Grand castles set atop verdant green hills, scores of stately buildings, and sprawling parks help to paint the picture of Edinburgh, Scotland’s revered capital. While it may not have quite the same appreciation as Paris, Edinburgh is still commonly considered one of the world’s romantic capitals and there is undoubtedly beauty and charm to be found around nearly every corner.
Edinburgh is one of the UK’s rainiest cities, so travellers will find a number of excellent indoor pursuits to explore should the weather turn. There are world-class museums, galleries and scores of top tier bars and restaurants. Regardless of the weather, the expansive parklands and labyrinth of alleys and cobblestone streets surrounding Edinburgh Castle must be explored to truly appreciate Edinburgh’s heart and soul.
With so many A-list attractions on offer and such a beautiful setting, it’s easy to see why Edinburgh captures the imaginations of so many. In fact, UK residents often rank Edinburgh as their top destination for a weekend getaway.
Depending on the size of the ship, visitors arriving in Edinburgh on a cruise will dock at either the Oceanside Terminal in Leith, the commercial port in Rosyth or at the Hawes Pier in South Queensferry. All three ports are located near the mouth of the Forth of Firth estuary, about a 30 minute’s journey from central Edinburgh.
The cruise terminal at Leith offers tourist information as well as an adjacent shopping centre with cinemas, ATMS, free Internet and a bus and taxi rank. There are no such facilities in Rosyth; however, taxis are always readily available for transportation to South Queensferry or further afield.
While there is no passenger terminal at South Queensferry, cruises are met by a welcome team who can provide information for tourists. For most amenities, travellers are directed to the town centre just opposite Hawes Pier where ATMs, cafes and pubs can be found. There are also a number of public transport options, including a commuter train line providing onward connections to Edinburgh.
How to Get Around
Taxis, local buses or the train all provide connections from South Queensferry to Edinburgh. The nearest train station to the port in South Queensferry is Dalmeny Station, where services to Edinburgh are regular. A private shuttle bus service also runs from the pier to Edinburgh, dropping passengers off at Charlotte Square.
Once in Edinburgh, most of the sights are concentrated around the Old and New Town precincts, both of which are separated by the picturesque Princes Street Gardens. Many of these areas can easily be explored on foot or by taking advantage of the trams that run up and down Princes Street.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 4 minute walk to South Queensferry town centre
- It is a 10 minute walk to Dalmeny Train Station.
- It is a 15 minute journey to Waverley Station in Edinburgh
- It is a 1 hour and 5 minute journey to Glasgow.
- It is a 40 minute journey to Charlotte Square and Princes Street.
- It is a 25 minute journey to Edinburgh City Centre
- It is 13 minute journey to Edinburgh International Airport.
- Currency - Edinburgh uses the Euro. Coins are available in denominations of €0.01, €0.02, €0.05, €0.10, €0.20, €0.50, €1, and €2. Bank notes come in €5, €10, €20 €50, €100, €200, and €500.
- Time Zone - Edinburgh operates within the Greenwich Mean Time Zone (UTC+0).
- Weather - Edinburgh has a maritime climate, with temperatures that remain relatively mild, despite the northerly latitude. Average maximum temperatures in July are around 20 degrees Celsius, while winter maximums hover around 7 degrees Celsius.
- Edinburgh Castle - This wonderful monument is the location to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, explore the castle grounds and observe the gun firing ritual daily at 1pm. Scottish monarchs throughout history have been officiated at the Stone Of Destiny located inside the castle walls. The castle is open daily from 9.30am with guided tours available. The views from atop the hill – known as the Mound – are also spectacular.
- Old Town - The historic heart of Edinburgh, Old Town is a precinct with medieval cobblestone streets and historic shops, pubs, bars and other establishments. The majority of historic buildings and monuments in Edinburgh are located along The Royal Mile in the Old Town.
- Royal Yacht Britannia - If docking in Leith, passengers can explore the Queen’s private floating palace. The 412-foot long yacht was in active commission between 1954 and 1997, but now serves as a five-star tourist destination. Entrance is £10, with access through the Ocean Terminal shopping centre.
- Scott Monument - Located on Princes St, this black stone gothic-spire monument affords visitors remarkable views at 200 feet above the city and over Princes St Gardens. Dedicated to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, this Victorian monument is actually the largest monument in the world dedicated to an author. Described as a ‘gothic spaceship’, visitors may recognise the monument as it was featured in the movie Cloud Atlas. Admission is £4.