provide a direct route from the airport to York Place in the city center, with stops at key points like Murrayfield Stadium and Haymarket . It’s cost-effective and reliable.
  • Bus : Airlink 100 is a dedicated airport bus service that runs 24/7, taking you to central Waverley Bridge in about 25 minutes. A quick and affordable choice.
  • Taxi/Rideshare : Taxis are available at the airport , offering a direct but pricier journey. Rideshare services like Uber and Bolt are also options for a more personalised travel experience.

FREE Edinburgh Travel Guide

Get insider tips, hidden gems, and top recommendations for your Edinburgh adventure.

Don’t miss out ​

Train Services

Edinburgh has two main stations: Waverley and Haymarket . Waverley, the larger station, is centrally located between the Old Town and New Town, serving long-distance and regional trains. Haymarket, west of the city center, is ideal for airport connections and other parts of the city.

Direct trains to Edinburgh operate from major UK cities like London, Manchester, and Glasgow. To save money, book your tickets in advance.

🚋 Book Your Train Tickets Here

Arriving by Car

For those traveling by car, Edinburgh is accessible via major roads like the M8 and A1. Keep in mind:

  • Parking : The city center has limited parking. Consider park-and-ride options or use parking garages, such as Castle Terrace or NCP at St. James Centre .
  • Traffic Considerations : Traffic can be heavy during rush hours and festival seasons. Plan accordingly.

🚗 Hire Your Car Here

Buses and Coaches

Edinburgh Bus Station , located near St. Andrew Square, is the central hub for buses and coaches. Major operators like National Express and Megabus run services to and from Edinburgh, ideal for budget travelers .

🚌 Book Your Bus Tickets Here

plan journey edinburgh

Discovering Edinburgh: Insider’s Travel Bundle

Ready to explore Edinburgh like a pro and create unforgettable memories?

Get the Discovering Edinburgh: Insider’s Travel Bundle!

This one-stop guide helps travellers uncover hidden gems, iconic landmarks, and local favourites. I’ve poured my expertise and passion into creating the ultimate travel experience – and now I’m sharing it with you!

Ferry Connections

Although Edinburgh doesn’t have a direct ferry terminal, Rosyth , about 30 minutes by car or train, serves as an entry point for those arriving from Northern Ireland or mainland Europe.

Getting Around Edinburgh

One of the my favourite ways to explore Edinburgh is on foot – despite some of the hills and stairways you need to encounter.

The city is compact and offers countless historic sites, charming neighborhoods, and hidden gems within walking distance.

Here’s an overview of walking in Edinburgh, followed by other transportation options to help you navigate the city.

Exploring Edinburgh on Foot

Walking is a fantastic way to experience Edinburgh’s unique character. The Old Town’s narrow alleyways, known as “closes,” and the broad streets of the New Town are ideal for leisurely strolls.

  • The Royal Mile : This historic thoroughfare connects Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, filled with shops, restaurants, and street performers. It’s a must-walk route.
  • Arthur’s Seat : For a more adventurous walk, hike up Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano offering panoramic views of the city. The hike up Arthur’s Seat is relatively easy but you still need to wear good walking shoes. I’ve done it in thongs (flip flops) before and I do not recommend this to anyone.
  • Calton Hill : A shorter walk with great views, featuring iconic monuments like the National Monument of Scotland and the Dugald Stewart Monument . Calton Hill is especially beautiful at sunset!

Tips for Walking in Edinburgh

  • Comfortable Shoes : Edinburgh has some steep hills, so wear comfortable footwear.
  • Navigation Tools : Keep a map or GPS app handy, especially in the winding streets of the Old Town.
  • Weather Considerations : Bring a light jacket or raincoat, as Edinburgh’s weather can change quickly.

Public Transportation Options

If you prefer not to walk or need to travel longer distances, Edinburgh has a comprehensive public transportation network:

  • Lothian Buses : The bus network connects major attractions and neighborhoods. Purchase tickets on the bus or use a day pass for unlimited travel.
  • Edinburgh Trams : The tram line runs from the city center to Edinburgh Airport, with stops at key points. Trams are a convenient option for airport transfers and travel along the city center.

Tips for Public Transportation

  • Tickets : Single-ride tickets and day passes are available. Consider a Ridacard for unlimited rides over a set period.
  • Transit Apps : Use the “Transport for Edinburgh” app for real-time bus and tram information, route planning, and ticket purchase.

Bike Rentals and Cycling Routes

For a different perspective, rent a bike and explore Edinburgh’s cycling routes:

  • Bike Rentals : Shops like “ Leith Cycle Co. ” offer rental services. Bikes are great for exploring scenic paths and cycle-friendly roads.
  • Cycling Routes : Try the Water of Leith Walkway for a scenic ride, or venture to the Pentland Hills for a longer adventure.

Car Rental and Parking Options

If you plan to explore beyond Edinburgh, renting a car might be ideal:

  • Car Rental : Major rental agencies like Hertz and Enterprise operate in the city. Car rentals are great for day trips or exploring surrounding areas.
  • Parking Options : Parking in central Edinburgh can be challenging. Consider park-and-ride locations on the outskirts, or use parking garages in central locations like Castle Terrace and St. James Centre.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

Choosing the right place to stay in Edinburgh can make a big difference in your travel experience. Here’s a guide to Edinburgh’s neighborhoods and accommodation options, with specific recommendations for hotels, hostels, and other types of lodging.

Neighbourhoods in Edinburgh

Each neighbourhood in Edinburgh has its unique charm. Here’s an overview of the key areas to consider when choosing where to stay:

The Old Town is the heart of historic Edinburgh. With its medieval architecture and cobblestone streets , it’s ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in the city’s past. This my favourite part of Edinburgh and also where I used to live! I was lucky enough to live right below the Castle on the Grassmarket.

  • Close to major attractions like Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace.
  • Rich in character, with traditional pubs, boutique shops, and museums.
  • Bustling with activity during festivals like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe .
  • The Balmoral Hotel : A luxury hotel with a landmark clock tower. Offers elegant rooms, a spa, and fine dining. If you are a fan of Harry Potter ask to stay (or look at) the Harry Potter room.
  • The Grassmarket Hotel : A mid-range hotel with a central location in the vibrant Grassmarket area.
  • KickAss Greyfriars : A budget-friendly backpacker’s hostel near Greyfriars Kirkyard, offering shared and private rooms.

The New Town is known for its Georgian architecture and wide streets. It’s ideal for those seeking a more contemporary atmosphere with great shopping and dining options.

  • Home to some of Edinburgh’s best shops, cafes, and restaurants.
  • Offers a more relaxed vibe compared to the Old Town.
  • Centrally located, with easy access to Princes Street and George Street.
  • InterContinental Edinburgh The George : A luxury hotel in a Georgian building, offering spacious rooms and a sophisticated atmosphere. The George has a beautiful high tea and decorated with the most beautiful decor at Christmas time.
  • Travelodge Edinburgh Central Queen Street : A budget-friendly hotel with basic amenities and a central location.

Leith is a trendy, quieter area with waterfront views. It’s perfect for travelers who prefer a more laid-back setting.

  • Quieter than the city center, with a unique character and creative energy.
  • Features waterfront restaurants, bars, and the Royal Yacht Britannia .
  • Great for experiencing Edinburgh’s local scene away from the tourist crowds
  • Malmaison Edinburgh : A boutique hotel on the waterfront, offering stylish rooms and a trendy bar.
  • Ocean Apartments Edinburgh : Located near the waterfront, this place offers comfortable self-catering apartments at a reasonable price.

Tips for Booking Accommodation

To ensure you find the best place to stay in Edinburgh, consider these tips:

  • Best Times to Visit : The summer months are busiest due to festivals, so book early. Consider visiting in spring or autumn for lower prices and fewer crowds
  • Online Platforms : Use popular booking sites like Booking.com , Hotels.com , VRBO or Expedia to compare prices and read reviews
  • Discounts : Look for early booking discounts, special offers, and package deals that include accommodation and attractions

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh offers a captivating mix of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Here are some attractions that make this city so unique, along with reasons why you should visit them.

1. Edinburgh Castle

One of my favourite places and a place you can’t miss is Edinburgh Castle . This iconic fortress dominates the city’s skyline from Castle Rock. Inside, you’ll find the Crown Jewels , the Stone of Destiny , and the National War Museum . It’s also home to the famous One O’Clock Gun , fired daily except Sundays. Explore the castle’s history and enjoy panoramic views of Edinburgh from the castle walls.

➡️ Book Your Tickets Here

2. The Royal Mile

Stretching from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, The Royal Mile is a scenic route through the heart of the Old Town.

It’s filled with historic sites, shops, restaurants, and street performances, making it a vibrant place to explore. Wander through the narrow closes (alleyways) and soak up the medieval atmosphere.

➡️ Book Your Tour Here

3. Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano and one of Edinburgh’s most popular hiking spots. A climb to the summit rewards you with breathtaking views of the city and beyond. It’s a great way to experience Edinburgh’s natural beauty and enjoy a bit of outdoor adventure within the city.

4. Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Visitors can tour the state apartments, including the chambers of Mary, Queen of Scots , and explore the ruins of Holyrood Abbey .

The palace also features beautiful gardens and hosts events throughout the year. If you are looking for some amazing scones a visit to the Cafe is a must (as touristy as it sounds).

5. Calton Hill

Calton Hill is known for its collection of monuments, including the National Monument of Scotland and the Dugald Stewart Monument. It’s an excellent spot for taking in panoramic views of the city, especially at sunrise or sunset. The walk to the top is relatively easy, making it accessible for most visitors.

6. National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland offers a diverse range of exhibits, from Scottish history and culture to science and technology. Highlights include the Grand Gallery , the Lewis Chessmen , and the reconstructed T. rex skeleton. It’s a great place for families and those interested in learning about Scotland’s rich heritage.

7. The Scotch Whisky Experience

For whisky enthusiasts, The Scotch Whisky Experience is a must-visit. Located near Edinburgh Castle, this attraction offers guided tours that explore the history and production of Scotch whisky. You’ll also get to taste various whiskies and learn about different whisky regions. When you hear about the ride in the Whiskey Barrel is sounds a bit lame but take it from someone who is not a fan of Whisky, this is a must do.

8. Dean Village

Dean Village is a hidden gem along the Water of Leith, offering a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. I used to walk through Dean Village to get to work and I never got sick of this picturesque village.

Walk through the historic village, admire the picturesque buildings, and take a stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway. It’s a great spot for photography and a relaxing afternoon.

9. Stockbridge

Stockbridge is a charming neighborhood known for its boutique shops, cafes, and the Stockbridge Market . It’s perfect for exploring at a leisurely pace, with plenty of places to enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat. Don’t miss the picturesque St. Bernard’s Well and the nearby Inverleith Park .

And, if you listen hard enough on Monday or Thursday night your might hear the call of the bagpipes as the Stockbridge Pipeband practice a tune or two.

10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a beautiful place to spend a few hours. Explore the extensive gardens, including the Glasshouses, which feature tropical and exotic plants. It’s a peaceful retreat in the city, perfect for nature lovers and families.

Food and Drink in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s culinary scene offers a delightful mix of traditional Scottish cuisine and international flavors.

Whether you’re seeking a classic Scottish dish or a unique dining experience, here’s an overview of the city’s food and drink landscape, complete with recommendations for pubs, cafes, fine dining, and street food.

Traditional Scottish Cuisine

Scottish cuisine is known for its hearty dishes and unique flavors. Here are some traditional dishes you should try while in Edinburgh:

  • Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties : Haggis is a savory pudding made from sheep’s offal, spices, and oats, often served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).
  • Scotch Pie : A savory meat pie typically filled with minced lamb or beef.
  • Cullen Skink : A creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions.

Best Places to Try Traditional Dishes

To enjoy authentic Scottish cuisine, head to these recommended spots:

  • The Witchery by the Castle : This fine-dining restaurant near Edinburgh Castle offers a special experience with a traditional Scottish menu. The setting is gothic and atmospheric, adding to the dining experience. If you are visiting in August when the Edinburgh Tattoo is on try and book as late as possible. You will be able to just outside the door and get a unique view as all the performers march out of the castle. It is really something special.
  • The Mitre : Located on The Royal Mile, The Mitre serves classic pub food, including haggis, Scotch pies, and other traditional Scottish dishes. It’s a great spot for a relaxed meal.
  • The Mussel & Steak Bar : If you love seafood and steak, this spot in the Grassmarket is perfect. Try their mussels, prepared in various styles, or their hearty steaks.

Recommendations for Pubs, Cafes, and Fine Dining

Edinburgh has a vibrant pub scene, quaint cafes, and upscale dining options. Here’s where to find the best experiences:

  • Pubs : The Grassmarket is home to many excellent pubs. Stroll along the area and find your favorite spot for a pint and pub grub. Try “ The White Hart Inn ,” one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, for a historic atmosphere and a pub that claims to be haunted or if you’re looking for some live music and dancing “ Biddy Mulligans ” is a fantastic Irish pub.
  • Cafes : For healthier options and great juices and smoothies, head to Hula Grassmarket . It’s a popular choice for those seeking a light meal or snack in a trendy setting – it is my favourite place to grab a juice or a smoothie on the go.
  • Fine Dining : If you’re in the mood for a luxurious experience, “The Witchery by the Castle” is a top choice. For a more refined setting, “ The George Hotel” is ideal for high tea, offering an elegant environment and a delightful selection of teas and pastries.

Tips for Food Markets and Street Food

If you prefer a more casual dining experience or want to sample local produce, Edinburgh has several food markets and street food options:

  • Stockbridge Market : Held on Sundays, this market features a variety of stalls offering fresh produce, baked goods, street food, and crafts. It’s a great place to experience Edinburgh’s local food scene.
  • Grassmarket : In addition to its pubs, the Grassmarket hosts various events and street food vendors, especially during festivals. It’s a lively area to explore.
  • Marks and Spencer Food Hall : If you’re looking for an affordable meal with a view, the food area at Marks and Spencer on Princes Street offers a selection of prepared foods and a fantastic view of Edinburgh Castle.

Cultural Experiences and Events in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city with a rich cultural scene, offering a wide range of experiences for visitors. From museums and galleries to theaters and live music venues, there’s always something happening in this vibrant city. Here’s an overview of the cultural landscape and a guide to the best festivals, events, and entertainment options throughout the year.

Museums and Galleries

Edinburgh’s museums and galleries showcase a diverse range of art, history, and science. Here are some must-visit places:

  • National Museum of Scotland : This extensive museum covers everything from Scottish history and culture to science and technology. It’s a great destination for families and anyone interested in learning more about Scotland’s heritage
  • Scottish National Gallery : Located on the Mound, this gallery houses an impressive collection of European art, including works by Titian, Van Gogh, and Monet. It’s a must-see for art lovers.
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art : Split across two buildings, this gallery focuses on modern and contemporary art. It’s an ideal place to explore the works of Scottish and international artists.

Theaters and Live Performances

Edinburgh is home to a thriving theater scene, offering everything from classic plays to experimental performances. Check out these popular venues:

  • Edinburgh Playhouse : One of the largest theaters in the UK, it hosts a variety of performances, including musicals, plays, and concerts.
  • The King’s Theatre : A historic venue showcasing traditional plays, pantomimes, and touring productions.
  • Traverse Theatre : Known for its contemporary and experimental works, the Traverse Theatre is a hub for innovative performances.

Live Music Venues and Comedy Clubs

If you’re into live music or comedy, Edinburgh has plenty to offer. Here are some recommendations:

  • The Queen’s Hall : This venue hosts a variety of musical performances, from classical and jazz to folk and rock. It’s a versatile spot for live music
  • Sneaky Pete’s : A small and intimate venue that features up-and-coming bands and DJs. It’s a great place to discover new music
  • The Stand Comedy Club : For a night of laughter, visit The Stand Comedy Club, one of Edinburgh’s top spots for live comedy. It hosts both local and touring comedians.

Festivals and Events

Edinburgh is renowned for its festivals, attracting visitors from all over the world. Here are some of the most popular events throughout the year:

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe : The largest arts festival in the world, the Fringe features thousands of performances across various venues in August. Expect everything from comedy and theater to music and dance
  • Edinburgh International Festival : Running concurrently with the Fringe, this festival focuses on high-quality theater, opera, music, and dance
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival : Held in Charlotte Square Gardens, this festival brings together authors, poets, and writers for readings, talks, and discussions
  • Hogmanay : Edinburgh’s famous New Year’s celebration features street parties, concerts, and fireworks. It’s one of the biggest Hogmanay celebrations in the world and is not to be missed.

Practical Tips for First-Time Visitors to Edinburgh

Planning your first trip to Edinburgh? Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your visit. From the best time to go to budgeting, safety, and day trips, these insights will ensure your journey is enjoyable and stress-free.

Best Time to Visit Edinburgh

The timing of your visit to Edinburgh can affect your experience. Here’s what to consider:

  • Seasonal Variations : Summer (June to August) is peak season, with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the International Festival drawing large crowds. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer milder weather and fewer tourists. Winter (December to February ) can be cold and rainy, but it’s also when you can experience the magical Hogmanay celebrations.
  • Weather Considerations : Edinburgh’s weather is unpredictable. Bring layers and a rain jacket, as rain showers can occur even in summer. In winter, temperatures can drop, so pack warm clothing.

Budgeting and Managing Expenses

Edinburgh can be an expensive city, but with some planning, you can keep costs under control:

  • Accommodation : Book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to get better rates. Consider budget options like hostels or short-term rentals.
  • Transportation : Use public transport and consider getting a day pass for unlimited travel. Walking is also a cost-effective way to explore the city.
  • Meals : To save on food, look for budget-friendly cafes, street food, and food markets. Many pubs offer affordable meals and traditional dishes.
  • Attractions : Some attractions offer discounted rates if you book online or visit during off-peak hours. Consider buying a city pass for bundled entry to multiple sites.

Safety Tips and Emergency Contacts

Edinburgh is generally safe, but it’s always good to be cautious. Here are some safety tips and important emergency contacts:

  • General Safety : Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Avoid poorly lit streets at night and use well-known taxi services if needed.
  • Emergency Contacts : In case of emergencies, dial 999 for police, fire, or medical assistance. For non-emergency police matters, dial 101.
  • Travel Insurance : Consider purchasing travel insurance to cover unexpected events, medical emergencies, or trip cancellations.

Packing and Dressing for Edinburgh’s Climate

Edinburgh’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack smartly to stay comfortable:

  • Clothing : Bring layers, including a light jacket, sweater, and waterproof raincoat. Comfortable shoes are essential for walking on cobblestone streets and hilly terrain.
  • Accessories : Don’t forget a compact umbrella, gloves, and a scarf for colder weather. Sunscreen is also useful, especially in summer.
  • Electronics : If you’re bringing electronic devices, remember that the UK uses a different plug type (Type G), so carry a travel adapter.

Day Trips and Excursions

Edinburgh is a great base for exploring nearby attractions and natural beauty. Consider these day trips and excursions:

  • Rosslyn Chapel : Located about 7 miles from Edinburgh, this historic chapel is famous for its intricate stone carvings and connection to the Knights Templar.
  • The Highlands : Take a day trip to the Scottish Highlands to experience stunning landscapes, lochs, and castles. Popular destinations include Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and Inverness.
  • St. Andrews : Known for its golf courses and historic university, St. Andrews is a charming town about 1.5 hours from Edinburgh by train.

Accessibility in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is committed to being an inclusive city, with efforts to improve accessibility for visitors with mobility challenges.

Here’s what you need to know about accessibility in Edinburgh, including transportation, accommodations, and attractions.

Accessible Transportation

  • Buses and Trams : Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams are equipped with low-floor access and designated spaces for wheelchairs. Trams have level boarding at all stops, and many buses are designed to accommodate mobility aids
  • Taxi Services : Several taxi companies offer accessible vehicles with ramps or lifts for wheelchair users. Consider using a trusted taxi service for convenient transportation
  • Parking : Blue Badge holders can park in designated spaces throughout the city and use park-and-ride facilities for easy access to public transport

Accessible Attractions

Many of Edinburgh’s attractions are accessible, but some historic sites may have limited access due to their age. Here are some accessible attractions to consider:

  • Edinburgh Castle : While the castle has steep terrain, it offers shuttle services and accessible routes to key areas.
  • The National Museum of Scotland : This museum has ramps, lifts, and accessible restrooms, ensuring a smooth experience for visitors with mobility challenges.
  • Holyrood Palace : The palace provides accessible tours and has facilities to support visitors with disabilities.

Accessible Accommodations

Several hotels and accommodations in Edinburgh cater to accessibility needs. Consider these options when booking your stay:

  • Apex Grassmarket Hotel : Offers accessible rooms and is located near Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile.
  • Novotel Edinburgh Centre : This hotel features accessible rooms, elevators, and facilities designed for wheelchair users.

Shopping in Edinburgh

Edinburgh offers a wide range of shopping experiences, from high-end boutiques to traditional Scottish goods. Here’s an overview of popular shopping districts and tips for finding unique souvenirs.

Popular Shopping Districts

  • Princes Street : This bustling street is home to major department stores, including Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser. It’s ideal for high-street shopping and has stunning views of Edinburgh Castle.
  • George Street : Known for its elegant Georgian architecture, George Street features upscale boutiques, fashion brands, and stylish cafes.
  • The Royal Mile : Along this historic street, you’ll find shops selling Scottish goods, tartan, and souvenirs. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts.

Local Shops and Boutiques

If you’re looking for a more unique shopping experience, check out these local shops and boutiques:

  • Cranachan & Crowdie : A specialty shop on The Royal Mile offering Scottish food products, gifts, and crafts
  • Armstrongs Vintage Emporium : This vintage clothing store in the Grassmarket is a treasure trove of unique finds from various eras
  • The Red Door Gallery : A small gallery in the Old Town featuring art prints, ceramics, and handmade gifts by local artists

Tips for Buying Souvenirs and Unique Gifts

  • Scottish Goods : Look for traditional Scottish items like tartan scarves, cashmere sweaters, and tweed accessories
  • Local Crafts : Consider buying handmade crafts and artwork from local artists to support the community
  • Avoid Mass-Produced Souvenirs : Instead of generic souvenirs, seek out unique items that reflect Edinburgh’s culture and history

Technology and Connectivity

Staying connected in Edinburgh is easy with the right technology. Here’s how to ensure you have reliable Wi-Fi, mobile data, and useful travel apps during your visit.

Wi-Fi and Mobile Data

  • Free Wi-Fi : Many cafes, restaurants, and public spaces offer free Wi-Fi. The Edinburgh Airport also provides complimentary Wi-Fi for travelers.
  • Mobile Data : Check with your mobile provider about international roaming options or purchase a local SIM card for data during your stay. Most major carriers offer prepaid plans with ample data for tourists.

Useful Travel Apps

To navigate Edinburgh and make the most of your trip, these apps can be invaluable:

  • Transport for Edinburgh : This app provides real-time information on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, including route planning and ticket purchasing
  • Google Maps : Ideal for navigation and finding local attractions, restaurants, and transportation options
  • TripAdvisor : Use this app to find restaurant reviews, attractions, and user-generated tips

Camera Gear and Accessories

For photography enthusiasts, Edinburgh offers endless photo opportunities. Consider these tips for capturing the city’s beauty:

  • Camera Gear : If you’re traveling with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, bring a versatile lens for cityscapes and portraits. A lightweight tripod can be useful for low-light shots and long exposures
  • Smartphone Accessories : For smartphone photography, consider a clip-on lens for wide-angle or macro shots. A portable power bank ensures your phone stays charged throughout the day.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Travel

If you’re conscious of your environmental impact while traveling, Edinburgh has plenty of options for sustainable and eco-friendly experiences. Here’s how you can reduce your carbon footprint during your visit.

Eco-Friendly Accommodations and Activities

  • Green Hotels : Some hotels in Edinburgh have eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient lighting and recycling programs. Check for Green Tourism accreditation when choosing accommodations.
  • Outdoor Activities : Instead of car rentals, opt for walking, cycling, or using public transportation to explore the city. Edinburgh’s compact layout makes it easy to get around without a car.

Sustainable Transportation and Dining

  • Public Transport : Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams are environmentally conscious, reducing carbon emissions with electric and low-emission vehicles.
  • Sustainable Dining : Seek out restaurants that focus on locally sourced ingredients and sustainable practices. “The Gardener’s Cottage” and “Hendersons” are great examples of eco-friendly dining in Edinburgh.

Tips for Reducing Environmental Impact

  • Reusable Items : Bring a reusable water bottle and shopping bag to minimize single-use plastic waste.
  • Conserve Energy : Turn off lights and unplug chargers when not in use. Participate in hotel recycling programs if available.
  • Support Local : Buy from local shops and artisans to support the community and reduce the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced goods.

plan journey edinburgh

Nightlife and Entertainment

Edinburgh has a vibrant nightlife scene with something for everyone, from lively pubs and clubs to quieter theaters and live music venues. Here’s where to find the best nightlife and entertainment options in the city.

Pubs and Bars

Edinburgh is famous for its historic pubs and lively bars. Check out these spots for a great night out:

  • The Last Drop : Located in the Grassmarket, this historic pub has a relaxed atmosphere and a great selection of drinks
  • The Bow Bar : Known for its extensive whisky selection, The Bow Bar is a must-visit for whisky lovers
  • BrewDog Edinburgh : If you’re into craft beer, this bar on Lothian Road offers a variety of unique and experimental brews

Clubs and Late-Night Venues

For those who prefer a more energetic night out, Edinburgh has plenty of clubs and late-night venues:

  • Cabaret Voltaire : A popular nightclub in the Old Town, offering live music and DJ sets in a historic underground setting
  • The Bongo Club : Known for its eclectic mix of music and events, The Bongo Club is a great place for dancing and live performances
  • Why Not Nightclub : Located in the New Town, this club is a favorite for those looking to party late into the night.

Quieter Evening Activities

If you prefer a more relaxed evening, consider these options for quieter entertainment:

  • The Lyceum Theatre : This historic theater hosts a variety of plays and performances, perfect for a cultured night out
  • The Queen’s Hall : Known for its classical music concerts and intimate performances, The Queen’s Hall offers a more refined evening experience
  • Jazz Bar : Located on Chambers Street, the Jazz Bar is ideal for those who enjoy live jazz music in a cozy setting.

FAQs: Edinburgh Travel Guide

What is the best time of year to visit edinburgh.

A: Summer is popular for its festivals, but spring and autumn offer milder weather and fewer crowds.

Is Edinburgh a walkable city?

Yes, most attractions are within walking distance, but be prepared for hilly terrain.

What public transportation options are available in Edinburgh?

Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams are the primary public transit systems.

Can I use contactless payment methods in Edinburgh?

Yes, most places accept contactless payments, including public transportation.

Are there vegetarian or vegan food options in Edinburgh?

Yes, Edinburgh has many vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants.

Final Thoughts:

Exploring Edinburgh is a journey through history, culture, and natural beauty. From its iconic landmarks like Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile to its vibrant food scene and diverse cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in this captivating city.

By following this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive resource for planning your visit, complete with tips on transportation, accommodation, attractions, and more.

To ensure your trip to Edinburgh is as enjoyable as possible, take advantage of the practical advice provided in this guide.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the top attractions, discovering hidden gems, or experiencing the city’s rich cultural scene, you’re well-prepared for an unforgettable visit.

As you plan your trip, one of the biggest challenges is managing your budget. To help you estimate your expenses and make informed decisions, we’ve created the Edinburgh Trip Budget Calculator.

Use this tool to break down your costs, from accommodation and transportation to food and attractions. It will help you set a realistic budget and make the most of your time in Edinburgh.

Related Posts:

Is Edinburgh Safe? Ultimate Edinburgh Packing List Victoria Street Edinburgh – A Journey Through Scotland’s Magical and Historical Avenue How to Spend 3 Days in Edinburgh How to Spend 2 Days in Edinburgh How to Spend 24 Hours in Edinburgh Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide The Capital of Scotland: When did Edinburgh become the capital? Edinburgh in January: 23 Best Things to Do Edinburgh in February: 34 Best Things to Do Edinburgh Pronunciation: How to Pronounce Edinburgh Best Edinburgh Trip Budget Calculator Scottish Name Generator Can You Drink the Tap Water in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh Travel Planning Guide

🚑  Should I buy Edinburgh travel insurance?

100% YES!  — Edinburgh has the NHS in terms of healthcare, but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I recommend World Nomads – starting at just $5 a day!

💧 Can you drink the water in Edinburgh?

Yes, Edinburgh is a major city, and you can drink tap water. However, I would not drink from the toilets on public transport. ( Read more )

🚙💨  Is it safe to rent a car in Edinburgh?

Yes , Renting a car is safe in Edinburgh! If you want to go on road trips or explore more off-the-beaten-path adventures outside of the city, you might want to consider renting a car.

📲  Will my phone work in Edinburgh?

Depends — Some American companies will work in Edinburgh, but many will not. If your phone doesn’t work in Edinburgh, I recommend getting a Giff Gaff sim card so you can still access Google Maps, phone calls, texts, etc. However, you will find many places around Edinburgh that have free WiFi, so you can check your Google Maps as you go.

🏩  What’s the best way to book my accommodation in Edinburgh?

In my opinion,  Booking.com is the best option for hotels. For hostels, I recommend Hostel World . If you want an apartment, check out  VRBO  (which is cheaper than Airbnb). If you are planning on staying in

✈️  What’s the best site to buy flights to Edinburgh?

To find cheap flights to Edinburgh, I recommend  Skyscanner .

🎫  Do I need a visa for Edinburgh?

Probably not—US , Canadian, Australian, and EU passport holders don’t need a visa for stays under 6 months. However, some other countries do (check here!). If you plan to stay more than 6 months, you must look into visas.

Fiona is the founder of Discovering Edinburgh. Fiona has travelled to over 35 countries and fell in love with Edinburgh. After visiting Edinburgh on a day trip, she lived there for three years. Discovering Edinburgh is your go-to resource for everything Edinburgh. Whether you're a local or tourist you are bound to find something new.

Best Time to Visit

Edinburgh Airport Guide

Public Transportation

48-Hour Itinerary

Day Trips From Edinburgh

Top Things to Do

Best Museums

Visiting Edinburgh Castle

Guide to Arthur's Seat

Best Restaurants

Nightlife Guide

Your Trip to Edinburgh: The Complete Guide

Known sometimes as "The Athens of the North" or "Auld Reekie," the Scottish capital is one of the country's most popular destinations, and is a great place to spend a long weekend or to include in a larger Scotland itinerary . Edinburgh is relatively compact and walkable, but there's a lot to see and do in this historic and culturally vibrant capital, including exploring Edinburgh Castle, visiting one of the city's top museums, going on a nearby hike, or hitting up the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Whether you are looking to explore Edinburgh's food and bar scene or to travel back in time through its history, here are a few things to keep in mind while planning your trip.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit: Based purely on the weather, June through August is the best time of year to travel to Edinburgh. Scotland can be notoriously gloomy and wet during the winter, but summer brings moderate temperatures and some sun, making it ideal for outdoor sightseeing. Do keep in mind that summer is also peak tourist season; if you want to avoid the crowds, consider planning your trip for either May or September. No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to pack layers of clothing.
  • Language: English is the primary language spoken in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. However, because Edinburgh is a fairly large, international city, you may hear other languages spoken around town. Gaelic is also spoken in some parts of Scotland.
  • Currency: The currency in the U.K. is the pound sterling , which is also known as GBP or just "the pound." Cents are known as pence.
  • Getting Around : While Edinburgh is a highly walkable city, especially in the city center, there are good public transportation options, including the Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams. Taxis and Ubers are also available. Car rentals are another option, though we don't recommend driving or parking in the city center of Edinburgh.
  • Travel Tip : Make your visit to Edinburgh part of a larger exploration of Scotland, taking advantage of the trains if you prefer not to drive through the winding roads. Glasgow is less than an hour away from Edinburgh, while Dundee and St. Andrews are a quick journey north. But you don't have to pick just the bigger destinations to better understand Scottish culture. Nearby, look for day trips to the Scottish Borders, North Berwick and Stirling, when planning an itinerary.

Things to Do

Edinburgh has a lot of history, culture, and art available to explore, as well as expansive shopping areas. Touring Edinburgh Castle , one of the oldest fortified palaces in Europe, is a must-do for all visitors, as is hiking Arthur's Seat , the highest point in Edinburgh. Another popular attraction is Palace of Holyroodhouse; the Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II, it welcomes visitors whenever the British Royal Family is not in town. Here are some of the top things to do during your trip to Edinburgh:

  • Tour The National Art Gallery of Scotland ; consisting of three galleries, this vast art museum showcases works from both Scotland and around the world.
  • Dine at The Kitchin , a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant that highlights local ingredients.
  • Attend the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe , the world's largest arts festival , to see performances ranging from plays and comedy shows to live music.

For more, explore our full-length articles on the top things to do in Edinburgh and the best museums in Edinburgh . And, be sure to check out our guide to spending 48 hours in the Scottish capital .

Iain Masterton/Getty Images 

What to Eat and Drink

Edinburgh is an international city that boasts cuisine from all over the world, but of course you'll want to experience Scottish fare while visiting. Haggis, a meaty pudding cooked in a sheep's stomach, is Scotland's most famous dish and broadly available around Edinburgh, especially at pubs. Other local dishes include Stornoway black pudding, Cullen skink, Cranachan, and smoked salmon. And if you're wanting to imbibe on Scottish whisky, you can sample it at any number of places, including The Abbey Bar and The Balmoral Whisky Bar .

Because the city is so diverse, travelers will find not just pubs, but also fancy Michelin-starred restaurants, quirky burger joints, and outdoor food stalls. While many restaurants and pubs can be found in the city center, be sure to venture into Leith to try pizza at La Favorita or Scottish-French fusion at Restaurant Martin Wishart .

For more, check out the best restaurants in Edinburgh and our guide to Edinburgh nightlife .

Where to Stay

While each of Edinburgh's 12 neighborhoods is distinctly charming, you might find some more convenient than others depending on your itinerary, Most travelers opt to stay in the city center, which includes the Royal Mile and New Town. Many of the popular hotels, including both chain and boutique options, are located in these two areas alongside the popular attractions and shopping streets. If you prefer to stay somewhere close to the water, look for a hotel or apartment rental in Leith, a cool neighborhood with lots of independent cafés, stores, and bookshops. For something a little off-center, head to Portobello, a seaside resort neighborhood only 20 minutes from central Princes Street. Some iconic Edinburgh hotels include The Balmoral , The Witchery by the Castle , The Royal Scots Club , and Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh .

Read our roundup of the best hotels in Edinburgh to learn more and find the right accommodation for you.

Getting There

Most international travelers arrive in Edinburgh by flying into Edinburgh Airport , a fairly busy airport with one main terminal. The airport services several cities in the U.S., mostly on the East Coast, as well as Europe and the Middle East. It also has numerous flights that connect from London's Heathrow Airport.

Alternatively, you can take a train from London or one of the U.K.'s other large cities; trains operate regularly and arrive at Edinburgh Waverley station. If you're driving, be sure to include a GPS in your rental car to help navigate the unfamiliar roads.

Culture and Customs

Tipping isn't as frequent in Scotland as it is in America, but it's still customary to tip in restaurants or taxis, especially when you receive good service. The typical amount is 10 percent, but you can use your best judgment. In a pub, leave a pound or two when ordering drinks at the bar. And while it may be slightly jarring to some visitors, the legal drinking age in Scotland is 18.

 Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images

Money Saving Tips

  • The best way to save a few bucks is to walk. Edinburgh is a very walkable city and it's central area is compact enough that you shouldn't need a rental car or to take many taxis. Plan out your itinerary to take advantage of walking everywhere you can.
  • Many of the museums offer free entry, including The National Museum of Scotland, The Museum of Childhood, and The Museum on the Mound. Historic cathedrals like St. Giles' Cathedral are also free to enter.
  • Tour the Scottish Parliament for a glimpse inside Scotland's political landscape. It's open to the public six days a week and tours are free.
  • To save money on meals, pay a visit to one of Edinburgh's food markets. The Pitt Market, which takes place every Saturday in Leith, is one of the most popular. Travelers arriving at Waverley Station will also find more than 40 food stalls at Waverley Market @ Platform 2.
  • Two discount attraction passes are available for tourists in Edinburgh: Royal Edinburgh Ticket and Edinburgh City Pass .

Visit Scotland. "Frequently Asked Questions About Scotland."

VisitScotland. "Frequently Asked Questions About Scotland."

This Is Edinburgh. "Edinburgh Fringe Festival."

A Guide to Airports in Scotland

Best Time to Visit Edinburgh

Your Trip to Birmingham, England: The Complete Guide

Dublin Guide: Planning Your Trip

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Plan Your UK Trip

Your Trip to Mexico City: The Complete Guide

Nightlife in Edinburgh: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

48 Hours in Edinburgh: The Ultimate Itinerary

Your Trip to Ireland: The Complete Guide

9 Top Things to Do in Dundee, Scotland

12 Best Beaches in Scotland

The Best 15 Restaurants in Edinburgh

Top 20 Most Popular UK Cities for International Visitors

France Guide: Planning Your Trip

The Top 20 Things to Do in Edinburgh

The World's 10 Best Destinations for Backpackers

The Gap Decaders

Edinburgh in One Day: Best Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we earn an income.

How to Spend One Day in Edinburgh

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is a beautiful city where medieval and neoclassical history and architecture exist in harmony. Full of quirky corners and hidden squares just waiting to be discovered, you’ll be enchanted by the city’s wonderful hospitality and unique vibe.

We’ll show you Edinburgh’s fascinating tapestry of medieval lanes and grand avenues lined with historic buildings, elegant churches, and world-class museums, with our one-day Edinburgh itinerary.

In this Edinburgh one day travel guide, you’ll find a complete itinerary of all the most important must-see Edinburgh attractions, with an interactive map, organized to make the best use of your time. We also share recommendations for places to stay, where to eat local food, and tips about how to make the most of your perfect day in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh in one day

Are you planning your trip to Edinburgh last minute?

Be sure to book your  accommodation and tours in Edinburgh  ahead of time to ensure availability! Here are our top picks!

  • Want to get from the airport to Edinburgh hassle-free?   Get the  best airport transfer  options here!
  • Driving to or from Edinburgh? Get the best car hire deals here!
  • Need data for your trip? We recommend Airalo or Holafly for eSIMs
  • Top Hotels in Edinburgh:
  • Luxury: Glasshouse Autograph Hotel (well located and very lux!)
  • Mid-Range: Market Street Hotel (Old Town style, our fave!)
  • Budget: Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile (simple, central & great value)
  • Hostel: CoDE Pod – The CoURT (great choice of dorms & private rooms)
  • Top Activities & Tours in Edinburgh:
  • For all the best things to see in Edinburgh, grab this guided walking tour  
  • Get your Edinburgh Castle tour + tickets to see the city’s top historic site
  • Ride the Edinburgh hop-on hop-off bus to see all the main attractions
  • Explore the history with this Royal Mile walking tour with a local guide
  • Book this underground evening ghost tour to meet Edinburgh’s spooks!

Things to See & Do in Edinburgh

Interactive map.

ROUTE: Edinburgh Castle – Victoria Street – Grassmarket – The Royal Mile – Scottish Parliament Building – Palace of Holyrood​ – Arthur’s Seat – Auld Reekie

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Itinerary Notes

  • Is one day enough for Edinburgh? This is a compact city with most things you’ll want to see within easy walking distance. Follow our full day itinerary and route to see all the top places to visit in Edinburgh, and get a real flavor of the city’s history, culture, and cuisine. 
  • Or, if you prefer to have your day organized for you , check out our recommended Edinburgh guided walking tour  and place yourself in the hands of a local expert who will show you the historical, cultural, and architectural heritage of the city. 
  • Is this your first visit to Scotland? Get all the information you need in our United Kingdom Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Visit Edinburgh Castle

When people ask what to do in Edinburgh in the morning, there is only one answer! Spend your morning reveling in the history of the fortress that is Edinburgh Castle, one of the best-known historic sites of the city and an absolute must-visit in the capital city of Scotland.

The castle is located on the Castle Rock, one of the oldest parts of Edinburgh, on the west side of the Royal Mile. Built for King David I in 1103, Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe and the most besieged place in Britain.

With a long and rich history as a royal residence, military garrison, fortress, and prison, the castle is alive with many exciting tales and is one of the best sights in Edinburgh. When you climb Castle Hill, you will walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, soldiers, prisoners, and as legend has it, the odd pirate or two!

Today, you can find a combination of museums, exhibitions, and themed rooms, along with superb views over Edinburgh. One of the top attractions is The Honours of Scotland which are on display in the Crown Room and are the oldest Crown jewels in Britain.

The jewels are made of gold, silver, and precious gem and include the stunning crown, sceptre, and sword of state, which are all objects of immense importance. The crown was made for James V, who first wore it at the coronation of Queen Mary of Guise in 1540.

The castle grounds in front of the Portcullis Gate are always busy, but to enter beyond this, you do need a ticket. To get an expert’s view into the history of the castle, join our highly recommended Edinburgh Castle guided tour including fast-track entry tickets .

stone castle on a hill with grass and trees

Stroll Victoria Street & Grassmarket

After finishing your castle visit, your next stop requires a little detour to Victoria Street, with its cute independent boutiques and shops. This colorful curving street is thought to have been J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books, where Harry and his wizarding friends go shopping for their Hogwarts supplies.

Then, continue to Grassmarket, with its lively atmosphere and outdoor restaurants. If it’s market day, then you will be able to find many local products to buy. From Grassmarket, you also have an amazing view of the castle. 

TOP TIP: As you wander, take the less obvious streets and alleys for a different Edinburgh perspective – many of the main thoroughfares are connected by steps or pedestrian-only winding alleys, where you’ll discover hidden squares and corners.

colourful painted terrace houses on a cobbled road

Experience The Royal Mile

It is time to properly explore The Royal Mile. This historic street is actually Edinburgh’s Old Town High Street. It became known as The Royal Mile as historically it was used as the processional route between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.

On your way to Victoria Street, you will have already passed some tourist attractions such as the excellent  Scotch Whisky Experience , offering virtual tours to a whisky distillery along with some whisky tastings, the  Camera Obscura and World of Illusions , and the neoclassical Scottish National Gallery. 

There are a few more ahead which you can visit including  The Real Mary King’s Close , which gives you the chance to learn about life in Edinburgh a few hundred years ago. 

Make sure to stop and see the Heart of Midlothian mosaic set in the pavement outside St Giles Cathedral, the High Kirk of Edinburgh. The heart marks the spot where Edinburgh’s Old Tolbooth stood before being demolished in 1817. The medieval building served a variety of purposes such as housing the council and early meetings of the Parliament of Scotland and the Court of Session.

The Tolbooth was also the city’s main jail where physical punishment and torture were known to be commonplace. Locals will often spit upon the heart as a sign of good luck, originally believed to be done as a sign of disdain for the executions that took place within the Old Tolbooth.

OStatue of David I on the West Door of St. Giles High Kirk, Edinburgh

If you like museums, you can find the  Writer’s Museum , which celebrates the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, just off the Lady’s Stairs, the  People’s Story Museum , and the  Museum of Childhood  further down the road. 

This  entertaining Royal Mile walking tour with a private local guide  will help understand and interpret the history of this iconic part of Edinburgh. If you’re on a budget, grab this audio guide Royal Mile tour on your smartphone.

TOP TIP: Once the High Street becomes Canongate, take a right onto Coopers Close just after the Museum of Edinburgh to find Bakehouse Close and the famous archway dating back to 1570, which is featured in Outlander .

wide street lined with cobbled and elegant buildings

Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament Building, situated at Holyrood within central Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and became the home of the Scottish Parliament in 2004.

Controversy surrounded the building from its inception, with criticism directed at its location, design, and the handling of its construction. Originally scheduled to open in 2001, it was delayed by three years and incurred costs far exceeding initial estimates.

A public inquiry was conducted, highlighting mismanagement and cost overruns. Despite these challenges, the building received praise from architectural circles for its attempt to reflect Scotland’s landscape, culture, and people. It won several awards, including the prestigious Stirling Prize in 2005, and has been lauded as a significant achievement in British architecture.

Constructed from a mixture of steel, oak, and granite in a striking contemporary design, this is a real Marmite building, with people either loving or hating the imposing structure.

There is free entry to  visit the Scottish Parliament Building  and take a guided or self-guided tour. You can also watch parliamentary business taking place, and visit the exhibition, café and gift shop.

modern creamy stone building with large rattan style overhand

Palace of Holyrood​

At the bottom end of the Royal Mile, you can find Holyrood Palace. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the King’s official residence in Scotland. The royal palace dates back to the 16th century and since then it has accommodated many important figures in its state apartments, such as Mary, Queen of Scots.

A visit to the palace will allow you to visit the Throne Room, marvel at the Great Gallery, walk in the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, and even come close to some royal gifts. Next to the palace, you will find the Queen’s Gallery, which houses different rotating exhibitions.

Scottish royal palace surrounded by green grass and a moat

Holyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat

If you still have energy and there is still daylight, you can finish your day at Holyrood Park and attempt to climb up to the top of Arthur’s Seat, a long extinct volcano and the highest peak in Edinburgh at 251 meters.

The hike is neither very difficult nor long, but it can get steep in places. Depending on when you visit, the actual top can be very crowded. Nevertheless, the whole hike offers amazing panoramic views of Scotland’s capital city, from the nearby castle all the way to the port of Leith and the Pentland Hills.

view over a city from a grassy green hill

Edinburgh is also known as Auld Reekie, meaning Old Smokey. The name emanated from the stench of badly managed sewage in the Middle Ages and has stuck!

Down-to-earth and unpretentious, much like the Scots themselves, Auld Reekie comes alive at night, with busy pubs, live music, vibrant restaurants, and late-night drinking clubs, full of would-be comedians and storytellers.

With legendary hospitality, you’ll be welcomed into the pubs and clubs of the city with open arms, whether you prefer a bawdy comedy club or a tiny, cozy nook.

Go Ghost Hunting

Considered to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland, if not the UK, Edinburgh’s history is a tapestry woven with both beauty and horror. The Old Town’s ancient winding streets serve as the stage for chilling tales and eerie tours.

There are plenty of these tours on offer but we think the best is this Edinburgh underground vaults evening ghost tour , probably because it comes with whisky!

arched and covered stone alleyway at night

Visit a Comedy Club

Home of the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh is no stranger to comedy. Stand-up takes place all year round in the city, and visiting a comedy club is one of the best ways to end your 24 hours in Edinburgh. 

TOP TIP: Our top picks are  The Stand Comedy Club  for up-and-coming talent and great nachos and  Monkey Barrel Comedy  for Edinburgh’s typical alternative approach to comedy and a fab cocktail list!

painting on a wall of a boy wearing a cowboy hat and holding a gun

Where to Eat in Edinburgh

Urban angel.

For breakfast or brunch, head to  Urban Angel , a café and bistro just a few minutes away on foot from Princes Street, to try some of their healthy dishes made with locally sourced and free-range ingredients.

During weekends it can be busy, but their Eggs Benedict is worth the wait.

The Fiddlers Arms

Anyone visiting Scotland for the first time should try haggis, a savory mixture of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, and served with tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed turnip).

For vegetarians, there is a non-traditional version made primarily from beans and mushrooms. You can try either version at many pubs around the city.  The Fiddlers Arms  at the Grassmarket is one of the best places to try this most Scottish of dishes. 

TOP TIP: Across from The Fiddlers Arms is  Mary’s Milk Bar , an ice cream shop serving the most unique ice cream flavors and chocolates. During winter, their opening times vary, but if you visit during the summer, stand in line after finishing your lunch to grab a scoop or two of this delicious dessert.

The Elephant House

If Harry Potter is your thing, make sure to have a coffee at the  Elephant House , the café where the boy wizard was created by writer J.K. Rowling, and the first chapters of the Harry Potter series of books were written.

Just 100m from the Elephant House, is a statue depicting the Skye Terrier, Greyfriars Bobby. The little dog is famous for guarding his owner’s grave in the nearby Greyfriars Kirkyard for fourteen years.

After a fire in 2021, The Elephant House is temporarily closed. You can still take photos of the outside though! The owners say they are expecting to open again by the summer of 2024, but check before you visit.


For dinner, and a more upscale dining option, head to  Hemingway’s  in Leith. There you should try their delicious small plates, perfect for sharing, while enjoying the quirky interiors and awesome cocktail offerings.

If you have time before or after dinner, you could go for a short walk along the Water of Leith, the main river which flows through Edinburgh to the port of Leith, from where it joins the sea via the Firth of Forth. See if you can spot the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is berthed here.

Plate of haggis, tatties and neeps

Other UK Travel Ideas

things to do on the Norfolk Broads

26 Exciting Things To Do On the Norfolk Broads

stately homes on Norfolk

14 of the Best Stately Homes in Norfolk to Visit

road trip from London

Road Trips from London: The 6 Best Routes to Explore

things to do in Holt

22 of the Very Best Things To Do in Holt

North Norfolk Coast

Best of the North Norfolk Coast: 20 Unmissable Highlights

afternoon tea in Norfolk

Afternoon Tea in Norfolk: 15 of the Very Best Places

Norfolk seaside towns

18 Best Norfolk Seaside Towns To Fall In Love With!

best Christmas Markets in Europe

Discover the Magic: 32 of the Best Christmas Markets in Europe

things to do in Norwich

37 of the Very Best Things to Do in Norwich

things to do in Great Yarmouth

24 of the Best Things To Do in Great Yarmouth

things to do in King's Lynn

Best Things to Do in King’s Lynn: Top Attractions & Highlights

things to do in Norfolk

23 of the Best Things To Do in Cromer Norfolk

things to do in Norfolk

Things to Do in Norfolk: 37 of the Very Best Attractions

Atlantic Highway

Atlantic Highway: An Epic Devon & Cornwall Road Trip

belfast in a day

Belfast in A Day: Itinerary, Map & Tips

Causeway Coastal Route

Causeway Coastal Route: The Best Road Trip In Ireland?

Cornwall road trip

Cornwall Road Trip: The Best Itinerary, Map & Tips

North Coast 500 route

North Coast 500 Route Planner + Itinerary, Map & Tips

winter destinations Europe

Winter Destinations Europe: 23 Amazing Wintry Places

Road trip England

Road Trip England – 10 of the Best Routes

Top five edinburgh tips.

  • Edinburgh is cold and windy, so make sure to dress warm and in layers even in summer – I may have already said that!
  • Also, it’s a good idea to pack a pair of comfy shoes or trainers, because the best way to explore this city full of hills is on foot – forget about the Edinburgh bus tour, you’ll see much more walking!
  • If you are coming to Edinburgh from London as part of a longer trip, the quickest (and sometimes cheapest) way to arrive in the city is by train. Of course, you can always choose the plane or the bus, but the trains are in general very comfortable and efficient, although probably not the best option if you only have a day in Scotland – you’d spend all your time traveling!
  • Avoid the incredibly naff souvenir shops on the Royal Mile, where tartan tat reigns supreme. Items are overpriced and of dubious quality. Give them a miss and do your Edinburgh souvenir shopping elsewhere. 
  • Last but not least, remember to enjoy your time in the city and try some whisky on this excellent whisky history and tasting tour .

bottles of whisky on a shelf

More Than One Day in Edinburgh?

If you have just another half a day in Edinburgh, you could also explore these attractions;

Princes Street Gardens

Take a stroll in beautiful Princes Street Gardens, between the Old and New Towns and in the very center of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site before visiting the Scott Monument, a much-photographed Victorian Gothic spire, built to commemorate Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

green and grassy garden next to a river with a bridge and church in the distance

National Museum of Scotland

Visit the  National Museum of Scotland  and explore Scottish history and culture. As well as the national collections of Scottish archaeological finds and medieval objects, the museum contains artifacts from around the world, encompassing geology, archaeology, natural history, science, technology, art, and world cultures. 

domed inside of a museum with suspended walkways over three floors

Dean Village

Go for a stroll in  Dean Village  on the Water of Leith. With historic buildings, art galleries, and an olde worlde ambiance, it’s easy to while away a few hours here.

historic red brick buildings next to a river

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is a peaceful haven where you can escape the bustle of the city. Founded in 1670 by two doctors studying medicinal plants, the gardens were moved to their current site in 1820 and cover 70 acres just north of the city center.

The gardens have over 10,000 species of plants and trees, divided into sections of different vegetation. There’s a woodland garden with Giant Redwoods, the Chinese gardens, a rock garden, and most impressive of all, the original Victorian temperate palm house, which was built in 1858 and is one of the tallest traditional palm houses ever built.

inside a Victorian glass house with large ferns and tropical plants

Calton Hill

Calton Hill , known in the 18th century as ‘the Athens of the North’, is famous for its collection of historic monuments, which form some of the most important landmarks of the city.

One of the most striking is the National Monument, inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. Intended to commemorate the Scottish servicemen who died in the Napoleonic Wars, it was never completed leaving just the twelve columns you see today. 

Also look out for the Nelson Monument, shaped like an up-turned telescope. Completed in 1816 the monument commemorates the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. 

With fantastic views across the entire city and surrounding countryside, it is also one of Edinburgh’s best spots to watch the sun go down.

Calton Hill Edinburgh

Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small Group Day Tour

If you take one day trip from Edinburgh, go north on this highly rated and well organized day trip from Edinburgh.

Explore some of the most famous attractions of the Scottish Highlands , including Glen Coe,  Loch Ness , and the stunning Cairngorms National Park .

With a professional guide to offer insights, an organized tour is the perfect opportunity to see  more of Scotland in less time!

small stream in green valley with small white cottage

Edinburgh Practicalities

When to visit edinburgh.

Edinburgh is known for its cold and windy weather year-round. Despite that, blue skies are not that uncommon during the summer months, which makes it a great time to visit Edinburgh’s attractions. At the same time, summer is when the Scottish capital comes to life with many festivals taking place. 

The most popular of them is the  Edinburgh Fringe Festival which takes place in August every year and is the world’s largest arts festival. There are thousands of performances and shows of all types, from comedies to talk shows to circuses. 

This does mean that the city becomes extremely crowded, so if you want to experience the quieter side of Edinburgh, then you should consider visiting during one of the other seasons.

Spring provides a great spectacle of blossom trees in the parks, while autumn sees the city fill with students from all over the world as they start the new university year.  

Autumn brings wonderful colours to Scotland and some summer heat remains into early October. The city will be quieter as crowds thin out, making hotels and attractions better value for money.

Winter is the most tranquil time to visit, although note that it is usually very cold, and days are extremely short. Of course, there is the Christmas period (late November to early January), when the city comes to life once again, with the famous  Edinburgh Christmas Market , followed by Hogmanay, Edinburgh’s New Year celebrations.

RELATED POST: 14 Stunning Places for Autumn Breaks in the UK

edinburgh city covered in snow

Getting to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport  is only 7 miles from the city and has a couple of different options for your transfer.

You can catch the tram from the station located right outside the terminal. There is a tram every 7 minutes between 7am to 7pm and every 15 minutes outside of these hours. The journey time is about 30 minutes to get to St Andrew’s Square. Buy your tickets before getting on the tram at the vending machines at the airport.

There is also a bus which leaves the airport every 10 minutes and also takes 30 minutes to get to the city center. You will find the bus stop for the Airlink100 bus right outside the terminal. You can purchase tickets on board, using the exact amount or a contactless debit card, or you can purchase beforehand here .

For a great way to start your Edinburgh trip book a private transfer from the airport with Intui directly to your accommodation in the city center – it’s more cost-effective than you think! Intui works with a large range of local operators to bring the best options and prices for your transfer.

Are you visiting Edinburgh as part of a longer trip? A Scottish road trip is the best way see this gorgeous country, and our guide to road tripping in Scotland has all you need, including maps, routes, highlights and tips, to help you plan the perfect trip.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a relatively small city and despite being built on a hill, it is easy to walk around. There is an extensive network of buses, along with a tram line to connect the different parts of the city. However, if you are visiting Edinburgh in 1 day, then you may not need to use public transport at all if you choose centrally located hotel accommodation.

Princes Street is the center of the New Town and is where the main shopping street is located. This street and its parallel ones, Rose Street and George Street, have a lot of hotels and restaurants for various budgets. 

This area is also convenient for getting in and out of the city as it services the tram which connects the city centre to the airport and is only a short walk from the main bus station.

On the other hand, the Old Town is where you will find the more historic (and touristy) side of the city, with just as many Edinburgh hotels and other accommodation options. 

Luxury: Glasshouse Autograph Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Located at the foot of Calton Hill in a fabulous modern building with a historic facade, the Glasshouse is a real treat. With full-height windows in all the rooms, the views over Edinburgh are spectacular. Add a delicious local breakfast and a rooftop garden, and this hotel makes a great place for a special visit or celebration.

Mid-Range: Market Street Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Superbly located in Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Market Street Hotel is one of our favorite places to stay for a short visit. The rooms are simple but stylish, and many local crafts have been used in the decor throughout the hotel. Make sure to enjoy a glass of something fizzy in the rooftop champagne bar!

Budget: Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile – Booking.com | Agoda

Another well-located hotel, the Ibis holds no surprises. Comfortable, functional, and clean, you’re in a perfect place to see all the top attractions, many of which are literally on the doorstep.

Hostel: CoDE Pod – The CoURT – Booking.com | Agoda

One of Edinburgh’s top hostels, CoDE Pod hostel offers simple but clean dormitories and private rooms making it a great option for those spending a night or two in Edinburgh on a budget.

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting Edinburgh . We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

Written for The Gap Decaders by Elina at Empnefsys and Travel .

Are you looking for more one day city itineraries? Check out these top posts…

Brussels in one day

Brussels in One Day: The Best Itinerary, Map, Guide & Tips

plan journey edinburgh

Prague One Day Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

Amsterdam in One Day

Amsterdam One Day Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

belfast in a day

One Day Munich Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

one day in Stockholm

Stockholm One Day Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

Love it pin it.

edinburgh in one day itinerary

plan journey edinburgh

Navigate forward to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Navigate backward to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Edinburgh Trip Planner

Top destinations in edinburgh.

South Queensferry

Top attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Other notable attractions

plan journey edinburgh

Top searches in Edinburgh

Popular road trips from edinburgh, all road trips from edinburgh.

  • Edinburgh to London drive
  • Edinburgh to Paris drive
  • Edinburgh to Dublin drive
  • Edinburgh to Amsterdam drive
  • Edinburgh to York drive
  • Edinburgh to Rome drive
  • Edinburgh to Barcelona drive
  • Edinburgh to Blackpool drive
  • Edinburgh to Liverpool drive
  • Edinburgh to Berlin drive
  • Edinburgh to Belfast drive
  • Edinburgh to Prague drive
  • Edinburgh to Madrid drive
  • Edinburgh to Manchester drive
  • Edinburgh to Florence drive
  • Edinburgh to Brussels drive
  • Edinburgh to Birmingham drive
  • Edinburgh to Milan drive
  • Edinburgh to Vienna drive
  • Edinburgh to Budapest drive
  • Edinburgh to Lisbon drive
  • Edinburgh to Newcastle upon Tyne drive
  • Edinburgh to Venice drive
  • Edinburgh to Bath drive
  • Edinburgh to Bruges drive
  • Edinburgh to Copenhagen drive
  • Edinburgh to Keswick drive
  • Edinburgh to Munich drive
  • Edinburgh to Cardiff drive

Explore nearby places

  • Musselburgh
  • Milton Bridge
  • Burntisland
  • Newtongrange
  • Prestonpans
  • South Queensferry
  • Dalgety Bay
  • North Queensferry
  • Inverkeithing
  • Cowdenbeath

All related maps of Edinburgh

  • Map of Edinburgh
  • Map of Musselburgh
  • Map of Loanhead
  • Map of Lasswade
  • Map of Dalkeith
  • Map of Bonnyrigg
  • Map of Roslin
  • Map of Rosewell
  • Map of Milton Bridge
  • Map of Burntisland
  • Map of Newtongrange
  • Map of Kinghorn
  • Map of Aberdour
  • Map of Prestonpans
  • Map of South Queensferry
  • Map of Mayfield
  • Map of Penicuik
  • Map of Dalgety Bay
  • Map of Newbridge
  • Map of North Queensferry
  • Map of Cockenzie
  • Map of Tranent
  • Map of Inverkeithing
  • Map of Gorebridge
  • Map of Kirknewton
  • Map of Temple
  • Map of Pathhead
  • Map of Rosyth
  • Map of Kirkcaldy
  • Map of Cowdenbeath
  • Map of Carlops

Edinburgh throughout the year

  • Edinburgh in January
  • Edinburgh in February
  • Edinburgh in March
  • Edinburgh in April
  • Edinburgh in May
  • Edinburgh in June
  • Edinburgh in July
  • Edinburgh in August
  • Edinburgh in September
  • Edinburgh in October
  • Edinburgh in November
  • Edinburgh in December

Looking for day-by-day itineraries in Edinburgh?

Get inspired for your trip to Edinburgh with our curated itineraries that are jam-packed with popular attractions everyday! Check them out here:

  • 1-Day Edinburgh Itinerary
  • 2-Day Edinburgh Itinerary
  • 3-Day Edinburgh Itinerary
  • 4-Day Edinburgh Itinerary
  • 5-Day Edinburgh Itinerary

Q&A about Edinburgh

Weather in edinburgh, add places from guides with 1 click, collaborate with friends in real time, import flight and hotel reservations, expense tracking and splitting, checklists for anything, get personalized suggestions.

4.9 on App Store, 4.7 on Google Play

UK Travel Planning

Edinburgh Travel Guide (including essential tips, itinerary & map)

By: Author Tracy Collins

Posted on Last updated: June 22, 2024

Our  Edinburgh Travel Guide  includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for the beautiful Scottish capital. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for any visitor to Edinburgh!

Plan your visit to Edinburgh

The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is one of the most visited and beautiful cities to visit in the United Kingdom (in fact it is the second most visited city in the UK after London).

The winding cobblestone streets of its Old Town offer quaint medieval charm which is contrasted by the New Town, the very epitome of Georgian style. There is culture and history around every corner, and the list of Edinburgh attractions is a long one.

A visit to Edinburgh is one of the highlights of any UK itinerary and features in our recommended top 19 attractions, sights and landmarks to see in Scotland.

First-time visitor? Read our practical tips and make the most of your Edinburgh adventure

What you will find in this complete Edinburgh Travel Guide

Map of Edinburgh

When is the best time of year to visit edinburgh, how many days do you need in edinburgh, public transport options, alternative transport options (including tours), 🚆 by train from london, 🚗 by car (road trip option), ✈️ fly to edinburgh airport, attractions and things to do in edinburgh (and scotland), uktp podcasts about visiting edinburgh, quick picks, luxury/boutique hotels, mid-range hotels (including well-known chains), guest houses, edinburgh travel guide -tickets, tours & attractions, best day trips from edinburgh, best multi-day tours from edinburgh, best pubs, cafes and restaurants in edinburgh, books to read before visiting edinburgh, enjoy your visit to edinburgh.


Edinburgh travel guide – Visiting Edinburgh FAQ’s

Edinburgh is a popular destination to visit throughout the year. In fact, there are some months of the year it is best to avoid Edinburgh unless you are specifically visiting to attend an event such as

  • Hogmanay (December 30/31)
  • The Edinburgh Festival (August)
  • The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (August)

Weather-wise the summer months are the perfect time to visit Edinburgh. The days are long and expect sunny, warm and drier weather.

Winter can be brutal in Scotland. Expect rain, freezing fog and even snow especially in January or February. Read more about visiting the UK in winter .

Make sure to pack for the weather – layers are always recommended (and waterproofs too) whatever time of year you plan to visit.

Read more about the best time to visit the UK in my detailed guide.

Highland dancers at the Edinburgh Tattoo in the Edinburgh Travel Guide.

We recommend spending at least 2 days in Edinburgh. This will give you enough time to see the main sights, landmarks and attractions. Edinburgh is also the perfect base for exploring Scotland with many organised tours departing from the city.

There are many attractions to visit on days trips from Edinburgh (by train, car or tour) such as the Kelpies, Stirling, and St Andrews. Although it is possible to take a day trip tour to the Scottish Highlands we recommend planning your own multi-day itinerary or joining an organised multi-day tour.

Include Edinburgh in your train trip itinerary of the UK . It can be easily reached by train from London in just a few hours.

Catching the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Edinburgh (or Fort William or Inverness ) is a fantastic experience and if you enjoy train travel we recommend including it in your travel plans.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

What is the best way to explore Edinburgh?

Many of the sights are close to each other (Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile , Holyrood House, the monument to Sir Walter Scott, Princes Street ) and are within walkable distance of one another.

The city has a modern public transport network which includes buses, trams and trains.

There is a city-wide network of buses operating 24 hours a day. The Airlink bus runs between the airport and Waverley Station (Edinburgh’s train station) 24 hours a day. The journey takes around 25 minutes and leaves every 10 mins (approx) An adult single costs £4.50 and an open return £7.50.

The tram is a great way of travelling from one end of the city to the other. With regular stops along Princes Street jumping on and off the tram is one way to get around. The tram runs 14 km from Edinburgh Airport to York Place in the east end of the city centre. 

Buy tickets from the ticket vending machines at each tram stop. The machines accept credit and debit cards including cash (but give no change)

If you are travelling into  Edinburgh from the airport  via the tram network the cost is £6.50 for an adult and £3.30 for a child (single). Return tickets are £9.00 for adults and £4.80 for children.

Airport transfers are also included in the Edinburgh Pass. It is also possible to book an  Airlink Bus Transfer  or  private car transfer  to and from the airport into Edinburgh.

  • Trains  

If you want to travel further afield for the day there are regular services from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station to Glasgow, Falkirk ( for the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel) and Stirling. 

There are a number of hop-on and hop-off bus services operating in the city. If you purchase an  Edinburgh Pass  (these can be purchased for one, two or three days in Edinburgh) the Hop-on Hop-off Bright Bus Tour is included in the cost as well as a City Bus Tour.

Other bus tours include 

  • City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Travel on an open-top, double-decker bus with panoramic views of the city.

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Tour Edinburgh on 3 different hop-on and hop-off bus routes with 24 or 48 hours unlimited travel. Enjoy live guidance in English during the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tours.

  • Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

See all of Edinburgh’s attractions from the comfort of a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus which includes free entry to 3 royal attractions with a 48-hour Royal Edinburgh Ticket.

Visit the Castle, climb aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, and tour Holyroodhouse.

Best of Britain Itinerary planners

What is the best way to travel to Edinburgh from London?

For timetables and tickets, we recommend the trainline. Take the train to Edinburgh for a short break or incorporate it into your UK train travel itinerary.

Tip – If this is your first time catching a train in the UK read our complete guide to UK train travel which includes all the information you need to know to make travelling around the UK by rail a relaxing and stress-free experience.

🔀 Distance from London (via transport): 600 km (400 miles)

🕐 Time taken by train: 5 hours

📍 Leave from London Euston or London King’s Cross

If you are taking a road trip around the UK and plan to include Edinburgh in your itinerary make sure you book a hotel/ accommodation with free parking.

Many of the hotels and guest houses don’t offer parking at all so do check before you book. 

If you plan to start your road trip in Edinburgh I would see all the main city sights before picking up your car and continuing your trip.

I recommend checking car hire options through Discover Cars  who compare the prices from a number of companies to secure the best deal for you.

If you want to fly directly to Edinburgh you will find options from many destinations across the world. We recommend Skyscanner for flights,

If there is no direct flight available take a connecting flight from London. Edinburgh airport is close to the city and there are many ways to transfer to your accommodation including bus, taxi and tram.

Click here for transfers from Edinburgh airport

Read more – How to get from London to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Travel Guide view of a street in the city.


Scotland view with cow.







Edinburgh Travel Guide pic of one of the Kelpies in Falkirk.


Alnwick Castle.


Edinburgh Travel Guide - Itinerary Planners.

Accommodation in Edinburgh

Best hotels in edinburgh for sightseeing.

There are lots of accommodation options in Edinburgh to suit every budget. These are my choices of some of the best hotels in the city based on location and customer reviews.

The Balmoral


5* luxury with a Michelin starred restaurant


Holiday Inn Express City Centre


3* hotel located in the New Town


Elder York Guest House

Excellent location & good breakfast included.


  • The Balmoral  – 5* luxury, a Michelin starred restaurant, amazing afternoon teas, a spa and located right next to Waverley train station. £35 per day for parking.
  • The Witchery by the Castle  – a luxury boutique hotel with 9 themed suites. Boasting 4 poster canopied beds, spacious bathrooms and beautifully furnished and decorated the Witchery is the perfect choice for a special occasion. No parking available.
  • Waldorf Astoria The Caledonian  – Another beautiful 5* luxury hotel offering rooms with some lovely views. Facilities include a spa and fitness centre, indoor pool, restaurant and bar. £25 per day for parking.
  • Holiday Inn Express City Centre  – 3* hotel located in the New Town. A good breakfast, free WiFi, clean rooms and and comfy beds make this a great choice. With family rooms available it is a popular option for those traveling with children. No parking available.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh City Centre   – A very good hotel at a good price the Radisson Blu is centrally located. Facilities include a spa and gym. Parking is £12.50 per day. 
  • Motel One Edinburgh Royal  – Centrally located and affordable yet stylish hotel with clean and comfortable rooms. Adults only. No parking.
  • Elder York Guest House  – perfectly located a few minutes walk to Princes Street this is where we stay when we visit the city. Breakfast is good and the rooms comfortable. Note there is no lift so you have to climb a few sets of stairs to get to the guest house. No parking.


Find more special stays in my Accommodation Guide for Scotland.

Edinburgh Travel Guide - Man playing the bagpipes.

This is our selection of the best tours and attractions available in Edinburgh (if you fancy a ghost tour check out our guide to 9 of the spookiest, scariest and best ghost tours of Edinburgh !)

  • Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour – Take a magical 2-hour walking tour of Edinburgh and discover the city where the world of Harry Potter was conceived.
  • Underground Vaults Tour – Visit the vaults beneath Old Town which date back to the early 18th century
  • Holyrood Distillery Gin and Whisky Guided Tour – Enjoy a guided flavour-forward experience, learn how gin and whisky are made, and explore the craft distilling methods at Holyrood Distillery.
  • Firth of Forth: 90-Minute Three Bridges Cruise – A 90-minute sightseeing cruise with views of the “three bridges”, including the UNESCO World Heritage Forth Bridge, Inchcolm Island and medieval abbey. Enjoy incredible views of the Edinburgh skyline during your cruise.
  • History of Whisky with Tasting and Storytelling – Visit an outstanding whisky venue where you will be served four classic single malt scotch whiskys and immerse yourself in the great cultural importance of whisky and storytelling in Scotland.

Click here for great tickets, tours and attractions for Edinburgh

Best day & multi-day trips from Edinburgh

I have handpicked the best tours available from Edinburgh through Get Your Guide (we book most of our day tours and organised activities through Get Your Guide due to their great customer service and cancellation policy) and Viator (another tour company we have used during our travels).

You will find even more options to choose from in our guide to the best day trips and multi-day tours from Edinburgh here.

  • Loch Ness, Glencoe, & the Highlands Day Tour – See the best of Scotland, all in one day with this 12 hour day tour.
  • Hogwarts Express and Scottish Highlands Tour – Ride the world-famous Jacobite Steam Train and explore Glen Coe
  • Loch Lomond, Trossachs & Stirling Castle Tour – Experience the natural beauty of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
  • 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness – Stay overnight in the island village of Portree, visit haunting Glencoe & explore Eilean Donan Castle.
  • Outlander Experience 2-Day Tour – Follow in the footsteps of Claire and Jamie during this Outlander themed 2-day tour.
  • Iona, Mull, and Isle of Skye – Explore the famous Scottish Highlands and discover the unspoiled beauty of its westerly islands, including Mull, Iona, Staffa, and the famous Isle of Skye.

Are you an Outlander fan? Read our guide to the best Outlander tours available in 2022 and beyond

Portree on Isle of Skye.

There are so many fantastic places to eat in Edinburgh you are spoilt for choice. These are our top picks:

  • Makar’s Gourmet Mash Bar – for haggis, neeps & tatties
  • Biddy Mulligans (pub)
  • Maggie Dicksons (pub)
  • The World’s End (pub)
  • Toast (brunch and lunch)
  • The Dome – dine in stunning surroundings (bookings essential)

Haggis, neeps and tatties at Makar's Gourmet Mash Bar in Edinburgh.

For more Scottish literary inspiration check out my selection of 25 of the best books to read before you visit Scotland.


This guide will have provided inspiration plus practical information to help plan your visit to Edinburgh. You will find more inspiration and ideas to help plan your travels around Scotland in these travel guides:

  • Best castle hotels in Scotland
  • Northumberland Travel Guide (including tips, itinerary + map)
  • 10 virtual tours of famous landmarks in the UK

Find more inspiration for your travels in my Scotland Travel Guide which includes information about what to see, where to stay, how to get around, travel tips, recommended reading and more to make the most of your trip.

Edinburgh Travel Guide All you need to know


ScotRail services altered: Temporary timetable from 10th July

ScotRail: Important info

ScotRail services altered

Temporary timetable in operation. More information

ScotRail: Important info

Trams are running from every 7 minutes.

plan journey edinburgh

  • Plan a journey
  • Trams to Newhaven

Plan a Journey

plan journey edinburgh

Popular Destinations

For regular travellers, contact & help.

  • Get in touch

Additional Help

  • Ticket Offices
  • Lost property
  • Accessibility

Plan your journey

Relax and glide to edinburgh airport this summer, live tram departures.

Enter tram stop below

How much will my tram journey cost?

Use our handy tool to find out


Buy tickets before you board

Trams every 15 mins

Trams every 7 mins

First trams

First trams

Last Trams

Edinburgh’s iconic castle. See the nation’s Crown Jewels, hear the One O’Clock Gun, admire the Great Hall and enjoy views across the city. 

Getting there

plan journey edinburgh

BT Murrayfield is Scotland’s biggest stadium, with a capacity of 67,144. It is the official home of Scottish Rugby. 

plan journey edinburgh

The towering Roman column Melville Monument in the centre of St Andrew Square garden. 

plan journey edinburgh

A Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

plan journey edinburgh

Edinburgh’s largest shopping centre, occupying over 850,000 sq. feet.

plan journey edinburgh

Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia is the former yacht of the British Royal Family. Retired in 1997, the yacht can now be visited at Ocean Terminal in Leith.

plan journey edinburgh

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is a five-star, VisitScotland-rated visitor attraction in the heart of Edinburgh and last year it was the 7 th  most visited paid attraction in Scotland. Housed in a historic building, it offers visitors the chance to get hands-on with over 100 interactive illusion exhibits and see a demonstration of the 170-year-old Camera Obscura and outstanding panoramic views of the city from the Rooftop Terrace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i bring luggage on the tram.

Yes, we have six spacious luggage racks on each tram, including racks for large/bulky suitcases. Please do not block aisles, exits or priority seating areas and do not place luggage on seats.

Can I bring my dog on board?

Yes, dogs can travel free of charge. Please make sure however that your dog is kept on a lead at all times and is kept off the seats.

Is there spaces for wheelchairs or mobility scooters on the tram?

Yes, we have two dedicated spaces for wheelchairs and mobility scooters on every tram, located in the middle carriage of the tram.

Due to space limitations, we can only accommodate up to Class II mobility scooters. There is a permit scheme for mobility scooter users. You can read more on our  Tram Accessibility page .

Can I bring my bike on board?

Yes, up to two bicycles may be carried on trams free of charge at the discretion of the Ticketing Services Assistant. Restrictions may apply on all peak services (Monday to Friday 07:30-09:30 & 16:00-18:30) and throughout the Edinburgh International Festival in August or any pre-publicised event. Please board at the centre doors indicated with the bike symbol and follow the instructions from the Ticketing Services Assistant.

What do I do if I’ve lost something on the tram?

Contact our Customer Relations straight away. We will do our best to locate your item and return it to you within the same day. After one week, all lost property is sent to the Lost Property Office . You can contact them directly to arrange pick up.

Can I travel with a buggy/pram?

Yes. We recommend that customers use a smaller, easily foldable buggy where possible. Passengers who board with an unfolded buggy should position it in the buggy space whenever that space is available. If the wheelchair space is needed by a wheelchair user, customers with unfolded buggies are asked to make it available.

Buying tickets

Adult fares from, child fares from.

airport & city zone

Ticket Vending Machines

Every tram stop has ticket vending machines where you can buy Single, Return and DAYtickets. Our ticket vending machines accept most debit and credit cards including American Express as well as 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins. No change is given.

Mobile Ticketing

With the official Transport for Edinburgh  app , you can buy and load your phone with m-tickets for Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses. Your m-tickets can then be activated by scanning the QR code at the tram stop and used as you need them.

Ridacard Season Ticket

With our season ticket Ridacard, the more you travel, the more you save. It’s our best value travel option and you can enjoy unlimited travel 24/7 across the city with Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses.

citysmart top-up card

citysmart is the convenient, top-up ticket for tram and bus single journeys.

Available to buy online  or from any of our TravelHubs, the citysmart card gives you the freedom to top-up as you go. You can top-up by visiting one of our TravelHubs or on any Lothian Bus.

Scottish National Entitlement Card

Do you hold a Scottish National Entitlement Card? Did the City of Edinburgh Council issue it? If the answer to both questions is yes, you can travel for free on Edinburgh Trams in any zone.

Buy Airport tickets online

Pre-book your tram ticket for easy and quick transfers from Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh city centre. A range of Airport Single, Open Return and Multi-Day tram tickets available.

Image of tram on Princes Street passing Edinburgh Castle

Glide to Events in Edinburgh: July 2024

New safety signage beside the crossing at Newhaven tram stop

Tram campaign targets pedestrians during Rail Safety Week

Another prestigious award for tram team

Another prestigious award for tram team

Trams ready for a ‘full-on’ weekend in Edinburgh

Trams ready for a ‘full-on’ weekend in Edinburgh

plan journey edinburgh

No tickets in your basket.

Why not plan a trip?

  • Train Journey Planner

Book travel across Europe

Plan a rail journey in the uk or europe with our journey planner.

Our Journey Planner will show you all the available options to get you from A to B. Enter your departure and arrival stations and our clever tool will show you all the relevant info, including:

  • Train times
  • Direct and indirect services
  • Calling points
  • Ticket prices

Our timetable data is sourced directly from National Rail, so our Journey Planner only shows up-to-date, trustworthy information.

How to plan a journey

  • Use our Journey Planner tool at the top of the page and enter your origin station or the general area where you’ll be starting your journey. If you put ‘London’, for example, a list of stations within the city will pop up. If you don’t know which station you need, select ‘London, Any’ and we’ll do the rest.
  • Enter your destination below. If you’re going from city to city, you can select the ‘Any’ option again and we’ll highlight the cheapest tickets available for the journey on the next page.
  • Select your date of travel and add a return journey if you like.
  • Choose how many passengers you need tickets for.
  • Add a Railcard if you have one.
  • Hit ‘Get times and tickets’.
  • We’ve selected the cheapest available ticket for your journey, if you’re happy with it, hit ‘continue’ and book your tickets.

Use SplitSave sorcery to save on average £13 per trip*

Did you know SplitSave breaks your journey into two cheaper tickets, so you save money without even trying?

Well, now you do. You can find split tickets on our app and website - just start a search today! 

Find out more about split tickets .

*Average saving for bookings from 1 March 2023 - 31 Oct 2023 comparing SplitsSave fare vs next cheapest fare available to a Trainline customer. Subject to SplitSave fares being available.

Can I use the Journey Planner for TfL services?

Underground trains.

In the event that your trip requires a Tube journey between two mainline railway stations, the Journey Planner will factor in a Tube journey into the total journey time. However, you cannot purchase London Underground tickets on Trainline.

Overground trains

The Journey Planner allows you to check departure times and buy tickets for London Overground services. Simply enter your departure and arrival stations and we’ll do the rest.

Rail Planner on-the-go

Need to plan your train journeys while you’re out and about? Then download our  mobile app  (available for iOS, iPad and Android) to book your train tickets or find the latest  live travel , platform or delay information at a glance.

For selected routes, you can also use  Mobile Tickets , which means no more queuing at ticket collection machines and you’ll never need to panic over a lost paper ticket again.

Plan your next train journey with Trainline

We're experts at helping you to make planning rail journeys simple, quick and efficient. That’s why you can check live train departures, arrival times and fare details ahead of time – so you get where you need to be cheaply and smoothly.

By combining our train times journey planner with our extensive  UK trains map , you’ll see exactly where you'll pass, what kind of train you'll take, and what you might see along the way. 

Use our search tool above to identify which trains run during peak, off-peak or super off-peak times so you can get the best deal.

Make planning your train journey simple


Cheap train tickets

Booking Advance tickets with us could save you a bagful compared with booking non-Advance fares on the day of travel.

peak time clock

Off-Peak train times

Travelling Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak could really cut your costs down. These quieter trains will probably make your trip more comfortable too. 

trainline app

Stay connected on the move with our app. Get live journey information in seconds and use tickets on your phone to skip the queues.


When you’re using our Journey Planner, don’t forget to add any Railcards you have to see the savings you could make.


Ticket types 

There are many different ticket types in the UK so knowing what’s what, and when you can use them, is important for planning your journey.  


Price prediction 

Imagine if you could find out when train ticket prices were about to increase? Well, imagine no more with our clever and futuristic tool.

Popular journeys by train

Whether you’re planning a trip to one of the UK’s major cities, trying to get to the airport or simply looking for inspiration, you can check out some of the most popular UK train journeys below.

Planning a European train trip?

Did you know you can use our Journey Planner to check for European train times too? That’s right, in just a few clicks you could be heading to the continent to explore entirely new places by rail. If you’re travelling in France, we’ll even show you how much Co2 you could save by choosing the train over air travel – meaning you can feel better about yourself while on your journey! To try it out for yourself, simply enter your origin and destination locations into our tool as you usually would, then choose a time and ticket type that suits you.

Still need to do that all-important research before you go? Check out our comprehensive country guides below.

Trains in Italy

Trains in germany, trains in france, trains in spain, frequently asked questions, how do i use trainline's journey planner.

Using our Journey Planner is super-simple. Simply enter your departure and arrival stations into the "From" and "To" fields. Don't worry if you don't know which station to pick - you can also enter two city names and we'll show you all the possible routes between the two. The Journey Planner will show you the train times on your chosen day of travel, the number of changes, First Class options and - of course - the cheapest tickets!

Can I use the Journey Planner for European train journeys?

Yes, you can! Our clever tech works across 45 countries in Europe, meaning you can just as easily find train times for Rome to Milan as London to Manchester. We'll still show you the key info - train times, ticket prices, changes and First Class options. Where applicable, we'll also show you ticket conditions, such as refund and exchange rules.

How do I view coach options using the Journey Planner?

We'll show you train results by default in the Journey Planner, but it's simple to see view coach options. Simply click on the little coach tab above the search results and we'll show you all the coach services running between your chosen cities that day. Coaches are usually cheaper than trains so it's always worth a look if you want to save a few pennies.

Europe’s leading train and coach app

We help customers across Europe make more than 172,000 smarter journeys every day.

Plan your journey

Traffic Scotland and Traveline Scotland use the latest technology to deliver up to date travel information for Scotland.

Traffic Scotland

Through the Traffic Scotland service, Transport Scotland provides a high quality public service delivering traffic information for road users on Scotland's motorway and trunk road network.

24 hour monitoring at the Traffic Scotland Control Centre

Traffic Scotland uses innovative technology to monitor the roads and deliver live updates to drivers.

Find out more on the Traffic Scotland website

24 hour Traffic Customer Care Line

Transport Scotland also provides a 24 hour Traffic Customer Care Line dedicated phone service that can be contacted by calling 0800 028 1414. 

Traveline Scotland

Traveline Scotland provides up to date public transport timetable information to get you to your destination by the quickest route.

  • a journey planner showing public transport options between any two locations in Scotland, featuring all bus, coach, rail, Glasgow Subway and ferry routes,
  • departure boards for buses and departure times for Scottish ferry terminals and Glasgow Subway stations
  • news & Notices affecting public transport services,
  • contact details for all Scottish public transport operators.

plan journey edinburgh

Edinburgh passengers 'stranded' as easyJet and British Airways cancel flights

Flight cancellations from easyJet and British Airways have left thousands stranded, impacting Edinburgh passengers .

Both Heathrow and Gatwick have seen air-traffic control delays, with bad weather also wreaking havoc on flights. Flights to and from Edinburgh, Belfast , Lanzarote and Budapest have been affected, reports the Mirror .

One passenger, Tom McCarthy, wrote on X: “To make us sit on a plane for 3 hours to then cancel the flight and give us zero alternatives is an absolute disgrace! Family holiday cancelled, now no doubt I will have to fight tooth and nail for my money back and compensation!”

READ MORE - Edinburgh to host World Orienteering Championships with Scottish athletes competing

READ MORE - Edinburgh St James Quarter gets new late opening Italian coffee shop

Hundreds of other flights have been delayed across Europe, with journeys at Heathrow subject to severe disruption. British Airways cancelled two round-trips to Rome as well as services to Naples, Barcelona and Larnaca in Cyprus.

At least 10,000 passengers on easyJet and British Airways will be affected by travel chaos as the airlines issue apologies to their passengers.

easyJet suggested it will not yet be offering paid compensation to passengers, with easyJet messages to cancelled passengers reading: “We’re sorry that your flight has been cancelled. This is due to air traffic control restrictions. The disruption to your flight is outside of our control and is considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.”

Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

Airlines can avoid paying out hundreds of pounds in compensation if they can demonstrate the cause of cancellations or long delays was beyond their control. Under European air passengers’ rights rules, carriers must provide hotels, meals and alternative flights as soon as possible. The Mirror has approached British Airways and easyJet to comment on the cancellations.

However, at Manchester and London Stansted, the UK's second and third largest airports, just one single flight was cancelled, which was an easyJet service to Copenhagen and an A-Jet departure to Ankara. Meanwhile, Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, Ryanair, made no UK cancellation and has condemned what it calls “unacceptable” delays due to “repeated air-traffic control staff shortages across Europe".

In a statement on its website it apologised to passengers for “the excessive flight delays caused by European ATC staff shortages today Monday 8 Jul which are affecting all European airlines. “ATC services, which have had the benefit of no French ATC strike disruption this summer, continue to underperform (despite flight volumes being 5 per cent behind 2019 levels) with repeated ‘staff shortages’.” Ryanair says one in six of its “first wave” departures – 579 early flights – was delayed due to staff shortage. These repeated flight delays due to ATC mismanagement are unacceptable.''

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages

Last week, hundreds of Aer Lingus pilots were striking and marched at Dublin Airport as part of the ongoing dispute about pay. Industrial action was launched on June 26 and on June 29 an eight hour strike began at 5am. Aer Lingus was forced to cancel 120 flights on the Saturday, impacting around 15,000 travellers.

It comes after easyJet axed a spate of flights - plunging families' summer holidays into chaos at the end of June.

Multiple journeys from Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports have been cancelled with little notice by the budget airline. Tourists, though, turned up at these hubs to check in but were sent home, it is thought. Some told the Mirror booking alternative flights has, for now at least, cost them hundreds of pounds.

British Airways and easyJet have cancelled dozens of flights

Lothian Buses

Sign in & sync, save your favourites.

Sign in for quick access to your favourite stops, journeys and services.

  • Recent journeys

Lothian Buses

Home / TravelHub

plan journey edinburgh

For customers with top-up Ridacards, you can add funds by visiting any store which has PayPoint facilities (enter your postcode here  to find your nearest retailer).

For new or replacement Ridacards, please visit our Waverley Bridge, Shandwick Place or East Coast Buses TravelHubs, and a member of the team will be happy to help. 

Shandwick Place TravelHub

  • East Coast Buses Travelhub

Waverley Bridge TravelHub

Opening Hours

plan journey edinburgh

Shandwick Place TravelHub is also home to our CoffeeHub which serves a wide range of local and Scottish produce, hot drinks, cakes, snacks and meals. 

The CoffeeHub is fully accessible and includes free WiFi and charging points. Visit the CoffeeHub page to find out more and view the menu.

49 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh EH2 4SD

31 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1BQ

East Coast Buses TravelHub

Opening hours

Mall Ave, Musselburgh, EH21 7DY

Copyright 2024 Lothian Buses ltd


  1. 2 days in Edinburgh: The ULTIMATE Itinerary for 2023 (Maps + Photos)

    plan journey edinburgh

  2. Plan a journey with Edinburgh Trams, find tram times, route maps and

    plan journey edinburgh

  3. How To Plan The Perfect Edinburgh Itinerary

    plan journey edinburgh

  4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Edinburgh

    plan journey edinburgh

  5. Edinburgh Attractions Map

    plan journey edinburgh

  6. Tourist Map Of Edinburgh Scotland

    plan journey edinburgh


  1. edinburgh travel guide 8am#travel

  2. Scotland Edinburgh bus #shorts #edinburgh #scotland #bus #passengers

  3. plan journey me 1 CR ka jurmana 😱😱😱😱#viral #shorts #trending #youtubeshorts


  1. Journey Planner

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  2. Plan a Journey

    Get in touch. Plan a journey with Edinburgh Trams, find tram times, route maps and stops here.

  3. How do I plan a journey?

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  4. Bus & Tram App

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  5. 3 Days in Edinburgh

    Head toward the top of the Royal Mile and join a tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you can enjoy a barrel ride to learn all about the whisky-making process and identify which whiskies suit your palate. Visit the Scotch Whisky Experience. 354 Castlehill, Edinburgh - City Centre, EH1 2NE. Key facilities.

  6. Route Map and Stops

    The Edinburgh tram route runs from Edinburgh Airport, through the heart of the City Centre, then on to Leith, Ocean Terminal and Newhaven. ... Journey Planner Monday to Saturday 7am - 7pm, Sunday 11am - 7pm Journey Planner . View all ticket options. Tram Stops ...

  7. Public Transport

    We recommend downloading the Transport for Edinburgh app, which makes it simple to plan a journey, buy tickets, and swipe upon boarding. Visit the Lothian Buses website for more information on bus services, tickets and fares. Airlink 100, Skylink 200 & Skylink 400 . Airlink and Skylink buses run services from the city and Edinburgh Airport ...

  8. Timetables

    Plan a Journey. Journey Planner Timetables; Route map & stops; Popular Destinations. Popular Destinations. Edinburgh Airport; Murrayfield Stadium; ... (Monday to Friday 07:30-09:30 & 16:00-18:30) and throughout the Edinburgh International Festival in August or any pre-publicised event. Please board at the centre doors indicated with the bike ...

  9. Edinburgh Public Buses

    Lothian adult DAYticket : Lothian offers unlimited use of their buses and Edinburgh trams for one day for £ 4.50 ( US$ 5.70). First doesn't offer this type of ticket. Lothian child DAYticket: £ 2.20 ( US$ 2.80). Lothian Adult Airport DAYticket : This ticket offers unlimited use of Lothian buses and trams and includes travel to and from ...

  10. Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide + Local Tips (2024)

    Welcome to your ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide, a comprehensive resource for exploring Scotland's capital. Whether you're a first time visitor or returning to discover more, this guide covers everything from transportation and accommodation to top attractions and hidden gems. As someone who lived in Edinburgh for nearly three years and ...

  11. Home

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  12. Your Trip to Edinburgh: The Complete Guide

    Things to Do . Edinburgh has a lot of history, culture, and art available to explore, as well as expansive shopping areas. Touring Edinburgh Castle, one of the oldest fortified palaces in Europe, is a must-do for all visitors, as is hiking Arthur's Seat, the highest point in Edinburgh.Another popular attraction is Palace of Holyroodhouse; the Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II, it ...

  13. Network Maps

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  14. Edinburgh in One Day: Best Itinerary + Map, Tips & Guide

    Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small Group Day Tour. If you take one day trip from Edinburgh, go north on this highly rated and well organized day trip from Edinburgh. Explore some of the most famous attractions of the Scottish Highlands, including Glen Coe, Loch Ness, and the stunning Cairngorms National Park.

  15. Edinburgh trip planner: make a Edinburgh itinerary & map

    Plan on the go with our free travel app. With Wanderlog's mobile travel planner on Android and iOS, access and edit your trips wherever you go — even while offline. Keep your places to visit, flight/hotel reservations, and day-by-day itineraries for your trip to Edinburgh in our web and mobile app vacation planner.

  16. Edinburgh Travel Guide (Essential tips, itinerary & map)

    Edinburgh Travel Guide (including essential tips, itinerary & map) By: Tracy Collins. Last updated: June 22, 2024. Our Edinburgh Travel Guide includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for the beautiful Scottish capital. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for any visitor ...

  17. Traveline Scotland

    Timetables and journey planner for all bus, rail, coach, air and ferry services in Scotland. Also open 24 hours by phone on 0871 200 22 33.

  18. Homepage

    Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is a five-star, VisitScotland-rated visitor attraction in the heart of Edinburgh and last year it was the 7 th most visited paid attraction in Scotland. Housed in a historic building, it offers visitors the chance to get hands-on with over 100 interactive illusion exhibits and see a demonstration of the 170-year-old Camera Obscura and outstanding panoramic ...

  19. Journey Planner

    Plan a rail journey in the UK or Europe with our Journey Planner. Our Journey Planner will show you all the available options to get you from A to B. Enter your departure and arrival stations and our clever tool will show you all the relevant info, including: Train times. Direct and indirect services. Changes.

  20. How do I journey plan?

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  21. Plan your journey

    The Traveline Scotland app (in association with Traffic Scotland) includes: a journey planner showing public transport options between any two locations in Scotland, featuring all bus, coach, rail, Glasgow Subway and ferry routes, departure boards for buses and departure times for Scottish ferry terminals and Glasgow Subway stations.

  22. Visitor Guide

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times

  23. Edinburgh passengers 'stranded' as easyJet and British Airways ...

    Over 60 easyJet and British Airways flights have been cancelled across the UK's two busiest airports, with thousands of holidaymakers stranded without "information or a plan". Travel Edinburgh Live

  24. TravelHub

    Menu. Live Travel Info. Journey Planner - Travelling around Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has never been easier with our popular Journey Planner.; Live bus times - With our live tracker we follow the location of your bus and tell you when it's due to arrive at your stop.; Service Updates - Check here for the latest alerts and diversions.; Maps & Times