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Edinburgh - Getting there & away, getting around

Edinburgh - Getting there & away

Edinburgh Airport has frequent direct flights to Europe, Ireland and other parts of the UK and a limited number of services to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. There are no direct air services from North America. Travelling from Europe you'll often be best off flying to London, then taking the train or bus north. The 4-hour centre-to-centre rail trip takes only about an hour more than flying in actual travelling time. Glasgow, 60mi (97km) west and a 1.5-hour journey by bus, train or taxi, has a wider range of international flights. Edinburgh Airport is 8mi (13km) west of the city centre. The Lothian Buses Airlink runs frequently from Waverley Bridge, just outside the train station, to Haymarket and the airport, taking half an hour. A taxi is considerably more expensive. All UK domestic flights and those from Britain to within the EU carry a departure tax. Other international destinations carry a more expensive tax. This is usually included in ticket prices.

Though the bus is usually cheaper, discount rail tickets are competitive (Eurail passes are not recognised in Britain). The main rail terminus is Waverley train station, in the heart of the city.

Buses are the cheapest - and most exhausting - way to get to/from Europe or other parts of the UK. Most services now use the swish new Edinburgh Bus Station on Elder Street.

The main routes into Edinburgh from the north and west are the M8 motorway from Glasgow and the M90/A9 from Perth and Inverness. The fastest driving route from London is via the M1 and M6 to Carlisle, then the M74 to Abington and the A702.

For the seriously fit, cycling is an option for getting to and from Edinburgh. The city is included in the UK's National Cycle Network.

From Ireland the main car-ferry lines are the Belfast-Stranraer and Larne-Cairnryan crossings. A ferry runs from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth, just north of Edinburgh.

Getting around Edinburgh

Edinburgh doesn't have its own separate rail network. Those running through the city are part of the national rail system. Trains heading west and north link Waverly station with Haymarket, but it's cheaper to catch a bus down Princes St. There are regular trains west to Dalmeny and east to North Berwick.

Edinburgh is covered by a good network of bus services run by two companies, Lothian Buses and First Edinburgh. Tickets are not interchangeable. Most services leave from either St Andrew Square or Waverley Bridge.

Though useful for day trips beyond the city, a car in central Edinburgh is as much a millstone as a convenience. There is restricted access on some streets and many are one-way. Hailing a cab on the street should present no problems and there are numerous central taxi ranks including some at Waverley station.

Although there are plenty of steep hills to negotiate, Edinburgh is ideal for cycling - nothing is more than half an hour away, there are signposted cycle routes and outside the centre the traffic is fairly tolerable.

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