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:

Forth railway Bridge
Forth railway Bridge

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.

Queensway Crossing

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

Transport for edinburgh app
Following the journey on the transport for Edinburgh app

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.

Forth Bridge
Follow footpath on the 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.

Forth Bridge
Go down the steps and then cross the road to the left.

If you continue walking in this direction you will walk along the Queensferry promenade and into South Queensferry town.

South Queensferry
Pretty houses in South Queensferry
Pretty houses in South Queensferry
Pretty houses in South Queensferry

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.

Walking across the Forth road bridge
Walking across the Forth road bridge
Forth Road Bridge
Views from the Forth road bridge

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 check out the details of both in the following links: Maid of the Forth & Forth Boat Tours

Cramond Island

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,

happy Travels,

Louise X

Happy travels,

Louise X

14 Comments

  1. I never even thought to visit these bridges when I went to Edinburgh, but the walk looks lovely! Hoping to visit again this year or next, so will definitely arrange a day trip!

    • LouDoesTravel Reply

      Thanks Charlie, glad I’ve inspired you to take a trip up there. South Queensferry is a lovely little town to explore as well 👍

  2. I really would love to visit Edinburgh one day, and those coloured houses definitely did not make me want to any less. Also love the bridges! 🙂

    • LouDoesTravel Reply

      Thanks so much, hope you get the chance to visit sometime 👍

  3. Ashley Firth Reply

    I had no idea the Fourth Bridges were so close to Edinburgh (my geography is shocking!) I love Scotland but have only been a couple of times – I will definitely be checking off some of the landmarks on your post on our next visit 🙂

    Ashley
    https://lellalee.com

    • LouDoesTravel Reply

      Thanks Ashley, I didn’t realise myself till I got there! Hope you get he chance to go back and check them out!

  4. theroamingirishman Reply

    Really nice post Louise!! Your Edinburgh travel guide set the wheels in motion in regards to me thinking about visiting there and now it looks like I will be in March sometime. This looks like a great day trip from the city and I might just have to check it out. Keep up the great work!!

    Adam @ http://roamingirishman.com/

    • LouDoesTravel Reply

      Thanks so much Adam, that means a lot to me! You won’t be disappointed with Edinburgh, it’s a fantastic city! Combined with a morning trip to Cramond Island it makes a great trip out of the busy city!

  5. Those houses are so pretty!! Looking forward to going here tomorrow and checking out the bridges, I’ve seen them a million times from the road but I’ve never gone down to get photos of the railway bridge! It’s such a Scottish icon now lol. I’ll really need to check out Cramond Island at some point too!

    • LouDoesTravel Reply

      It’s a lovely walk as well from underneath the bridges along the promenade and then into South Queensferry village. Defo check out Cramond Island it’s a lovely quite spot! Thanks and have fun!

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