A certain 'je ne sais quoi'…
Robert Louis Stevenson said that Edinburgh "is what Paris ought to be". We might be a little biased, but we think he's right. From the majestic castle squatting between the old and new towns, to the vibrant cultural life, Edinburgh is a fantastic little destination for a Scottish break.
Airports in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is Scotland's busiest airport, just under six miles from the city centre. It only has one terminal, which has recently been refurbished. Inside you'll find plenty of shops as well as a spa, an art gallery, and a swanky seafood and champagne bar.
If you have booked your flights to Edinburgh airport or are planning to pick someone up, please check Live Edinburgh airport arrivals information.
Airlines that fly to Edinburgh
British Airways, BA CityFlyer, easyJet, Flybe, and Ryanair all offer domestic flights to Edinburgh from a range of UK cities.
Getting into Edinburgh
The Airlink 100 Express bus is the fastest way to reach the city centre. Single tickets cost £4.50* ( return tickets are £7*). It takes about half an hour to reach Waverley Station in the city centre. For a cheaper (but slower) alternative, catch Lothian Bus number 35. Tickets only cost £1.50* but you'll spend at least an hour calling into smaller stops including RBS Headquarters and the Gyle shopping Centre. A good way to see suburban Edinburgh; a bad way to get anywhere in a hurry.
The Edinburgh trams also run between the airport and the city centre. Single tickets cost £5* and the journey into the city centre takes 35 minutes. There are two taxi ranks outside the airport, one for private hire cars and one for black cabs. Your fare will depend on how far you're going, but it shouldn't cost more than £20* to reach the city centre. Confirm this with the driver before you hop in.
There are ten car hire brands at Edinburgh Airport: Alamo, Europcar, National, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, Dollar and Thrifty. You can compare car hire at Edinburgh Airport with Skyscanner to get the best deal.
*Prices subject to change
When to visit Edinburgh
The weather in Edinburgh is extremely unpredictable. It's common to have a wet and chilly August followed by a warm and sunny September. Technically July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 15°C, while January is the coldest with an average of 3°C. If you're visiting during the summer we recommend preparing for all eventualities: think four seasons in one day.
If you're planning on flying to Edinburgh in August, we recommend that you book well in advance. This is festival season, and the population of Edinburgh doubles. Thousands of people flock to the city to enjoy the world's biggest arts festival, and the massive Fringe comedy festival. There are performances by comedians, theatre troupes, dance groups... you name it.
Christmas and New Year are also popular times to visit the city. Christmas markets and fairs are held throughout December, but the biggest celebration comes on Hogmanay: New Year's Eve. Thousands flock to Princes Street Gardens to watch concerts, fireworks, and ring in the new year with a hearty rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Hotel prices skyrocket at this time of year.
What to see and do
Edinburgh is a short flight from anywhere in the UK, and once you arrive you'll find everything within short walking distance. From the top of Arthur’s seat, to the ghostly trails that await you beneath Edinburgh’s most ancient streets, Scotland's capital will delight and surprise you with its contrasting landscape of activities.
Delve into Scottish history: Edinburgh simply oozes history. Walk through higgledy-piggledy Greyfriars Kirkyard and see where JK Rowling found her inspiration, take a tour through eerie underground Mary King's Close, or visit the famous castle. Learn about the macabre history of surgery at Surgeon's Hall Museum, or learn about world history at the National Museum of Scotland. Or just wander down the atmospheric Royal Mile, slipping in and out of narrow closes, to get an idea of what life was like in the city hundreds of years ago. The Grassmarket dates back to Medieval times, although these days it's more of a nightlife hub.
Eat like a king: Edinburgh has a fantastic dining scene. As well as four Michelin starred restaurants, Edinburgh also boasts a great array of fine dining and gastropub style eateries. At the other end of the scale you'll find some fantastic cheap eats, with excellent street food stalls serving up everything from soup to Brazilian crepes. Enjoy the view from Harvey Nichol's Forth Floor, or dine al-fresco in one of the well heeled restaurants on George Street.
Blow away the cobwebs: You don't have to leave the city limits to get back to nature. The most iconic walk in Edinburgh is to the top of Arthur's Seat: an extinct volcano which looms above the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Once you make it to the top you'll be rewarded by magnificent views across the city and over the Firth of Forth. Reward yourself even further by ambling down the other side to Duddingston, home to Scotland's oldest pub (and a great Sunday roast). Another excellent walk is along the Water of Leith River. Take the 44 bus out to the suburb of Balerno and stroll along the forested trail. You'll walk through suburban wastelands and Georgian villages before finally arriving 12 miles later at the Port of Leith.
Where to stay
Edinburgh's city centre is easy to get around on foot, but where you choose to base yourself will make all the difference. If you haven't booked your accommodation yet, our guide to Edinburgh's best neighbourhoods should help out. Remember to compare hotel prices in Edinburgh with Skyscanner: you might find a real bargain.
Old Town: Undeniably atmospheric, Edinburgh's Old Town is where most of the Fringe Festival action takes place. There are great nightclubs and bars on the Cowgate, quirky boutiques on Victoria Street, and most of the history tours kick off on the Royal Mile. This is a great base for history buffs: as long as you don't mind the sound of bagpipes!
New Town: Built in the 18th Century, the New Town is an elegant area with slightly less bustle than the Old Town. It's home to Princes Street, Edinburgh's main shopping destination, as well as the West End Village with its independent shops, bars and restaurants.
Leith: The once rough and ready port which inspired Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting is now an up and coming neighbourhood. Gentrification is slowly creeping in: between Polish supermarkets and pawn shops you'll find trendy bars and fantastic restaurants. If you want to rub shoulders with rowdy locals, head to the Port o' Leith pub: dancing on the bar much encouraged.
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Airports near Edinburgh
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