Firth of Forth Boat Tours in 2023 – 4 trips to get amazing views of the bridges!

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Three giant bridges tower above you as you set sail on the Firth of Forth. It’s amazing to see them from this angle, but that’s not all you can see on a boat tour on the River Forth!

I adore this part of Scotland and the fact that it’s so easy to get to from Edinburgh means that you don’t have to dig deep and spend too many days of your vacation searching out interesting spots – you can see these from Edinburgh and still be back in the city for evening!

The iconic bridges are, of course, one of the highlights but you’ll also get amazing views of the landscape as you go by and even some of the islands that are around too. One, Inchcolm Island, is even home to an old Augustine Monastery!

These tours are also an excellent way to see some of the wonderful Scottish wildlife that’s around. You don’t need to head deep into the highlands for it! Seals and a variety of seabirds can be seen year round and puffins can be seen on these trips between April and July.

If you’re ready to see some of Scotland in a memorable fashion and get some amazing photos then read on to find out about some of the best Firth of Forth boat tours you can take to see the bridges.

Best Firth of Forth Boat Tours you can book online

If you’re visiting the city of Edinburgh and fancy a day away from the crowds and noise in the city a trip to the nearby South Queensferry is a great idea.

These Forth Boat tours are all able to be booked in advance so you can plan your day out to the Forth Bridges easily.

If you wish to have a day trip to the Forth Bridges from Edinburgh, these boat tours will definitely enhance your day out of the city!

firth of forth boat tours

1. Three Bridges Cruise

4.5 out 5.0 (250+ reviews) – Run by Forth Boat Tours

This one and a half hour boat trip goes from South Queensferry and will guide you past all three of the magnificent Forth bridges giving amazing views of them from all angles.

The boat trip gives commentary on the history of the area as well so if you don’t know anything about the bridges you’ll be well up to speed by then end of the trip!

You’ll also get chance to see seals and even puffins on this trip, although of course not guaranteed!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Best boat trip! Great trip, the guys on the boat were so welcoming and really friendly, lots of facts the whole trip. I didn’t expect for the boat to take us so far it was better than expected, even saw 3 seals in the middle of December! 

Kiya_B (Dec 2022) – see more reviews here

In the summer months you’re also able to take a slightly longer cruise that includes some time on Inchcolm island if you’d like that. Check out the availability listed and choose the landing cruise.

forth bridge boat trip

2. 1.5 hour Firth of Forth Sightseeing Cruise

5.0 out of 5.0 (100+ reviews) – Run by Maid of the Forth

This 90 minute cruise goes all the way under all three of the Forth bridges from the newest Queensferry Crossing to the original and iconic world heritage listed rail bridge.

There’s a comfortable viewing deck at the top of the boat and if you need any refreshments you’ll be pleased to know that you can get them on board too!

As well as seeing the bridges, you’ll travel out into the Firth of Forth and cruise alongside some of the islands there. Some of them are home to seal colonies and sea birds as well.

Worth the money. Very interesting. Enjoyed the day Would recommend for a day trip and stop off at the island

Audrey_S – see more reviews here

In the summer months you’ll also want to consider the option of landing on Inchcolm Island which has a really interesting monastery. Landings start from 1st April.

3. Full Day Sailing on Firth of Forth

5.0 out of 5.0 (7+ reviews) – Run by Edinburgh Boat Charters

This one is a little different to the main boat trips offered around the bridges. The rest of the trips on this page you’ll be a passenger and watching the world go by on a tourist boat. On this one you’ll be sailing by the iconic bridges!

It’s a little bit more special and exclusive (with a maximum of 10 travellers) and is a real treat for a day out of the city!

Not only do you have the amazing sights around, sailing under the three bridges, you’ll also sail out towards some of the islands where you’ll anchor for your lunch.

If you’re interested in learning to sail they are keen to give people a go too!

Professional, highly knowledgeable and friendly crew. Happy and willing to accommodate requests. Overall, a wonderful day out! We would definitely go out again next time we visit Edinburgh. Thanks, Colin and Eric!

see more reviews here

If you can’t commit to a full day, they also do half day sailings and a taster trip too.

boat at inchcolm island on firth of forth scotland

4. Firth of Forth Boat Trip to see Blackness Castle with Cream Tea

5.0 out of 5.0 (20+ reviews) – Run by Forth Boat Tours

Again, this boat trip on the Firth of Forth is a little bit different. Instead of heading westward to some of the small islands, this trip goes east towards Blackness Castle, one of the Outlander filming locations and also known as the ship that never sails!

You’ll of course get that amazing, iconic view of all the bridges from underneath and get spectacular photo opportunities.

This cruise also comes with complimentary cream tea to set off your day just perfectly.

Awesome trip. You can see beautiful places, wild animals and you can know scottish history. It was really pleasant to join in this. I recommend it to everyone!

see more reviews here
south queensferry village near boat trips
Old buildings in the village of South Queensferry

What else to do in South Queensferry

South Queensferry, where you’ll go to get any of these boat trips on the River Forth, is a quaint little town and a real gem of a place. Being so close to Edinburgh but quiet enough to feel a million miles away!

The main draw is the bridges and the amazing viewpoint of them – you’ll be getting slightly different views once on a boat though!

There are a number of places to get a bite to eat or some refreshments in the village too with some small pubs and cafes. You’ll also find some souvenir and craft shops as well if you’re looking for a little something to take home.

How to get to South Queensferry

It’s not too far from Edinburgh at all so if you’re spending time in the city you’ll be pleased that it won’t take too much out of your day to explore around the bridges.

Always check where your boat trips depart from as different companies use different quays.

Bus

There are a few bus options to get you from the centre of Edinburgh to the bridges. The easiest and most straight forward is the 43 by Lothian Buses which will take you to South Queensferry. It runs every 20 minutes, and every 30 minutes on Sundays.

Taxi

A taxi is a great idea if you want ease and if there are a few of you – there are a lot of taxi options in the city and since it’s only a short way out of the centre it shouldn’t be super expensive (although will be the most expensive option on this page!)

Car

Car is the easiest way to visit if you have one. There are a couple of car parks in the village where you can park up and explore the town and there are some options by the boat quayside as well.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland Travel FAQ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Do I need insurance for traveling to Scotland?

YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!

Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.

Do I need a car for visiting Scotland?

YES – If you’re wanting to explore Scotland fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the best sights and on your own timetable

I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in Scotland

How to book accommodation in Scotland?

For hotels I recommend Booking.com

For apartments and cottages check out VRBO

Will my phone work in Scotland?

Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.

If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.

What to pack for Scotland

Keep yourself dry be prepared for any weather is my motto for Scotland! A rain jacket and comfy shoes are a must.

See my post about what to pack for Scotland

Do I need midge spray for Scotland?

YES – if you’re traveling in the summer months to any of the west coast, highlands, islands or lochs it’s recommended.

Locals swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft!

If you’re sticking to the cities or traveling in winter, early spring or late fall then you likely won’t need it.

What’s the best guidebook for Scotland?

I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks

Where to get flights for Scotland

Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to Scotland.

Do I need a visa for Scotland?

Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting Scotland as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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