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, from the School of Physics and Astronomy's admin team. If in doubt - report to the admin team in JCMB Room 4323 and they 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. A full list of destinations can be found here. 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 to the city centre 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 this will cost around £25. The Airlink 100 bus service is fast, frequent and inexpensive - more information about fares and stops can be found here. A return ticket has indefinite validity.
  • 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 can be found here. To book advance tickets, we find the East Coast website the easiest to use. Note you can buy tickets for any journey - not just those on the East Coast mainline.
  • By road - If you have a sat-nav, use the postcode EH9 3JZ to get directions to the 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 admin team when setting up the visit, and directions will be provided. We generally recommend that Bed and Breakfast accommodation is used for visits of up to a week. For longer visits, we normally find that the self-catered accommodation provides a more flexible and comfortable solution. 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 3JZ (JCMB) or EH9 3JH (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 conjunction 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. Our admin team can arrange this for you on arrival. We can also arrange access to the University's library facilities if this is needed. Please discuss this with the admin team.

Financial matters

Visitors are invited to ask Lyndsey Ballantyne for arrangements regarding accommodation. The expenses are claimed after the visit by contacting Joan Simon and Antonin Portelli. The Higgs Centre cover visit expenses up to £70 per night for accommodation and £300 and £1000 for respectively European and Intercontinental flights. When in Edinburgh, please contact our accounts team in JCMB 4215 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 (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 three 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.

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.