Edinburgh England Planning a Trip travel guide

Getting from Liverpool to Edinburgh

Liverpool is very well known for being the home town of the Beatles. It also has a long football history and the nightlife is lively.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is a very popular city among travelers of all ages thanks to the interesting sights, lively festivals and cuisine.

Quick summary

There isn’t a direct connection between the two cities. Buses remain the cheapest option although the travel time is about 9 hours. A faster option is the train but the fare is about double the bus fare.

Flights from Liverpool (airport code: LPL) to Edinburgh

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL) is located about 12 km from the city center and handles domestic flights, as well as flights to other cities in Europe, North Africa and Middle East.

Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is the busiest airport in Scotland and the sixth busiest in the UK. The airport is located about 10 km from the city center. The airport is not a hub for any airline. It handles flights within the UK, Europe and to North America and Africa.

Unfortunately there are no direct flights between the two cities. Flybe offers a flight via the Island of Man , with a total travel time of 6 h and single fares from £92 in mid-May 2012.

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>>Cheap flights to Edinburgh
>>Cheap flights to Liverpool

Trains from Liverpool to Edinburgh

National Rail offers trains between Liverpool and Edinburgh but all require at least one connection. Trains depart Liverpool Lime Street station every hour. The connection is through Wigan North Western and the total travel time is 3 ½ h. The single fare is £62.50.

Buses from Liverpool to Edinburgh

Another overland option between Liverpool and Edinburgh is the bus.

National Express offers three departures per day from Liverpool, at 7:15 a.m., 11 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. But all require at least a change. If you choose the latest departure, the change is in Manchester and the travel time is 9 h 15 min. The single fare is £35.30. The price is the same for all three departures.

Driving from Liverpool to Edinburgh

You can rent a car in Liverpool and drive the 220 miles to Edinburgh on M6. The travel time is 4 hours but does depend on the traffic.

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Edinburgh England Planning a Trip travel guide

Getting from Manchester to Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a very popular city among travelers of all ages. Whether you want to attend interesting festivals, enjoy the history and the sites or taste the “weird”-ish local cuisine, Edinburgh is the place to be.

Manchester is one of the major cities in England, with good connections to the rest of the country of continent. If you need to travel between Manchester and Edinburgh, there are plenty of options: plane, bus, train and car.

Quick summary

The cheapest option to get between Manchester and Edinburgh is the bus (fares from £11 one way). The fastest option is the plane but, of course, the fares are higher (but not higher than train fares).

Flights from Manchester (airport code: MAN) to Edinburgh

Manchester Airport (MAN) is the third busiest airport in the UK and the largest outside of London. It is hub for Flybe and handles flights within the UK, Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East.

Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is the busiest airport in Scotland and the sixth busiest in the UK. It is located about 10 km from the city center. While not a hub for any airline, the airport handles flights within the UK, Europe and to North America and Africa.

Flights between Manchester and Edinburgh are operated by BMI and Flybe. The flight time is an hour. In late May 2012, expect to pay from £45 one way on BMI. Slightly higher fares are available from Flybe. Similar prices are available for flights in mid-July 2012 (from £49 one way on the same carrier).

Read more about:
>>Cheap flights to Edinburgh
>>Cheap flights to Manchester

Trains from Manchester to Edinburgh

Direct trains connect Manchester Piccadilly station to Edinburgh’s station. The travel time is about 3 ½ h . There are departures every 2 to 3 hours daily. Single fares start at £59.90. You can also choose to change trains in York but the fare can be higher in some cases (and the travel time increases).

Details, schedules and prices can be found here .

Buses from Manchester to Edinburgh

Chorlton Street Coach Station serves Manchester and is located close to the city center. There are two companies to choose from when planning to travel between Manchester and Edinburgh:

  • National Express : there are several buses per day, the fastest one taking 6 h 20 min to get between the two cities. Single fares start at £31.40.

  • Megabus : offers two buses per day , leaving Manchester at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The travel time is about 5 ½ h and the single fare is £11.00.

Driving from Manchester to Edinburgh

You can rent a car in Manchester and drive the 216 miles to Edinburgh via M6. The travel time (estimated) is about 4 hours but does depend on the traffic.

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Edinburgh Travel Tips

Why You Should Add Edinburgh to Your Round the World Trip Itinerary

Round the world trips are getting more and more popular as people are sick of waiting until retirement to see the world. When travelers plan a trip around the world, they have a lot of things to think about. First on the list is usually the itinerary. Figuring out where to go is no small task, and travelers need to consider a variety of factors when planning their trips.

Many people don’t like to add places in Europe to their trips because of the high cost of traveling there. But if you have a higher budget, Europe would be a great place to add. If you are planning on adding the continent to your travels, you have even more choices to make as Europe is huge and has many popular destinations. For some reason, Scotland isn’t the most popular of places to add. But we think that adding a city like Edinburgh to your RTW trip itinearary would be a great idea.

Edinburgh is a city of festivals, so if you’re hoping to get an authentic Scottish experience, try to plan your time here around one of its many festivals. Coming around New Year’s would give you a chance to take part in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebration. It’s one of the biggest New Year’s celebrations in the world. You’ll be in for a treat and get to party with both travelers and locals alike. If you can’t make it for Hogmanay, though, then think about coming to Scotland in the summer. The weather sure will be a lot better, and it seems like there’s a new festival every week during the summer, with the largest arts festival in the world being the highlight. When planning your round the world trip, don’t leave out the Athens of the North.

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Edinburgh Things to Do

Getting to the Fringe Festival on a Budget

Visiting a city when it’s in the midst of a celebration always makes a trip more interesting – and when the celebration is a world-famous month-long festival of arts, that’s even better. In other words, a visit to Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival is a trip you won’t soon forget.

As the name suggests, the Fringe Festival isn’t about the arts in the usual sense. Yes, there are theatre, music, and dance performances scheduled at venues throughout the city during the month of August, for which you can buy tickets and sit in the audience like you would in any similar venue around the world. In addition to that, however, there are street performances everywhere you look – and it’s this kind of artistic expression that the festival is perhaps best known for. Buskers are on every street corner, performance artists attract crowds on every pedestrian street, and the crowds that fill the city are never without entertainment.

Unfortunately, the month when all of this is going on is also one of the most expensive times to visit Europe in general. It’s more challenging to find good deals on airfare to Edinburgh or cheap hotels in Edinburgh during the summer when the city’s weather is most conducive to visiting. This is compounded by the popularity of the Fringe Festival, since people often book up the best budget accommodation months in advance. There are Edinburgh Festival Fringe travel deals to be had, though, if you’re willing to do your research.

It’s advisable to begin your search for accommodation at least six months before your trip (more if you’re on a tighter budget), and for a good deal on a flight you’d be smart to start looking at airfare even more than six months beforehand. Just by keeping an eye on what airfare costs you’ll know when the prices are going up or down, and you’ll know whether a so-called “deal” is all it claims to be.

As for tickets to the events themselves, if you’re intent on seeing specific performances then be sure to sign up on the official site so you know when tickets go on sale. Otherwise, you’ll never lack for entertainment even if you never buy a ticket to a show just by walking through the city and stopping to watch any street performers that catch your eye. Just remember to bring small change for tips.

photo by Shadowgate

Edinburgh Places to Go Things to Do Travel Tips

What Are You Doing for New Year’s Eve?

Each year, my New Year’s Eve plans range between: night in with my better half, night with parents, party with friends or concert in the city’s public square…and , honestly, it gets really boring after a while. So, I’ve decided to do something totally different this year. Yes, travel to a city which holds interesting New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Europe, among the interesting places to celebrate New Year’s Eve are: Edinburgh, Paris and Barcelona. I’ve always had a soft spot for Edinburgh though, so celebrating Hogmanay this year sounds absolutely amazing.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are busy traveling times and the rates are higher than during the rest of the year (but slightly lower than during peak summer season). So, start looking for the cheapest flight to Edinburgh ahead of time. You could easily plan to arrive in the city on December 29 (the celebrations start on December 30) and leave the city on January 3 (after you manage to see some of the city when it’s not overcrowded). A round trip flight from London starts at £95 per person (on easyJet); of course, that’s unless you manage to find a deal.

Also, look for hotels in Edinburgh while you plan your flight. Of course, it’s not hard to find expensive rooms but when you want cheap accommodation you need to spend a bit of time researching the options. You can find 2-star hotels at £86 per night but the hotel is located far from the center. On the other hand, hostels can be a good choice especially if you travel with your friends. Private rooms start at £40 per night and the hotel is located close to the city center.

Edinburgh Things to Do

It’s Not Too Late to Plan a Trip for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is one of the most popular places in the country to visit. And at no time is it more popular than during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual event that takes place each August and is one of the best outdoor festivals in the world.

The festival is an open-air arts fest that brings together theatre, visual art, music, comedy and performance art that spills out onto the streets of the city. The festival developed “on the fringe” and continues to be a venue for lesser-known and more avant-garde artists.

Visiting during the Fringe Festival is difficult, but worthwhile. Hotels and hostels book up well in advance and rates are much higher than during other times of year, but the trade off is the chance to see random art just about everywhere you look in the city.

With large city-wide events like this, we tend to notice two trends. In order to score good Fringe Festival deals, you either need to book very far in advance, or you need to wait until a month or so before the date. Waiting until the last minute like this is a gamble and there’s a good chance all the best hotels are sold out, or priced far beyond your reach. However, it is still possible to find cheap Edinburgh hotels willing to cut a deal on some unsold inventory. The hotels may not be your first choice – they may be located farther out of the city center or may be more basic that what you prefer – but when there is so much going on in the city, you won’t be spending much time in the hotel room anyways.

Likewise, you can often find some excellent deals on flights to Edinburgh if you wait till just a a few days or weeks out. Low cost carriers like RyanAir are notorious for waiting until the last minute to slash their fares and get rid of unsold inventory, and in those circumstances, it definitely pays to wait until the last minute to finalize your travel plans.

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Edinburgh Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do

Plan Your Vacation During The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Fringe 2007Each year Edinburgh is home to the biggest arts festival anywhere – also known as The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe). Each August the streets of Edinburgh overflow with artists, tourists and locals alike. This year the festival takes place between 6 and 30 August.

Because the festival is so popular, planning a vacation for this occasion is complicated – or shall I say quite a nightmare? Edinburgh accommodation books up really fast (starting with the cheapest places first, of course!) and the cheap flights to Edinburgh are sold as soon as they come on sale.

You might want to play it “dangerously” and wait until the last minute to book the flight. Airlines such as Ryanair, BMI and easyJet do offer quite a lot of flights to Edinburgh for low rates but you have to book them within a very short time frame (2-3 days) and at most one month before departure.

In short, if you want to be there, you need to plan in advance. Way in advance! Edinburgh festival travel deals come in handy if you don’t like to plan everything on your own.

If you travel with friends, booking a dorm for the entire gang is an excellent idea. You already know each others’ nocturnal habits and there won’t be too many frustrations along the way. Plus you can pitch in for an excellent meal cooked in the hostel’s kitchen. Bed rates start at £17 per night (in dorms). On the other hand, if you travel with your significant other and prefer the private rooms, you can find them in hostels at rates starting at £23 per night.

If you are a student make sure to carry your documents with you because you’ll be able to get some discounts (at shows, transportation, landmarks). This surely comes in handy when your budget is not exactly high. An easy way to save money is by shopping at the farmer’s market and cooking in the hostel or planning picnics. It’s romantic, it’s cheap and fun.

Edinburgh Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do Travel Tips

When You Get Stuck and Cannot Write … Travel

writerAs a writer myself I know how annoying it can be to get stuck and not be able to write a single world. Each of us knows that such issues require creative solutions. The “rule” is to find an inspirational location so that you can restart your creative process. And I bet you know at least one place in your city where you can go, relax and start writing again.

But what about taking a big leap and choose one of the inspirational travel locations to cure the writer’s block? I’ve definitely done it and let me tell you there’s nothing like writing in the train or at a café in the middle of an old town.

Europe is filled with beautiful cities which can inspire you even when you think nothing else could. So, the first step is to look for cheap tickets to Europe. Paris, Moscow, Ljubljana and Edinburgh are excellent choices to get you started. And if you have enough time on your hands, you can plan to visit them all. After all, low-cost carriers and trains are the writers’ best friends. And by the way: in some trains there are electrical outlets so you can work while you enjoy the scenery.

You can fly into Paris, spend several days there to soak up the atmosphere and then catch a flight to Edinburgh. Look for Edinburgh hotels before you leave because they tend to get expensive and crowded during the summer. And if you think the city is a bit too exciting for you, you can always plan a trip to the Scottish Highlands.

Then you can make the transition to Eastern Europe, stopping in Vienna for a weekend getaway. You’ll fall in love with the city and you’ll surely unleash your imagination. Then take a train to Ljubljana and explore the old city and the surrounding landscape. Last, but not least, go to Moscow (tip: choose summer if you hate cold as much as I do). There’s something intriguing about this city and you’ll surely get some interesting ideas.

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Edinburgh Planning a Trip

Hop Over to Ireland to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Right

stpatricksdayTo some people it seems like the month of February is a cruel joke – it’s often the dreariest month, with nothing but gray skies and rain for days on end, and from here it feels like the next long vacation is months away. But you don’t have to be Irish to put a certain date in mid-March on your calendar that represents a great party to look forward to.

I’m talking, of course, about St. Patrick’s Day.

While St. Patrick’s Day isn’t as huge a holiday in Scotland overall, it’s still an excuse to wear green and drink more than you might otherwise. And in Edinburgh there are likely to be bigger St. Paddy’s Day parties than in some other cities. But if you really want to party properly, your best bet is to head to Ireland – which, luckily, is easy to do from Scotland.

There are lots of holidays that people travel for when airfare increases just before and just after the big day, and there’s a little bit of that associated with St. Patrick’s Day – but it’s still much easier to find St. Patrick’s Day travel deals than it is to find deals for bigger holidays throughout the year. If you’re already in Scotland, you should be able to find cheap flights to Dublin or even cheap flights to Cork (if you want to skip the crazier Dublin celebration altogether) on one of the many discount airlines serving the Emerald Isle. In particular, you should definitely look for Ryanair flight deals, since they’re actually an Irish airline. Just remember that their super-low fares usually also come with super-low standards for service.

Once you figure out how to get over to Ireland for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, you’ll want to sort out your accommodation next. More intrepid travelers may be used to arriving in a new place and then finding a place to stay – but when you’re talking about visiting (say) Dublin over such a major holiday, you may end up with no place to lay your head or leave your bags because everything’s booked. So the sooner you can reserve a room, the better off you’ll be.

Also remember that Dublin is a notoriously expensive city to visit, so you might want to look into the many hostels in addition to searching for cheap hotels in Dublin. And if you’re all about the party, the closer you stay to the Temple Bar area means you’ll have less distance to stumble home after a long night of drinking.

photo by Barnacles Hostels

Edinburgh travel guide

How to Secure a Hostel Bed in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival (Without Reserving a Year in Advance)

fringeThe cleaners may still be sweeping up what remains of this year’s Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, which wrapped up yet another year of crazy fun on August 31, but with the ever-increasing popularity of this festival that can mean only one thing: it’s time to start planning for next year.

The 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (as it’s properly known) is set to run from August 6-30, and as anyone who’s been to the festival before will tell you, it’s a whopping good time – and it crowds the city like just about nothing else. That’s great if you like big, outdoor parties, but not so great if you’re a last minute travel planner (and yes, I acknowledge the words “last minute” and “planner” don’t really belong in the same sentence) who just shows up in Edinburgh expecting to find an available bed at an affordable price.

Does this mean that if you don’t book your accommodation right this very second, nearly a year before the 2010 festival starts, that you’ll be sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh or forced to skip the festivities altogether? Of course not. In a popular tourist city like Edinburgh, there are almost always (note the qualifier) going to be places you can stay, even in the busiest times. But for most travelers, this isn’t something to take comfort in, because the rooms that will still be available at the last minute are either going to be extraordinarily expensive, too far from the action, or just plain gross. There is, after all, a reason they’re empty during the most important festival of the year.

So how can you prevent the catastrophe of showing up to the Edinburgh Fringe with no bed to sleep in? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travelers, listen up – this one may be tough to stomach. You’re going to need to book in advance. I know, I know – but it’s really for the best. And “in advance” doesn’t mean 11 months in advance, either. It just means you’ll need to do a little planning before you show up.

Booking Edinburgh Hostels for the Fringe Festival

If you’re one of those travelers who loves the trip planning process and you know without a doubt you’re going to next year’s Fringe Festival, then by all means scope out which hostel you want to stay in ASAP and book yourself a bed without delay. The sooner you do this, the better off you’ll be in terms of the choices you’ll have – and this includes budget choices, meaning you’re more likely to get a better deal on a room if you’re booking in advance.

But if you can’t handle the idea of booking a hostel bed for something that’s happening a year from now, then here’s what I recommend you do. It still involves some travel research, and it’ll involve some time and organization on your part, but this method will let you maintain some flexibility in your travel plans.

1. Research the hostels in Edinburgh.
This is the part that’s going to feel most like “work” if you hate trip planning, but you only have to do it once. There are quite a few hostels in Edinburgh. This means if you’re visiting at any other time of year, you’ll be spoiled for choice and likely have no issues just arriving in town and finding a decent bed at a decent price. But you’re not visiting at “any other time,” are you? Of course not.

Do some reading about which are the best hostels in Edinburgh. Find out where they’re located, what amenities they offer, what they charge for their beds (and make sure you check their “festival prices,” as those will be higher than their regular season prices). Make a note of the ones that appeal most to you, based on their proximity to Fringe events, their freebies, their prices – whatever is most important to you.

Save this list of hostels somewhere, preferably with links to their respective websites and email addresses, and preferably on your computer so you can just copy and paste things like URLs and email addresses when you need them for step two.

2. Email your chosen hostels regularly.
I’ll let you define what “regularly” is, but it’s probably a good idea to try not to be a pest. The idea here is to get an idea of how full the hostel is during the upcoming Fringe Festival, and how full it’s getting over time. So to start with, if the hostels you’re checking in with say they’ve got no bookings (or only a few), you can probably just check in again a month later. Sending a quick email once a month to the hostels you’re watching will let you see when they start filling up and allow you to grab a bed just before they sell out.

Of course, if “just before they sell out” is still four months before the festival and you’re not 100% certain you’ll be going – or you just don’t want to commit to anything that far out on the calendar – then your emails should include an addendum.

In addition to checking in regularly (which has the added benefit of allowing you to become a known quantity to the hostel staff, so that once you choose a hostel you’ve got friends there already when you show up – provided, of course, that you took the advice at the start of this section to heart and avoided becoming a pest), you’ll want to let them know why you’re doing this. Then, if they respond eventually with, “Oh, we’ve only got three beds left,” you can say, “Well, I’m still not ready to book… Do you have any suggestions for another place to try if you guys are full when I check back?” There are some hostel families in Edinburgh, so it’s likely they’ll have a hostel or two they can refer you to. These may have already been on your list, but if they weren’t then that’s one more hostel to add to your watch list.

3. Thank the people you’re emailing.
So, you’ve come to the end of Project Edinburgh Hostel Watch, and you’ve booked a room. The staff at the hostel you chose are overjoyed because you’re not going to be emailing them anymore (I kid, I hope), and may give you a friendly poke in the ribs over it when you finally show up for your stay. You’ve thanked them, I’m sure, but spending money at their establishment is a good thanks as well.

But what about the hostels you didn’t choose? Did you thank them? Or did you just stop emailing them?

If you’ve just exchanged quick emails with no one in particular at the other hostels and never established any kind of rapport with them, then you don’t have to worry about sending a little “thank you” email to let them know you’ve booked a bed elsewhere. But if you’ve been emailing the same person on the staff over and over again, then it’s probably not a bad idea to send off a little note explaining why they won’t be hearing from you anymore.

I have a tendency to guilt trip myself into feeling badly about things I shouldn’t, but in this case I think it can’t hurt to tell them you’ll pass their hostel’s name onto other travelers headed to Edinburgh, or leave them a nice review on a hostel booking site, or some such thing. They’ve taken the time to answer your emails nicely, so it’s just good karma to offer something nice back to them. And a little good karma never hurt, right?

Some Edinburgh Hostels to Consider

  • Caledonian Backpackers – This hostel is between Old Town & New Town with easy access to both, & the on-site bar helps with the party atmosphere.
  • Royal Mile Backpackers – One of three hostels in the MacBackpackers chain in Edinburgh (they run Scotland tours as well as hostels), this one is small and right on the Royal Mile; there’s a free pub crawl every Thursday.
  • Castle Rock Hostel – Another MacBackpackers hostel, this one’s just below the castle & features a movie lounge, ping-pong & pool tables, and an outdoor patio/garden space.
  • Budget Backpackers – This hostel has a less-than-creative name, but it’s very well-liked, has a good Old Town location, and offers free walking tours and free pub crawls.
  • St. Christopher’s Inn Edinburgh – Experienced backpackers don’t need to be told about the St. Christopher’s chain, they’re well-regarded wherever they’ve opened a branch; the Edinburgh location is in Old Town and has one of their trademark on-site bars.

>> For more information about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, be sure to bookmark the festival’s official website to keep updated on all the latest – including the program schedule and even how you can be a performer (if that’s your thing).

photo by Matito