Arriving at YAM in style and on time
We predict that getting to the meeting will be the least enjoyable part of attending. To help plan your travel we are providing information about i) how to get to the major public transport hubs in Edinburgh from different bits of the UK; ii) how to get to the Royal Observatory from said public transport hubs; and iii) the Observatory itself.
We understand that some attendees may like to stay a night or two in the city. At present, the best resource for this is the ROE accommodation information page, though we will provide more specific information should this become necessary.
It is possible to make a 10 o'clock meeting in Edinburgh from anywhere in Britain without needing to stay over the night before, if you're willing to get up early enough. We've tried to cover all bases, but if after reading the information below you're still unsure about how you can get to the city, make sure you drop us a line before deciding it's all too hard.
1. Getting from your place to Edinburgh
Most attendees from outside Scotland and the north of England will want to fly to the meeting, unless your intention is to spend a night or two here in the Edinburgh. The budget airlines maintain a fairly robust schedule of flights; remember that the optimal package may require you to mix and match:
- British Midlands from London Heathrow, Belfast, Leeds Bradford & Manchester
- bmibaby from Birmingham, Cardiff & East Midlands
- Easyjet from London Gatwick/Stansted/Luton, Belfast & Bristol
- BA from London Airports, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester & Southampton
- Ryanair from Dublin
- Flybe from Belfast, Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester, Newquay, Norwich & So'ton
For those for whom it is possible, it will probably be easier---and more dignified---to travel by train. Be aware that much south of Manchester you will struggle to get to Edinburgh Waverley, our main train station, much before 11am. In any event, your first port of call should be the National Rail website, though you will need to visit a carrier (e.g. Virgin or First Scotrail) to buy a ticket. A non-exhaustive selection of journeys in to Edinburgh is given below, with seating reserved at the meeting for anyone attempting the 3:38am from Liverpool.
The return leg holds more opportunities: indeed, even Londoners can make the 19:00 to King's Cross (arriving 00:15 on Saturday, which we're told is when the evening begins). Needless to say, we're here to help organise your travel, so make sure you ask if you have any questions.
2. The rest of the journey
Once you are in Edinburgh you will need to come to the Royal Observatory. The simplest option will be a taxi ride. This will cost approximately £20 each way from the airport and £10 each way from Waverley; if this taxi journey is split between three or four it is extremely reasonable. We presume that most attendees will be using this option, but further choices would be Lothian Buses (routes 24 --- not 28 as was previsouly written here (thanks Russell) --- 41 and 42 all travel from the centre of town to the bottom of Blackford Hill), a car (limited parking will be available at the Observatory free of charge) and walking, though not from the airport.
3. The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
The Royal Observatory itself is located on the top of Blackford Hill to the south of the leafy Edinburgh suburbs of Blackford and Marchmont. The primary road entrance is Observatory Road, at the base of which a pleasing stone archway will be found. The site is shared between two bodies: the Institute for Astronomy, a research and teaching department within the University of Edinburgh and the host institution for YAM; and the STFC's Astronomy Technology Centre, whose remit is the design and construction of instrumentation for telescopes all around the world.
To get to the meeting venue, enter the Observatory gates at the top of Blackford Hill and make your way to the Institute for Astronomy entrance, shown on the map above. Inside these glass doors you will be met and escorted safely to the coffee and biscuits.