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Best ways to get to the city centre from Edinburgh Airport – Ultimate Guide

So you’ve arrived at Edinburgh Airport – now what? If you are wondering how to get to the city centre from Edinburgh Airport or would like to know the best ways to go to the city centre from the airport, you will find this ultimate guide useful to plan your trip,

Edinburgh airport is around 8 – 9 kilometres away from Edinburgh city centre, Old Town and New Town. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available when it comes to reaching the city centre from the airport. 

If time and comfort are of the essence for you, read on for more information on arranging a private airport transfer service from the airport to your accommodation. On the other hand, travellers on a budget will still have options to choose from when it comes to reaching the city centre.  

To ensure a smooth journey from the Edinburgh airport to city centre or to your next destination, we’ve put together the following guide on how to get to Edinburgh city centre from the airport.

1. Edinburgh airport to city centre by an airport transfer service (The most comfortable and fastest option)

Photo credit: Welcome Pickups

Save time and energy by booking an airport transfer before your arrival. This is, without a doubt, the easiest and most comfortable way to reach your accommodation from Edinburgh Airport. We highly recommend booking a transfer from Welcome Pickups, which provides a streamlined airport welcome service for the same price as a regular taxi. 

Booking your transfer online takes less than one minute – simply select your pickup point and enter the date and time of your arrival for a quote. This quote will be a fixed price, including tax, gratuity, and transaction fees, and without any surge pricing or hidden costs. 

You will receive your driver’s details a few days before your airport transfer, and the driver will monitor your flight to be at the arranged meeting point at the right time – even if your arrival is early or delayed. The driver will then escort you to the car, help you with luggage, and provide tips and local knowledge for your time in Edinburgh. You can book the airport transfer via this link.

Why use the private airport transfer services provided by Welcome Pickups?

  • Similar price as a taxi from the airport but enjoy all the extras including personal meet and greet at the arrival gate, local English-speaking drivers, 24/7 Customer support, and a flexible cancellation policy. You can cancel up to 24 hours before and get a refund.
  • Based on a fixed price: You don’t need to worry about the fare will increase suddenly due to traffic congestion. There is no surge pricing and no hidden costs. The quoted price is final, including tax, gratuity and transaction fees.
  • Each driver is carefully handpicked and vetted by the Welcome Pickups team. The trusted local driver will pick you up and introduce you to the destination.
  • More than 1500 leading hotel brands trust Welcome Pickups – including Novotel and Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts by IHG.
  • Support all major cards, Apple Pay, PayPal and Google Pay.
  • More than 1.000.000 happy guests per year.
  • Regular car sanitisation: The drivers from Welcome Pickups thoroughly sanitise and disinfect cars according to Welcome Safety Protocol. There is a minimum gap of 20 minutes between transfers so that the car can be cleaned properly.
  • You can choose to add child seats for your children and add notes for the driver when you place the booking on the website.
  • Reliable airport transfer options for individuals, families, small groups, and large groups. All you need is to choose the number of passengers and number of luggage pieces on the booking form and Welcome Pickups will quote the price and provide the right size of car for you.
  • You can book the transfer to any destination via this link – from the airport to the accommodation, from one attraction to another attraction, or from the airport to another city (e.g. from Edinburgh airport to Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, etc.)
  • You can book a return journey easily with Welcome Pickups.

Book your private airport transfer – Welcome Pickups here.

2. Edinburgh airport to city centre by bus – Take the Airlink 100 Express Bus (The cheapest option)

Photo credit: Lothian Buses

The Airlink 100 express bus provides an affordable and straightforward way to get from the airport to the city centre. You will find the Airlink 100 bus stop outside the east exit of the terminal.

The bus runs 24 hours a day, leaving every 10 minutes from 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and every 30 minutes from 1:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. 

In the city centre, the Airlink 100 express bus stops at Haymarket, West End, and Princes Street (click the link for the timetable and full list of stops). It terminates at St Andrew Square, just a two minute walk from Edinburgh Bus Station and Waverley Railway Station. The full journey takes 25-35 minutes, depending on traffic. 

If you are staying outside of the city centre, consider taking the Skylink 200 or Skylink 400 buses, which also depart outside the airport terminal. The Skylink 200 bus runs through North Edinburgh to Ocean Terminal every 30 minutes from 4:10 a.m. to midnight. The Skylink 400 bus runs through South Edinburgh to Fort Kinnaird every 30 minutes from 4:20 a.m. to 11:35 p.m.

Single fares for all three buses are £5.50 for adults and £2.75 for children, ages 5-15. Open returns are £8.00 for adults, £4.00 for children, and £20.00 for families, including up to 2 adults and 3 children. 

You can also purchase a network day ticket, which allows for unlimited travel on the Lothian Buses network as well as Edinburgh Trams until 4:30 a.m. the next morning – fares are £12.00 for adults and £6.00 for children. 

Contactless payment using Visa, MasterCard, ApplePay, and GooglePay is accepted on the buses. American Express is not accepted, and cards issued outside of the UK may incur overseas transaction fees. Riders can also purchase tickets in advance using the m-tickets app, or pay using cash (although exact change is needed). 

3. Edinburgh airport to city centre by tram – Take the Edinburgh Tram

Photo credit: Edinburgh Trams

The Edinburgh Tram also ensures a smooth journey from the airport to the city centre, although it is slightly more expensive than the Airlink bus. You will find the Edinburgh Airport tram stop right outside the airport terminal – follow the covered walkway from the airport building to the tram plaza. There, you can buy tickets and find onward travel information. Make sure you buy tickets from the ticket machines before you board!

Trams depart from the airport every 7 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and every 10 minutes outwith these hours.  The first tram departs from the airport at 6:18 a.m. and the last one from 11:48 p.m. In the city centre, the Edinburgh Tram stops at Haymarket, West End, Princes Street, and St Andrew Square. 

Single tickets cost £7.50 for adults and £3.80 for children, whereas open returns cost £9.50 for adults and £5.00 for children. Tickets are available to purchase from the ticket machine at the tram stop. Please note that tickets must be used to board within 30 minutes of purchase for an outward journey. You can also save 50p on your fare by pre-purchasing your tram ticket online at6 before you travel. 

4. Edinburgh airport to city centre by Taxi

Taxis are a quick and easy way to get to the city centre. The ride takes 25-35 minutes, depending on traffic, and the fare is around £25-40, depending on the distance travelled – airport taxis use a meter rather than operating on a flat rate fee. Normal taxis can accommodate 4-5 passengers. 

You will be able to get a taxi or a private hire vehicle from the taxi stand, which is located across the plaza outside the east exit of the arrivals terminal – follow signs for the taxi stand inside the airport.

If you have already booked a taxi ahead of your arrival, arrange to meet them in the pick-up zone on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, across the road from the main terminal. Taxis can pick up passengers here, in the pick-up zone, or the free pick-up zone in the long stay car park.

Looking for place to store your luggage in Edinburgh?

Looking for place to store your luggage in Edinburgh?

Do you need luggage storage in Edinburgh? If you need a safe and convenient place to store bags or suitcases for a few hours or more in Edinburgh, you can read more on our blog post – Left Luggage in Edinburgh – Best Rated Storage and Voucher Codes. You will discover the affordable luggage storage in Edinburgh city centre, Old Town and New Town.

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