– Compiled by Noel Byrne & Adrian Harmon, AA Roadwatch
You have a few options open to you to get to Edinburgh, which we have outlined below. As with any journey planning, the key is to book tickets in advance to guarantee yourself a seat.
Here is a list of airlines which fly directly to Edinburgh Airport, as well as Glasgow Airport, which is about an hour’s journey from Edinburgh.
If you click on the particular airline, it will bring you to their website.
Ryanair: Dublin – Edinburgh, Dublin – Glasgow, Derry – Glasgow
Aer Lingus: Cork – Edinburgh, Cork – Glasgow, Donegal – Glasgow, Dublin – Edinburgh, Dublin – Glasgow, Shannon – Edinburgh
Flybe: Belfast City – Edinburgh, Belfast City – Glasgow, Dublin – Edinburgh, Dublin – Glasgow, Knock – Edinburgh, Knock – Glasgow
Easyjet: Belfast International – Edinburgh, Belfast International – Glasgow
You have a number of options to get to Edinburgh City Centre from the airport, all of which we’ve detailed below.
When you land, you can make your way to the ground floor of the multi-storey car park and from there, you’ll be able to get a black cab at the rank.
Alternatively, you can pre-book Edinburgh Airport’s official private hire service. You can do this online or by giving them a call on (0044) 844 448 8576. You’ll also find the private hire rank on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park.
There are a few bus options on offer at the airport which will take you into Edinburgh City Centre.
The Airlink 100 leaves every 10 minutes. A single ticket costs £4.50 and a return ticket is £7.50 and will take around 30 minutes to get you into the city centre. Tickets can be purchased at the airport information desk, at the bus stop, from the driver or in advance online.
The No. 35 Lothian Bus also runs into city centre but stops more frequently along the way and takes about an hour to get as far as Holyrood. Buses run every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime and every 30 minutes evenings and Sundays. A single ticket costs £1.60 and a day ticket costs £4.
If you land late at night or early morning, you could also take the Night Bus (N22) into town. This service runs from the airport to the city centre between 12.45am and 4.15am seven nights a week. It runs every 30 minutes, takes around 30 minutes to get you into the city centre and costs £3.
If plan to hire a car while in Edinburgh, there are various options open to you when you land, including Europcar, Avis, Hertz and Enterprise. Details of all car rental companies at Edinburgh airport can be found here. Remember AA Customers save more on car hire with AA Rewards.
When you’ve picked up your car, the drive from the airport to the city centre is around eight miles and will take about 25 minutes (in light traffic). Most people make the drive via the A8 Glasgow Rd.
The tram system in Edinburgh can take you from the airport to Princes St and Waverley Station (as well as plenty other stops, including Murrayfield Stadium itself) quickly and easily.
The tram runs every 8-12 minutes and takes around 35 minutes. An adult single ticket is £5.50 while a return ticket is £8.50. There are reduced prices for children. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket machines at the tram stop.
Full details can be found on the Edinburgh Trams website here.
If you’re flying into Glasgow Airport, and you’re not hiring a car, your two main options to get to Edinburgh are via bus or train, with the former the cheaper option.
Citylink offers a non-stop service from Glasgow Airport right to Princes St in Edinburgh city centre throughout the day.
It runs seven days a week, every 30 minutes at peak times. The journey takes about an hour and costs £11.40 for a single ticket or £18.60 return. You can also purchase a Family Ticket for up to two adults and three children for £25 single or £39 return. The Family Ticket can only be purchased from the driver on board the coach. See here for the timetable.
You can also make your way to Buchanan bus station in Glasgow city centre where there are regular buses to Edinburgh city centre, operated by Citylink and National Express.
If getting the train, it’s probably easiest to make your way from the airport into the city centre, to either the Queen Street or Central train stations and then make your onward journey to Edinburgh.
While there aren’t as many options travelling by ferry to Scotland, the fastest service is Irish Ferries‘ Swift Fast Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead (one hour 50 minutes). Their Cruise Ferry service does the same trip in under three-and-a-half hours.
Alternatively, you can go with Stena Line from Belfast to Cairnryan. There are several departures every day, running on the half hour every four hours beginning at 3.30am. The crossing takes two hours and 15 minutes.
Keep in mind that the last check-in time for passengers is 30 minutes before departure.
Once you’ve arrived, you can either drive to Edinburgh yourself or get a bus or train.
Stena Line offer a handy Rail & Sail combo ticket which includes your ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan and then a train to get you to Edinburgh (or indeed several other cities). For full details of this, see Stena Line’s website here.
Alternatively, you can make your own way from Cairnryan to Edinburgh via train using one of the ScotRail trains that operate along the route. Keep in mind that you will need to get from Cairnryan Port to Stranraer railway station to get the train to Edinburgh. See ScotRail for more info and bookings.
You can also travel by train from Holyhead to Edinburgh, though you will need to change at least once. TheTrainline is a great resource for planning your journey and buying tickets.
Depending on the departure time of your train, you’re looking at a journey time of 4-6 hours (from Cairnryan) or 5-8 hours (from Holyhead). Make sure to pack the Travel Scrabble.
If you’re driving from Cairnryan, it’s a distance of around 200 km and will take the best part of three hours, if you go via the A77 and M8. From Holyhead, it’s much further – a distance of around 515 km and a journey time of around five-and-a-half hours, if you go via the A55, M56, M6, A74(M) and A702. Check out the AA Routeplanner for a more detailed driving route.
Scottish Citylink offers a regular service from the Cairnryan Stena ferry terminal to the bus station in Edinburgh, which takes around three-and-a-half hours. There’s more information on Citylink’s website.
If you’re considering getting the bus to Edinburgh, and you aren’t doing it privately, you can go with Eurolines. The bus runs from Dublin and then goes on to Belfast where it takes the ferry to Cairnryan before going on to Glasgow and then Edinburgh (in St. Andrew Sq. Bus Station). The trip will take approximately 11 hours so make sure to factor that in when planning your trip. You can see the all the details trip here.
Alternatively, Stena Line offer a Coach & Sail service from Belfast to Edinburgh via Cairnryan, Ayr and Glasgow. It takes between seven and eight hours and there are more details here.
Remember to bring your AA membership card with you and if you’re unlucky enough to break down while driving in Edinburgh, our AA colleagues in the UK will give you a local tow. Their number is 0800 88 77 66.
If you have travel insurance with the AA, you should contact +353 1 431 1205 for claims relating to Emergency Medical Expenses overseas. It’s also advised you have your travel insurance policy number available in the event of a claim or emergency as well as all medical and claims emergency numbers should you need to contact AA.
Main Image Credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography. Used under CC licence.
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