Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is an historical city situated on the east coast of Scotland on the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas both World Heritage Sites: the Old Town, dominated by Edinburgh Castle; and the neoclassical New Town.
Home of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh is enriched with culture and literature, fine architecture, beautiful parks and galleries, including The National Gallery of Scotland, and has a small city centre that’s easily walkable. Well-known visitor attractions include Edinburgh Castle and the Place of Holyrood House separated by the historical Royal Mile, the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Scott Monument, the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Garden. With a population of almost 500,000, Edinburgh is Scotland's second largest city after Glasgow.
A festival city, Edinburgh hosts 11 festivals each year, including the Fringe - Science Festival, Imaginate Children's Festival, Film Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Art Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, International Festival, Book Festival, Storytelling Festival, Edinburgh's Hogmanay. For more information about other festivals in Edinburgh please visit the Festivals Edinburgh website.
We know that the Fringe will leave you wanting more, but the journey to Edinburgh is part of the fun too. Whether travelling by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breath-taking.
Your travel to Edinburgh has an impact on the environment and flying from cities in the UK can take as long as travelling by train when you consider check-in times, why not consider coming by train or bus.
The ultimate green initiative, car-sharing is one of the best options for travelling to Edinburgh. You save on costs while saving the planet! You can find more information about Edinburgh car sharing from the following links:
The journey to Edinburgh is a scenic treat by either car or bus. Edinburgh is connected to the East Coast of the UK via the A1(M); a short trip to Glasgow on the M8 connects you to most cities in the West via the M6 and the Lake District. Coach services run directly to Edinburgh from throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. Start planning your journey with these tools:
Edinburgh is a scant four-and-a-half hours train journey from London King’s Cross. Waverley station (Edinburgh’s main railway station) is ideally positioned in the heart of the city, close to most festival destinations and the many bus routes servicing Princes Street (the main shopping street). For more information visit:
- ScotRail (which traditionally runs a special festival timetable from the start of the Fringe).
- Virgin Trains East Coast
- TransPennine Express (north west of England)
- CrossCountry Trains
- Caledonian Sleeper (overnight services from London)
Be sure to plan your journeys now as cheaper advance tickets from many UK destinations go on sale 12–24 weeks in advance of travel.
Edinburgh International Airport is served by most domestic carriers and several international operators. The airport is easy to reach from the city, located just eight miles (12 km) west of Edinburgh city centre. Details can be found on the websites below:
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Where to stay
Edinburgh has plenty of accommodation and attractive options for different budgets – from luxury hotels to B&Bs, youth hostels, university rooms, self-catering private apartments and camping sites.
Edlets our official accommodation partner, offers a large selection of Edinburgh apartments, rooms for rent, hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. Get expert assistance in finding your accommodation from the Edlets team.
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Edinburgh is a compact city and the majority of venues are located within easy walking distance of each other. During August, the quickest way to get between venues can often be on foot. Edinburgh has an excellent local bus service for getting into the city if you’re staying in the outskirts, or for getting around, and most venues are not far from a bus stop. We also have the newly opened tramline, and plenty of on and off road cycle paths
Remember to always carry a venues map – you can pick up a free larger scale map from the Box Offices or the Fringe Shop.
Some venues are literally within a stone’s throw of one another – particularly in the Old Town, where you wouldn’t need more than five to ten minutes to walk from the Royal Mile to many Old Town venues. If you're looking for directions or more information on any of our venues, you can use our interactive venue map.
Walking times depend on how much of a contemplative soul you are, but as guidance a Scottish brisk walk from Waverley Station, the main train station, can take you to most city centre venues in as little as 20 minutes and the Royal Botanic Gardens could be reached in 30 minutes. If you are walking to places like The Shore in Leith, from Waverley Station, then allow yourself 45 minutes to get there.
Edinburgh has plenty of cyclists, so if you’re thinking of bringing your bike along you will be in good company. But remember the city is quite hilly! The Fringe Programme map includes information on some useful routes, but more complete cycling maps can be found on these websites:
Edinburgh’s network of buses is excellent, covering not just the city but also its outskirts; most venues are never far from a bus stop. Single fares cost £1.60 but if you’re using the bus on more than two journeys then a Day ticket or a Day&night ticket may be more suitable. It’s also possible to buy a one-week or four-week bus pass (ridacard) For more information on routes and timetables go to Transport for Edinburgh or download The Transport for Edinburgh smartphone travel app which has lots of information to help you plan your journey. Their Travelshop locations are also shown on the Fringe map.
We also have a tramline running direct from Edinburgh Airport to York Place via Princes Street and St Andrew Square. There are various ticketing options which work across both tram and bus. Timetable information can be found at Transport for Edinburgh, and also on the the Transport for Edinburgh smartphone travel app.
There are a variety of taxi ranks dotted around central Edinburgh. Look for the unmistakable black cabs: an orange light on top means the taxi is available for hire.
Edinburgh at festival time wouldn’t be Edinburgh without the athletic rickshaw drivers who cycle around the city. It’s one of those unmissable experiences but remember to always agree the price of your fare in advance.
If you are bringing your own car please beware that Edinburgh has limited parking and strict restrictions in place. In the city centre the vast majority of parking is pay and display – always check the instructions on the meter and carry plenty of coins with you or register with RingGo and pay via a payment card.