A Londoner’s Guide to Edinburgh

Visiting Edinburgh from London

Are you planning a trip from London to Edinburgh? It’s so easy to get here, with direct flights from London to Edinburgh Airport taking around 1.5 hours. There are also regular trains straight from Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in the city centre, which take only 4.5 hours. Or, you could get the sleeper train. Book a seat or bed on the overnight service from Euston and wake up the next morning in Edinburgh! Alternatively, how about a road trip? The journey by car is about 8 hours and there are plenty of great places to stop along the way. However you choose to travel, once here, we think you’ll fall in love with our unique and beautiful city.

Passengers reading on a train
You can get from central London to central Edinburgh in 4.5 hours by train

Fall in love with Edinburgh

If you love London, we are sure you’ll love Edinburgh too. Both are vibrant and historic capital cities with many similarities. Magnificent architecture, great museums and galleries, historic attractions, excellent food and drink to name but a few. So if you feel you’ve seen all there is to see in your home town, perhaps it’s time to explore somewhere new? Edinburgh is a smaller, more compact city than London, allowing you to get around easily on foot. We have an excellent bus and tram service for when you need it, and we also have black taxi cabs, much like your London ones.

View of the city of Edinburgh from Calton Hill
Edinburgh is a beautiful city with historic sites and magnificent architecture

Experience Scottish culture

As the capital of Scotland, this is the place to come to experience Scottish culture, heritage and history. There are many wonderful visitor attractions, where you can learn more about the rich history of the city, such as Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Real Mary King’s Close. Do you have Scottish ancestry? You could delve deeper into your family history with a visit to the ScotlandsPeople Centre.

Food and drink is an important part of our culture. Eating out is real treat! Don’t be afraid to try our national delicacy of haggis, neeps and tatties. We promise it’s delicious, and vegetarian versions are available too. You could also sample a dram of Scotch whisky, our national drink. Or perhaps Scottish gin is your tipple of choice? Either way, there are plenty of drinks tours and speciality bars where you can sample some of the finest local produce.

A couple enjoying a whisky tasting at a bar
Sample a wee dram or two on a whisky tour and tasting

The summer festival season

August is the most popular time to visit Edinburgh, when our world-famous summer festivals take over the city. Such as the Festival Fringe, International Festival, Film Festival and Book Festival. If you plan to visit over the summer, we recommend booking your accommodation well in advance.

Many of our London visitors come up for the summer festivals time and time again, but never see what Edinburgh is “really” like. It is a very different experience throughout the rest of the year. We have a year-round calendar of festivals and events, so there is always something exciting and interesting to see. But there is a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere outside of the frenzied August weeks. So consider an autumn or winter break to see a different side.

Colourful bunting hung across Cockburn Street in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is known as “the festival city” with many festivals taking place each year

The Scottish accent

It’s often said that the Scottish accent is difficult to understand. Not only do we talk quickly, but we use a whole range of different words and phrases. However, it’s also generally seen as one of the friendliest and most likeable accents. And once you’ve been here for a few days, you should start to attune.

There are in fact many different accents and dialects in Scotland. The accent here in Edinburgh is completely different to our friends in Glasgow or Inverness. To give you a heads up, take a look at our guide to a few slang words and Edinburgh-isms.

Two women chatting in the gardens at the Edinburgh Fringe
Have a wee blether and brush up on your Scottish accent

The Scottish weather

Now we know Scotland gets a bad rap for its weather. And it’s true, it’s often a little cooler north of the border. But the average level of rainfall in Edinburgh and London is actually quite similar. Located on the east coast of Scotland, it’s drier over here than in the west. Average temperatures range from 3°C in January to 15°C in July. The secret is to pack layers, as you never really know what the weather is going to do. It may be raining one minute and sunny the next. Overall, we have a very mild climate here and the weather shouldn’t stop you from getting out and about.

Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh in the summer, with the Festival Wheel and Scott Monument
Edinburgh is beautiful come rain or shine

Take a look at our Edinburgh guide for more ideas on activities and experiences to enjoy during your trip from London to Edinburgh. Then book your stay at Parliament House Hotel in Edinburgh, just a 5-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley station. Nestled at the foot of Calton Hill, we are perfectly positioned for the major city attractions.