Hop on Hop off Edinburgh Bus Tours

This post covers each of the hop on hop off bus tours available in Edinburgh, providing details about locations included on each route, how to get tickets, how to save money on admission and more.

 


Pros and Cons

Hop on hop off bus tours are a great way to learn a lot of details about Edinburgh.

In addition to the tour, you’ll also have the chance to jump off the bus at a variety of notable and historic landmarks throughout the city.

Although this service can be very useful, some travelers will get more out of a hop on hop off bus tour than others.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider before purchasing your tickets.


Pros

Excellent Overview

If you’re looking for a tour that covers all the basics about the history of this city, taking a hop on hop off bus tour should do the trick. 

In addition to learning about Edinburgh, you’ll also get a good sense for where everything is located and how to get around with ease.

Simple to Use

You can start your tour at any of the included stops along the mapped routes and buses run quite frequently, making this a fairly easy service to use.

Even better, you can hop off at any of the designated stops, take as much time as you want to look around, and get back on the bus afterward!

Reasonable Prices

Edinburgh hop on hop off bus tours range from £10-£24 on average for adults and £6-£15 for kids, making this a fairly affordable activity.

Live Tour Guides

In addition to the audio guides that you can listen to on these outings, some hop on hop off bus tours also include live commentary from professional tour guides.


Cons

Even if this is a wise investment for most visitors, some travelers may find that a hop on hop off bus tour doesn’t provide enough value for them. Here are some of the cons you should think about before making a purchase.

General Commentary

Although you can learn a lot of useful information by taking a hop on hop off bus tour, the details their guides provide are typically very general.

If you’re looking for a more detailed tour, this may not be the best option available in Edinburgh.

Not Very Efficient

While it’s nice that you can jump off and explore the city at your leisure, doing so also makes it difficult to finish your tour as quickly as possible.

If you’re looking for a faster and more efficient tour of Edinburgh, you may want to consider another alternative.

No Assigned Seating

Some fully guided bus tours include assigned seating, ensuring you’ll always have a place to sit. Unfortunately, hop on hop off bus tours offer first-come, first-serve seating, so you never know which seat you’ll get!

If having a window seat or just being able to sit while riding from one site to the next is important to you, it might be necessary to consider another type of tour.


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City Sightseeing

This is one of the most popular hop on hop off bus tour companies in the world, and it’s no surprise that they’ve made a name for themselves in Edinburgh.

Currently, they offer just one route and 14 total stops throughout the city, including landmarks such as Holyrood, Waverley Bridge, the John Knox House and much more.

 

 

No matter where you’re traveling from, chances are you’ll be able to understand their audio guide, as it is currently available in the following 9 languages:

English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Portuguese.

They also have a commentary designed specifically for kids!


Ticket Prices

  • £16/Adults | £15/Seniors & Students | £8/Children
  • Family Ticket (2 Adults + 3 Children): £39
  • Free for children under the age of 5
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This tour is included with at least one tourist pass, and it is also part of a combo ticket. Check our discount section for more details.

The tour itself will take about 1 hour to complete, and your ticket will last from 9 am – 6 pm during the summer or 9 am – 4 pm in the winter (7-9 hours).

With at least 7 hours to experience the full tour, you’ll have more than enough time to hop off and explore multiple sites at your leisure. Once you’ve finished looking around, just jump back on and continue the tour!

Tickets are valid for a total of 3 months after purchase, giving you plenty of time to use them. If you decide not to use your ticket, it can be returned for a full refund up to 24 hours before the chosen date of your tour.

 


Bright Bus Tours

If you’re looking for a somewhat more affordable option, this company offers some of the best prices for hop on hop off Edinburgh bus tours.

In addition to their competitive pricing, they also have a total of 16 stops in the city, including the Museum of Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace, Waverly Bridge, Johnston Terrace, The Mound and more.

Picture supplied by TripAdvisor.

Much like their competitors, Bright Bus Tours also provides its audio guide in the following 9 languages: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Japanese, Russian and Chinese.

Ticket Prices

  • £10/Adults | £9/Seniors & Students | £6/Children
  • Family Ticket (2 Adults + 3 Children): £29
  • Free for children under the age of 5
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This hop on hop off bus tour is included with an Edinburgh tourist pass that you can use to save even more money. Check our discount section for more details.

This tour takes about 1 – 1 ½ hours to complete and tickets last from 9 am – 5 pm each day, giving you plenty of time to jump off and see several different locations in Edinburgh.

 


Edinburgh Bus Tour

As with their competitors, this company provides a very similar service of 14 stops throughout the city, and their prices are pretty much exactly the same as other hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Edinburgh.

This tour includes stops at such sites as Waverley Bridge, the John Knox House, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Dynamic Earth, Charlotte Square, and the Museum of Scotland.

Picture supplied by TripAdvisor.

Unlike some of their competitors, customers can expect live guides to provide commentary in English. If you’d rather stick to live commentary, this is one of the best options in Edinburgh.

Ticket Prices

  • £16/Adults | £15/Seniors & Students | £8/Children
  • Family Ticket (2 Adults + 3 Children): £39
  • Free for children under the age of 5
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This tour is included on at least one tourist pass and it’s also part of a combo package. Check our discount section for additional information.

The full tour is about 1 hour in length and they provide service from 9 am – 5:30 pm during the summer and 9 am – 4 pm in the winter.

With 7 hours to take a 60 minute tour, you should have a lot of time to stop at several notable locations and get a good look at quite a few landmarks in Edinburgh.

Tickets are valid for 6 months from the date of purchase when you buy them online. Once activated, they will be valid for that day.

 


Majestic Bus Tour

This is the one hop on hop off bus tour in Edinburgh that will take you North of the city centre to see several additional landmarks not included on other tours.

During this outing you’ll have the opportunity to see and learn about sites like the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Royal Botanic Garden, Scottish Parliament and more.

Picture provided by Wikimedia Commons.

This bus tour does not include live commentary, but the audio guide is available in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Portuguese.

With only 13 stops on the Majestic bus tour, this is the least extensive service on our list, but it also provides transportation to and coverage of sites that aren’t available from any other hop on hop off bus tour.

Ticket Prices

  • £16/Adults | £15/Seniors & Students | £8/Children
  • Family Ticket (2 Adults + 3 Children): £39
  • Free for children under the age of 5
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This tour is included on a combo package which you can use to save money on tickets. Please read our discount section for more details.

This tour lasts for approximately 1 hour and it is available from 9 am – 6 pm during the summer and 9:30 am – 4:30 pm in the winter.

No matter when you visit Edinburgh, you should be able to stop off at multiple locations and get a good look at several popular landmarks during the 7 ½ – 9 hours you’ll have on this hop on hop off bus tour.

Your ticket will be valid for a total of 6 months, but once it is activated, you’ll only be able to use it on the date of activation. 


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Discounts

This section will cover each of the deals that are currently available for Edinburgh hop on hop off bus tours. We’ll start off with combo packages and finish things off with details about tourist passes.


Grand 48 Combo

Although each Edinburgh hop on hop off bus tour is only available for 24 hours, there is one combo deal you can use to get a 48 hour bus ticket which includes admission to 3 of the 4 tours on this post.

Picture supplied by TripAdvisor.

This combo package includes the following bus tours at one flat price for 2 days:

  • City Sightseeing Tour
  • Edinburgh Bus Tour
  • Majestic Bus Tour

There are a lot of advantages to purchasing one ticket which covers multiple bus tours, but the main benefits are that you can enjoy live commentary, audio guides in several languages, and coverage of popular royal landmarks in Edinburgh.

Grand 48 Combo Prices:

In addition to this option, there is also a Grand 48 + Combo Pass which includes an additional bus and boat tour which will take you to Queensferry and Inchcolm Island.

Grand 48 + Combo Prices


Tourist Passes

Every Edinburgh hop on hop off bus tour is included with at least one tourist pass, each one covering admission to several additional attractions or activities.

Most bus tours are only available through a prepackaged pass known as the Royal Edinburgh Ticket which includes the Grand 48 combo package in addition to tickets for Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Royal Yacht Britannia.


 

If you’re more interested in Bright Bus Tours, the Edinburgh City Pass includes admission for this 24 hour hop on hop off service in addition to more than 20 popular attractions in the city.

Here are some of the more popular activities included with tourist passes in Edinburgh:

  • Edinburgh Castle | £19.50
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia | £17
  • Edinburgh Dungeon | £14
  • Butterfly and Insect World | £8
  • Scott Monument Museum | £8
  • Harry Potter Tour | £12
  • Forth of Firth Boat Tour | £15
  • Dynamic Earth | £16
  • Edinburgh Zoo | £20
  • And more!

Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you should be able to save at least 25% – 60% off general admission prices.

For more details, please read our post covering Edinburgh tourist passes.


Discount Sites

If all else fails, you can also check websites such as Groupon to see if they are offering any deals for hop on hop off bus tours in Edinburgh.

In addition to the discounts you can find on these sites, they also frequently offer additional coupon codes you can use to save an extra 10% – 20% off admission prices.

Before you purchase any tickets on these sites, make sure to check both the top and bottom of the page for coupons you can use to save even more money!


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