Adventures around Edinburghwith PlusBus

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What other city lets you climb a volcano, visit the beach, and spot otters in a craggy ravine in between visits to world class galleries and restaurants? It’s a fifteen-minute climb from central Waverley station to the top of monument-studded Calton Hill for city views with distant sea and rugged hills. Or you can pop into the Scottish National Gallery nearby for top-notch art, from van Gogh’s olive trees to Landseer’s royal stag. Then it’s time to hop on the bus and head off to see more city treasures. With PlusBus, you’ll have unlimited bus travel all day across the city from the wooded glens in the south to the ocean-going docks in the north. Just ask for PlusBus when you buy your train ticket. Here are three of the many Edinburgh adventures you could choose.

  • County: with PlusBus
  • Great for: architecture | Art Gallery | arts | castles | churches | culture | family fun | good cafés and pubs | maritime heritage |
  • Refreshments: lots of fabulous restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • Please note: researched/updated in July 2023. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch:
  1. 3. From Modern Art to the Royal Yacht Britannia

    Edinburgh’s palatial National Gallery of Modern Art is ideal for a leisurely afternoon in the sculpture-scattered grounds. The first building faces a grassy hill and curving ponds forming a huge spiralling installation; inside see pink roses, rocky landscapes or orange-roofed island crofts by the Scottish Colourists – Edinburgh’s answer to the impressionists.

    • How do I get to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art by bus? Hourly bus 13 runs along Princes Street (Stop PU, at the end nearest the castle) and stops in Dean village at the Gallery of Modern Art about eight minutes later.
    • While you’re in the area, you can take a riverside stroll down a flight of steps from the gallery and along the Water of Leith – a rocky valley with resident otters. The prettiest half-mile runs through nearby Dean Village, a cluster of old mill houses with turrets and step gables. Walk under Thomas Telford’s bridge, past the neoclassical dome of St Bernard’s well, to the foodie mecca of Stockbridge, where the popular Sunday market draws crowds all year round.
    • Half a mile downstream is Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden. You can even follow the river all the way to the docks at Leith where the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored up by the Ocean Terminal (thanks to Britannia/Marc Millar for the photo).
    • How do I get to the Royal Yacht Britannia by bus? To reach Britannia by bus rather than via a riverside hike, stroll to Princes Street (neighbouring stops PD or PE) and hop on bus 11 or bus 34 to Ocean Terminal.
    • Britannia launched from Clydebank in 1953. In the decades that followed, this famous ship hosted spectacular state visits, honeymoons and Royal hols. You could end a grand day out with coffees or cocktails, scones or sandwiches in the Royal Deck Tea Room.
    • For more adventures around Edinburgh, see Good Journey’s car-free guide.