Are you in search of issues to do in Edinburgh? Edinburgh is a metropolis of historic, royal, gory, and ghost tales. It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip. From the long-lasting Edinburgh Castle, perched majestically over the town, to the energetic festivals that animate its streets, Edinburgh is a vacation spot that guarantees unforgettable adventures. Explore the mysterious great thing about the Old Town, dive into the town’s flourishing arts scene, or relish the culinary delights in its quite a few eateries. Whether you’re a historical past buff, a tradition fanatic, or an city explorer, Edinburgh has one thing to captivate each traveler.
Best Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t stunning that I feel the town is unimaginable. With an enormous quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you’ll be able to shortly develop into overwhelmed by the whole lot to do in Edinburgh. It isn’t solely an awesome place to go to however to stay as properly.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time, it may be a little bit intimidating. So we requested Edinburgh, an Edinburgh resident, to share the very best insider ideas and points of interest, however we even have up to date our Edinburgh information to give you up-to-date details about the very best Edinburgh points of interest and ideas for planning the proper journey to this unimaginable metropolis.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Visiting Edinburgh Castle might be the primary factor to do in Edinburgh. It has been a significant fortification concerned in navy and strategic endeavors for the reason that twelfth century and has been repeatedly occupied in some type since then.
Edinburgh Castle 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’re into Scottish historical past you have to go to this Castle because it as soon as housed essential figures corresponding to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
If you’re a actual Royal fan, get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different points of interest corresponding to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
Make positive to walk the grounds. You’ll be impressed by the huge cannons, The Great Hall, and, after all, the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
The citadel has been dwelling to royalty, the chief seat of energy, and a navy base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the citadel on daily basis besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t wish to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – Edinburgh Castle is likely one of the hottest points of interest in the town and may get very busy, so attempt to go to in the morning if you happen to can. I like to recommend that you just e-book your ticket in advance and get one with quick monitor entry which can help you skip the ticket strains, particularly in case you are visiting throughout the busy summer season 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 have to e-book 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 the town and is one in all my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. In transient, The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle all the way in which down the volcanic path that takes you to Holyrood Palace – a mile down. Hence the title The Royal Mile.
Walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is an important expertise for guests main you previous a sequence of notable landmarks, quirky retailers, and alluring cafes. As you wander its cobbled streets, you’ll encounter the fascinating St. Giles’ Cathedral, quite a few museums, and hidden closes (alleyways), every telling its personal story of the town’s previous and current.
The Royal Mile can also be a hub for cultural occasions, notably throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the place avenue performers and artists carry the world to life.
Even although the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour immediately, I’d suggest spending a couple of hours right here. Start on the citadel and work your approach down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you intend to go to in the summer season make certain to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you received’t be capable to transfer in the streets. Is this your first time in Edinburgh? If so, try 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 likely one of the most essential palaces in Scotland. It is used as a museum for many of the yr and is the official dwelling to the Queen and the Royal household once 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 positive to go to Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They are fairly spectacular—one fast observe. Photography isn’t allowed inside however you’ll be able to take photographs of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you have an interest in any respect in the Royal Family, then it would be best to add this to your checklist.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries in the mean time so that they should be booked in advance. This tour affords a free audio information as properly.
Exploring Victoria Street in Edinburgh is a pleasant expertise for vacationers searching for a mix of distinctive purchasing and architectural magnificence. This historic avenue, with its distinctive curve and colourful facades, is a hub for impartial boutiques, artisan retailers, and connoisseur eateries.
It’s a treasure trove for these in search of uncommon books, bespoke jewellery, and Scottish crafts. The avenue’s higher stage affords an array of cozy cafes and eating places, good for a culinary break. Victoria Street’s distinctive structure, with its Old Town character and neatly stacked retailers, supplies a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll. This space, usually cited as an inspiration for the well-known Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter sequence, provides a contact of magic to the purchasing expertise. For guests to Edinburgh, a stroll down Victoria Street is not only a purchasing journey; it’s a journey by a vibrant a part of the town’s cultural tapestry.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you have to make certain to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a implausible 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 essential gallery holds everlasting collections and is all the time free to go to.
If you’re 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’re an artwork lover, like I’m, this shall be top-of-the-line issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
Currently, you have to e-book a timed entry ticket on their web site. Scottish National Gallery Hours: 10 am-5 pm every day (Thursdays prolonged till 7 pm). Cost to Enter the Scottish National Gallery: Free for everlasting exhibitions, some at RSA have a charge.
6. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Nestled in a picturesque setting with in depth grounds, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art homes a powerful assortment of contemporary and up to date artwork, that includes works by famend artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney.
The two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, every provide a definite expertise with their thought-provoking exhibitions and interactive installations. The gallery hosts a wide range of workshops, talks, and momentary exhibitions, making each go to distinctive. Whether you’re an artwork connoisseur or just curious, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art presents an interesting cultural expertise, including a recent twist to Edinburgh’s various points of interest.
The gallery’s tranquil sculpture park, dotted with placing artworks, supplies a serene escape from the town’s hustle.
7. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this shall be on the prime of your checklist when in search of issues to do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Street in the outdated city and is a advantageous Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the in depth vary of subjects lined is implausible. Whether you’re in Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it’ll have one thing for you.
You might positively spend quite a lot of time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a yr, so make certain to plan accordingly.
If the climate is good, make certain to move as much as the rooftop terrace the place you’ll be able to take in some unimaginable views of the town and the encompassing space.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, positioned on the jap finish of Princes Street Gardens, isn’t solely one of many metropolis’s most spectacular monuments It additionally affords some distinctive views of Edinburgh Castle and different Edinburgh points of interest.
Dedicated to the well-known Scottish creator Sir Walter Scott, the Scot Monument is a Gothic spire standing tall in the guts of the town. As you ascend the 287 steps to the highest, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of the Edinburgh skyline and its environment. Climbing up the slim staircase of the Scott Monument could also be one of many extra adventurous issues to do in Edinburgh however make certain to cease on the primary stage and be taught a little bit extra in regards to the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Along the climb, you’ll be able to pause on the viewing platforms to admire the intricate design and the sculptural particulars depicting characters from Scott’s novels. The monument’s location in Princes Street Gardens makes it a handy cease for guests exploring the town heart.
Built-in 1832 to commemorate the loss of life of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 toes excessive and is intricately adorned 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 additionally suggest visiting the Writers Museum close to the Royal Mile.
9. Climb Calton Hill
The prime of Calton Hill is likely one of the greatest spots for a spectacular view of the Edinburgh skyline, particularly at sundown. It is a a lot simpler climb than Arthur’s Seat, taking lower than ten minutes to achieve the highest from Regent Road.
The prime of Calton hill is dwelling to the Nelson Monument (that appears like a type 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 very talked-about amongst guests. Calton Hill can also be an awesome place to benefit from the fireworks above the citadel throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden is located outdoors the town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there for the reason that Victorian period. It is one other excellent place to get away from the crowds and luxuriate in nature, however right here it’s cultivated nature, with many stunning flowerbeds. There are gardens and flora from many various 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 likely 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 the town was lined by building again in the nineteenth century. But you may 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 chosen information, so we advise reserving a guided tour to get essentially the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there are not any photographs allowed on the tour.
12. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far one of the vital enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly in case you are visiting Edinburgh with children. This attraction is made up of two totally different areas. The first is the World of Illusions, which is a number of flooring of magic shows, optical illusions, interactive reveals, and different enjoyable issues that everybody will take pleasure in. Make positive to attempt the Vortex!
But the primary attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. This is mainly an old style projection system, however the demonstration and the story behind are what make this the star attraction. If cameras and magic usually are not an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively value it as properly. You can learn the opinions and e-book your tickets right here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There isn’t any scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. But if you happen to determine to go to solely one in all them you need to make it to this one. It is difficult to overlook the crown-shaped steeple of St Giles Cathedral which dates again to the 14th century and is an icon of the Edinburgh skyline.
Located near Old Town and the Royal Mile, it’s spectacular from the surface however I discover the within to be actually stunning. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (make certain to take a look at the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to benefit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should purchase a images allow for two kilos on the data desk if you wish to take photographs inside, which I like to recommend.
14. Royal Yacht Britannia
You can’t go to Edinburgh and never go to The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. It is unquestionably one of the vital standard 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 with the tourism web site, it would be best to e-book 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 the town centre to search out the very best training for his sons and the very best husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian instances, structure, and existence would take pleasure in visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Note: They are closed in the mean time. Please test their web site for up-to-date hours. Hours: Summer hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm every day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm every day.
16. Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is one in all Edinburgh’s greatest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is likely one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you just don’t wish to miss. It holds lots of of work of distinguished Scots from royalty, lords, and women, 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 seemingly one of the vital haunted cities in the world. One of the components that contribute to this contains the lots of 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 the town. This is my favourite Ghost tour in Edinburgh. Great guides and truly fairly scary.
18. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is positioned in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Street proper beneath Edinburgh Castle. They was once 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 citadel, and it’s a excellent place to walk or cease for a picnic.
They are additionally dwelling to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you’re visiting in the winter you wish to make certain to take this in.
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 loss of life had been hanged right here on the spot, which now’s a raised platform with a cross on it.
Some notorious Edinburgh criminals corresponding to mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can’t say you may have accomplished the very best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a few of the Harry Potter points of interest. 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.
To get the very best Harry Potter expertise, take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is likely one of the greatest in the town and is basically reasonably priced.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t have to take a guided tour to take pleasure in Harry Potter areas 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 quite a lot of 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 alleged to be an amalgamation of inspiration from three non-public colleges in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three colleges aren’t removed from the town heart, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard if you happen to go to there, so are straightforward to go to see.
The Boy Wizard Shops– Harry Potter retailers known 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!
22. A Scotch Whisky Experience
You can’t go to Scotland and have a Scotch Whisky expertise. Scottish Whisky is known, and it’s Dave’s favourite spirit. Even if you happen to aren’t a scotch drinker, a Scotch Whisky expertise is a enjoyable tour to be taught in regards to the whisky course of and to know why it’s so standard worldwide.
For those that are in search of only a style, I like to recommend The Silver Tour, which is their most reasonably priced, and in case you are extra of a connoisseur, try the Platinum Tour or the Masterclass. This place can get fairly busy, so I counsel grabbing a Skip the Line Ticket, particularly if you happen to go to Visit Edinburgh throughout the summer season.
Edinburgh affords many scotch excursions all through the town, and I’ve accomplished a couple of. The Scotch Whisky Experience above is my favourite, however if you wish to test some extra of the town do this History of Whiskey Tour.
This highly-rated tour takes you thru one of many world’s largest collections of Scotch whisky. Discover the artwork of mixing and the secrets and techniques of single-malt whisky throughout our 5 whisky-producing areas.
23. The Edinburgh Dungeon
Edinburgh has an extended and tumultuous historical past. Visiting The Edinburgh Dungeon is a should if you happen to like exploring a little bit of the macabre. This expertise is finished properly with stay actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Walk the plagued roads of 1645, keep away from Burke and Hare and you would even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as properly which might be adults solely. You are assured to have a superb time.
24. Greyfriars Bobby
Greyfriar’s Bobby is the story of a wee canine from the Greyfriars space of Edinburgh. His is a story of friendship and devotion. A form native policeman named Jock Grey adopted a little bit Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks outdated. The pair quickly turned the very best of mates, going in every single 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 masterless. The wee canine was broken-hearted, so he spent each night time of the remainder of his life – one other 14 years – sleeping on Jock’s grave. He was taken in by the group, given a license by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and has been a folks 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 the town’s favourite canine.
25. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you’re in search of the very best views of the town then it would be best to climb as much as the highest of Arthur’s Seat for positive. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags are the hills in Edinburgh’s metropolis heart and might be seen from virtually wherever in the 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 was once a royal park (you’ll be able to see from noting the crowns on the lamps on the way in which in), however was gifted by the Queen to the folks, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).
The best route as much as Arthur’s Seat is to take the grassy slope on the east facet from Dunsapie Loch on Queen’s Drive. It takes about half-hour to achieve the highest and is a comparatively straightforward hike (however a bit steep). Make positive to decorate for the climate as it might fairly windy on the prime.
We counsel heading as much as Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of the town are magnificent and you’re solely quarter-hour from the town heart. If you’re in search of an alternate for sundown, Calton Hill is nice.
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 wish to see and do.
We suggest spending a minimum of 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh points of interest 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’re actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you would possibly wish to give your self a little bit longer.
When is the very best time to go to Edinburgh?
The greatest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer season. There are quite a lot of issues taking place and you will get the very best climate. August can also be the month when quite a lot of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide competition, so it would be best to issue that into your planning. The solely caveat is that it is going to be fairly busy.
If you wish 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 points of interest are much less busy.
Don’t write off winter although, particularly if you wish 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 linked to the Scottish capital by practice. The essential practice station is the Waverley Train Station however you may as well take the practice to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Around Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is you could simply entry quite a lot of the primary points of interest 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 strains 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 nice solution to get round.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to the very best issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh points of interest ought to offer you an awesome start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.
Regardless of whether or not you’re visiting for per week or a weekend, I’ve tried to incorporate issues which might be free to do in addition to quite a lot of low-cost gadgets. I hope you take pleasure in visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.