Is it feasible to get from Edinburgh airport to Waverley Station in an hour and fifteen minutes?
July 15, 2012 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Is it feasible to get from Edinburgh airport to Waverley Station in an hour and fifteen minutes? We're arriving on a flight from the Republic of Ireland. Perfectly happy to pay whatever is necessary.

Main question is just if it's possible to reasonably get from Edinburgh Airport to Waverley Station in an hour and fifteen minutes around 1 PM on a Monday in September (Sept 17 to be precise). More than happy to pay for a cab or whatever is fastest.

We're Canadians and will be traveling on Canadian passports. I'm mostly concerned with potential customs delays preventing us from even getting out of the airport for like an hour.

Longer version is my wife and I will be spending two weeks in Ireland and Scotland in the middle of September. We're spending the first week in Ireland then going to Scotland. In Scotland, the first portion of the trip is going to be in Skye (where her family comes from) before coming back to Edinburgh. We're very much trying to get all the Edinburgh -> Skye travel done in one day, so we can spend as much time on Skye as possible.

Tricky bit is, the last train from Edinburgh to Kyle of Lochalsh (access to Skye) leaves at 1:35 PM. Our flight from the west of Ireland (Republic) lands at 12:20 PM.

We booked flights from the west of Ireland to Edinburgh already, not realizing that getting from Edinburgh to Inverness by air is not really sensible in September (it's comically expensive and requires going through either Manchester or Belfast and takes like 6-8 hours). Changing that flight isn't really an option at this point. Plus, taking the train all the way would be scenic and desirable anyway.

If the flight is delayed or something out of our control occurs, we can always just take a train to Inverness (which are far more frequent), stay the night and go on to Kyle of Lochalsh the next morning. But that means half a day we'd otherwise spend on Skye will still be spent traveling, so we'd like to avoid that if we can.

Any insight (i.e. this is totally feasible or absolutely impossible) is much appreciated and if there's some other way to get to Skye from Edinburgh that's better than this, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!
posted by Nelsormensch to Travel & Transportation around Edinburgh, Scotland (15 answers total)
Best answer: If you are getting a cab you might want to go out of the city to Kirkcaldy and get on the train there, it is only about twice as far as getting into the centre of Edinburgh, and is one of the first stops on the Edinburgh-Inverness line. This would buy you about half-and-hour of additional time.
posted by Jabberwocky at 3:44 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Remember that Haymarket station is closer to the airport than Waverley and will avoid a cab going all the way into the chaos of the centre of Edinburgh - where there is still lots of disruption caused by digging up streets for the tram lines. Haymarket is directly on the road from the airport. Your train should stop there five minutes after the Waverley time. Do not rely on getting fed on the train as the trolley services can be unreliable and have little choice. Make sure you have some drinks and food with you just in case. It's doable if you get out the airport terminal quickly and jump into a cab.
posted by Flitcraft at 4:03 PM on July 15, 2012

In my experience (flying on a US passport in Europe), you're not going to have to go through customs on a flight that starts and ends within the EU. So you won't have to worry about that part.
posted by slmorri at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2012

(and if there's nothing causing major traffic chaos in Edinburgh - but that's unpredictable)
posted by Flitcraft at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2012

Best answer: Haymarket's definitely a good option -- it's scheduled in at 13:40 -- but following up Jabberwocky, that train gets to Kirkcaldy at 14:08. You could also get a cab or the 747 bus from the airport to Inverkeithing station (20-25 minutes) then take the 13:31 to Kirkcaldy, which will get you there in good time to join the Inverness train. You'll be able to buy a through ticket.
posted by holgate at 4:16 PM on July 15, 2012

Customs is not going to take that long, seriously, I doubt I've waited longer than ten mintues to transit. I'll second all the calls to get a taxi to haymarket station and join the train there. Skip the airport bus, the taxi will have a little bit of speed benefit - and if it is looking rubbish (ask the driver), they'll happily rack the meter up for an Inverkeithing run.
posted by ewan at 4:25 PM on July 15, 2012

Have you thought of renting a car? My husband and I did a Highlands road trip last year and I absolutely loved the freedom of having our own transportation.
posted by something something at 4:26 PM on July 15, 2012

In my experience (flying on a US passport in Europe), you're not going to have to go through customs on a flight that starts and ends within the EU. So you won't have to worry about that part.

The UK is not part of the Schengen space, so non-EU citizens have to go through customs when arriving, even from within Europe (that was the case the last time I took the Eurostar from Paris to London)
posted by bluefrog at 4:55 PM on July 15, 2012

Best answer: Flights from ROI usually do not require passport control for anyone (including non-EU people). It should be pretty straightforward to get through the terminal and onto a bus or taxi quickly. Assuming that you have bags, you need to allow about 30mins to collect your gear and get out (if you are lucky it may be less). This is still enough time to get to Haymarket in a taxi - it's about 15mins or so. If the flight is late or there are groundside delays, some of the other posters have already mentioned how you can catch the train by heading it off at the pass.
posted by Jakey at 4:59 PM on July 15, 2012

I know nothing of the area, but forgetting customs (assume it was just a wave and a polite helllo as you stroll by), it can sometimes take 30 minutes just to deplane. If you've got checked bags beyond that, I'd say you'd damn well have a back up plan! I'd be nervous about even taking a connection at Chicago O'Hare with your time frame - if the plane lands ten minutes late and you're at the back of it, and your connecting flight was in another terminal, you could miss it.
posted by pazazygeek at 5:02 PM on July 15, 2012

Just back from Scotland here, as a non-eu citizen transiting in from the EU in and out of Glasgow Airport. I also know Edinburgh well. Your time frame is probably fine in your situation, but quite tight, so not resilient to unexpected delays. I'd take the option to get to Kirkaldy if I were you.
posted by singingfish at 5:29 PM on July 15, 2012

(Edinburgh has a single terminal and a dozen arrivals per hour. O'Hare is seven times busier. The OP will probably be on a 70-seater plane.)
posted by holgate at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2012

Jakey is right about passport control. See the UKBA page. Technically, you do go through customs. Someone will need to confirm, but I think this should amount to walking through a door labelled 'nothing to declare'. (It's possible Edinburgh is enthusiastic about the random checks I've never seen happen at other UK airports.)

(The Schengen Zone does not coincide with the EU. The UK and Ireland are exempted from the EU law requiring membership and there are some non-EU Schengen members.)
posted by hoyland at 6:18 PM on July 15, 2012

You could also try the Airlink Bus. During the day, it runs pretty much continuously. I rode it about a month ago from Waverly out to the airport at about 3:00 pm on a weekday, and it took a bit over half an hour. It's supposed to go by Haymarket, but that area of Edinburgh is a disaster with the tram construction - if you do choose this option, you'd do well to ask the driver to point out the closest stop to the station since the bus might be diverted a block or two in that area.
posted by penguinicity at 6:42 PM on July 15, 2012

Response by poster: Perfect, this is great. We'll aim for Haymarket but opt for Kirkaldy instead of things seem tight. Thanks everyone!
posted by Nelsormensch at 10:16 PM on July 15, 2012

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