The Forth Road Bridge, spanning West Lothian and Fife, is one of the most significant long-span suspension bridges in the world, with a length of 1,006 metres between the two end towers. It’s located next to the UNESCO heritage-status Forth Rail Bridge and features a footpath that allows visitors to walk between both ends of the structure. Discover this stunning feat of Scottish engineering with this complete visitor guide.
|Address:||42 Inchcolm Terrace,
|Opening Hours:||The Forth Road Bridge is accessible on foot 24/7, 365 days a year (weather permitting).
The bridge is closed to cars.
|Admission Price:||There is no fee to visit the Forth Road Bridge.|
|Parking:||Parking is available at the Forth Bridge Visitor Centre (42 Inchcolm Terrace, South Queensferry, EH30 9NA).
Alternatively, park in South Queensferry and walk to the bridge.
Phone: 01738 448 600
|Facilities:||There are no facilities on the Forth Road Bridge.
Shops, toilets and restaurants are available in South Queensferry.
The Forth Road Bridge, opened in 1964, is a suspension bridge which connects Edinburgh with Fife. Once the world’s fourth-longest suspension bridge, it’s known for its iconic design and stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. It spans the Firth of Forth, a significant estuary that stretches for 47 miles inland to Kincardine.
You might be wondering why a bridge has been included in a website about Scotland’s tourist attractions, but bear with me because I think the Forth Road Bridge is well worth taking the time to visit if you come to explore Edinburgh and the Lothians.
This bridge is enormous and still impresses visitors more than fifty years after opening, but it’s the views from the footpath that draw in tens of thousands of cyclists and walkers each year.
As you cross the span between South and North Queensferry you can view an amazing panorama across the Firth of Forth, with Fife in one direction and Edinburgh and East Lothian in the other, and it’s probably the closest you’ll get to the iconic Forth Rail Bridge without actually boarding a train.
The Forth Road Bridge is one of the most significant long-span suspension bridges in the world with a length of 0.6 miles between the two main towers and a total length of 1.5 miles end to end. When the bridge was opened in 1964 by Queen Elizabeth II it was the longest bridge in Europe and the fourth-longest bridge in the world.
1: The views across the Firth of Forth from the Forth Road Bridge are spectacular, and now that traffic has been diverted onto the new Queensferry Crossing bridge, it’s relatively quiet too.
2: There’s a superb viewpoint on the Edinburgh side of the Forth Road Bridge which also has a commemorative display of the bridge’s opening.
3: There are lots of other places to visit near the Forth Bridges. If you stay on the Edinburgh side I recommend having a look around South Queensferry before heading west to Hopetoun House and Blackness Castle.
1: The Forth Road bridge is occasionally closed for maintenance and bad weather so check the official website for updates before departing.
2: Take an engraved padlock ‘love lock’ to place on the bridge railings. You’ll find the love lock railings midway on the path in the centre of the bridge.
3: If you enjoy your time walking across the Forth Road Bridge you might be interested in getting closer to the water. Two nearby sites that will let you do that are Cramond Island where you can stroll across a walkway at low tide, and Inchcolm Island which you can visit on an organised boat tour from South Queensferry.
The Forth Road Bridge stands 46 metres above the Forth estuary between the villages of North and South Queensferry. It’s one of three bridges that cross the Forth, with the unmistakable Forth Rail Bridge on its eastern side and the new Queensferry Crossing bridge on its western side.
As you follow the pedestrianized section of the Forth Road Bridge you’ll likely stop and take a good look at the historic rail bridge which runs alongside it. Built in 1890, the red-painted rail bridge was regarded as the eighth wonder of the world at the time of its construction, and it’s still an impressive example of Scottish engineering today.
With an overall length of 8,090 feet and standing 449 feet above its foundations, The Forth Rail Bridge was once likened to the Eiffel Tower, and even though it’s not as attractive it was deemed significant enough to be given UNESCO world heritage status in 2015.
A point of interest worth noting as you walk between the banks of the Forth are hundreds of padlocks secured to mesh railings, so if you’re taking in the view with a partner you might like to leave your own ‘love lock’ there as well.
One negative point about visiting the bridge is that it can be noisy with passing traffic, but now that the majority of vehicles are diverted onto the new Queensferry Crossing it’s a lot quieter than it once was. Even so, I’d think twice before taking your four-legged friend with you on a walk across it.
The South Queensferry side of the bridge has a visitor station that describes the construction of the bridge as well as its history. There’s also a public car park and a viewing platform along with a temporary snack kiosk. To find it, head to Ferry Muir Road near the bridge entry point and take the turning to Ferrymuir Gate. The car park is 500 feet down this road and the footpath onto the bridge begins another 500 feet past the car park.
Although there’s a car park at the Forth Bridge offices on the Edinburgh side, it’s often easier to park in South Queensferry and follow the footpath up to the crossing.
The first proposals for a road bridge across the Firth of Forth were raised with the Scottish government in 1923, just as private cars were becoming increasingly popular. Before the bridge was built, motorists had to cross the Forth via a small ferry which was too slow to make regular journeys on. With the citizens of Edinburgh clamouring to make frequent trips to the north of the country it was inevitable that a road bridge would eventually be built.
One of the biggest construction feats that was accomplished during the building of the bridge was the manufacture of over 30,000 miles of high-tensile steel wires that had to be wound together to create the main cables. This was a manufacturing technique that was so new that a special school had to be built in South Queensferry just to teach the construction workers how to spin the wires together.
The bridge was finally completed in 1964, 6 years after construction started, and by that point an incredible 40,000 tonnes of steel and 125,000 cubic metres of concrete had gone into its construction. The total cost was around £19.5 million, an immense sum for the early 1960s, and it marked the bridge as one of the most costly engineering endeavours in Scotland.
Things to Do
Walking Along the Footpath: A leisurely stroll across the Forth Road Bridge is a must-do for every visitor to North and South Queensferry. The footpath provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape including the new Queensferry Crossing Bridge and the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. The walk is about 1.3 miles each way and is free to use.
Lovelocks: While walking along the bridge, remember to lock a ‘love lock’ to the railings. This tradition is a popular activity for couples, even though there are now so many locks it’s difficult to find a space to add new ones!
Cycling Across the Bridge: For the more active traveller, a bike ride across the Forth Road Bridge is an enjoyable experience. The cycling path is separate from the pedestrian walkway, ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Forth Estuary.
Photography Sessions: The Forth Road Bridge, with its monumental steelwork, provides an ideal backdrop for photography. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiastic amateur, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to capture the perfect shot.
Things to Do Nearby
Blackness Castle. Linlithgow EH49 7NH. 16-minute drive.
A 15th-century fortress overlooking the Firth of Forth. Blackness Castle is known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ due to its unusual bow-shaped front. The castle features restored rooms, a Victorian pier and a military barracks with a shop and toilets. Nearby Blackness Bay has footpaths running along the shoreline.
Forth Bridges Viewpoint. Newton, Broxburn EH30 9SN. 6-minute drive.
The Forth Rail Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is best seen from this viewpoint on an elevated position just outside of South Queensferry. The small platform has parking for around 5 cars and offers stunning views across the three bridges and the Firth of Forth.
Forth Boat Tours. 2 Hawes Brae, South Queensferry EH30 9TB. 7-minute drive.
South Queensferry is the main departure point for pleasure cruises up and down the Firth of Forth as well as visits to Inchcolm Abbey. Ferries operate from the pier in the village centre.
Hopetoun House. South Queensferry EH30 9RW. 12-minute drive.
Stately home built in the 17th century that is set on outstanding grounds. The house is open to the public for guided tours and there is a highly-rated restaurant in a converted stable block. The 6,500-acre estate is home to Midhope Castle (seen in the TV series Outlander) and a number of walking trails.
House of The Binns. Binns View, Linlithgow EH49 7NA. 13-minute drive.
A grand 17th-century country manor house that was home to the Dalyell family but is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. In addition to tours through the house, there’s a parkland trail and a woodland walk on the expansive grounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it cost to go over Forth Road Bridge?
There is no fee to cross the Forth Road Bridge. Tolls were abolished on the bridge in 2008.
Is the Forth Road Bridge open to cars?
The Forth Road Bridge is not open to cars. However, it has restricted access to buses and taxis and is fully open to cyclists and pedestrians.
How long does it take to walk over the Forth Road Bridge?
The Forth Road Bridge is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) which takes an average of 45 minutes to walk.
Can you put love locks on the Forth Road Bridge?
Visitors can put love locks on the Forth Road Bridge. There are several steel grates on the side of the walkway where love locks can be attached.