Have you heard of the famous Forth Bridges and would you like to know how and why you should visit them if staying in Edinburgh? If so, this guide will show you how to visit the bridges and make the most of this little known area in Scotland.
The vast majority of people who visit Edinburgh tend to just check out the most popular tourist attractions in the city such as Edinburgh castle, Holyrood House and The Scotch Whisky Experience, however there is a lot more to this area than just the popular city attractions. Just a 40 min bus ride from Edinburgh city centre you can find yourself in South Queensway, a quaint little town situated on the River Forth with amazing views of the famous Forth bridges.
If feeling energetic you can take a walk across one of the bridges to get some of the best views or maybe you could take a boat trip and check out the bridges from the water?
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The Three Bridges:
The Forth Railway Bridge
The iconic Forth Railway Bridge was opened in March 1890 after taking 8 years to construct and was one of the most recognised engineering accomplishments of the Victorian era and is still one of the most recognisable structures in the world. This famous red steel cantilever bridge spans a total length of 2467 metres across the River Forth and is still in use today linking Edinburgh to the highlands. In 2015 The Forth bridge was recognised as a UNESCO World heritage site, one of only six such sites in Scotland.
The Forth Road Bridge
The construction of the Forth Road Bridge started in September 1958 and was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on September 4, 1964. At the time of its opening it was the longest suspension bridge outside the USA with a length of 2.5 km. The bridge has since been strengthened to accommodate the extra weight of traffic that travel across the bridge today. As well as offering a passage for vehicles to cross the Forth, the bridge also has a walkway for walkers and cyclists to cross.
The Queensway Crossing opened to the public in August 2017 and at 2.7 km long is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world!
Forth Bridges: How to get there
Its easy to get to the bridges from Edinburgh city centre, just hop on the Lothian number 43 bus and get off at Dalmany rail station. To make things easier I suggest downloading the Transport for Edinburgh app here. You can actually follow the bus route on a map on the app so you know when exactly to get off.
As South Queensferry is outside the Edinburgh city limits, you will need to buy the £5 day saver ticket that also covers the east of the county. You can either pay directly to the driver or via the app (Please note, the driver will only take the correct fare and no change will be given).
Once at Dalmany station, cross the road and head downwards through the housing estate, after about 5 mins you will come across a footpath to your right.
Follow the footpath which leads you underneath the Forth Rail bridge.
Go down the steps, across the road and walk left along the coast for the best views of the Forth Railway and Road Bridges.
If you continue walking in this direction you will walk along the Queensferry promenade and into South Queensferry town.
Forth Bridges: Things to do in South Queensferry
Walk across the forth Road Bridge
If feeling energetic, you can walk through the town and up towards the pedestrian entrance to the bridge and walk across the 2.5 km bridge which will lead you to North Queensferry. From here you can then catch the train back across the Forth Railway bridge from North Queensferry station either back to Dalmany station for the bus back into Edinburgh or stay on for the train back to the city.
The walk itself isn’t for the faint hearted and not advised if scared of heights. I’m not usually afraid of heights but did find it uncomfortable at times to go near the edge and look over the barrier. Luckily the walkway is quite wide so you don’t have to walk next to the edge if not wanting too. However the views as you walk across are amazing, not only of the other bridges but of the surrounding area as well. The walk itself takes about 30 mins depending on pace and fitness levels.
Take a boat trip
You can take a variety of boat trips from Hawes Pier at South Queensferry. Some trips take you along and under all the bridges to see them from a different point of view. Other trips take you to the small Inchcolm Island in the middle of the Forth River where you can check out the magnificent Inchcolm Abbey as well as having great views of the bridges. Unfortunately, I was unable to do either of these as I arrived late in the afternoon and had missed the sailings.
You can also combine visiting the bridges with a trip to the beautiful Cramond Island. To check out how to get to Cramond Island check out my guide here.
To do both trips in one day, I recommend getting the Lothian bus number 41 first to Cramond Island, spending the morning in Cramond and then continuing on the Lothian bus number 43 to Dalmany station. To check out my guide on visiting Cramond Island click here
Are you looking for inspiration on things to do whilst in Edinburgh, if so, have you checked out my other Edinburgh guides, The best things to do in Edinburgh or for Edinburgh on a budget – A backpackers guide.
Have you been to Edinburgh, do you have any tips on other places to visit? If so let me know in the comments below! Plus if you like this post, please share and subscribe to be the first to hear about my future adventures.
Thanks for reading,