Edinburgh Castle

Travel to Edinburgh: Some Personal Tips from Dr Felicity Mehendale

As many of you will now be preparing your travel arrangement to attend Cleft 2022, our very own President of the International Confederation of Cleft Lip & Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies, Dr Felicity Mehendale, shares some personal tips that she wishes she would have known about when travelling to and within the the UK.

For more guidance and information regarding getting to Edinburgh, please click here.

Just thought I would share some things that I wish I had known about travelling to the UK and in particular, Edinburgh; and how these have shaped my personal preferences for travel. 

Fly to Edinburgh (EDI) (best option)

  • This means you clear UK immigration in Edinburgh – which is much quicker than in the two big London airports, Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW). 
  • Getting from Edinburgh airport to the centre of Edinburgh is easy (Tram or Taxi)
  • When you fly home, Edinburgh airport is much smaller than Heathrow or Gatwick and getting through security is much quicker and easier. 

If you have to fly through London, you can check your bags all the way through to Edinburgh. But, you will have to clear immigration in London and that can take a long time depending on the crowds (and there is a lot of walking down very long corridors!). I have missed my connecting flight as a result of immigration queues in London. 

London to Edinburgh train

This is a great way to travel ONLY if you are starting out from central London. 

The direct train journey takes about 5 hrs, after you make it into central London, from the airport. 

If you fly into London – I would very, very strongly suggest that you book your flight all the way through to Edinburgh. It takes a long time to get from the London airports to the train stations in central London. Personally, I would never plan a trip where I fly into London and then take the train to Edinburgh (unless I was planning to break my journey with a stay in central London). This would be a long (and possibly tiring) journey after a long international flight and is unlikely to be much cheaper. 

Also, for the return journey, if there are any delays on the Edinburgh – London train or the onward train/metro (Tube) connections from the London train stations to the London airports, the airline has no responsibility to look after you.

If you do travel to Edinburgh by train – we have two train stations. They are not far apart but it’s worth checking which one is closer to your hotel.

Edinburgh Haymarket is very close to the conference venue, the EICC. 7 minutes walk. 

Edinburgh Waverley is only a few minutes away and takes you into the heart of Edinburgh near Princes Street. 

Personally, if I have heavy luggage, I find it easier to travel through Edinburgh Haymarket, where there is a more direct route into and out of the station; and to the taxi rank, if needed. From Edinburgh Waverley you have to walk further, up a long ramp or stairs to exit the station or to find a taxi.