Travelling to (or from) Edinburgh Scotland? Contributor Cameron Alexander provides the lowdown on (almost) everything you’ll ever need to know about Edinburgh Airport
Edinburgh Airport – still sometimes called Edinburgh Turnhouse, after the original RAF aerodrome that once stood here – is not only Scotland‘s busiest airport, it’s the sixth busiest in the UK. Offering a variety of domestic and international destinations for travellers in the Edinburgh region, this bustling airport handled nearly 15 million passengers using over 50 carriers in 2019… most of them vacationers here to check out Scotland’s capital city
Whether you’re travelling through Edinburgh Airport on your way somewhere else, are arriving here as you start your Scottish vacation, are meeting an inbound visitor – or simply looking for background information to help you find your way around – we trust this list of (almost) everything you need to know about Edinburgh Airport will help.
From useful, practical information on airport facilities and lounges, to tips on Edinburgh Airport parking, this guide covers pretty much everything you’ll need to navigate your way with minimal fuss. Safe travels!
A Brief History of Edinburgh Airport
Edinburgh Airport first opened 1947 with a modest air shuttle service operated by British European Airways connecting London to Edinburgh. Prior to this, the original airfield had been the site of a WWI aerodrome. Turnhouse Aerodrome was established for the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, and which later saw action in WWII as RAF Turnhouse.
The original facility was sited close to the East Coast Main Line (ECML), the rail link connecting Edinburgh to England. During the war years, aircraft were shipped directly to the site in crates on trains, assembled, and sent into action from the grass strip.
After being turned over for civilian aircraft use in the 1960s, in 1971 Edinburgh Airport was taken over by the British Airports Authority (BAA). In 1977, Queen Elizabeth opened the renovated facility, which has since grown exponentially, with new buildings, extensions, and improvements currently under construction. The airport’s most iconic landmark, it’s 187ft tall, curvaceous, state-of-the-art air traffic control tower, was added in 2005.
Getting To (and From) Edinburgh Airport
Edinburgh Airport is situated just eight miles west of the city centre, which means that tourists eager to see attractions like Edinburgh Castle can expect to do so soon after landing.
While relatively easy to get to by car, it’s well-served by public transit, with the popular Edinburgh Airlink bus service doing much of the heavy lifting. The Airlink shuttle service is a fast and inexpensive way to get to and from the airport, a journey that takes only 25 minutes. Buses run around the clock, with departures every 8-10 minutes from 4am to just after midnight, while a limited service runs through the night. Tickets for this highly-recommended service start at £10 and can be purchased by contactless payment when boarding, or online.
Coach services to the airport from destinations further afield are handled by National Express. The nearest major railway station is Edinburgh Waverley. Connections via Edinburgh Airlink buses run from Waverley Bridge ,which is next to the train station.
Another great way to get to the city’s airport is via Edinburgh Trams. This excellent service runs all the way from York Place in New Town to the airport, a journey of some 8.7 miles with 16 handy stops along the way, and takes close to 40 minutes. The service operates seven days per week between the hours of 5am and midnight, with trams running approximately every7 to 10-minutes.
Tram tickets are available from machines located at stops, with a return trip costing from £9. For more details, check out the Edinburgh Trams website at https://edinburghtrams.com.
For a spot of luxury travel, why not consider letting Edinburgh Executive Carriages do the driving? The airport’s ‘preferred’ chauffeur company offers a variety of exclusive services. These include a special ‘meet and greet’ service at the steps of your plane for domestic flights, or at arrivals for international arrivals. Private sightseeing tours and golf trips can also be arranged. (Click here to find out more.)
Finally, those who prefer a traditional taxi for local or long distance journeys are also looked after as there is no shortage of accredited companies operating in Edinburgh You can find out more about getting to and from the airport by taxi here.
Edinburgh Airport Parking
Thanks to the addition of a £20 million multi-storey car park in 2004 that added another 2,000 spaces, car parking at Edinburgh Airport is generally never an issue.
Both long- and short stay options are available through recommended parking operators such as Official Edinburgh Airport Parking, and reputable off-site companies such as Secure Airparks (the latter’s just a two minute shuttle ride to the terminals).
The airport’s official parking set-up has a number of additional perks that may make life a little easier, too. These include:
- FastPark, featuring a terminal location close to check-ins, a simple key-drop procedure, and 360-degree photos of your vehicle as protection against damage claims
- Cheaper ‘mid-stay’ options, with drop-offs a 10-minute walk from check-ins and arrivals
- Self-park long-stay options
- Multi-storey parking which provides direct access to airport security via a link bridge (fastTRACK security clearance included)
- ‘Plane parking’, a budget program located a 10-minute shuttle bus trip from airport terminals
Whichever provider you opt for, be sure to check their websites for special deals and weekend offers.
Also, be sure to refer to our handy pre-check-in guide to ensure your parking experience is as hassle-free as possible:
- Pre-book your parking – very often discounted rates are available if you book in advance
- Make a note of directions to the car park so you don’t waste time driving around the airport when you need to be checking in
- Remember where you parked your car within the car park – it’s embarrassing (and time consuming! wandering around looking for your vehicle
- Any damage, should there be any, should be reported before you leave the car park
- Car valet and cleaning services are sometimes offered at airport car parks – check when making a reservation or upon arrival at the car park
- Extra charges are often made for oversized vehicles or trailers, that is if the car park will even accept them – it’s a good idea to check first.
Where to Stay Near Edinburgh Airport
Travellers are often surprised to learn that some of the very best Edinburgh hotels are located within an easy commute (by car or public transport) of the airport. And there’s certainly no shortage of reputable brand-name accommodations available on the airport’s doorstep.
To help you find the best airport hotel deals, we’ve pulled together the following list of Edinburgh Airport hotels for you. Whether you require a budget hotel or high star rating luxury accommodation with business facilities, there are many hotels in the local area to choose from, including two within the airport itself.
Here are just a couple that come highly recommended by fellow travellers:
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh Airport
This stylish, vibrant, modern hotel that boasts bright rooms with wi-fi and comfortable beds. Facilities include a well-equipped fitness centre, parking, a great bar, and on-site dining. A good number of meeting rooms are available within the hotel, too, for those here on business.
Check out the hotel’s website for room rates and further details.
Address: 5 Almond Ave, Ingliston, Edinburgh
Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh Airport
This popular Holiday Inn Express is a modern, purpose built property with all the amenities travellers and business executives have come to expect. Consisting of 95 en-suite bedrooms, the hotel is ideally located for tourists visiting Scotland, as well as business travellers needing easy access to nearby motorways.
In addition to an excellent restaurant and bar, this clean, comfortable 3-star hotel also has superb function and meeting rooms facilities. A full Scottish breakfast is available for guests to enjoy in the restaurant or in your room.
Visit the hotel’s website for further information.
Address: 101 Ingliston Rd, Ingliston, Edinburgh
Airport Facilities, Lounges… and Kid Stuff
Those who like to travel in comfort and style will want to check out the first-rate Edinburgh Airport lounges. There are three lounges to choose from: The Aspire, No1, and British Airways lounges. Each offers a full range of complimentary light refreshments, snacks, soft drinks, and a wide choice of alcoholic drinks. A collection of magazines and daily and International newspapers is also available. Complimentary Internet access is provided.
Those with mobility issues are also looked after, too. Facilities include wheelchair access telephones and toilet facilities, ramps for easy access, and also wider pathways.
Travelling with kids? Edinburgh Airport’s children facilities mean that the pre-flight time spent at the airport is as hassle-free as possible… whatever the age of your kids. Baby changing facilities are available in all airport buildings, including arrival, check-in, and the departure lounge (just look for the baby care symbol).
Fussy eaters? Nearly all of the airport’s restaurants provide facilities for children, including kid’s menus and high chairs. Complimentary colouring and crayon packs are available at the BAA Information desk to keep the wee ‘uns occupied during meal times. Afterwards, if they’ve still got energy to burn, take them to the play zones near gates 2 and 21.
An array of Edinburgh Airport shops also help pass the time prior to your flight. From duty free fare to its wide range of outlets, passengers can shop. For everything from holiday essentials to fashion and alcohol at discounted prices.
Before You Go…
- For useful Edinburgh Airport maps and other information, including flight route maps and a handy terminal parking map and video, visit the facility’s website at edinburghairport.com
- For the latest up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information at Edinburgh Airport, visit the airport’s website at edinburghairport.com/flights
- Looking to hire a car? Click here for Edinburgh Airport car rental for information
- Lost your luggage, passport, or other personal belongings while passing through? Check out the airport’s extensive lost property page for details of how to retrieve your lost items.
- Using a GPS? Here’s the address you’ll need to get you there:
Contributor Cameron Alexander is a UK-based freelancer and travel writer.