Edinburgh Bus Tours

Bus tour comparison

There are no less than four city bus tours in Edinburgh, all operated by Lothian Buses, the local bus company. All four tour itineraries are similar and choosing the best one can be confusing.

Stuck on Scotland Holidays has compiled essential information about these Edinburgh bus tours to help you decide for yourself.

Comparison of bus tour itineraries

By comparing which Edinburgh attractions are included in each bus tour you get a better idea of which is more suitable for you. For example, the City Sightseeing Edinburgh Tour, the most popular of the city tours, and Guide Friday tours are nearly identical and concentrate on covering the City Centre.

The MacTours and the Britannia Tours are the only ones that take you to other parts of the city like the fashionable Stockbridge area of the New Town, Dean Village, the Royal Botanical Gardens or to Leith, while leaving out some of the more central attractions.

City Sightseeing Bus Tour - Book now Edinburgh Tour (Guide Friday) MacTours Vintage City Tour Majestic Bus Tour
Edinburgh Castle Yes, all round views of the Castle; does not stop at Edinburgh Castle Yes, all round views of the Castle; does not stop at Edinburgh Castle Yes, views of the south side from Johnston Terrace; does not stop at Edinburgh Castle No
Holyrood Palace Yes Yes No Yes
Royal Yacht Britannia No No No Yes
Royal Botanical Gardens No No No Yes
Royal Mile Yes, Lawnmarket, Netherbow sections Yes, Lawnmarket, Netherbow and Canongate sections Yes, Lawnmarket section Yes, Netherbow and Canongate sections
New Town Yes, St Andrew's Square and part of George Street Yes, St Andrew's Square and Queen Street Gardens Yes, St Andrew's Square, Hanover Street, Stockbridge, Dean Village, St Mary's Cathedral Yes, St Andrew's Square, Queen Street Gardens, Canonmills
Princes Street Yes, tour bus goes right along Princes Street Yes, tour bus goes right along Princes Street No No
Old Town (except Royal Mile) Yes, Grassmarket, Victoria Street, George IV Bridge, Chambers Street, South Bridge included Yes, George IV Bridge, Chambers Street, South Bridge included Yes, Grassmarket, George IV Bridge, South Bridge No
Calton Hill Yes, tour bus goes along Regent Road, Waterloo Place Yes, tour bus goes along Regent Road, Waterloo Place No No

Comparison of other bus tour details

Most details regarding times, tickets, timetables, etc for all four Edinburgh bus tours are very similar. Stuck on Scotland Holidays has, nonetheless, compiled the information in an easy-to-read table.

City Sightseeing Bus Tour Edinburgh Tour (Guide Friday) MacTours Vintage City Tour Majestic Bus Tour
Bus tour coverage Includes all major Edinburgh attractions Includes all major Edinburgh attractions Includes Edinburgh attractions away from the city centre Includes all major Royal Edinburgh attractions
Duration of bus tour 60 mins approx 60 mins approx 60 mins approx 60 mins approx
Tour times (summer) First tour 9.45am
Last tour 5.15pm
Runs every 15-20 mins
First tour 9.15am
Last tour 5.35pm
Runs every 20 mins
First tour 9.24am
Last tour 5.44pm
Runs every 20 mins
First tour 9.45am
Last tour 6.15pm
Runs every 15-20 mins
Live Guide or Commentary Multi-lingual commentary Live guide Live guide Multi-lingual commentary
Ticket prices Adult ticket: £8.50
Concessionary ticket: £7.50
Child ticket: £2.50
Family ticket: £19.50
Adult ticket: £8.50
Concessionary ticket: £7.50
Child ticket: £2.50
Family ticket: £19.50
Adult ticket: £8.50
Concessionary ticket: £7.50
Child ticket: £2.50
Family ticket: £19.50
Adult ticket: £8.50
Concessionary ticket: £7.50
Child ticket: £2.50
Family ticket: £19.50
Special bus tour passes Royal Edinburgh Ticket * Yes Yes Yes Yes
Discounts (for other Edinburgh attractions) Yes, various attractions Yes, various attractions Yes, various attractions Yes, various attractions
Booking a bus tour Online booking available Online booking available Online booking available Online booking available

* The Royal Edinburgh Ticket includes 2 days unlimited travel on bus tours and entry to Edinburgh Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Royal Yacht Britannia.

Bottom line about city bus tours in Edinburgh

As you can see, the four city bus tours available in Edinburgh are very similar and choosing one is simply a personal preference. I would recommend the City Sightseeing bus tour because it really does take in the most and best that Edinburgh has to offer.

The information on this page was last checked for accuracy in October 2009. Please check the official websites of each bus tour for up to date information.

See the links below for more information on Edinburgh's bus tours.

» Back to Edinburgh Bus Tour guide index

All Edinburgh Bus Tour articles:

Also see:

Home > Edinburgh > Trips and Edinburgh Tours > Edinburgh Bus Tours > Bus Tour Comparison