What to know if you want to see Queen’s coffin in Edinburgh

By Georgina Davies
BBC Scotland News

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,

The Queen’s four children stood vigil at the coffin for a brief while as members of the public filed past

The Queen’s coffin lies at rest in Edinburgh, giving the public an opportunity to pay their respects.

It proceeded from Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral on Monday afternoon.

Mourners are allowed to file past until 15:00 on Tuesday 13 September after which her Majesty will leave Scotland.

Extra trains were in operation overnight and officials say many thousands joined the queue to see the coffin.

Will I need to get a ticket?

The queue to see the coffin continues to be very long.

Members of the public are having to stand for long periods, possibly many hours, with very little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will keep moving.

To get into the cathedral you will need a wristband but they are no longer being issued.

Step-free and accessible options are available for those who need them.

Can I still join the queue?

If you are not already in it, the answer is no.

The Scottish government tweeted at lunchtime that no one else could join the queue which started at George Square Lane/North Meadow Walk in The Meadows.

Those with wristbands can walk the designated route to the security tent at St Giles’ Cathedral.

There is mixed and challenging terrain due to the nature of the Old Town including cobbles, steep incline and uneven surfaces.

Will there be toilets?

Portable toilets will be available on the queue route and visitors will be able to leave the line for a reasonable length of time to use the facilities.

Can I pay my respects if I have accessibility issues?

There is an accessible queuing scheme available for blue badge holders.

You may be accompanied by one carer or companion and you will need to bring your blue badge with you to gain access to the scheme.

Using this scheme does not guarantee access to St Giles’ Cathedral, and entry time will depend on demand. There will still be some queuing.

If you need to use the accessible queuing scheme there will be a designated drop-off point for vehicles located at the east end of Chambers Street which can be accessed via South Bridge (it is worth noting that the bridge is closed northbound from Chambers Street onwards).

There will be no capacity to wait at the drop-off zone and those dropping off individuals will be directed to move on immediately.

There will be no pick-up point for the event due to road closures and issues with ease of access to the surrounding area and you will need to make your own arrangements.

Will I get into St Giles’ Cathedral ok?

Step-free access will be available for those who need it both at the security search point and St Giles’ Cathedral.

Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other official assistance dogs are permitted inside the cathedral although no other animals are permitted.

Wheelchairs will not be provided for the file past, Further information about the cathedral can be found on its website.

How will transportation be affected?

ScotRail is urging passengers heading to Edinburgh to plan ahead as trains are expected to be very busy.

The train operator has issued the following advice:

  • Passengers heading to St Giles’ Cathedral should travel to Edinburgh Waverley station, where supporting arrangements will be in place. Due to construction work being carried out on a building next to Haymarket station and the proximity of the tram lines, passengers are advised not to use Haymarket station if they are heading to St Giles’ Cathedral.
  • Queues are expected at some major stations, particularly Edinburgh Waverley. ScotRail and Network Rail urged passengers to be “patient and respectful” to staff who will be “working flat out to ensure people are supported to pay their respects”.
  • You can plan ahead by downloading the ScotRail app or website for the most up-to-date service information, including first and last services.

From 10:00 to 16:00 on Tuesday, there will be a 15-minute service between Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street. The trains will travel via Falkirk High in both directions on Monday night into Tuesday morning.

There will also be additional carriages across the network for services to and from Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Trams will run extra services to help residents and visitors pay their respects.

Normal fares will apply and customers should purchase their tickets from tram stop machines before boarding.

On September 13, when the Queen’s coffin leaves the city in the afternoon, tram services will be required to temporarily terminate at West End stop until crowds disperse and roads reopen.

Lothian Buses says it expects delays, road closures and has advised customers to plan ahead by checking their website.

What should I bring?

  • Clothing to protect you from cold or wet weather
  • Food and drinks to consume in the queue although they must be consumed or disposed of before entering the security search point on George IV Bridge. Clear water bottles are permitted, but must be emptied of their contents before you enter the security search point. There are limited places to buy refreshments along the route
  • Sunscreen, if required, which must be disposed of before you enter the security search point
  • Small portable mobile phone charger
  • Essential medication or equipment that you need to keep with you. Please explain this to the security staff or police at the security search point so they can check the items

What security measures are in place?

Security measures will be in place to keep everyone safe.

The police may conduct security searches along parts of the queue.

Before entering St Giles’ Cathedral you will go through an airport-style security search point.

Restrictions on bags and other items will be strictly enforced, with banned items confiscated.

If there is a security incident or you spot a suspicious item, alert the stewards or the police and follow their instructions.

What can I not bring into the cathedral?

Banned items will be confiscated and will not be returned, and any illegal items will be dealt with by the police.

You must not bring any of the following items into the security search point or St Giles’ Cathedral.

  • Bags larger than 40cm x 30cm x 20cm in size, bags or rucksacks with expandable compartments, bags or rucksacks with multiple pockets or complex openings, solid sided bags, or bags on wheels
  • Large items being carried in addition to bags. This includes sleeping bags, blankets, carrier bags, folding chairs, camping equipment, and children’s pushchairs.
  • Non-retractable umbrellas
  • Flasks – this includes metal reusable water bottles
  • No food or liquids of any kind. Clear plastic or glass reusable water bottles will be permitted but must be emptied before entering
  • Tribute items including flowers, candles, soft toys, photographs
  • Medium to large sized cameras (including telescopic lens), video recorders and other electrical similar sized equipment
  • Personal defense equipment (eg flick knives, butterfly knives and personal defense sprays) – items which are lawful in some countries are not permitted in the UK and anyone found in possession of such items are liable to arrest
  • Sharp items including knives, Swiss Army Knives, scissors, cutlery and screwdrivers
  • Paint sprays, padlocks, chains and climbing gear
  • Fireworks, smoke canisters, air horns, flares, whistles laser devices, and other items that could be used to cause a disturbance or noise
  • Banners, placards, flags and similar items that could be used to cause a disturbance

Where can I lay flowers for the Queen?

Flowers can be laid in Middle Meadow Walk and Palace of Holyrood House but will not be permitted in St Giles’ Cathedral.

What happens next after the Queen’s death?

How titles and the line of succession have changed

The Queen on screen – nine shows to watch

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