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Best of Edinburgh


Best of Edinburgh Information

Tips about Edinburgh for Overseas Visitors

Flight to Edinburgh
Flight

Getting from Edinburgh Airport into the City

Visitors arriving at Edinburgh Airport (now Scotland's busiest airport) have several options to get into town. Firstly, it should be noted that there is no train link to the airport. Nevertheless there are excellent transport links by:-

Airlink Bus (around 25 minutes):

http://www.flybybus.com

Tram (around 35 minutes):

http://edinburghtrams.com/

Taxi (around 20-25 minutes): Fares vary by distance, but expect to pay around 20 to get into the city centre.

Bus

Lothian Buses Service 35

Lothian Buses Night Bus N22


Airlink - Edinburgh Airport Shuttle Bus

Train Services to Edinburgh

Waverley Station
Waverley Station

The principal railway station of Edinburgh is Network Rail's Waverley Station, which is located in the very heart of town. Travellers from London will arrive in Edinburgh via the main east coast route (King's Cross, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh). Travellers from Glasgow can catch one of the regular First Scotrail services to Edinburgh from Glasgow Queen Street Station which takes around 50 minutes. From Waverley there are services to Aberdeen and Inverness.

Useful link:-

First Scotrail timetables and maps

Main Edinburgh Bus Station

St Andrews Square Bus Station
St Andrews Square Bus Station, Edinburgh EH1 2AD
Map

The main bus station for buses out of the city to places like Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen, to name but a few, is located in St Andrews Square, next to the Harvey Nichols store.

Scottish Citylink

First South East & Central Scotland 

Stagecoach

Currency

The currency used in the UK is the pound sterling (denoted by the sign). There are 100 pennies to each pound. Visitors who buy currency in their home countries before coming to the UK will receive Bank of England notes.

Scotland has its own banks and notes are in circulation (and universally accepted) from all of the following:-

      • The Bank of England
      • The Royal Bank of Scotland
      • The Bank of Scotland
      • The Clydesdale Bank

There is no exchange rate between the Scottish and Bank of England notes. This issue simply doesn't arise. Notes issued by all the above banks (which vary in colour) are accepted throughout Scotland.

By the end of their trip to Scotland, most visitors are likely to have gathered Scottish bank notes during the course of transactions. Scottish banks are normally happy to exchange these without charge for Bank of England notes.

Smoking in Public Places

A ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, came into force in Scotland on Sunday 26 March 2006. If you need to smoke, you must go outside. Scotland was among the first countries to introduce such a ban. It led to a 17% drop in heart attack admissions to Scottish hospitals over the first year.

Pubs

Kenilworth Pub
Kenilworth Pub in Rose Street

In a Scottish pub you simply go up to the bar, tell the barman what you want and he will pour your drinks. You then pay him. There is no need to give the barman a tip. However, if he has provided good service over the course of an evening then this may be appropriate. Alternatively, some people when buying a round of drinks may tell the barman to add one in for himself.

Many readers will see no point in stating the above. However, in some countries, such as the US, it is common to leave a sum of money on the bar and for the barman to replenish your drinks until the money runs out.

Restaurants

Restaurant

When going into a restaurant it is normal to wait to be shown to a table. This does not apply to inexpensive eating places.


Sign at fast food takeaway

For the sake of your waistline, we recommend that you avoid the very few places that sell food like this!

Tipping


Tipping

Tipping, principally in restaurants, is discretionary and should reflect the quality of service you receive. A tip of around 10% of the bill is the norm, although more can be left for exceptional service. Watch out for establishments who state on their bill that a service charge is included. If you then leave a tip it means that you will have paid the gratuity twice. It is customary also to tip taxi drivers.

Queuing

Queuing is a social convention that is very much alive in the UK. People automatically form orderly queues whenever they have to wait for anything eg in banks, post offices, shops, at bus stops etc. It is considered extremely rude to jump the queue and to do so may attract the ire of others already in the queue.

It is also considered mannerly to hold the door open for the person behind you (eg when entering a shop) and best to say thank you when receiving any favour.

Driving and Parking

In the UK we drive on the left hand side of the road.

Parking meter
Parking meter

Please note that car parking rules and regulations are enforced strictly in Edinburgh. You will have to pay to park virtually everywhere in central Edinburgh. The best advice is not to take any chances. Park in a proper car park or in one of the metered zones. This will cost you, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Otherwise you run the risk of getting a traffic ticket or worse, return to find your vehicle has been towed away. If there are parking meters on the street where you park, you must pay in advance and display the ticket inside of your vehicle.

For National Car Park (NCP) information see:-

http://www.ncp.co.uk/multimapform.aspx

Then type "Edinburgh" in the search box.

Weather in Edinburgh


Relaxing in the summer sun in Princes Street Gardens

During the summer and autumn when most tourists are about, the weather in Edinburgh tends to be fairly settled and indeed can be pleasantly warm. However, if it looks like it could rain, it's best to carry a waterproof jacket or an unbrella. Alternatively, if a shower starts, do what the locals do and head for the nearest shop, pub, museum, etc and sit it out!


Cold blast from the snowy hills to the south of Edinburgh

During the winter months and in the spring it is possible to experience dramatic changes in the weather within relatively short periods. However, it is not common for Edinburgh to receive a lot of snow. Snow on the surrounding hills and mountains normally causes reduced temperatures. In winter, rain or frost tends to be the the worst that the weather will throw at us in the city. Strong to gale force winds can also occur. Coupled with lower temperatures, this can produce a "wind chill factor" which makes it feel much colder than it actually is. Be sensible therefore and wrap up warmly when out and about at that time of year, particularly in elevated locations such as the Castle. A warm jacket, hat and gloves are recommended.

Electricity

Electricity in the UK is around 230 volts (alternating current) and 50Hz frequency. Plugs and sockets are three pronged.

Taxis and Private Hire Cars in Edinburgh

It should be noted that there is a difference between taxis and private hire cars.

Taxis can be flagged down in the street whereas private hire cars cannot and must be pre-booked for a journey. Both taxis and private hire cars (as well as their drivers) are checked and licensed by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Edinburgh taxis are usually black (along the lines of the London taxi type). All taxis have meters fitted and the fares are set by the City Council.

Many types of vehicle are in use as private hire cars. Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong with private hire cars, and indeed they may often represent the most cost effective option, it is nevertheless recommended that when booking a private hire car you agree the fare in advance.

Buses

Tourist Tips

Buses are plentiful in Edinburgh and offer great value for money, with options to purchase day savers and passes. The main providers are Lothian Buses and First Bus. However, please note that if paying by cash, the exact fare will be required on entry to the bus, so make sure you have sufficient change (ie coins).

Trams

http://www.bestofedinburgh.com/uploads/82_Edinburgh%20Tram.JPG
How the trams will look in Princes Street
Picture courtesy of tramsforedinburgh.com 

Trams have been running in Edinburgh since May 2014, linking the Airport and York Place in the city centre. For more information click here.


Public Telephone Boxes

Telephone boxes
Red telephone boxes on The Royal Mile

As mobile telephones have become more popular so the number of telephone boxes has declined. However, in central Edinburgh you shouldn't have to go far before you come across one. By far the greatest number of telephone boxes are operated by British Telecom (BT).

Traditional red telephone boxes are becoming rarer and you will normally only see them in the most historic areas. You will be able to telephone anywhere in the world from a BT telephone. Just make sure you have the international dialling code to hand. Most telephones accept coins, whilst others will accept credit/debit cards. There are also many internet access telephones around.

Kilts


Kilts

Do not expect to see lots of people in Scotland wearing a kilt! Nowadays these tend to be worn in the main at formal occasions such as weddings or by pipe bands.

Emergency Telephone Number

In Scotland (as for the whole of the UK) you dial 999 for emergency services i.e. Police, Fire and Ambulance.

If you need to contact the Police and it isn't an emergency dial 101. More information about this can be found on the Police Scotland's website.