Millions of visitors a year book flights to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, where ancient architecture seamlessly blends with modern living. Examples are dotted throughout the city from the new Scottish Parliament building to the imposing Edinburgh Castle that sits high on the hilltop commanding every visitor’s attention. Most people who book a flight to Edinburgh make sure to book a tour of the castle well in advance to beat the crowds.
It may sound ironic that an ancient city with its winding medieval streets and gothic architecture would be one of the liveliest cities in Europe. Not only does it have a buzzing nightlife scene but every August four festivals including the world’s largest, “the Fringe”, take place there transforming the city into one big celebration. Beyond the city walls, visitors can explore the rural area of the Lothians: East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian. All three areas provide a relaxing break to the hustle and bustle of modern day life. Midlothian is probably the most visited thanks to its Rosslyn Chapel being featured in the Da Vinci Code. Fans of the movie who are booking flights to Edinburgh should plan a stop to Midlothian as part of their visit.
With so much history to take in, and things to see and do, it may be difficult to figure out where to start when you get to Edinburgh. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip to Edinburgh and enjoy the smoothest possible visit to this historic city.
Edinburgh features a mild climate, with average temperatures reaching around 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. In the winter, temperatures dip to the upper 30’s to mid-40’s. Conditions tend to be windy and foggy due to the city’s location between the coast and nearby hills. Rainfall is steady throughout the year, but you may run into more rainy days if you visit in October.
Travelers pack Edinburgh flights during the summer, when daylight is long and the city is full of excitement. It’s also a bit warmer as well. August also sees the Edinburgh International Festival, a four-week event of dance, music and theatre. On top of that, also in August, is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which has been running for more than 50 years. Taking place in front of Edinburgh Castle, it’s a fantastic event with close to a thousand dancers, musicians, drummers and pipers from all over the world. Make sure to book your flights to Edinburgh well in advance if you wish to attend any of these festivities.
There isn’t really an off season, but Edinburgh sees fewer tourists in spring and fall so travelers hoping to avoid the crowds can purchase Edinburgh flights and find hotel discounts during this time. For the best chances of finding cheap flights to Edinburgh avoid booking late for August and Christmas time. You can find the cheapest flights to Edinburgh from September to December, excluding Christmas time. Flights to Edinburgh can vary, so make sure to get your flight tickets sorted well before any events and busy periods.
If you plan well you can save a few dollars and find cheap flights to Edinburgh. Ideally it’s best to get your flight tickets booked as soon as possible, especially if you want to visit the Fringe or New Year’s celebrations. Being flexible and not having your heart set on one particular week will make it easier for you to find cheap flights to Edinburgh, but as a general rule try to book at least a minimum of 2-3 months before you fly, but aim to book much more in advance if you can to save the most on your flight tickets.
If you are flying from New York to Edinburgh, a nonstop flight typically lasts around seven hours. Flights from Los Angeles require at least one stopover, and you can expect to spend approximately thirteen hours in the air. For a quick trip from London to Edinburgh, you can find a direct flight lasting about one hour and thirty minutes.
Edinburgh Airport is a busy travel hub, offering both domestic and international flights. Airlines operating flights from the United States to Edinburgh include American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines. For travel from the U.K. or Ireland, you can find flights operated by British Airways and Aer Lingus. Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Ryanair offer a host of flights originating from cities throughout Europe.
Weather in Edinburgh tends to be cool year-round, so you’ll want to pack a jacket and layers of clothes to keep warm. Some hotels and bed and breakfast locations may tend to be a bit drafty, so be sure to bring warm pajamas or lounge wear for bedtime. A rain jacket may come in handy if you’ll be hiking, and comfortable hiking shoes or boots are ideal for sightseeing and exploring outdoors. You may also want to consider galoshes just in case the weather is particularly rainy while you are visiting.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is roughly 7.5 miles from the city center and there are a few different transport options to get you there. You can get the Airlink 100 express and N22 night buses to Waverley Bridge. Normally it takes around twenty-five minutes. Lothian Bus No. 35 also covers the route but does stop off at different places on the way and continues on to Leith. You could also rent a car or take a taxi from the airport. Trams are also an option, and are frequent and normally very reliable. You can change at Edinburgh Park and Haymarket stations if you need to continue on to somewhere else.
Once you’ve settled in to your hotel, it’s time to explore. You’ll want to make sure you bring some sturdy shoes with you to Edinburgh. Walking is the best way to explore and your feet will thank you while you trip over the cobblestone streets. Biking is popular as well. If you can get past the ups and downs of the hills, there are plenty of bike paths and lanes to pedal on. It shouldn’t take you more than half an hour to get anywhere. Buses are extremely efficient. They blanket the city and there’s a night bus service if you’re out late. Make sure you have exact change on you for a bus ticket, or purchase a day ticket if you’re planning on riding around all day. Sightseeing hop-on, hop-off buses offer guided tours and stop at major attractions. Taxi cabs are also an option.
From its museums and historic castles to its beautiful coastal spots, Edinburgh offers a wonderful variety of things to see and do. A trip to Edinburgh Castle should be at the top of your to-do list. It’s one of the country’s most-visited landmarks, and the structure has been both home to the royals and a target for enemy attacks. If you love the idea of visiting Scottish castles, you can also visit Holyroodhouse Palace, which still hosts the royal family to this day.
Immerse yourself in the history of Scotland with a visit to the National Museum of Scotland, and finish your day with a trip to the Royal Botanic Garden. You can also spend a day shopping and sightseeing on the Royal Mile, which is home to many shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as the Scotch Whiskey Experience. Last but not least, if you’re in Edinburgh to just have a good time, be sure to visit the many pubs that can be found in the city for a pint or two.
Whether a trip to Edinburgh has you yearning to visit other Scottish cities or you want to visit other beautiful destinations in Europe, Asia, and beyond, Cheapflights can help finalize your travel itinerary. Many of the airlines that fly into Edinburgh Airport also offer flights from the city to other nearby destinations. Airlines operating flights out of Edinburgh include Air France, Ryaniar, Flybe, Eurowings, Lufthansa and British Airways. If Edinburgh is the last stop on your trip, you can book a return trip to the U.S. on United, Delta or American Airlines. Cheapflights can help you find the top deals on flights from Edinburgh to the destination you want to visit.
Edinburgh offers a number of public transportation options that can get you to the airport safely and on-time. Opt for the tram, which provides comfortable trips from the city center to the airport in approximately thirty minutes, or take the bus from your hotel to the airport. If you prefer more private accommodations, you can take a taxi cab. The international airport in Edinburgh does tend to be busy, but the security lines tend to run smoothly. You can log onto the airport’s website for live updates about security checkpoint lines, which make it easier to plan your journey.
Once you choose a destination, be sure to check out our Edinburgh airport guides for more detailed travel information and helpful tips.