Maid of the Forth, Inchcolm Island, Edinburgh

On Saturday the 16th of April 2016 we drove over to the Hawes Pier in South Queensferry, Edinburgh to catch our cruise on the Maid of the Forth to Inchcolm Island.

We’d booked our tickets a few days before online on their website (link at the end of this post). You can’t buy tickets on the day so please ensure you purchase your tickets online before. EDIT : You can apparently buy tickets at the little office/shop on the day but its advised to buy tickets beforehand to guarantee a space!

They have a sailing timetable on their website and you can book onto one of their sailing trips. There’s a choice of the 1.5 hours sailing cruise which basically takes you to the island and back or the 3 hours landing trip where you can disembark for 1.5 hours and walk around the island. I believe they also have a variety of other trips including bird watching, evening jazz/BBQ cruise, Alloa Jazz cruise and 5 bridges cruise.

We picked the 3 hours landing trip at 10.30am (£18.50 per adult). We picked up our tickets from the little office/shop and waited for our boat on the pier. You’ll be able to spot the shop by the seal statue in front.


When the Maid of the Forth arrived we were greeted by a decently sized boat.


There are some clean and satisfactory toilets and a little cafe onboard where you can buy snacks and hot drinks. If you’re visiting Edinburgh during the colder months this definitely comes in handy! There is a pre-recorded guide that is played over the speakers that explain the various sights you see on the way to Inchcolm Island. The captain/skipper of the boat also pipes up whenever he spots any wildlife lurking about.

On this trip we managed to see seals resting on a buoy 3 times! There was also a porpoise in the water but it swam under the boat too quickly for us to get a glimpse.


Upon arrival on the island you’re greeted by the sight of the ruins of the abbey and the many ruins of wartime fortifications. The island is also the nesting site of hundreds (if not thousands) of gulls and puffins!

There are bathrooms on the island and a little gift shop as well. However please be aware there aren’t any cafes or tea rooms on the island so please ensure you bring your own refreshments or be prepared to buy cans of pop from the gift shop.

There is a tower in the abbey that you can see a great view from but be aware that in order to get to the top you need to climb a tiny spiral staircase. If you’re afraid of heights or small spaces or not very mobile I really wouldn’t recommend attempting the climb.


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After our 1.5 hours on the island were up we caught the boat back to the mainland. Again, the guided tour continued. We really enjoyed the few hours spent on this island and the boat cruise. It was an informative and interesting day out. We would definitely recommend this to anyone else who wants to see some wildlife and an interesting part of Scottish history.

Helpful links:
The Maid of the Forth :

Service   : 4.0
Value      : 4.0
Overall   : 4.0


2 thoughts on “Maid of the Forth, Inchcolm Island, Edinburgh

  1. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this review.
    Just one wee point, you can buy tickets on the day from our ticket office on the pier but to guarantee your space it’s advisable to book online.
    Many thanks again.
    Captain Duncan


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