A few weeks ago, my team at work had an “Away Day”, where we got to spend a day away from the office and bond outside of work. The first portion of the day involved taking a boat tour around the Firth of Forth with Forth Boat Tours. If you’re looking for an idea for a day out or something different to do in Edinburgh, read on to see what you can expect!
First of all, the weather was not very kind to us! It rained on and off the entire day and it was also the day that Edinburgh (and elsewhere in Scotland) experienced flash flooding! Nevertheless, the weather likely made for an even more fun day out.
There are a few different options of boat tours and operators, but we did the Three Bridges Bus and Boat Experience with Forth Boat Tours. In the city centre at Waverley Bridge, we boarded a standard double-decker bus (which should really be upgraded in my opinion) decked out with the “3 Bridges Tour” wrapping on the outside.
The great part about the bus ride to South Queensferry – where the boat departs – is the live guide. We had Kurt (I believe) tell us what we were seeing along the way as well as some stories. I’ve been on a number of tours in Edinburgh myself and I was still learning new things!
Once we arrived in South Queensferry, the bus dropped us off at Hawes Pier and we waited in the rain for the boat, Forth Belle, to arrive. Once on board, commentary started playing of where we were and interesting facts. Here and there, a staff member would hop on the sound system to give us live updates of what was happening around us.
Likely the best part about the boat tour is being able to pass under the 3 bridges that connect Edinburgh with the Kingdom of Fife: the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, and the newest Queensferry Crossing.
Okay, but another best part is seeing this funky island called Inch Gnome! No one knows who put the gnomes on the island or when.
The boat also makes a stop at Inchcolm Island, where you have the option to disembark and explore the island for 90 minutes. Of course, there is an additional cost for visiting the island, which includes a historic abbey. We decided not to opt for this and stayed on the boat to circle back to South Queensferry.
Along the way, you can see tons of seagulls, some seals, and if you’re really lucky, a few puffins. We were able to catch a glimpse of 3 puffins swimming on the water which then flew away. They were at quite a distance so my telephoto lens could just barely scrape out a non-blurry photo of one of the puffins flying away.
Also worth pointing out is the kindness of the staff, who would go around to everyone at different times to point out where to look at what. A nice touch!
Our only caveat with Forth Boat Tours, which they didn’t have too much control over, was that due to the flash flooding, the bus wasn’t able to pick us up and we were told to take the train back to the city centre.
Overall, though, our experience with Forth Boat Tours was a positive one and is a great unique activity to do in Edinburgh. While we chose the Three Bridges Bus and Boat Experience for the ease of not having to get ourselves to South Queensferry, you can opt to just do the Three Bridges Cruise without the bus.
Address: Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ if taking the bus; Hawes Pier, South Queensferry EH30 9TB if not taking the bus
Dates & Times: 06 April to 27 October 2019; daily times can be found on their website
Cost: Three Bridges Bus and Boat Experience – £25.00 per adult (16 – 59 years), £12.00 per child (5 – 15 years), £23.00 per concession (60+ years)
Three Bridges Cruise (without bus) – £15.00 per adult, £8.00 per child, £14.00 per concession
Landing at Inchcolm Island – £6.00 per adult, £3.60 per child, £4.80 per concession
Have you ever floated along the Firth of Forth with Forth Boat Tours? If not, is it something you’d be interested in doing? Let us know in the comments!