Public Transit Guide : Edinburgh

  • Edinburgh has an excellent public transit setup that is dominated by buses. This guide is aimed at helping you get to the most popular attractions via local bus which is much cheaper than the hop-on/hop-off buses.
  • The Sunday frequency of local buses is pretty bad so it might still be worth getting on the hop-on/hop-off service. More info here.
  • A vast majority of all the routes go via Princes street so getting to the city centre is made quite easy.
  • The main bus operator is Lothian buses for intra-city travel. It’s app is very handy for real time bus updates (linked below). Real time bus updates are also available at most stops via a display.
  • Below are Edinburgh’s attractions grouped by location with directions on how to reach them by public transit. Specific bus numbers have been provided in the text and also on the map markers.

Main Public Transport App :    

 

Attractions
Transit stops towards destination
Destination Transit Stop

1. Princes Street and Royal Mile
2. Holyrood
3. Old Town
4. Royal Botanic Gardens
5. Royal Yacht Britannia and Leith

Princes Street and Royal Mile Attractions

Many attractions in Edinburgh are around Princes street and this is also where most brand-name hotels are. Once you get to Princes Street, here are a list of attractions where you can just walk to.

  • Edinburgh castle  (there is a walking path next to the Mound here. Camera Obscura is next door)
  • National Gallery
  • Scott’s Monument
  • Calton Hill
  • Royal Mile (Has St. Giles Cathedral and The Real Mary Kings Close among other attractions)
  • Waverly Station (transport hub for trains and buses)
Holyrood Attractions

These places are within walking distance of the Royal Mile attractions but can be accessed via bus numbers 6 and 35 from other points of interest in the city (see blue markers on the map below).

  • Arthur’s seat and Salisbury Crags for some fantastic views of the city.
  • Holyrood Palace
  • Scottish Parliament building
  • Our Dynamic Earth
Old Town Attractions

Multiple buses ply on Nicholson Street via Princes Street, most notable being 3,26,30,31,33. Surgeon’s hall is a good starting point to begin exploring old town from.

  • Surgeon’s Hall
  • University of Edinburgh
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Grassmarket
Royal Botanic Gardens

Reachable from the city centre from the east end of Princes street using bus 8. Unfortunately, only 1 direct bus to a great attraction and it isn’t very frequent (specially on the weekends).

  • Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Yacht Britannia and Leith

Reachable from Princes Street by the 22 (which is a very frequent bus) and the 34. Bus 35 takes you there from the Royal Mile and Holyrood, however it’s not a very frequent service.

  • Royal Yacht Britannia

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