Four Scotrail trains an hour run from Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket, taking 15 mins to which is half a mile south east of town centre. These trains continue north over the bridge to Inverkeithing, then either inland via Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath or along the coast via Kirkcaldy, to Glenrothes then they loop back to Inverkeithing, Dalmeny and Edinburgh. Inter-city trains from Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness don't stop here, change at Inverkeithing north of the bridge. From Glasgow, Newcastle and elsewhere in England, change at Edinburgh or Haymarket.
By busTo reach town centre from Edinburgh, take Lothian Bus 43 from St Andrews Square (stop YD) via West End, Blackhall and Barnton junction. These run ever 20 mins or less, taking 45 mins. Lothian Bus 63 wanders from South Queensferry along a leisurely tour of the city's western edges; you'd only use it to reach Heriot Watt University at Riccarton.
Buses from Edinburgh and the airport into Fife stop at the south end of the Forth Road Bridge above South Queensferry. This stop is convenient for the top end of town near the retail park, and for connections from the north without backtracking via Edinburgh, but it's a 20 min walk from the historic centre. Services include:
- Stagecoach Bus 747 from Edinburgh Airport, continuing north to Ferrytoll Park & Ride, Inverkeithing, and Halbeath for buses across Fife.
- Stagecoach buses 53 (Edinburgh - Dalgety Bay) and 55 (Edinburgh - Dunfermline).
By carFrom Edinburgh, follow A90 west then branch off onto B924, the old road to the ferry.
Avoiding Edinburgh, from M9 join M90 and exit at the A90 interchange, immediately turning off onto A904. Note that M90 junctions were re-numbered when the new bridge opened and the motorway was extended: these may not show on older maps. From Stirling and the west, shortcut by leaving M9 at Jcn 2 and follow A904 east into town.
By planeSouth Queensferry is 3 miles from Edinburgh Airport (EDI). Bus 747 from the airport (Stand G) to Fife stops on the Forth Road Bridge, every 20 mins 7 days a week. Otherwise travel via Edinburgh Haymarket.
By bikeFrom Edinburgh, National Cycle Route 1 follows disused railway tracks out of the city across golf courses onto A90 Queensferry Road. Branch off onto B924 the old ferry road. Nearing town, the route forks left towards Dalmeny station to join the Forth Road Bridge, but keep right down the hill to come into town centre. About 17 km in all. A longer but leafier route from east or west is to follow the Union Canal towpath, leaving it at Winchburgh to come into town along the B-roads.
Reaching the stately homes listed below will need a car, bike or taxi. Everything else is a short walk.
Forth BridgeThis is the cantilever railway bridge, completed in 1890, carrying the East Coast Mainline railway from London to Aberdeen. It's of very sturdy construction, as in 1879 the winter winds had tragically brought down the Tay rail bridge. That bridge's designer was sacked from the Forth project, and the design allowance for wind strength raised 5-fold. Painting the Forth Bridge was long a by-word for a never-ending task, but in 2011 they finally finished, as modern paints were much longer lasting. In 2015 the bridge was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. It's not worth crossing by train just for the view, as trains rattle across in a couple of minutes.
Forth Road BridgeOpened in 1964, this suspension bridge carried the A90 until replaced in 2017 by the new bridge. It now carries only public transport, making it the world's most elaborate, expensive bus lane. There's a footpath and cycleway on either side: exit onto A904 Ferry Muir Rd and follow signs for Visitor Centre, free parking. Normally pedestrians and cyclists use the east walkway, with the west used for maintenance vehicles. Occasionally use is switched, when they need to carry out maintenance on the east side. Use the steps and underpass either end to cross between walkways.
Queensferry CrossingThis cable-stay road bridge, opened in Aug 2017, carries the M90. There's no walkway or cyclepath, so it's best viewed from the old bridge.
The old town of South Queensferry stretches along the seafront of the Firth of Forth. Its east end lies beneath the railway bridge, with a slipway and the historic Hawes Inn (see "Sleep"). Here in an early scene from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped, young David Balfour is tricked aboard a ship, knocked out and carried away, to cheat him out of his inheritance. The slipway was formerly the ferry jetty: it's still used for boat-trips to Inchcolm Island (see "Do"), and for landing tenders from cruise liners. The street is wide at this point, and is the main car & coach parking lot.
The best views out to sea are from this eastern part. Tankers, Royal Navy warships and big cruise liners are often seen here. The small fortified island forming the base for one of the rail bridge cantilevers is Inchgarvie: you can't visit.
The road then narrows into the cobbled High Street, where some houses date from the 15th century.
Queensferry Museumphone: +44 131 331 5545address: 53 High St, EH30 9HPSmall exhibition of the history of town, ferry and bridges
address: Hopetoun Rd EH30 9RABuilt in the mid-15th C as a Priory for the Carmelite Friars, but falling into disuse until restored in 1889 when it became an Episcopal Church. The stumpy tower was once three storeys high. The rest of the Carmelite monastery buildings here have entirely disappeared.
South Queensferry is bordered by four stately homes:
address: South Queensferry EH30 9RWMagnificent Georgian mansion house, built in 1701 but greatly extended in the 18th C by the Adams. With landscaped gardens looking out over the Firth, great display of daffodils in spring.
phone: +44 131 331 1888address: South Queensferry EH30 9TQ19th C ersatz-Tudor / Gothic pile, with Regency interiors and landscaped gardens. Open in summer only for guided tours, or by arrangement for groups. You can see the exterior from the public footpath along the coast.
phone: +44 131 319 2039address: EH30 9SPWith its original 15th C keep, but mostly in 19th C retro-Tudor / Gothic style, this Castle is a venue for private or corporate events, with luxury accommodation.
- House of the Binns: see Linlithgow. The house is closed but you can enjoy the grounds.
- Walk the John Muir Trail along the shore. East of town, the path starts near the slipway & Hawes Inn, follow Longcraig Rd. Good views out across the Firth, the bridges are soon lost to view as you turn the headland towards Dalmeny. The path leads over the lawns of Dalmeny House, admire but please respect private property. Near Cramond, find Eagle Rock on the shore, a Roman carving of circa 200 AD. Beyond this you fetch up against the muddy tidal creek of the River Almond: there's no bridge, and the ferry (a little rowboat) ceased in 2001. Its replacement is continually debated, but for now, you either have to re-trace your steps, or divert a mile or two inland to the A90 bridge.
- Visit Inchcolm Island, lying to the northeast in the Forth estuary . The main draw is the Augustinian abbey, a well-preserved miniature Iona. There are also wartime fortifications, and wildlife - watch for seals. Regular boat trips in summer from the slipway, operators include Maid of the Forth and Forthtours.
phone: +44 131 331-3330address: Shore RoadDinghy saliing, Kayaking/canoeing, powerboating. Hire and tuition available at this council-run facility. Berthing facilities available for visiting yachts.
The Loony DookA traditional New Year's Day swim in the "refreshing" waters of the Firth of Forth. "Dook" is a lowland Scots word meaning dunk. If you're feeling fuzzy-headed after the Hogmanay festivities this will certainly clear it.
The Ferry FairAnnual festival held in August in which the entire community participates enthusiastically. Perhaps the strangest aspect is the Burry Man procession, where a local man is covered from head to toe in burrs (the sticky hooked fruit of the burdock) and then leads a procession throughout the town's streets. As his odd garb restricts the Burry Man's movements the procession is a slow one taking several hours, so he is accompanied by 2 assistants who fortify him with nips of whisky through a straw.
phone: +44 870 118 1664address: 17 High Street EH30 9PPRestaurant, bar and boutique hotel, right on the waterfront in the centre of South Queensferry. Three levels of outside decking for those sunny days, with great views of the Firth of Forth and the bridges.
phone: +44 131 331 5429address: 22 High Street EH30 9PPSeafood restaurant with views overlooking the sea.
phone: +44 131 331 2000address: 36 High Street EH30 9HNCharacter-laden old pub with good real ales and pub grub. Nautical memorabilia and occasional live music.
phone: +44 131 331 1990address: 7 Newhalls RoadHistoric pub with lodging, where the 19th-century novelist Robert Louis Stevenson often stayed when journeying to and from the north of the country. The inn is mentioned in his novel Kidnapped.
phone: +44 131 319 3690address: Ferrymuir EH30 9QZ4-star hotel with restaurant, handy for airport
South Queensferry is part of Edinburgh's commuter belt and has good mobile / wifi signal.
- Most visitors to South Queensferry come from Edinburgh on a day-trip; it's easy to do the reverse.
- Cross the bridge to Fife. Just after crossing is North Queensferry, where the main attraction is Deep Sea World. The Fife coast to the east has wooded coastal walks, but for the most attractive section of coast you have to get beyond industrial Kirkcaldy and Leven. Here you come into the "East Neuk", a series of small fishing villages; then the coast turns north to St Andrews.
- Branching off M90 north of the bridge, see historic Dunfermline, or turn west along the coast to charming Culross.
- A short drive or bike-ride west on A904 brings you to House of the Binns, a 17th C mansion. Turn off to the coast for Blackness Castle, a 15th C fort looking like a stone ship about to sail; continue on the main road to Linlithgow with its palace; in Bo'ness the main attraction is the old working railway.
- South Queensferry has a good coast, with views and wildlife, but not a beach - it's too muddy this far up river. Decent beaches that you can build sandcastles on are much further east, around Gullane, North Berwick and Dunbar.
- Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Dundee are all within an hour or so by train or car.