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Information for visitors

Directions to the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics

The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics is housed within the James Clerk Maxwell Building at the University of Edinburgh on the University's Kings Buildings campus south of the city centre. Academic staff associated with the Higgs Centre are split between the James Clerk Maxwell Building and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, which is a short distance away from Kings Buildings on Blackford Hill.

If your visit has been arranged through the Higgs Centre you should have received details of who to report to on arrival, and their location. If in doubt - report to the Higgs Centre Administrator in JCMB Room 4318 who will provide you with further instructions. If you know you are aiming for the Observatory rather than JCMB, report at the reception by the main gate to the Observatory complex.

Travelling to Edinburgh

  • By air - Edinburgh has its own international airport about eight miles west of the city centre. The airport is served from several major European hubs by the relevant national airlines (notably London Heathrow by British Airways, Paris CDG by Air France, Frankfurt by Lufthansa and Amsterdam by KLM) as well as a number of European regional airports by a variety of budget airlines. The main direct flight to the US is to Newark, currently operated by United Airlines. Full list of destinations. The airport is fairly small - only one terminal - and queues usually move fairly quickly, although obviously we can make no guarantees about this. Taxis and buses depart from outside the arrivals area. A taxi is probably the best option if you are encumbered by luggage - a taxi to the city centre will cost around £25. The Airlink 100 (to the centre) or 300 (to the Kings Building area) bus service are fast, frequent and inexpensive: Airlink fares and stops informtion. Note, the 300 bus is currently not stopping at the Cameron Toll stop. A return ticket has indefinite validity. The current cost can be found here. The Edinburgh tram also departs from the Airport and will get you to the city centre. The current fares can be found here.
  • By rail - The main station is Edinburgh Waverley, right in the middle of the city centre. Edinburgh can be reached from London Kings Cross on the East Coast Mainline in 4.5-5 hours. Timetable and ticket information.
  • By road - If you have a sat-nav, use the postcode EH9 3FD to get directions to JCMB, and EH9 3HJ to the RoE. You can also use a service such as Google Maps to get directions.

Visitor accommodation

Accommodation appropriate to visitors' individual requirements will be arranged by our local team when setting up the visit, and directions will be provided. We generally recommend that a nearby Bed and Breakfast accommodation is used for visits of up to a week. For longer visits, we normally find that a self-catered accommodation provides a more flexible and comfortable solution (e.g. the University has such accommodation facilities). We would be pleased to hear any comments on the accommodation that is arranged for you to ensure that it is suitable for our visitors: please pass on any such comments you have to our admin team.

If you wish to research visitor accommodation yourself, you can use the accommodation search function on the Visit Scotland website. Use a postcode of EH9 3FD (JCMB) or EH9 3HJ (RoE) to find accommodation within a specific distance from your office space. Various commercial outfits, like Citylets and Edinburgh Flats, have listings of flats available for short-term lets, which may suit long-term visitors. Any search for accommodation should be done in coordination with our admin team. We can of course make no assurances about the quality of service or accommodation offered by such external organisations.

Office, computing and library facilities

Unless your visit is very short, you will be provided with office space for the duration of your stay: more information will be provided by email in advance of your visit. If you have registered for the eduroam service at your home institution, then you should be able to access the internet on your laptop (or other registered mobile device) while on the University campus by signing into the eduroam wifi network. Please note that the initial registration with eduroam must be performed at your home institution - it cannot be done once you have departed. On the other hand, you only need to register once, and there are by now many institutions that will allow you to access the internet in this way. Whether or not you use eduroam, we can set up a visitor's account for you in order to access the University's network and systems, or access to the University’s library facilities (all visitors should be added to the Visitor Registration System if they are here for longer than a week). The admin team can arrange this for you on arrival.

Financial matters

Visitors are invited to ask the Higgs Centre Administrator for support in arranging accommodation. The expenses are usually claimed after the visit by contacting Inesthe Higgs Centre Administrator. The Higgs Centre cover visit expenses up to £70 per night for accommodation and £300 and £1000 for respectively European and Intercontinental travel. Please check flight costs in order to submit a proposal as close to real costs as possible. The admin team will advise on local accommodation costs if necessary. Rule of thumb is £70 per night for accommodation, £300 and £1000 for respectively European and Intercontinental travel. A per diem is possible but only if discussed with your host and approved by the Higgs Centre Management Committee Board. When in Edinburgh, please contact our accounts team in JCMB 4215 or the Higgs Centre Administrator in 4318 with any queries relating to expenses.

Getting around Edinburgh

Lothian Buses runs a comprehensive bus service around Edinburgh. Service 41 runs straight onto the Kings Buildings campus. Services 24, 38, 42 and 67 stop very close to the campus. Services 41 and 38 also pass near the Royal Observatory. Lothian Buses operate a "flat fare" system - the same fare covers any distance for one bus (except on the AirLink airport bus service). The current fare can be found here. A day ticket is also available, which is better value for money once you plan to make more than two trips in one day. Tickets are available from the driver when boarding the bus: note that no change is given, except on the AirLink service. It is also possible to pay via the 'tap-tap-cap' system - a contactless payment system (on the buses) with daily fare capping, meaning if you use the same card on different buses numerous times, it will automatically convert it to the lowest faire (switch to a daily pass for example). It can't be used for more than one person per bus. It is also possible to download the mobile ticket App (‘m-tickets’ – Apple, Android) or the Lothian Bus App (‘Bus & Tram’).

The central part of Edinburgh is very compact, and most easily traversed on foot.

Eating and drinking

There are many places to eat and drink in Edinburgh. Sadly, there are not many that are within a very short walking distance of the Kings Buildings campus or the Observatory. A comprehensive list, ordered by distance from JCMB, can be found as part of The List Eating and Drinking Guide. Establishments that the guide's reviewers have found particularly favourable are highlighted on Hit Lists.

Things to see and do

Edinburgh is a very popular tourist destination, owing to its long history. There are many sights in and around the city centre that are worth visiting. Tourist information about Edinburgh can be found here or on the Visit Scotland website.



Higgs Centre Administrator

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