This page should provide you with all of the key information on travelling to Edinburgh. If you are travelling from overseas you might also find this quick overview of practical information about visiting Scotland useful.
Edinburgh International Airport is only 12 kilometres (8 miles) from the city centre and has very good connections to the city via taxi and by express coach. Over 120 destinations are served by over 40 airlines including New York, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Munich, Stockholm and Oslo. There are over 311 flights daily from Edinburgh Airport. There are on average 324 flights from the London airports every week and numerous other major cities in the UK including Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.
This year the Olympics take place in London so if you are planning your trip and wish to avoid London air routes you should also be able to find a good range of international flights to Glasgow airport.
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are well served by public transport making travel to the conference straightforward.
From Edinburgh Airport
- Taxi – no need to book, always available at the Airport taxi rank – approx £18 – £20 each way (approx €22 or $29)
- Airport Express bus – approx 20 minutes into the city centre – £3.50 each way (approx €4 or $6).
- Taxi – no need to book, always available at the Airport taxi rank – approximately £20 – £22 each way to Glasgow City Centre (approx €24 or $32)
- Airport bus (service 500) – regular buses run from Glasgow Airport and take approximately 25 minutes to travel into Glasgow city centre where there are regular trains (from Queen Street Station) or buses (from Buchanan Bus Station) to Edinburgh. The Airport bus is £5 each way (approx €6 or $8). A single train ticket from Glasgow to Edinburgh is around £12 (approx €14.35 or $19.06). Buses from Glasgow to Edinburgh cost around £7 (approx €8.37 or $11.18).
- Trains – trains from Glasgow (Queen Street Station) to Edinburgh run at least every half hour and every 15 minutes at peak times. The journey takes around 45 minutes and a single train ticket from Glasgow to Edinburgh is around £12 (approx €14.35 or $19.06).
Edinburgh is linked to all the major cities and airports in Britain. The high speed link to London gets you from the heart of one city to the other in just over four hours, while the Eurostar service connects Paris to Edinburgh in around eight hours. See www.nationalrailenquiries.co.uk
Motorways and a network of trunk roads ensure Edinburgh is easily accessible by road. Most road routes are well detailed in Google Maps which should help with planning routes around the city whilst the Edinburgh City Council Traffic Disruptions page and the BBC Travel News website provides live traffic information for the city.
By Bus or Coach
The coach station at St Andrews Square in the heart of the city offers connections to all major cities in Britain. See www.nationalexpress.com
All participants are strongly advised to take out travel insurance. See our cancellation policy for more details.
EU Members may travel and work in the UK with no visa requirements. Citizens from the USA, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand do not require a visa to visit the UK but are prohibited from work.
International participants should be particularly aware and careful about visa requirements and should plan travel well in advance. People who need visas MUST book at the early rate to get prompt letters of support. Letters of support will not be issues before payment of registration fee. However, if a participant does not get a visa, the registration fee will be returned, minus an administration charge of £50 (see cancellation policy).
The UK Border Agency site has information about obtaining a visa for those travelling to the United Kingdom. It links to websites for UK Visa application centres worldwide. UK embassy and consulate websites have very helpful information about procedures, timelines, communities served, required documentation, and fees.
OR2012 does not issue formal invitation letters for visas. However, we can issue a visa support letter, which describes the nature of the conference, and can confirm if you have had a contribution accepted. Visa support letters cannot be sent to private addresses; we can only send them to established universities. If you do not have a contribution accepted at OR2012 and require a visa support letter, your request must be accompanied by a reference letter from a known member of the OR community.
For visa support letters, please send all requests to OR2012@ed.ac.uk with the following information:
- Name as it appears on your passport.
- Current institution address (support letters cannot be sent to personal addresses).
- If you have had a contribution accepted, please indicate whether you are the sole author or a co-author, and provide the full title. Alternatively, if you are otherwise associated with a conference or workshop, as organiser or programme committee member, please give details.
- Registration confirmation number.
Getting Around Edinburgh
You will find the city not only visually stunning but also very accessible. For longer journeys around the you can make use of our excellent public transport system or take taxis. It’s also a great city to explore by bike or on foot!
To plan your route across the city both Traveline Scotland and Google Maps Directions service provide good quality information on Edinburgh bus, rail, walking, cycling and driving routes. Both are useful whatever your preferred method of transport.
Edinburgh is a hilly place but there are beautiful walking routes across the city so it is well worth exploring on foot. Because Edinburgh is built on seven hills and includes historic buildings with entrances on multiple levels it can make for slightly challenging walking routes however most of the city is well signposted and there are many green spaces and historic sites making it a fascinating city to walk around.
Any Edinburgh map – including the free maps available at the Airport and Rail station – include good information on walking routes. Most city guides and books on Edinburgh include recommended walking routes and there are also dedicated walking books such as Edinburgh: 40 Town and Country Walks. Other useful resources include Walkit Edinburgh, an phone application and website outlining various leisure walks throughout the city and the Visit Scotland guide to leisure walks in and around Edinburgh (the site also lets you explore other walking routes throughout Scotland).
Edinburgh is extremely well connected by bus, indeed the OR2012 venue is within a 5 minute walk of numerous bus stops and bus services.
Lothian Buses are the main operator within Edinburgh offering services throughout the city centre and out into the areas surrounding the city. Lothian buses charge a flat fare of £1.40 ( $2.24 / €1.68) for a single journey anywhere in Edinburgh. A Dayticket which allows unlimited travel on any Edinburgh buses is £3.50 ($5.59 / €4.19) per day. The only buses that are charged differently are the AirPort Express (see above section on Edinburgh Airport for details) and the Night Buses which run throughout central Edinburgh from around midnight until early morning. Night buses are charged at a flat fare of £3.00 ($4.78 / €3.59) which allows unlimited travel on any Night bus in Edinburgh. The Lothian Bus website includes a guide on how to use the Edinburgh buses. You can also view live update on their Twitter feed. Lothian buses also provides journey planning and a live bus tracker which can also be accessed via various mobile applications, for more information see the Lothian Buses website.
First Buses also operate a wide variety of routes within central Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Fares vary by distance but are usually similar to those of comparable Lothian Bus routes with FirstDay, their day tickets, priced at £3.50 ($5.59 / €4.19) for central Edinburgh travel.
One of the easiest way to plan your bus journey is the Traveline Scotland website which allows you to plan journeys using multiple bus operators, train operators and walking routes.
Edinburgh is a very bike friendly city although, as noted above, Edinburgh is built on 7 hills which means that routes can be quite adventurous and involve an uphill climb.
Spokes, an Edinburgh based cycling group, have created excellent cycle route maps of the city, including leisure routes around the city centre. There is also a special London Tube-style Innertube Map for Edinburgh which details the city’s substantial network of off-street cycling paths and routes. Edinburgh City Council also have a useful page of resources for cyclists.
If you are thinking of hiring a bike there’s a great outline on the Cycling Edinburgh website. BikeTrax offer a wide range of bikes, including Brompton folding bicycles from £16 ($25.51 / €19.14) per day or £75 ($119.55 / €89.71) per week to £20 ($31.88 / €23.92) per day or £80 ($127.52 / €95.65) per week, Leith Cycles offer bike hire from £17 per day ($27.10 / €20.33) or £85 ($135.48 / €101.62) per week and offer helmet and pannier hire, and the Bike Station at 250 Causewayside (near the OR2012 venues and accomodation) sells second hand bikes every Saturday morning with most selling for around £75 ($119.55 / €89.71).
Although you do not need to travel by car to reach most of Edinburgh and the surrounding area some delegates may be interested in staying in Scotland for a longer spell and a car is useful for travelling around rural Scotland. As Edinburgh is a historic city the road system can be confusing, particularly as there are a number of ongoing roadworks connected to the Edinburgh Trams Project. Reliable real-time travel information updates are available on the Edinburgh City Council Travel Disruptions, the Traffic Scotland site and the BBC Scotland Travel Information for Edinburgh, Fife and East Scotland websites.
The OR2012 venues are in the centre of Edinburgh and whilst they are well served by buses and taxis there is no dedicated parking available and only limited parking nearby (see the live parking information site from Edinburgh City Council). We would therefore advise delegates travelling with cars to ensure that their accommodation has parking facilities.
Delegates staying on the outskirts of Edinburgh may be interested in using the excellent Park and Ride facilities that allow you to park your car and continue your journey by bus which will take you into the city centre. Almost all of the Park and Ride facilities offer free parking (the exception is Newcraighall which connects to both rail and bus networks and charges £0.50 ($0.80 / €0.60) per day), most are serviced by Lothian Buses and operate normal bus fares (£1.40 ( $2.24 / €1.68) for a single journey, £3.50 ($5.59 / €4.19) for a day ticket allowing unlimited travel – excluding night and airport buses – across Edinburgh). Ferrytoll Park and Ride is operated by Stagecoach and fare details vary – more information here. Sherrifhall Park and Ride is serviced by both Lothian Buses and First Buses. First bus fares vary by distance travelled – state your destination on the bus for exact price but FirstDay tickets, allowing unlimited travel within a particular zone, are between £3.50 ($5.59 / €4.19) and £5.50 ($8.77 / €6.58). Please note that most Park and Ride facilities do not allow overnight parking.
- Edinburgh International Airport – routes, travel information and live flight information.
- Edinburgh Airport Bus – information on the express bus between Edinburgh Airport and the City Centre.
- Glasgow International Airport - routes, travel information and live flight information for Glasgow’s main airport.
- Glasgow Airport Bus – information on the express bus and coach services from Glasgow Airport.
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office – information on international travel visas.
- Traveline Scotland – website allowing you to plan short or complex journeys for any part of Scotland, you can search all forms of public transport.
- National Rail Enquiries – website for the UK train network and including key service alerts and information for planning travel.
- Edinburgh City Council Travel Disruptions - regularly updated site providing alerts on road disruptions and closures, road works, accidents, etc.
- BBC Scotland Travel Information for Edinburgh, Fife and East Scotland - live updates on road travel in and around Edinburgh
- Traffic Scotland – live updates on travel throughout Scotland
- National Express – information about UK coach travel to and from Edinburgh.
- Lothian Buses – website for the main provider of Edinburgh buses including a guide on how to use the Edinburgh buses. You can also follow @on_lothianbuses on Twitter for live updates. Their contact number is: 0131 555 6363.
- First Buses – website for the other bus provider in Edinburgh, their routes often go further outside the city centre than the Lothian routes. Their contact number is: 08708 72 72 71.
- Edinbus – iPhone app enabling real time information on Lothian bus services throughout the city. Journey planning tools and alternative phone apps are also available.
- Spokes – Edinburgh based cycling groups who provide information and detailed cycling maps for the city.
- Innertube Map - interactive map of Edinburgh’s network of off-street cycling paths and routes.
- Cycling around Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Council page of resources for cyclists.
- Cycling Edinburgh - website offering useful information on Edinburgh bike hire.
- BikeTrax - bike hire firm offering city and Brompton folding bicycles
- Leith Cycles - bike hire firm offering bike, helmet and pannier hire,
- Bike Station - community project based at 250 Causewayside selling inexpensive secondhand bikes.
- Park & Ride Facilities in Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Council site detailing Park & Ride facilities throughout the city.
- Live Parking Information – Edinburgh City Council site listing live parking availability in the city.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional queries.