Edinburgh

Edinburgh_Castle_Rock.jpg

Arrival

From airport to Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Airport, the busiest airport in Scotland, is situated some 10 miles west of the city. The airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to Europe, North Americaand the Middle East. 

Tram: Edinburgh Tramslink the airport to Edinburgh city centre every 8-10 minutes between 06.15 and 22.45. Adult fares from the airport to any stop are £5.50 for a single and £8.50 for an open return - you must purchase a ticket from the machine before you board. No change is given, however the machines do accept cards. If you are adventurous, and want to save a few pounds, consider walking to the next stop - Ingliston Park & Ride. A single fare from there to any other stop (except the airport) only costs £1.60.

Buses: Airlink Express, service 100, runs from outside the terminal building to Edinburgh city centre (Waverley Bridge) at least every 10 minutes until 00.22, and then every 30 minutes from then until 04.45. The bus leaves from Waverley Bridge (opposite entrance to train station) for the Airport at the same intervals 24/7. Adult fares are £4 for a single, £7 for an open return and the journey takes an average 25 mins. The buses offer free wi-fi connection, sockets for charging electrical equipment, CCTV allowing top-deck passengers to monitor their luggage, and electronic "next-stop" information. The Airlink buses have a dedicated blue livery which makes them easy to distinguish from the rest of the Lothian fleet. From 00.22 to 04.45, Airlink passengers must use the N22 nightbus to reach the airport, this leaves from Princes Street. The buses on the N22 service are normal Lothian Buses branded vehicles.

A cheaper alternative is the ordinary Lothian Buses service 35 [6], which runs from the bus stance outside the arrivals building to Ocean Terminal via the Royal Mile/High Street. Although much slower (about 1h30) and with less provision for baggage than the 100, it is far cheaper at £1.60 a single and also allows the use of day tickets (£4.00) and other options that work on all Lothian Buses services, a great option for getting straight to the city if travelling lightly or on a budget. Do note that you must carry exact change with you onto the 35, as the driver can't give any back to you, so try and get this from within the airport, or just take the airlink!


Getting around

Edinburgh is a compact city - most of the sights and major tourist attractions are within the Old Town and New Town and are no further than a 15 minute walk apart. Walking along elegant or atmospheric streets is one of the pleasures of the city. There are however, a number of hills to be navigated; for example from Princes Street, up The Mound towards Edinburgh Castle requires some significant legwork, but it's worth it for the views en route.

The city's public transport system is relatively poor next to London and other major European cities - being heavily reliant on buses, which have to navigate the city's sometimes bustling traffic. Congestion charging similar to that found in the English capital has been proposed but was defeated at a referendum. Equally, the suburban railway network is very sparse compared to that of Glasgow, although there have been some slow and steady improvements over the years.

By bus

Edinburgh has two main bus companies, Lothian Buses, which is majority-owned by the The City of Edinburgh Council, and First, a private operator. These two companies share the same bus stops, but the route numbers and tickets are not interchangeable and they operate different fare structures.

Lothian are the larger operator in the city itself whose distinctive madder-red (burgundy) and white coloured buses had become as much a symbol of Edinburgh as its buildings. For some reason Lothian saw this as a negative and this livery was almost completely phased out in favour of Harlequin colours, which are predominantly white, with red and gold rhombuses of different sizes along the sides. Some of the more important routes also have different colours on the front and roof of the bus to help passengers spot their required bus. As of March 2010, they started to repaint the fleet into the traditional "madder" livery and this was completed early 2016.

Children up to age 5 travel for free. Single tickets for Lothian Buses are £1.60 (80p for over 5s and under 16s) and are valid for only one journey. If you have to change bus, you have to buy another £1.60 ticket! Bear in mind that bus drivers will not give change, so save up those £1.00 and 20p coins.

More conveniently, Lothian offer an all-day ticket for £4.00 (as of May 2015) that covers all buses (except sightseeing, airport express and night services) and the trams (see below). The all-day ticket is a great way to see the city without the expense of the tour buses, as you can get on and off all Lothian buses for the whole day. Kids' day tickets are generously discounted to £2. You can buy these from any bus driver, or from Lothian Buses offices.

There is a BusTracker service. This provides "real time" bus service information. Electronic signs are along major routes, showing the wait time for the next bus on each service at that stop. Online, it's possible to view the information for every bus stop in the city, not just those stops with electronic signs. Every stop has a unique eight-figure code, which are listed on the website and also displayed at the stop. You can access Bus Tracker via a mobile phone at mobile.mybustracker.co.uk. A free app named "Transport for Edinburgh" is available for iPhone and Android. They provide similar information with route maps and a stop locator.

First buses mostly service farther-flung areas to the east and west of the city.

Edinburgh Coach Lines operate service 13, a bus of use to many visitors as it is the only route serving the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery. Single tickets are in line with Lothian fares at £1.60 for adults and 80p for children (under 16). Lothian season tickets and day tickets are not valid on service 13.

There are also four companies that operate sightseeing buses all of which are now owned by Lothian Buses. All have a policy that a sightseeing ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can get around central Edinburgh quite handily using the sightseeing buses. Each sightseeing bus follows a different route around the city, but they all start and finish at Waverley Bridge, adjacent to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station near Princes Street.

By train

A small number of suburban rail routes run from Edinburgh Waverley station, most of the stations lying in the south west and south east suburbs of the city, and are useful for reaching the outer suburbs of Balerno, Currie, Newcraighall, Wester Hailes and South Queensferry and the towns Wallyford, Prestonpans & Musselburgh in East Lothian and a useful link to Edinburgh Park which is adjacent to the Gyle shopping complex. Services to North Berwick, Bathgate, Fife or Glasgow Central will make stops at these various stations. Note that standard National Rail fares apply to these trains - there are no credible daily season ticket options available. Check at the station before you board!

The "charged by the piece" left luggage service at Edinburgh Waverley train station is far more expensive than the storage lockers a few blocks away at Edinburgh Bus station near St Andrew Square.

By car

Central Edinburgh is a nightmare to drive in, particularly the Old Town with its tangle of medieval streets with their associated one way systems. 

By tram

Two trams at the West End stop linking York Place in the centre of Edinburgh to Edinburgh Airport in the west, passing through the New Town to the city centre. As it links the airport, rugby stadium, both main train stations and Princes Street, it is helpful for some visitors to the city.

The trams operate every 8-10 minutes throughout the day. Single tickets to and from any stop (except the airport) cost £1.60. A ticket to the airport from any other stop costs £5, or £8 for a return. Day tickets are available for £4.00, which allow unlimited travel on the trams (all stops excluding the airport) and Lothian Buses day services for one day. Similarly, any day tickets purchased on Lothian Buses services are valid on the trams, excluding the stop at the airport.

Tickets must be purchased from a machine prior to travel - no change is given, however the machines accept cards.

By taxi

Like most major British cities, Edinburgh offers a choice between Black Cabs, carrying up to 5 passengers, which can be hailed on the street, and minicabs, which must be pre-booked. Black cabs display an orange light above the windscreen to indicate that they are available to hire. It's usually quite easy to find a cab in and around the city centre, and on the main radial routes running out of the centre.


Shopping

Princes Street in New Town offers shopping with a view. All shops here are relegated to one side of the street, giving shoppers an uninterrupted view of Old Town. Visitors will find large department stores like Jenners (Scotland's oldest independent department store until its acquisition in 2005), Debenhams and M&S (Marks and Spencer). There is also an Apple Store and several health and beauty shops.

Multrees Walk in New Town, on the east side of Saint Andrew Square caters to the luxury shopper. This is the place to find Louis Vuitton, luxury fashion retailer Harvey Nichols, Swarovski, fine art galleries and high-end jewelry and watch stores.

Shoppers with a taste for the eclectic, and those who prefer browsing smaller, independent stores should head to Grassmarket in Old Town. Shops here feature a little bit of everything, from vintage clothing to 16th-century prints and maps.

Harry Potter fans need to take a stroll down Victoria Street in Old Town. This street is said to have been the inspiration for "Diagon Alley." Souvenir hunters will find bookstores, a joke shop, jewelry and clothing stores. They may even spot a witch or wizard stocking up on supplies at The Cadies & Witchery Tours.

The Royal Mile in Old Town boasts the highest number of "traditional" souvenir shops. Bookended by Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House, The Royal Mile is home to a number of interesting museums and historical sites. Almost every site has its own souvenir gift shop. This is also the place to come to find "made-in-Scotland" garments, "traditional" Scottish wear (i.e. kilts in every tartan pattern known and then some), and whiskey. Some stores, like The Scotch Whisky Experience that offers virtual whisky-making tours, also offer tastings.

The port town of Leith is best known for its indoor shopping center Ocean Terminal. Ocean Terminal houses brand name stores like Gap and The Perfume Shop. The more unique shops, however, are found outside of Ocean Terminal. Independent stores here offer books, second-hand furniture, eco-friendly gifts, and antiques.


See

If you are staying in Scotland a little while, it might be worth getting a Historic Scotland Membership . Passes last for a year, and cost about £40 for adults and £30 for concessions (including full-time students). They provide unlimited access to about 70 paying sites in Scotland, including Edinburgh's Castle and Craigmillar Castle. You also get a lot of discounts for their shops, a quarterly magazine, and 50% off all English, Welsh and Manx historical sites.

  • Edinburgh Doors Open Day is an annual event, co-ordinated by the Cockburn Association, where many important and/or historic buildings across the city open up their doors to the public at no charge. Many of the buildings are not normally accessible so this can present a unique opportunity to see some of the city's lesser-known architectural marvels. It usually takes place on the last weekend in September. Brochures with details of the participating sites, opening times, access details etc., can be picked up from city libraries in the run up to the day, or downloaded from the website.

  • Wallace Cycle Tours, ☎ 07792129025. 4. A new addition for the city centre running everyday in the fine, sunny weather of Scotland :) You are given a bike and helmet (to keep that face looking pretty) and you will see Edinburgh in the company of a local guide. .

Landmarks

  • Edinburgh Castle, Old Town. Edinburgh Castle, home to the Edinburgh Tattoo, is a magnificently situated royal fortress located on one of the highest points in the city. The castle has been continuously in use for 1000 years and is in excellent condition.

  • Craigmillar Castle, Little France, . The ruins of Craigmillar Castle are a fantastic place to see. Located just after Holyrood Park, about 5Km east of the city centre, the first part of the castle was built in the 14th century. If you're going by taxi, don't forget to keep a number of a taxi company to call one to go back to the city.

  • Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town, — The Palace is a royal residence, and hosts the Queen's Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection.

  • St Giles' Cathedral, Old Town, — The historic City Church of Edinburgh is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh and takes its name from the city's patron saint.

  • Mary King's Close, Old Town, — Warriston's Close (opposite St Giles' Cathedral), open daily except 25 Dec - a slice of Edinburgh's medieval history, preserved since being closed over in the 18th century - watch out for the haunting.

  • Gladstone's Land, Old Town, — In the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. It is a 17th century Old Town tenement (known as a 'Land') decorated with period furniture. It has an impressive painted ceiling.

  • Greyfriars Kirkyard, Old Town. A very old graveyard in Old Town off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge, made famous by Disney as the home of Greyfriars Bobby.

  • Camera Obscura, Old Town, — Castle Hill. Over 150 years old, the Camera Obscura focuses light from the top of the tower onto a large dish in a dark room below, allowing a 360-degree view of all of Edinburgh!

  • The Scottish Parliament, Old Town, , (eastern end of the Royal Mile, opposite the Palace of Holyrood House)— A unique building designed by the Spanish (Catalan) architect Enric Miralles. It is necessary to get (free) tickets to watch the Parliament in session from the Public Gallery.

  • Grassmarket area, Old Town, , (a few steps away from the Royal Mile, including George IV bridge and by Greyfriar's Bobby)— A colourful and unique area of the historic old town, once the site of Edinburgh's horse and cattle market and now home to a great selection of independent shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and arts & crafts.

  • Scott Monument, East Princes Street Gardens, New Town. Built in 1846 to commemorate the life of Sir Walter Scott after his death in 1832, the Gothic spire monument allows you to climb 200 ft above the city centre to enjoy fantastic views. £4.

  • The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Terminal, Leith, Jan-Mar, Nov-Dec 10AM-5PM, Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct 10AM-5:30PM, Jul 9:30AM-5:30PM, Aug 9:30AM-6PM last entry 1.5 hrs before closing, closed 1 Jan and 25 Dec, £10, seniors £8.75, child 5-17 yrs and students with ID £8.75, children under 5 free - decommissioned from royal use in recent years and voted one of Edinburgh’s best new attractions, Britannia offers visitors the chance to tour the royal apartments and view a selection of the many gifts offered to the royals by dignitaries worldwide.

Penguin Parade

  • Royal Botanic Garden , Inverleith Row (East Gate) / Arboretum Place (West Gate), Stockbridge. Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Free entry to the gardens. £3.50, £3 concessions, £1 children for entry to the glasshouses.

  • Edinburgh Zoo , West, . Watch the world famous Penguin Parade.

  • Rosslyn Chapel , South, Take the number 37 bus to Roslin in Midlothian to see this chapel, featured in "The Da Vinci Code" novel and film.

Museum and galleries

  • National Museum of Scotland and Royal Museum , Chambers St, Old Town tel +44 131 247 4422. fax +44 131 220 4819. typetalk 18001 0131 247 4422. The museum mixes innovative modern architecture with the best of Scotland's heritage. The Royal Museum has a magnificent airy Victorian atrium now with the Millennium Clock at one end - arrange to be there when it is chiming. Exhibits in the Museum of Scotland include Scottish pottery and weapons from the Roman era and the Renaissance. M-Sa 10AM-5PM with extended opening to 8PM on Tuesdays, and Su noon-5PM. Free.

  • The National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town tel. +44 131 624 6200, holds much of Scotland's fine artwork and carries exhibitions that change seasonally. The new Western Link was opened in 2004 with an entrance from Princes Street Gardens. It joins The National Gallery with the neighbouring Scottish Academy gallery and gives Scotland it's first world class art space.

  • The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 74 Belford Rd on the western fringe of the New Town, +44 131 624 6200, contains a fine selection of modern art from Scotland and other countries.

  • The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market St, behind the Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station, Old Town. Aims to find the most appropriate way to bring artists and audiences together. It is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Free.

  • There are a number of independent galleries in the St Stephen Street area of Stockbridge


Do

  • Walk along the Water of Leith, a small river that meanders through Edinburgh, providing a peaceful haven from the busy city. Check out the Leith or Stockbridge and Canonmills sections of the route.

  • Hike the short climb up Calton Hill to see some of Edinburgh's most iconic monuments (The National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Stewart Dugald Monument, and more) and for some really great views of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the countryside beyond.

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

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

  • Wander down the colourful Victoria St and discover the Grassmarket area - explore the hub of Edinburgh's independent shops and restaurants

  • Arthur's Seat. The extinct volcano to the East of the city centre offers fantastic views from its summit - and at only 251 m high the ascent isn't too strenuous. If a lighter stroll is in order, a traverse of Salisbury Crags, just below the hill, offers similar panoramas of the city.

Festivals

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

  • The Edinburgh International Festival — The original that spawned all the rest. Founded in 1947 and still seen as more "high-brow" than any of its offspring. Surprisingly, tickets are often priced more reasonably than for many Fringe shows.

  • The Edinburgh Military Tattoo — One of the iconic images of Edinburgh for millions worldwide is the yearly Tattoo, kilted pipers skirling below the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Although tickets sell out well in advance, persevering individuals are likely to find one or two tickets still for sale due to cancellations... just be prepared to ask, ask, and ask again!

  • The Edinburgh Fringe Festival — As the name might suggest, this Festival developed on the "Fringe" of the main International Festival and offers more alternative performances, with an emphasis on comedy and avant-garde; it is now the largest arts festival in the world.

  • The Edge Festival (formerly known as "T on the Fringe")— Music festival which takes place alongside the Fringe Festival.

  • The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival — Takes place in a temporary village of marquees at Charlotte Square (West End of George Street, New Town ).

  • The Edinburgh International Film Festival — Now moved to June from its former slot in August, so that it no longer clashes with all the others! Centred around the Filmhouse Cinema on Lothian Road, though other cinemas take part too.

  • The Edinburgh International Television Festival — Predominantly a "closed shop" for industry professionals only.

  • The Edinburgh Mela — Multicultural festival held in Leith.

  • Imaginate Festival — Every May/June, an international festival of children's theatre.

  • Edinburgh International Science Festival — Takes place annually in March or April. Emphasis on "hands-on" science.

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

Hogmanay

Edinburgh in the winter festive season is also huge with various concerts and other activities taking place starting a couple of weeks before Christmas and running up to a week into January. Princes Street Gardens play host to a Big Wheel, outdoor ice rink and various festive markets. As in most of the rest of Scotland, Hogmanay, the New Year celebrations, are the main focus of the festive season rather than Christmas. On the night itself whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Hogmanay street party , which takes place across several stages and is easily the largest in Scotland. Hogmany and Edinburgh fit together like hand and glove.

Cinema

  • Go to the cinema. Edinburgh has a number of cinemas covering mainstream, foreign language and arthouse films.

    • Cineworld, 130 Dundee St, 0871 200 2000. Mainly mainstream and arthouse. This is about 20 mins on foot from Princes Street and a Number 1 34 or 35 bus will take you.

    • Cameo Cinema, Home St, +44 131 228 4141. Mainstream & alternative films, in remarkable surroundings. A much-loved venue that's well worth a visit.

    • Dominion, Newbattle Terrace, +44 131 447 4771. Mainstream & alternative films. One screen is full of two- and three-person leather sofas for the ultimate cinema-going experience.

    • Filmhouse, Lothian Rd, +44 131 228 2688. Edinburgh's (and Scotland's) largest venue for arthouse and foreign language films. Great café and bar, and hub of the annual Film Festival.

    • Odeon Cinema, Lothian Rd, 0870 505 0007.

    • Vue, Leith Walk, 0870 240 6020. Large multiplex.

    • "'Vue'", Ocean Terminal, Leith. Large multiplex.

Sport

  • See a 6 Nations Championship rugby match at Murrayfield Stadium . The 6 Nations is effectively the European Championship of rugby, taking place every spring between Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and England. The teams play each other once per year, and alternate home and away games. In even-numbered years, England and France visit Murrayfield, while in odd-numbered years, Scotland host Wales, Ireland and Italy. On the weekend of a home match, Edinburgh is absolutely full to bursting, and the atmosphere is like nothing else, especially if Wales or Ireland are in town. If you plan to visit in February or March, be sure to check the fixtures and book accommodation well in advance if your trip coincides with a home match (Edinburgh/West).

  • Take in afootball match at Heart of Midlothian FC's Tynecastle Park (Edinburgh/West), or Hibernian F.C.'s Easter Road Stadium (Leith).

  • Catch a match of the city's professional rugby club, Edinburgh Rugby, at Murrayfield(Edinburgh/West).

  • Catch an American Football match at the Edinburgh Wolves's home venue of Meadowbank Stadium(Edinburgh/West).


Food & drinks

According to Scottish tourism officials, Edinburgh has more restaurants per person than any other town in the UK. Travelers will find everything from Michelin-rated fine-dining establishments to small pubs. And within that array, places offering traditional Scottish fare, seafood dishes, and ones specializing in Indian, Mediterranean or Chinese cuisine. If you crave it, there's a restaurant in Edinburgh that makes it. What follows are some examples of traditional Scottish fare.

As for Scotland's first drink, you will find The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre at the top of The Royal Mile, which offers an interactive "tour" of the history and practise of Whisky distilling, complete with a rather sedate barrel ride. This is a good place to go if you want to sample whisky, as they have a very large selection at a fairly reasonable price. Older whiskys tend to cost more and the rarest on offer can cost up to £50.00 per measure! The atmosphere is less pub-like than some might like as it tends to be fairly quiet - if you don't fancy the interactive tour and just want to try some whiskys then check the listings for some good whisky pubs but in any event, the majority of Edinburgh pubs tend to have a reasonable array of Scotch whiskys on offer. The food at the Centre is reasonably priced and fairly good.

Lots of traditional pubs are all around the city.
Many famous traditional pubs on the Grassmarket, Old Town. These pubs are tourist traps and tend to be very popular with visiting stag and hen parties, so locals tend to keep clear.
Lots of modern clubs are around Cowgate and Lothian road including Base, Gig and Diva.* George Street in the New Town hosts many of Edinburgh's trendier bars
George IV Bridge in the Old Town is another trendy style bar area.
Other night clubs around the city include Espionage, Opal Lounge, Shanghai, Bacaro, GHQ, The Hive, Octopussy (Thursday's at HMV Picture House) and Why Not.


Practical info

Contact

Internet

Multiple internet cafés and hotspot venues exist throughout Edinburgh. 

  • Many of the municipal libraries throughout the city have PCs with free internet access.

  • The city's largest independent internet cafe is Mossco Internet Cafe, located near Haymarket Station (18 West Maitland Street).

Stay safe

By all accounts, Edinburgh is an extremely safe destination. In a poll conducted by international market research firm YouGov in 2014, Edinburgh was listed as the safest of the ten most populous cities in the UK. The water is safe to drink. Visitors can eat the food without constant fear of becoming home to a nefarious parasite. And although home break-ins are on the rise, violent crime and robberies happen infrequently.

During the day, visitors can travel safely almost anywhere on the streets of downtown Edinburgh. Although as with any city, there are a few places to steer clear of. Travellers are advised to stay away from the housing districts of Wester Hailes' in the south west, the residential housing estates Muirhouse and Pilton in the north and the suburb Niddrie in the southeast. These are areas known for drug use and high crime rates.

The biggest threat to travellers are pickpockets and purse snatchers. These petty thieves tend to congregate around tourist attractions, on public transportation and in crowded areas such as busy shopping centers. Tourists can keep their valuables safe by keeping them out of sight or at least out of easy reach.

Travellers should take a little more caution at night. It is always wise to explore with a buddy after dark, and to keep food and drink in sight at all times when visiting bars or pubs. Cowgate in [Old Town], and Lothian Road and the top of Leith Walk in [New Town] should also be avoided. At night, these places tend to become saturated with drunken crowds. Women, in particular, should also stay out of the meadows in [Old Town] after dark.

A good resource to know about is The SafeZone Bus. Operated by volunteers, SafeZone buses are in service on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm to 4 am. They offer free transportation home for anyone who is drunk, unwell or simply disoriented. They can also offer first aid services if needed. Buses can be found at Cathedral Lane, opposite the Omni Centre, in Old Town.

Stay healthy

In emergency, dial 999 (preferably from a landline, a free call from any phone including payphones), 112 also works. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24-hour NHS 24 service on 111.

  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (R.I.E.), 51 Little France Cres, Old Dalkeith Rd (On the southern fringe of the city, it can take up to 30 min from the city centre in a bus or taxi), ☎ +44 131 536 1000. 24 hour opening. The R.I.E. hosts the main Accident and Emergency (A&E) facility for the city.

The Western General near Crewe Toll runs a no-appointment

Minor Injuries Clinic between 8am and 9pm every day.

Pharmacy

During normal shopping hours (M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM), you won't have any problem locating a pharmacy as they are dotted all around the city. Any row of local shops will usually include one. Common brands include Boots (city centre branches in the New Town at 11 Princes St, 101-103 Princes St and 48 Shandwick Pl; in the Old Town at 40-44 North Bridge), Alliance and Numark.

Outside of these hours you will face more of a challenge. There are no 24 h pharmacies in the city. In the city centre the best option is probably the Boots branch at 48 Shandwick Pl (western extension of Princes Street), M-F 7:30AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 10:30AM-4:30PM.

Some of the major supermakets include a pharmacy counter, but note that the pharmacy does not necessarily follow the same opening hours as the supermarket itself. The pharmacy counter within the Tesco supermarket at 7 Broughton Road in Canonmills is quite close to the city centre and opens M-Sa 8AM-8PM and Su 10AM-5PM.

For non-prescription medication, ASDA are open 24/7 and have a handful of branches dotted around the outskirts.

Babysitting

Super Mums Childcare Agency, +44 131 225 1744 or +44 7748 964144. Bookings 24hr service, Card payments only (Amex, Visa,Mastercard, Maestro). Round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term from £8.50 per hour (3 hour minimum) and travel expenses home (approx. £7). Multilingual sitters are also available.


In general


Surroundings

  • Peebles, a Historical Town set in the beautiful Tweed Valley. We are 45 minutes from Edinburgh. The Town offers a very interesting historical town walk, we have lovely individually owned unique shops, a weekly market (Thursdays) and an array of eating places and coffee shops. We have the world renowned Glentress and Innerleithen mountain biking centres on our doorstep and fantastic walking routes including the fabulous John Buchan Way. There is also Traquair House, the oldest inhabitated House in Scotland which also has Gardens and a Brewery - the famous Traquair Ale - which is located only a few miles from Peebles. There are lots of attractions nearby including Dawyk and Kailzie Gardens, Robert Smails Printing Works and Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. Local events include the Beltane Festival, Highland Games and Agricultural Show.

  • South Queensferry— On the north-western fringe of the city, site of the contrasting engineering marvels that are the Forth Bridges (one road and one rail). Quite a few hotels here and with good transport links to the city centre it can be a good base for visitors.

  • Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, is located 46 miles west of Edinburgh and is easily reached via train (see above), bus (running from the main bus terminal) or via the M8 motorway. Great for shopping and has some excellent museums and galleries.

  • Fife is a predominantly rural county, with some lovely old towns and villages dotted throughout. This is the coast which can be seen across the Firth of Forth from many viewpoints around the city. It's easy to get to via the twin road and rail bridges across the Forth.

  • Dunfermline, previously the capital of Scotland, makes an excellent day trip. It is easily accessed by car via the Forth Road Bridge. There is a half hourly service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).

  • Aberdour— Described as "The Jewel of Fife", Aberdour is a historic and stunningly attractive coastal village 40 minutes drive North of Edinburgh. Aberdour Castle is a must-see, as well as the Blue-Flag awarded beach the Silver Sands. There are also several pubs, restaurants, and boutique shops. Also served by a half-hourly rail service from Edinburgh - journey time 30 minutes.

  • St Andrews— Ancient university town, former ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and home of the Royal and Ancient - the ruling body of Golf.

  • East Lothian, immediately to the east of the city, offers rolling green countryside, golden sandy beaches, dozens of golf courses, and more annual sunshine hours than any other part of the UK. The area has a number of picturesque villages and small towns, including North Berwick, with webcams at the Scottish Seabird Centre giving live pictures of thousands of birds on the Bass Rock; Gullane, a mecca for golfers; Musselburgh for ice cream and horse racing; and Dunbar, a pleasant harbour town famous as the birthplace of conservationist John Muir.

  • The Museum of Flight in East Fortune is about 30 minutes drive along the A1 towards Dunbar. It is also close to Drem station on the Edinburgh to North Berwick line. It is home to a number of historic aircraft from across the history of flight, including British Airways Concorde G-BOAA. Remember to book in advance to see inside Concorde as these tickets are generally sold out on the day. Another rather good attraction (and well worth the look) is the De-Havilland Comet 4C, a modified version of the Worlds first jetliner.

  • West Lothian is the area to the west of the city. Generally less pretty than its eastern counterpart, but does have a couple of destinations worth the effort.

  • Linlithgow with its Palace, and links to Mary, Queen of Scots, is a great little town for a day trip from Edinburgh. It is a short drive by car on the M9. There is also a frequent service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).

  • Livingston— One of Scotland's New Towns, it is one of Scotland's most popular shopping spots, only a short drive from Edinburgh on the M8 or A70. Plus there are also bus and rail services to the new town.

  • The Falkirk Wheel Built in 2001 to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, it is the world's only rotating boat lift. Free entry to the visitor centre / cafe / gift shop. Boat trips up on the Wheel take about an hour, and cost £8 adults, £4.25 children, £6.50 concessions. Half hourly buses from Falkirk town centre, or a good walk from the Falkirk "Camelon" railway station. You can also cycle along the Union Canal from Edinburgh - the route is part of the National Cycle Network.

  • The Glentress Moutain Biking Centre is the largest mountain biking centre in Scotland, and one of the best in the UK. You can hire a bike and helmet for around £20 a day. Routes are provided for cyclists of different skill levels, and are signposted so you won't get lost. You can get there on the 62 bus from Edinburgh in just over 1 hour (see Traveline Scotland for travel info).

  • The Pentlands Hills Regional Park is a low-lying hill range to the South of Edinburgh, popular with walkers and cyclists. Getting there takes around 30 minutes on the bus, or 45 minutes by bicycle from central Edinburgh. Cyclists are allowed to take bikes on buses run by MacEwans's Coach Services which stop at the Flotterstone Inn. Map of official mountain bike routes . Local walks - look for ones with "Pentland" in title

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


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