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Edinburgh w/my 85 yo mom

I'm going to be traveling with my 85 year old mom and wondered if it would be better to use the hop on hop off bus in Edinburgh or if it's better to just drive from each site via my rental car? My mom is pretty fit and sprye for 85 but I don't want to wear her out with too much strenuous/uphill walking. We will be in Edinburgh for 1-2 days then on to our next stops via rental car. A friend told me it was better to just walk around and not worry about a car or hop on/off bus.

Posted by
144 posts

In the city itself we found it to be a relatively easy walk to everything, especially if you take the time to look at what you are walking past, the historical plaques, and stop into shops or churches. Plus there are plenty of coffee shops to stop into. We didn't find the hills to be too much. I agree to just walk and enjoy the city.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, ruggierm,

A lot depends on what you're planning to see while you're in Edinburgh. Some of the more outlying sites, like the Botanic Gardens, Dean Village, and the Royal Yacht Britannia, are more easily reached by car, and have parking available. However, for most of the sites in the Royal Mile/Princes Street/Grassmarket area, you're better off parking your car at your lodging, or in a long term car park, then visiting the city on foot, with the occasional taxi thrown in for good measure.

Parking in Edinburgh is extremely expensive, and finding a centrally located parking space is well nigh impossible during the day. Edinburgh's Traffic Wardens are notoriously efficient; they have been known to ticket hearses waiting to pick up a body, or ambulances double parked to pick up a patient. The point being, if you leave your car at a metered space, be sure to return before the meter expires.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
693 posts

It really depends on where you plan to go and how physically active your mom is. The old town is built on a hill so you get a fair number of inclines, stairs, and cobble stone streets. The Royal Mile from Holyrood to the castle is one long incline. The castle is at the very top and every road going away from it is on a slope. The area around Princes street is fairly flat. If your mom could handle walking all over San Francisco or Seattle, then go for it.

I definitely wouldn't get a car for sites within Edinburgh - the castle, Holyrood, Royal Mile, etc. Can't imagine where you'd find parking. I'd at least check out the various hop-on, hop-off tours offered - the price, the route vs where you want to go, and any extra benefits.

Posted by
527 posts

… or get a day ticket for Lothian Buses, do some advance planning and enjoy the city by local bus.

Posted by
97 posts

We found on our first trip that using the Rabbies Edinburgh van tour was a lovely way to explore the city, get our bearings, hear the history from a local. At 12£ each we thought it was worth it.

Only item I’d add here, if you haven’t booked accommodations yet, please be aware parts of the old town can be hilly. If you book in New Town, especially near York Place, you are near the tram and Rabbies’s is an easy walk from there.

Have fun!

Posted by
1047 posts

We visited Edinburgh after walking the Great Glen Way. The Great Glen Way was longer, but I thought the old town in Edinburgh more strenuous.

Posted by
5571 posts

Here's a second vote for the day ticket for Lothian Buses. Even at 55 I always took the bus up to the hill and walked back down. I was staying near the Royal Garden and wanted to get up to the Royal Mile. I think that finding parking for the car anywhere in city centre would be problematic. If you get really stuck, pop for a taxi.