Are you on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider suggestions and favourite Edinburgh sights to take advantage of your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Castle that appears over town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a kind of locations that can maintain you coming again. Edinburgh is a metropolis of historic tales, royal tales, gory tales, and ghost tales. It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.
The Top Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it’s not stunning that I feel town is unimaginable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you’ll be able to simply turn out to be overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It will not be solely a terrific place to go to however to dwell as effectively.
Over the years I’ve been in a position to discover nearly all Edinburgh sights. That has given me the experience to share with you the entire finest issues to do in Edinburgh whether or not this can be a first-time go to or your fifth time one can find one thing that piques your curiosity.
If you might be visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be a bit of intimidating. We needed to make issues a bit of simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about the most effective Edinburgh sights in addition to our suggestions for planning the right journey to this unimaginable metropolis.
Surprisingly, numerous Edinburgh sights are free! Below one can find, in no explicit order, what we contemplate the issues you shouldn’t miss in case you are visiting Edinburgh for the primary time.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Visiting Edinburgh Castle might be the primary factor to do in Edinburgh. It has been an important fortification concerned in army and strategic endeavors for the reason that twelfth century and has been constantly occupied in some type since then.
It proudly sits atop one of many metropolis’s extinct volcanos, Castle Rock, and homes many treasures like The Stone of Destiny and the oldest crown jewels in the UK. If you might be into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Castle because it as soon as housed necessary figures equivalent to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t neglect to stroll the grounds and be impressed by the large cannons, The Great corridor, and naturally the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
If you’re a actual Royal fan get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different sights equivalent to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
The fort has been residence to royalty, the chief seat of energy, and a army base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the fort on daily basis besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – This is without doubt one of the hottest sights in town and may get very busy, so strive to go to in the morning in the event you can. I like to recommend that you just guide your ticket in advance and get one with quick monitor entry which can enable you to skip the ticket traces, particularly in case you are visiting through the busy summer time season.
Hours: Summer (April 1-Sept 30) 9.30 am-6 pm (final entry at 5pm). Winter (Oct 1-Mar 31) 9.30 am-5 pm (final entry 4 pm). Price to Enter: Right now you will need to guide a ticket in advance on-line for entry. Adult £15.50 on-line, Concessions £12.40 on-line, Children 5-15 £9.30 on-line. Under 5s are free.
2. The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the oldest a part of town and is considered one of my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. In temporary, The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle all the best way down the volcanic path that takes you to Holyrood Palace – a mile down.
This is Edinburgh’s Old Town and Old High Street. It is chock stuffed with historical past and tales worthy of its personal information. The Royal Mile space itself is definitely 5 separate streets and it’s value it to discover all of them. High Street is stuffed with sights and landmarks in addition to eating places and museums.
Even although the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour straight, I’d suggest spending a couple of hours right here. Start on the fort and work your manner down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you intend to go to in the summer time be certain that to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you received’t have the ability to transfer in the streets.
Is this your first time in Edinburgh? If so, take a look at our 3 Day Edinburgh Itinerary
3. Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace, which is positioned at one finish of the Royal Mile and proper throughout the road from the Scottish Parliament, is without doubt one of the most necessary palaces in Scotland. It is used as a museum for a lot of the 12 months and is the official residence to the Queen and the Royal household after they come to go to.
The Abbey was constructed earlier than the palace relationship again to 1128, by order of King David 1st of Scotland. In the fifteenth century, the abbey’s guesthouse was made right into a royal residence and has been utilized by British royalty ever since. It is a crucial a part of Scottish historical past.
Make certain not to miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They are fairly spectacular. One fast be aware. Photography will not be allowed inside however you’ll be able to take pictures of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you have an interest in any respect in the Royal Family then you will have to add this to your listing.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries for the time being in order that they have to be booked in advance. This tour presents a free audio information as effectively.
4. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this shall be on the high of your listing when on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Street in the outdated city and is a nice Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the in depth vary of subjects lined is unbelievable. Whether you’re in Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historical civilizations, or pure disasters, it’ll have one thing for you.
You might positively spend numerous time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so be certain that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is good, be certain that to head up to the rooftop terrace the place you’ll be able to take in some unimaginable views of town and the encompassing space.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to be certain that to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a unbelievable Greek-columned complicated that’s artwork located proper in the center of Princes Street in the very heart of Edinburgh.
It consists of two buildings; the primary National Gallery is the constructing on the again, with the one on the entrance being a part of the Royal Scottish Academy. The principal gallery holds everlasting collections and is at all times free to go to.
If you might be an artwork lover the Scottish National Gallery has you lined. With artwork from Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gauguin to works from Scottish artists like Reverent Robert Walking and Henry Raeburn, the Scottish National Gallery has one of many premier collections in the UK. If you might be an artwork lover, like I’m, this shall be probably the greatest issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
Currently, you will need to guide a timed entry ticket on their web site. Scottish National Gallery Hours: 10 am-5 pm each day (Thursdays prolonged till 7 pm). Cost to Enter the Scottish National Gallery: Free for everlasting exhibitions, some at RSA have a charge.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you might be on the lookout for the most effective views of town then you will have to climb up to the highest of Arthur’s Seat for certain. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags are the hills in Edinburgh’s metropolis heart and will be seen from nearly wherever in town.
It is the location of a 350 million-year-old extinct volcano. The final eruption was greater than 100 million years in the past. Arthur’s Seat used to be a royal park (you’ll be able to see from noting the crowns on the lamps on the best way in), however was gifted by the Queen to the folks, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).
The best route up to Arthur’s Seat is to take the grassy slope on the east aspect from Dunsapie Loch on Queen’s Drive. It takes about half-hour to attain the highest and is a comparatively straightforward hike (however a bit steep). Make certain to gown for the climate as it could actually fairly windy on the high.
We counsel heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of town are magnificent and you might be solely quarter-hour from town heart. If you might be on the lookout for another for sundown Calton Hill is a good various.
7. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is positioned in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Street proper beneath Edinburgh Castle. They used to be the location of the Nor Loch – the North Loch which was drained when the New Town was constructed in the 1760s. The gardens have a beautiful view of the fort, and it’s a good spot to stroll or cease for a picnic.
They are additionally residence to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you might be visiting in the winter you need to be certain that to take this in.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, positioned on the jap finish of Princes Street Gardens, will not be solely one of the crucial spectacular monuments in town, however it additionally presents some distinctive views of Edinburgh Castle and different Edinburgh sights.
Climbing up the slender staircase (287 steps) of the Scott Monument could also be one of many extra adventurous issues to do in Edinburgh however be certain that to cease on the primary degree and study a bit of extra concerning the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Built in 1832 to commemorate the dying of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 toes excessive and is intricately embellished with beloved characters from his books. If you have an interest in literature and the writings of Sir Walter Scott in addition to Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and different Scottish writers we suggest visiting the Writers Museum close to the Royal Mile.
9. Climb Calton Hill
The high of Calton Hill is without doubt one of the finest spots for a spectacular view of town, particularly at sundown. It is a a lot simpler climb than Arthur’s Seat, taking lower than ten minutes to attain the highest from Regent Road.
The high of Calton hill is residence to the Nelson Monument (that appears like a kind of upside-down telescope), the National Monument, which is designed equally to the Parthenon in Athens in Greece, and the City Observatory.
Even although the nationwide monument stays unfinished 200 years later, it’s nonetheless highly regarded amongst guests. Calton Hill can also be a terrific place to benefit from the fireworks above the fort throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden is located outdoors town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there for the reason that Victorian period. It is one other good spot to get away from the crowds and revel in nature, however right here it’s cultivated nature, with many stunning flowerbeds. There are gardens and flora from many alternative nations together with China, Japan, France, Spain, and Australia.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Hours: Daily 10am-6pm. Cost: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.
11. Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is without doubt one of the coolest issues to do in Edinburgh, primarily as a result of it’s all beneath the streets of Old Town and the Royal Mile.
What was as soon as one of many busiest streets in town was lined by building again in the nineteenth century. But you will get a take a look at what life was like between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries with a tour of the Real Mary King’s shut.
You can solely discover the world with a delegated information, so we recommend reserving a guided tour to get probably the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there aren’t any pictures allowed on the tour.
12. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far one of the crucial enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly in case you are visiting Edinburgh with youngsters. This attraction is made up of two completely different areas. The first is the World of Illusions, which is a number of flooring of magic shows, optical illusions, interactive displays, and different enjoyable issues that everybody will get pleasure from. Make certain to strive the Vortex!
But the primary attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. This is principally an old school projection system, however the demonstration and the story behind are what make this the star attraction. If cameras and magic will not be an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively value it as effectively. You can learn the critiques and guide your tickets right here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There isn’t any scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. But in the event you resolve to go to solely considered one of them you need to make it to this one. It is tough to miss the crown-shaped steeple of St Giles Cathedral which dates again to the 14th century and is an icon of the Edinburgh skyline.
Located shut to Old Town and the Royal Mile, it’s spectacular from the skin however I discover the within to be actually stunning. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (be certain that to take a look at the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to take advantage of your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should buy a images allow for two kilos on the data desk if you’d like to take pictures inside, which I like to recommend.
14. Royal Yacht Britannia
You can not go to Edinburgh and never go to The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. It is certainly one of the crucial well-liked issues to do in Edinburgh.
This floating museum was Her Majesty the Queen’s ex-Royal Yacht. Built again in 1953 it served because the Royal Yacht till it was decommissioned in 1957. Several decks are open to the general public to view the assorted staterooms and public rooms of the vessel.
You can take the audio tour to get all the within royal particulars or you’ll be able to have Afternoon Tea on the Royal Deck Tea Room for the total expertise. Since it’s Scotland’s Best Attraction in accordance to the tourism website, you will have to guide your ticket in advance to keep away from the crowds.
Hours: 9.30 am-4.30 pm. Cost to go to the Royal Yacht Britannia: £17.00/15.00 concession, £8.75 for youngsters 5-17.
15. Georgian House Museum
The Georgian House is a museum in Charlotte Square, which showcases the approach to life of the excessive Georgian society in Edinburgh’s New Town (George Street). Built in 1796, and positioned in New city, its first proprietor was John Lamont, who was the 18th clan chief of the clan Lamont.
He moved to town centre to discover the most effective training for his sons and the most effective husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian occasions, structure, and existence would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Note: They are closed for the time being. Please test their web site for up-to-date hours. Hours: Summer hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm each day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm each day.
16. Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is considered one of Edinburgh’s finest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is without doubt one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you just don’t need to miss. It holds a whole lot of work of distinguished Scots from royalty, lords, and girls, to artists, poets and writers.
The gallery has a mixture of mediums, from oil work to watercolors, to images. Also, there’s a statue of Robert Burns – Scotland’s bard – welcoming in the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is apparently one of the crucial haunted cities in the world. One of the elements that contribute to this consists of the a whole lot of plague victims who had been walled in, in the outdated streets beneath the Royal Mile.
Another issue is all of the hangings that occurred in the Grassmarket, the place a few of the sad souls, and grieved harmless folks hanged hang-out town. This is my favourite Ghost tour in Edinburgh. Great guides and truly fairly scary.
18. Greyfriar’s Bobby
Greyfriar’s Bobby is the story of a wee canine from the Greyfriar’s space of Edinburgh. His is a story of friendship and devotion. A sort native policeman named Jock Grey adopted a bit of Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks outdated. The pair quickly grew to become the most effective of associates, going all over the place, together with the native pub by Greyfriar’s Kirk (church), collectively.
Sadly after solely two years collectively, Jock handed away from tuberculosis, and Bobby was left master-less. The wee canine was broken-hearted, so spent each evening of the remainder of his life – one other 14 years – sleeping on Jock’s grave. He was taken in by the neighborhood and given a license by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and has been a kind of people hero since.
Many folks have taken to rubbing the statue of Bobby’s nostril for luck and taking a photograph with him, so don’t miss visiting town’s favourite canine.
19. The Grassmarket Gallows
The Grassmarket is a bustling a part of Edinburgh, which has nice nightlife and locations to eat, in addition to an intriguing previous. Situated in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle to the south, it’s named, because it was the market the place all animals that ate grass –in addition to the grasses to feed them – had been offered.
The bustling sq. hosts a meals and craft market on Sundays and has a plethora of nice outdated character-filled pubs to go to and nice eating places to pattern Scottish or worldwide meals. Common criminals who had been sentenced to dying had been hanged right here on the spot, which now could be a raised platform with a cross on it.
Some notorious Edinburgh criminals equivalent to mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can not say you could have accomplished the most effective issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a few of the Harry Potter sights. JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh when she began writing Harry Potter, and through most of her time writing the tomes, so there are many hyperlinks to the tales for these . If you’re a Harry Potter fan you’ll love Edinburgh.
The manner to get the most effective Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is without doubt one of the finest in town and is basically inexpensive.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t want to take a guided tour to get pleasure from Harry Potter places in Edinburgh. You can go to many by your self. Here are a couple of of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. This is a café the place Rowling did numerous writing throughout her early levels of the books.
Greyfriar’s Kirk – The grave of Scottish poet McGonagall was the inspiration for the character Ms. McGonagall, as Rowling loved the irony of naming a really literate and intelligent character after somebody notorious for his horrible poems.
Hogwarts – The description of Hogwarts is claimed to be an amalgamation of inspiration from three personal faculties in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three faculties aren’t removed from town heart, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in the event you go to there, so are straightforward to go to see.
The Boy Wizard Shops– Harry Potter retailers referred to as The Boy Wizard are popping up round Edinburgh for all of your Potter merchandise wants. There is at the moment one on South Bridge, The Royal Mile, contained in the Tartan Weaving Center proper subsequent to the Castle downstairs, and one simply opened in Edinburgh airport!
21. A Scotch Whisky Experience
You can not go to Scotland and never expertise Scotch. Well, that is what The Scotch Whiskey Experience is all about. Located throughout the road from Camera Obscura and The World of Illusions, this is without doubt one of the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh fingers down. Especially in the event you love whiskey.
Even in the event you don’t you’ll have enjoyable studying concerning the course of and why it’s so well-liked in this a part of the world. For those that are on the lookout for only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most inexpensive and in case you are extra of a connoisseur then take a look at the Platinum tour or the Masterclass. This place can get fairly busy so I counsel grabbing a Skip the Line Ticket particularly in case you are visiting through the summer time.
Edinburgh presents a ton of various whiskey excursions all through town and I’ve achieved a couple of. The one above is my favourite however if you’d like to test some extra of town do this History of Whiskey Tour.
22. The Edinburgh Dungeon
Edinburgh has a protracted historical past and a tumultuous one. A go to to The Edinburgh Dungeon is a should in the event you like exploring a bit of of the macabre. This expertise is completed rather well with dwell actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Walk the plagued roads of 1645, keep away from Burke and Hare and you might even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as effectively which might be adults solely. You are assured to have a very good time.
How Much Time Should You Spend in Edinburgh?
Like most locations, the period of time you want in a metropolis is solely depending on how a lot you need to see and do.
We suggest spending at the least 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh sights like Old Town, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill in addition to a few of the extra distinctive issues like a ghost tour.
If you might be actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you may want to give your self a bit of longer.
When is the most effective time to go to Edinburgh?
The finest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer time. There are numerous issues occurring and you’re going to get the most effective climate. August can also be the month when numerous festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide competition, so you will have to issue that into your planning. The solely caveat is that it is going to be fairly busy.
If you need to go to when it’s a little much less crowded then the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall are for you. Accommodation costs are a bit decrease and the primary sights are much less busy.
Don’t write off winter although, particularly if you’d like to go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market.
How to Get to Edinburgh
There are direct flights to Edinburgh from any of the UK’s main cities and round Europe.
Plus many main cities are related to the Scottish capital by prepare. The principal prepare station is the Waverley Train Station however you may also take the prepare to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Around Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is which you could simply entry numerous the primary sights on foot. If you aren’t into doing a little strolling (and a few hill climbing) you’ll be able to entry the cities environment friendly bus and tram traces in addition to the well-run taxi service.
There can also be the HOHO Bust that’s supplied free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other wonderful means to get round.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to the most effective issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh sights ought to provide you with a terrific start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.
Regardless of whether or not you might be visiting for every week or a weekend, I’ve tried to embrace issues which might be free to do in addition to numerous low-cost gadgets. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.