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Edinburgh Airport to City Centre – on a budget!

Here at Railsmartr, we all love a bargain, even if it’s for not a train journey we can sell you! So, if you’ve bagged a cheap flight but want to avoid pricey airport transfers to connect onto your train, what do you do? Here’s our guide to going from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre on a budget.

Edinburgh Airport to City Centre: the options

First of all, we should add that you should only take this option if you’re happy with a bit of walking and aren’t lumbered down with heavy luggage. If you’ve taken the cheapest flight option though, you probably don’t have a huge suitcase! Let’s take a look at the different costs of getting from Edinburgh Airport, to begin with:

If you’d like to take the tram direct from the airport, it’s £6.50. Happy to take the bus? That’ll set you back £4.50. If you’re happy with a 25 minute stroll though, you can take the tram for just £1.80. Like we say, we don’t recommend this if you’re pulling along a load of heavy luggage. But, if we’re already helping you save on your train ticket, we might as well knock a few quid off your tram fare as well!

Edinburgh Airport to City Centre: the walk

Instead of the Airport tram stop, we’re off to Ingliston Park & Ride. So if you’re going from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre, you’ll need to start by getting off your plane and making your way to the front of the terminal. The road in front of the arrivals is a bit like a loop, and you’ll need to turn right heading against the flow of traffic. Stick to the path next to the terminal building, and you’ll soon come across a sign pointing you to the Hampton by Hilton hotel. This is a good sign (literally!) and it means you’re heading the right way.

edinburgh airport to city centre - walk out of terminal

You’ll be heading in the direction of the air traffic control tower (on the left of the picture above). Keep following the path as it curves around past the tower and you’ll come across the hotel on the right. You’ll also find the Spitfire memorial here:

edinburgh airport to city centre - spitfire memorial

Next, you’ll have a couple of roundabouts to contend with. At the first one, simply keep right and keep following the road until you reach the Moxy hotel. There’ll be a road to cross here, then you’ll need to cross the road again (there’s a traffic island). This side of the road has a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on it, as well as one of these rather large signs:

Make sure you’re on this side of the road, as the path soon runs out on the right hand side. Now, it’s a fairly simple case of following the road for just over five minutes. You’ll come across a reassuring sign like this one, too:

edinburgh airport to city centre - sign

After this time (and after a small roundabout), you’ll need to take the first road that appears on your left. This leads into the Ingliston Park & Ride site:

edinburgh airport to city centre - entrance to park and ride

This short stretch of road doesn’t have any paths, but there are grass verges in the event of any traffic approaching. You can also choose to walk through the car park on the left which also leads towards the tram stop. Alternatively, you can visit the information centre (roof visible on the right) which has some ticket machines for the tram. We’re heading straight for the tram stop though, as there are machines and validators on the platform, too.

A final set of signs will guide you to the stop itself once you’re in the car park:

edinburgh airport to city centre - entrance to tram stop

Travelling by tram

Part 1 of your trip from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre is complete! Make sure you buy a ticket or validate a pass for the tram before you board. There are tram stops and validators at every stop and they look like this:

The ticket machines accept coin payment or you can use cards (both chip and pin and contactless). Other than the single for £1.80, you can also buy day tickets which are accepted on Lothian buses, too.

Great! So you’ve got a ticket, and now it’s time to take the tram. They run up to every 7 minutes and at the moment, they run to St Andrew Square, which is in the heart of the city. There’s plenty of luggage space and they’re fully accessible. You’ll also find a member of staff on every tram checking tickets and giving out help and advice on your trip.

On the way, you might get off at some of the following stops:

  • Edinburgh Gateway – which is ideal for connections to and from further north in Scotland
  • Haymarket – for rail connections throughout Scotland and towards the North West of England. It’s easier to change here than to transfer at Edinburgh Waverley
  • Princes Street – for Edinburgh City Centre, the Castle and other main attractions. This is also the nearest station to Edinburgh Waverley. It’s around a 10-minute walk.

No matter where you choose to go from Ingliston Park & Ride towards the city, the fare is always £1.80. You can find out more about travelling by tram on the Edinburgh Trams website.

Is there anything else I should know?

It takes around 25 minutes to get into Edinburgh itself once you’re on the tram. Factoring in a 25 minute walk and a wait for the tram, it’s likely to take you almost an hour from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre. So this isn’t the fastest option, but it is of course the cheapest.

Let’s recap the walk with this handy map:

Ready to save on your train tickets, too? Visit the Railsmartr website.