Edinburgh is a compact city which is easy to find your way around, even during the busiest times of the summer festival season. Here are some of our top tips to help you get to where you want to be as quickly and easily as possible.
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to discover Edinburgh and get around the city is on foot. Walking from the very centre of the city on Princes Street, it takes only 20-30 minutes or so to reach venues as far afield as the Royal Botanic Garden in the north of the city, the King’s Theatre in the south-west and George Square in the south-east. Venues outside of the city centre, such as The Shore in Leith, can be reached with a comfortable 45 minute walk. Of course, whether you want to walk, might be dependent on Edinburgh's famously changeable weather!
Edinburgh has a good number of cyclists making use of some great routes as part of the National Cycle Network, both on road and traffic free. This includes a very useful network of around 75km of off-street paths for cycling and walking. Most major roads have marked bike lanes and traffic lights often have stopping boxes to allow cyclists to stop and start more safely. For further information and maps of optimum bike routes, head to the relevant City of Edinburgh Council webpages.
Edinburgh’s extensive bus routes cover the entire city and its outskirts, and are well regarded by residents and visitors alike. Most festival venues are either on or nearby at least one main bus route, and the Night Bus services will help you get to your accommodation even in the wee small hours. Tickets can be bought on board each bus - by cash or by contactless payment - although be aware that Lothian Buses do not offer change, so having the correct money ready before the bus arrives is advised. For more information on Edinburgh’s bus services visit lothianbuses.com where you can also find out about apps to help you plan your journey, pinpoint when your next connection will arrive, and get the best prices for your journey/s.
Edinburgh's tram runs from Edinburgh Airport through the city centre to its terminus in Newhaven. The tram offers regular stops on its route including on Princes Street and at Haymarket Train Station in the West End, along with a number of other locations before the Airport. Tickets are available at ticket vending machines on all tram platforms as well as via the Transport for Edinburgh mobile app.
Black cabs and other taxi services are available throughout the city. The traditional taxi (usually black, but not always) can be picked up at one of the city’s many taxi ranks or flagged down on the street. Taxi fares are calculated on distance and waiting times and a taxi ride across the city centre can cost between £5 and £15. For short journeys at busy traffic periods it can often be quicker to walk. Local taxi companies include:
Travelling in your own car, you’ll need to be aware of parking restrictions throughout the city. There are some pay and display car parks, as well as a number of short-term on-street ticketed parking areas. Many more on street parking spaces are reserved for (usually resident) drivers with area-specific permits only, so check before leaving your car, as fines and even vehicle removals are applied.