Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Edinburgh Airport lounge reviews: how is the No 1 Lounge?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This article is my review of the No 1 Lounge at Edinburgh Airport.

A long layover at Edinburgh Airport last week gave me a chance to take a look at three of the lounges – No 1 Lounge, Aspire (reviewed here) and the British Airways Galleries.  I will take a look at all three over the next few days.

You can learn more about the lounge on the No 1 Lounges website here.

I like No 1 Lounges.  There is something about their design aesthetic that appeals to me, and I have always found that their food offerings suited my tastes.  I hadn’t been to the Edinburgh one before but I had a decent idea of what to expect.

The No 1 Lounge is probably the most central of the lounges in the terminal, although that isn’t saying much.  Aspire and the British Airways lounges are tucked away around a corner, about a minutes walk away.  My British Airways 767 back to Heathrow departed from a gate opposite the No 1 Lounge, so the BA lounge is clearly not next to any dedicated BA gates.

I got in using my Priority Pass, which comes with my American Express Platinum card (or you can buy one) and allows unlimited free lounge visits.  It also accepts Lounge Club, which comes with American Express Gold (two free visits per year) or HSBC Premier’s LoungeKey card.

The London lounges operated by No 1 Lounges are often very busy and will often refuse Priority Pass walk-ups because they are full.  This was not a problem in Edinburgh on a midweek lunchtime.  The lounge only had about 10 guests.

It occupies a large square space as you can see below:

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

There are four zones – a dining area with formal tables and semi-formal white chairs, an area with table but lower slung green comfy chairs, a boardroom table more suited for working (just visible at top right in my photo) and a very casual sofa-based seating area (top left).  It is cleverly laid out with something for everyone.

The only thing it lacked was privacy.  There are no hidden nooks or corners, which means there is nowhere to hide if your child (or travelling companion!) is playing up.

Hot food can be ordered from the bar.  You are limited to one hot item per visit – you need to hand over the menu you are given on entry when ordering.

Breakfast options are a bacon roll, beans on toast, florentine quesadilla or toast and jam.  For the rest of the day, you can currently choose from:

beef-filled Yorkshire pudding

forest mushroom risotto (can be done gluten free)

fish finger wrap (can be done dairy free)

beetroot and goat’s cheese salad (can be done vegan, gluten free or dairy free)

cheese and biscuits

I took the fish finger wrap, which was well presented although could have been a little warmer:

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

The buffet had a decent range of salads:

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

Drinks must be ordered at the bar.  Standard drinks are free and you can pay for premium options – there was a variety of Moet & Chandon champagnes on offer.

Here a couple more general shots from different angles:

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

and

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

and

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

and

No 1 Lounge Edinburgh review

If you wanted something to read, there was a small but high quality selection of magazines and newspapers by the entrance.

I liked the No 1 Lounge at Edinburgh.  I preferred it to the Aspire Lounge (see my other review) unless you need more privacy or want a hot food buffet, so pick No 1 if you are using a Priority Pass, Lounge Club etc card.

It is a closer call between No 1 and the British Airways lounge.  The BA lounge, as my review will show, is bigger with more facilities but somehow feels less inspiring, and is a lot busier.

You can find out more about the lounge, and pre-book a cash visit, on the No 1 Lounges website here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Lounge Club card loaded with two free visits to any Lounge Club lounge – see the list here

The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list.  Additional visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (39)

  • Trev says:

    You can pay £5/person to guarantee a space at a No. 1 lounge with Priority Pass or Dragon Pass, I’ve done that before at the LHR T3 lounge to ensure I got in before an overnight flight.

  • Nick Burch says:

    Last time we went through Edinburgh, we started in the BA lounge for a drink (champagne on offer if you asked), popped round to the No.1 lounge for some hot food (BA just has sandwiches and soup), then returned to the BA lounge to await boarding. Worked well!

  • Daniel says:

    The BA lounge is absolutely rubbish, I always prefer to use the No. 1 lounge when departing EDI and would even place Aspire as #2.

  • kt1974 says:

    That’s harsh on the BA Lounge. The advantage is that it has toilets inside (as opposed to “around the corner, behind the pub”), free pour drinks that don’t come 125ml at a time, lots of space and quiet corners, fast internet without a silly sign-in, doesn’t have to photocopy your boarding pass and write down your flight details before using it, is directly opposite the BA LCY gate, and isn’t overwhelmed on the days that the Etihad and Qatar flights depart at the same time

    The BA Lounge is only busy when 3-4 BA flights are leaving around the same time; even then there’s plenty of room and a quiet spot to do a conference call – I usually hide in the business centre

    So, nipping into the No 1 for a tiny microwaved fish finger sandwich is fine, but then it’s back to the BA Lounge, IMHO…

    • Daniel says:

      Disagree on fast internet – it was terribly laggy on my Citrix session yesterday (and is most weeks). Piggybacked through my phone and was then fine.

      Never had my boarding pass photocopied or flight details written down @ No.1 but Aspire does ask for flight details.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes I find the portion sizes of the one hot item No. 1 Lounge will allow you, to be far too small. In the case of LGW No.1 I think they might even be decreasing in size a little more each time I go there. It does feel a bit stingy as the ingredients of their dishes are not expensive.

  • Paul says:

    I was in both the BA lounge and No 1 yesterday. The BA lounge was empty but No 1 was very busy.

    I liked the BA lounge for size, comfort and for the very nice staff but the food was simply dreadful. Same old same old curly edged sandwiches filled with uninspiring content and the usual bits of cheese. I left.

    No 1 was busier and I sat st the bar and ordered the beetroot and goats cheese salad. The portion size was good and it is made for you and served restaraunt style. They serve draught Peroni and have 2 white and 2 red wine choices. There was also real champagne chilling on ice but something told me it was not free though there were no signs.

    It was, by some margin, a much better experience than BAs offer though I can see access being an issue at busy times. They had 2-3 people a head of me happy to pay to get in!

    BA lounges in Europe and away from LHR are now glorified waiting rooms. Food, when it’s available is poor and uninspiring and service non existent, much as it is if you travel SLF class ( self loading freight) on board. There is absolutely nothing premium about flying BA shorthaul other than the price. My flight was delayed yesterday and I looked to see if the earlier service had seats, £266 one way to get nothing on board and no lounge access. It would cost well over £300 to get Club. There was however a bus tour of T5 on arrival adding 30 minutescto the experience. It only took 60 minutes to fly from EDI to LHR.
    With No1 and plaza now offering serious lounge competition I have to question my need for status.

    • kt1974 says:

      I’m not sure what people expect from the BA Lounge when a oneway ticket on the one hour hop to London can cost as little as £50, half of which is taxes and fees

      On a separate note, I paid less than £100 for a non-flexible club ticket to LCY on Weds (which allows same day changes for free), knowing I might need to change to an earlier flight. Changing my flight took BA all of 30 seconds. Done with a smile and at no cost. Sometimes those cheap non-changeable tickets are a false economy…

      • Andrew says:

        Or as much as £424 one way.

        The trouble with the BA lounge in Edinburgh is that so many people commute to London on a regular basis that there is a considerable volume with high status. In the old days, BMI had two lounges. From memory it was Silver & Gold, then you went through another door from there into the Diamond(?) lounge.

        • Alan says:

          The one through to the right with bmi was for Gold – wasn’t that different but sometimes quieter!

      • Rob says:

        It is there to get the long-haul traffic which connects at Heathrow – otherwise people would be tempted to jump on a Middle Eastern carrier or, to North America, one of the US flights that goes direct.

  • Alan says:

    Again, very lucky re how quiet it was, is sometimes shut to PP cardholders nowadays.

    This was the old BA lounge in Edinburgh, before they took over bmi and refurbished their lounge. No toilets in this one, have to go outside and round the corner.

    If flying BA, Jet2, Flybe this is normally a better choice of lounge for being closer to departure gate.

  • TripRep says:

    Good tip, how long are the 10 passes valid for & can you use two at once, ie for me & Mrs TripRep?

    • the real harry1 says:

      usage rules are the downside – no guests for free, I think guests cost £15 same as Lounge Club so won’t break the bank

      12 months but there are times you can get 15 months for the same deal, this would work for me if I could time it to get 2x Easter + 2x May/June half term in

  • CV3V says:

    No.1 is always my preferred lounge at EDI, its usually much quieter and the food options are much better than the same old boring sandwiches the BA lounge offers. No it doesn’t have toilets, but that isnt a deciding factor for me!