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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 information. 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 for the RoE. You can also use a service such as Google Maps to get directions. If you are planning to park on the campus, note there is a permit needed. Please get in touch with Ines to arrange this.

Visitor accommodation

Accommodation appropriate to visitors' individual requirements will be arranged in coordination with 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 (which we would usually book directly). For longer visits, we normally find that a self-catered accommodation provides a more flexible and comfortable solution. The University has such accommodation facilities but these are very pricy. 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. We also provide some suggestions for accommodation on our accommodation suggestion page.

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. The University also has visitor Wi-Fi (‘Visit-Ed’) available in University buildings that visitors can log into by themselves. 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 IT 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).

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 Ines, the Higgs Centre Administrator. The Higgs Centre covers visit expenses up to ca £80 per night for accommodation and ca £400 and £1000 for European and Intercontinental travel respectively. Please check flight costs in order to submit a proposal in advance of your visit with as close to real costs as possible. The admin team will advise on local accommodation costs if necessary. A per diem is unfortunately not possible but if discussed with your host and approved by the Higgs Centre you may be able to collect receipts for reimbursement. 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 9 runs straight onto the Kings Buildings campus. Services 24, 38, 42 and 67 stop very close to the campus. Services 9 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/phone payment on different buses numerous times, it will automatically convert it to the lowest fare (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’) to buy tickets.

The central part of Edinburgh is very compact, and most easily traversed on foot, especially as there are usually many roadworks.

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. Staff pick: Ristorante ISOLA on Newington Rd, Hendersons (vegetarian & vegan) on Barclay Pl, Chaophraya (Thai) on Castle St, Kanpai (Japanese) on Grindlay St.

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. Staff pick: Dynamic Earth on Holyrood Rd or Mary Kings Close on the Royal Mile.


To check if you require a visa to come to the UK for your visit, please check here or consult the University's Immigration team; for students here.



Higgs Centre Administrator

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