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Edinburgh - Not Keen on Hop on Hop Off

We weren’t impressed with the HOHO in Bath and its recorded commentary. I thought it was a huge money grab and the commentary was well — boring (and I typically love tours and facts). We are now not as keen on taking this bus in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Any recent thoughts/reviews? I read somewhere that the Edinburgh HOHO tour narration is “live” and not recorded, so maybe it’s better — is that true?

If we skip the HOHO in Edinburgh are we cutting off our nose to spite our face? Are there public transportation recommendations?

We are taking a regular bus to Leith to see the Royal Yacht.

We would also like to check out New Town - is that walkable?

Posted by
13835 posts

I can only speak for before the pandemic but some of the Edinburgh commentary was live and some wasn't. You have to check the buses.

You don't have to take it if you don't want to. You can take public transport anywhere you want. But there is no commentary.

New town is walkable. All of central Edinburgh is walkable. Some areas, though, are fairly hilly.

My suggestion is you download the "Citymapper' app for your cellphone. You can bring up the Edinburgh/Glasgow section and plan your journeys.

Posted by
3254 posts

See this website-

There is the Edinburgh Tour- run by Lothian Buses themselves- which is live Commentary. They also provide the vehicles for the City Sightseeing Tours (the brand you see everywhere)- and that is a multi lingual recorded commentary.
So you takes your choice.

You don't say when you are in Edinburgh, but if it's from next Wednesday onwards you will be able to take the extended tram route down to Leith for the Royal Yacht. You'll certainly see the trams as they are presently running a full "ghost" timetable on the extension for driver training and timetable proving purposes.

Glasgow is recorded commentary. From July those HOHO buses should be a fully electric fleet- the first all electric HOHO fleet in the world. But you can get to all the sights by public transportation, it's just a bit more spread out than Edinburgh.

Posted by
205 posts

Bad luck with the HOHO bus in Bath - we had live commentary and it was such fun we did it twice. I was so looking forward to it in Belfast and we had the most miserable, negative bloke imaginable!

Posted by
2868 posts

AmandaR, funny how that works. We are thinking about the Edinburgh Ho-Ho bus, so I'm looking forward to any responses about it.

The Edinburgh bus system has a good app that's idiot proof. Well, I'll be the judge of that.

Posted by
3254 posts

Do tell me what you think of Lothian buses app when you use it. I think their current website has gone from wonderful (pre covid) to terrible. I keep asking the website really simple questions and getting non or plain wrong answers. They may not be 'touristy' questions, but even so.
Perhaps the app is better than the website.
I have a file note for next week to make the time to call into the travel centre and see if I can get an up to date paper system map, and paper timetables. Just a system map would be great!

Posted by
4520 posts

New Town is very walkable - my hotel was in New Town and I loved staying there as it had a more residential vibe to it. It's a very easy walk to get to the Royal Mile - maybe 5-10 minutes, and there are a lot of interesting places in the area. George St. is a cool shopping area with some great restaurants, and St. Andrew Square also has many engaging shops and nice places to eat.

Posted by
358 posts

The HoHo is fine but not needed. The Edinburgh bus network is very good and their interactive app is excellent for finding your way. that said, the core "centre" is very walkable if you don't mind a few steps

Posted by
18 posts

We booked the HoHo in Edniburgh mainly because it included the visit to the forth bridge and boat tour. I will let you know if I think its worthwhile. The HoHo starts across the street from our hotel, so it seems very convenient for us.

Posted by
1635 posts

I didn't do the HoHo. I like to walk everywhere. I had friends in Edinburgh who took me to South Queensferry for an outing (we took a boat ride on the Firth of Forth), and they dropped me in Leith, and I walked back to my hotel from there (about 40 minutes). Other than that, I walked everywhere, and saw everything I was interested in seeing in four days.

Maybe with less time or less mobility, the HoHo would be a better choice. But if you have time and are able to walk, I would skip it.

By the way, starting next week you can take the tram to Leith. And there's also the bus.

Posted by
2868 posts

I just wanted to add that saying the Firth of Forth sounds like me in 2nd grade with a lisp. Like Cindy Brady for the old people here.

I live in a rural community so the only time I ride a bus is when travelling to a city, thus it can be confusing. Granted, I'm not the sharpest tack in the drawer. It's like Google Maps when walking. I still get mixed up, and then I almost run into someone. My wife looks at the phone and says, "We're going the wrong way!"

Looking forward to any advice on the Hoho bus as we're going to be in Edinburgh in mid-July, right when the crowds should be tapering off lol. What appeals to me as I don't have to think as much. Anyone else like saying "HoHo"? It's fun.

Posted by
3 posts

We just stepped off of the blue line HOHO bus In Edinburgh. It’s recorded commentary, interesting enough but Edinburgh is quite walkable. Incidentally, it was absolutely gorgeous weather today (Friday) and I hope that hangs around for a while.

Posted by
18 posts


I don't know if there is private messaging on here but we're in Edinburgh the last week of June so I'd be happy to report back to you. We're your neighbors in Maryland.

Posted by
2868 posts

squrt29, so what did you think of the HoHo bus? Worth it? I understand Edinburgh is walkable but not the entire route the bus covers.

Sean, I'd very much appreciate that.

Posted by
2713 posts

If it were me, I’d skip the HO-HO bus, and buy a Day Pass for Edinburgh’s local
Lothian buses.
It’s around 5 pounds pp for 24 hours, and you can hop on and off at will.
That way you can go literally anywhere at any time.
If you’re out walking and get tired, get on a bus.
I lived in Edinburgh for years, and it’s a real bargain.
The app is pretty good.

Posted by
3012 posts

I've been known to use a HOHO on occasion. But when we are in Edinburgh come September, we will walk or use Uber.

Posted by
94 posts

We did buy the 2 day pass for Edinburgh HoHo bus, but honestly found it to be a waste of money. Edinburgh is very walkable, and I could walk to the destination in most cases faster than the bus got us there. We were there for 5 nights at the very end of April, and thought the pass would be a good choice because we were going out to Leith to see Brittania. City buses would have been a much better way to go. And now that the tram route will be extended to Leith I would definitely pass on the HoHo bus.