The Business Traveller's Guide to Edinburgh

[fa icon="calendar"] 20-Jun-2016 17:24:56 / by Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson


If you’re visiting Edinburgh on business, you’re in for a treat. As a major financial and tech centre, home to the likes of RBS, Standard Life and Skyscanner, it gives London a run for its money.

But Edinburgh isn’t your average business destination, it’s also a vibrant cultural hub. With Michelin-starred restaurants, festivals all year round and oodles of personality - packaged in a sensible 264 square kilometres - it’s the perfect place to mix business with pleasure.


Coming to Auld Reekie for a meeting or conference? We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to make the most of your stay.

Getting There

Edinburgh’s three main business clusters are the city centre, the Exchange district and west EdinburghThe city centre and Exchange are located close together in the heart of the city, 12 kilometres away from Edinburgh’s international airport. Popular conference centres, including the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), the Sheraton and the Balmoral Hotel are within walking distance of this area.



West Edinburgh is a bit further afield, but still close to the airport. It’s where you’ll find the head office of the Royal Bank of Scotland and offices for other top financial companies, including HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and JP Morgan Chase.


If you’re headed to the city centre, the Airlink 100 service is a great choice. It leaves from stop D - right outside the airport’s main entrance, and runs 24 hours a day. It terminates at Waverley Bridge station, just across the road from the city centre and four minutes away from the Balmoral Hotel.

The trip should take about 25 minutes; and costs £4.50 one way or £7.50 for an open return. You can buy your ticket online ahead of time or directly from the driver when you board the bus. Bus drivers don’t give change, so you’ll need the exact fare. You’ve been warned.


Edinburgh’s sole tram line runs every ten to fifteen minutes between 6.15am and 10.45pm. From the airport, a single adult fare costs £5.50. The tram stops at Bankhead, a four minute walk away from the west Edinburgh business district; and at Haymarket, six minutes away from the Exchange. It also stops at Waverley Station, across the road from the city centre.


Getting a taxi is probably the most convenient way of reaching your destination, but at around £20 to £22 it’s also the most pricey. You can pre-book a taxi online, or pick one up outside the arrivals terminal. Alternatively, you can get an Uber ride. A journey to west Edinburgh takes about 10 minutes, while a journey to the city centre should take about 25 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Getting Around


Edinburgh is small and full of character, so walking around is the best way to take it all in. That said, the city does have some steep hills and its fair share of cobbled streets. This may be a problem if you’re wearing heels, so be sure to carry a comfortable change of shoes with you. Driving around Edinburgh is a pain, especially in the city centre. Parking is expensive, there are lots of one way signs and some areas are completely off limits for motorists.

If you’re not in the mood to walk, you’d do well to catch the bus. The network is extensive and efficient; and there’s even free wifi on board. A single adult ticket costs £1.60, while a day ticket costs £4.

If you’re in Edinburgh for an extended stay, it’s a good idea to buy a ridacard. This will give you unlimited travel on buses and trams at the lowest fares possible: £18 for one week and £54 for four weeks.

Most buses pass through Princes Street, so getting to the city centre or Exchange district is a breeze. If you’re headed to west Edinburgh, the easiest (and fastest) way is via tram. Trams from the city centre cost as much as the bus, and are eligible for unlimited travel if you have a ridacard. Just catch the tram towards the airport at Waverley and stop at Bankhead.

While The Night Away

Edinburgh is a vibrant city, with lots going on. Whether you’re after a bite to eat, a drink or two or something more cultural, you’re bound to find something to suit your tastes.

Food And Drink

You’ll find a whole array of bars and restaurants right in the city centre - from chains such as Jamie’s Italian to restaurants for more refined palates.Edinburgh has an impressive number of Michelin-starred restaurants, from the aptly named Number One at the Balmoral to the Castle Terrace just off Princes Street.

But if you have more simple tastes (and you don’t mind a queue), Oink is definitely a must. Treat yourself to the best freshly carved pork sandwich ever; and chase it down with fried Mars bars and a glass of Irn Bru for a truly Scottish experience.


Edinburgh’s summer fringe festival needs no introduction. But really and truly, there’s something going on in Edinburgh all year round. Whether it’s a musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse (minus the London price tag), an art house production at the Filmhouse or belly laughs at the The Stand, you’re sure to find something to your taste.

Don’t Miss A Workout

While Edinburgh can get rather cold (and very hilly), a jog is still worthwhile. Start through Princes Street Gardens and head up towards Edinburgh Castle for some breathtaking aerial views; or take a longer (but easier) trail by the Water of Leith.

If you’d rather hit the gym, there’s a Pure Gym right in the heart of the Exchange, a mere one minute walk from the Sheraton. Or, if you want to get your girl power on and don’t mind venturing a bit further afield, why not book a class at Fitness Chicks, a women-only gym in the Quartermile?


In need of some retail therapy after a long day of meetings? Relief isn’t too far. Princes Street, one of Edinburgh’s foremost thoroughfares, is also the city’s main shopping district; and within walking distance of both the city centre and the exchange. You’ll find a host of well-known high street names, including Zara, Boots and Superdrug, as well as an Apple Store.

If you’re after a quirky find, or have a love for everything vintage, the Grassmarket area is definitely a must. Steeped in history and just off the Royal Mile, it’s a treasure trove of unique items and rare finds.

If, on the other hand, you have more expensive tastes, Multrees Walk is the place to be. Just cross Princes Street and make a right opposite St Andrew’s Square for your fill of Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and more.


Off The Beaten Track


If you have a morning to spare, treat yourself to a walking tour; and get entertained while visiting some lesser known spots -  the George Heriot school, the grave of Greyfriars’ Bobby and beyond. Best of all, it’s entirely free (but do tip your guide at the end).

And, while not exactly off the beaten track, St Giles’ Cathedral is a must visit too. Stare in awe at some of the most beautiful stained glass ever made, take in the architecture and, if you’re lucky, catch a dance performance.


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Topics: Corporate Travel, Business Travel

Kate Jackson

Written by Kate Jackson