Photographing the Forth Bridges – a quick location guide

Photographing the Forth Bridges is but like the old adage, of painting the Forth Bridge, i.e. it’s a never ending job. I’ve been photographing them regularly for the last 2 years and still find inspiration and new views every time I get down there.

With the size of the structures they are visible from many location but here I’ll deal with some of the closer spots to investigate both bridges, all with easy access especially if you have a car.

So lets start with the South Queensferry side first, if your coming from Edinburgh, simply head west and follow the signs for the Forth Road Bridge, once on the A90, take the turn off to South Queensferry and follow to road down into the town, you’ll see the bridges after approx 2 miles.

As you approach the bridges you’ll see the lifeboat station, to your right is a small single track road, head down here first and follow the road for about 100m. You’ll come to an open area with plenty parking and the rail bridge should be on your left. From there you can photograph it from the top of the bank or if your feeling fit and the tide is out, head to the left of the wall, there’s a gap here to let you down onto the beach. These are all shots taken from that location:

Forth Bridge Misty Sunset - Explored

Forth Bridge Spans

From here, head back the way to came and park more or less under the rail bridge, again some nice views from here on on the small beach in front of you. You can also walk down the pier.

Typical views from this location:

Forth Bridge Light Trail

Boat and Bridge

From here, head past the lifeboat station and you’ll get to the main promenade, loads of parking here but it gets very busy in the summer and at weekend. From here you can photograph either bridge or even both together with the right lens. With the tide out, down on the pebble beach here is a good location.

Forth Bridges Panorama

Forth Rail Bridge Long Exposure

Forth Road Bridge at night

Now, head into South Queensferry itself, you’ll come to a small parking area, from here you get a better wide angle view of the rail bridge.

Forth Bridge and fluffy clouds - Explored

Our final location of the south side of the bridges is just along the road. If you can, park up where the road comes to a junction, near the Orocco Pier pub. There’s also a small car park over the junction and to the right but it’s always very busy. Walk though and you’ll find a small harbour, you can either photograph from here or walk to the left and you’ll find the small car park where there are lot of locations to get either bridge.

Forth Road Bridge sunset - Explored

Boats and Bridge

If your really lucky, there might be a cruise boat in and moored up near the rail bridge:

Westerdam at the Bridge
Ok, so now you have a mass of shots from the south side of the bridge, it’s time now to head to North Queensferry and get the bridges from the other side.

Head up the hill out of South Queensferry and turn right at the top of the road, go round the roundabout and onto the Road Bridge. Cross the bridge and take the first exit after you cross it and follow the signs to North Queensferry. Follow the small road down into the village. Keep following it and and eventually just past the junction for Deep Sea World you’ll see a small pub, head off to the left towards the rail bridge. You can park here near the entrance to the bridge works.

From here you can get either bridge:

Forth Road Bridge from the North

Forth Rail Bridge

Forth Road Bridge and South Queensferry

Once your done here, head back the way you came and at the junction turn left towards the pier. You’ll be able to park near the anchor statue. You can get the rail bridge here or walk down the pier (at low tide) and get the road bridge.

Anchor and Bridge

Forth Road Bridge Sunset

From here, head back out the village and on the way up the hill on your left after you pass under the road bridge is a turn off that takes you up the the Bridges Hotel. Drive in and park just as you get into the upper bit of the carpark. Just to the side of the door/conference area there is a path heading up to the right. Follow this and you’ll get to the bridges viewpoint. This is a perfect area to photograph the road bridge, especially at night.

Forth Road Bridge Light Trails

Forth Road Bridge

While you’re here, you can take the stairs to the left and go under the road bridge and back up on the other side, access is restricted on this side but you can get a view over North Queensferry to the rail bridge. It’s also possible to walk along the road bridge on the other side from this location.

Forth Rail Bridge from the Road Bridge

So there you go, a quick snapshot of EASY locations to photograph the bridges. Of course with a little scouting around there are hundreds more but there are all easy to get to with (usually) plenty parking. You could do the whole lot in a couple of hours if you felt the need!

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6 responses

  1. omg!!! these are so beautiful! and so inspiring to see so many wonderful shots of the same two bridges, and none of them are boring or repetitious.
    it may be a while before i get to edinburgh, so thank you for sharing these!
    k☼

    February 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm

  2. Duncan

    Very informative with great pictures , thankyou!

    August 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

  3. Great article on a subject that is much more challenging than you expect, The big problem for me, is the vastness of the bridge, and because the south end of the bridge has such a long outrun, it’s nigh on impossible to get any shots of trackside on the bridge unless you get access clearance from Network Rail, which I would suggest would be virtually unheard of.

    There has been some improvements on a footpath at South Queensferry called Back Braes, with a now open clearing, and also there’s a sneaky view point a small scramble down a hill off the ex-railway line cycle path in SQ.

    North Queensferry has a lot of good locations as the main sections are nearer the land, and your samples reflect this. However, the platform at North Queenferry affords a zoom lens a view down the throat of the bridge, and Battery Point offers the rare chance of elevation and a view downwards.

    April 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    • Some nice tips there Kenny. You do get a good shot also from the end of the platform at Dalmeny, it’s a straight down the bridge shot whereas NQ there’s a bit of a curve onto the bridge.

      April 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

  4. Thanks for posting these, I am off to the area end of this month and the bridges are something to get shots of on my to do list

    August 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

  5. Do Network Rail have a resource somewhere that lets you know at what time of the evening they light up the bridge. I do tours for visitors and as we approach the shorter days it would be handy to know what time they start to light up the bridge. Thanks for any light you can throw on this……sorry couldn’t resist that last bit.

    September 27, 2014 at 9:33 am

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