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 It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.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 town, to the full of life festivals that animate its streets, Edinburgh is a vacation spot that guarantees unforgettable adventures. Explore the mysterious fantastic thing about the Old Town, dive into 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’s not shocking that I believe town is unimaginable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you’ll be able to shortly turn into overwhelmed by every little thing to do in Edinburgh. It will not be solely a fantastic place to go to however to reside as properly.
If you might be visiting Edinburgh for the primary time, it may be a bit of intimidating. So we requested Edinburgh, an Edinburgh resident, to share one of the best insider suggestions and points of interest, however we even have up to date our Edinburgh information to offer you up-to-date details about one of the best Edinburgh points of interest and suggestions 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 an important fortification concerned in navy and strategic endeavors for the reason that twelfth century and has been constantly 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 might be into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Castle because it as soon as housed necessary figures reminiscent of 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 reminiscent of, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
Make certain to walk the grounds. You’ll be impressed by the large cannons, The Great Hall, and, after all, the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
The citadel has been house 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 daily besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was carried out to assist with delivery and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – Edinburgh Castle is among the hottest points of interest in town and may get very busy, so attempt to go to in the morning when you can. I like to recommend that you just guide your ticket in advance and get one with quick observe entry which can mean you can skip the ticket strains, particularly if you’re 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 one among my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. In temporary, 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 a vital 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 town’s previous and current.
The Royal Mile can also be a hub for cultural occasions, significantly through the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the place avenue performers and artists deliver the realm to life.
Even although the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour immediately, I’d suggest spending a number of hours right here. Start on the citadel and work your means down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you intend to go to in the summer time be certain to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you gained’t be capable 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 situated at one finish of the Royal Mile and proper throughout the road from the Scottish Parliament, is among the most necessary palaces in Scotland. It is used as a museum for many of the 12 months and is the official house 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 vital a part of Scottish historical past.
Make certain to go to Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They are fairly spectacular—one fast word. 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 it would be best 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 gives a free audio information as properly.
Exploring Victoria Street in Edinburgh is a pleasant expertise for vacationers looking for a mix of distinctive procuring 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 gives 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 procuring expertise. For guests to Edinburgh, a stroll down Victoria Street is not only a procuring journey; it’s a journey by means of a vibrant a part of town’s cultural tapestry.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to be certain to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a incredible Greek-columned advanced that’s artwork located proper in the center of Princes Street in the very middle of Edinburgh.
It consists of two buildings; the principle 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 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 will likely be the most effective 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 day by day (Thursdays prolonged till 7 pm). Cost to Enter the Scottish National Gallery: Free for everlasting exhibitions, some at RSA have a price.
6. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Nestled in a picturesque setting with intensive grounds, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art homes a formidable assortment of recent 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 quite a lot of workshops, talks, and short-term exhibitions, making each go to distinctive. Whether you’re an artwork connoisseur or just curious, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art presents an attractive cultural expertise, including a recent twist to Edinburgh’s numerous points of interest.
The gallery’s tranquil sculpture park, dotted with hanging artworks, supplies a serene escape from town’s hustle.
7. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this will likely be on the prime of your listing 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 effective Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the intensive vary of subjects lined is incredible. 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 would have one thing for you.
You might undoubtedly spend a whole lot of time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so be certain to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, be certain to go as much as the rooftop terrace the place you’ll be able to take in some unimaginable views of town and the encircling space.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, situated on the jap finish of Princes Street Gardens, will not be solely one of many metropolis’s most spectacular monuments It additionally gives 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 center of 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 be certain to cease on the primary stage and be taught a bit of extra concerning 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 town middle.
Built-in 1832 to commemorate the dying of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 ft 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 among 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 succeed in the highest from Regent Road.
The prime of Calton hill is house 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 extremely popular amongst guests. Calton Hill can also be a fantastic place to benefit from the fireworks above the citadel throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden is located exterior town centre by the beautiful 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 revel in nature, however right here it’s cultivated nature, with many stunning flowerbeds. There are gardens and flora from many various international locations 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 among 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 development again in the nineteenth century. But you will get a have 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 realm with a chosen information, so we propose reserving a guided tour to get essentially 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 vital enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly if you’re 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 certain to attempt the Vortex!
But the principle 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 aren’t an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are undoubtedly value it as properly. You can learn the critiques and guide your tickets right here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There is not any scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. But when you resolve to go to solely one among them it’s best 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 (be 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 buy a pictures allow for two kilos on the data desk if you wish to take pictures 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 common 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 varied 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 keeping with the tourism website, it would be best 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 life-style of the excessive Georgian society in Edinburgh’s New Town (George Street). Built in 1796, and situated 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 seek out one of the best schooling for his sons and one of the 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 for the time being. Please verify their web site for up-to-date hours. Hours: Summer hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm day by day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm day by day.
16. Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is one among Edinburgh’s greatest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is among the issues to do in Edinburgh that you just don’t need to miss. It holds tons 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 pictures. 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 vital haunted cities in the world. One of the elements that contribute to this contains the tons 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 number 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. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is situated in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Street proper beneath Edinburgh Castle. They was the positioning of the Nor Loch – the North Loch which was drained when the New Town was constructed in the 1760s. The gardens have an exquisite view of the citadel, and it’s a excellent place to walk or cease for a picnic.
They are additionally house to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you might be visiting in the winter you need to be 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 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 reminiscent of mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can’t say you’ve got accomplished one of the best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a number 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 one of the best Harry Potter expertise, take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is among the greatest in town and is basically inexpensive.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t must take a guided tour to take pleasure in Harry Potter places in Edinburgh. You can go to many by your self. Here are a number of of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. This is a café the place Rowling did a whole lot of writing throughout her early phases 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 non-public colleges in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three colleges aren’t removed from town middle, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard when you go to there, so are simple 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 legendary, and it’s Dave’s favourite spirit. Even when you aren’t a scotch drinker, a Scotch Whisky expertise is a enjoyable tour to be taught concerning the whisky course of and to know why it’s so common worldwide.
For those that are in search of only a style, I like to recommend The Silver Tour, which is their most inexpensive, and if you’re extra of a connoisseur, 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 if you’re visiting through the summer time.
Edinburgh gives many various scotch excursions all through town, and I’ve performed a number of. The Scotch Whisky Experience above is my favourite, however if you wish to verify some extra of town do this History of Whiskey Tour.
This extremely 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 a protracted historical past and a tumultuous one. A go to to The Edinburgh Dungeon is a should when you like exploring a bit of of the macabre. This expertise is completed very well with reside 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 are adults solely. You are assured to have a great time.
24. 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 form 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 one of the best of buddies, going in all places, 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 group and given a license by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and has been a type of 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 town’s favourite canine.
25. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you might be in search of one of the best views of town then it would be best to climb as much as the highest of Arthur’s Seat for certain. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags are the hills in Edinburgh’s metropolis middle and will be seen from virtually anyplace in town.
It is the positioning of a 350 million-year-old extinct volcano. The final eruption was greater than 100 million years in the past. Arthur’s Seat was 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 aspect from Dunsapie Loch on Queen’s Drive. It takes about half-hour to succeed in the highest and is a comparatively simple hike (however a bit steep). Make certain to decorate for the climate as it could actually fairly windy on the prime.
We counsel heading as much as Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of town are magnificent and you might be solely quarter-hour from town middle. If you might be in search of another 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 need to see and do.
We suggest spending no less than 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the principle Edinburgh points of interest like Old Town, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill in addition to a number of the extra distinctive issues like a ghost tour.
If you might be actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you would possibly need to give your self a bit of longer.
When is one of the best time to go to Edinburgh?
The greatest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer time. There are a whole lot of issues occurring and you will get one of the best climate. August can also be the month when a whole 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 will probably 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 principle 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 related to the Scottish capital by prepare. The essential prepare station is the Waverley Train Station however you can even take the prepare to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Around Edinburgh
The fantastic thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is you can simply entry a whole lot of the principle points of interest on foot. If you aren’t into performing some 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 strategy to get round.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to one of the best issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh points of interest ought to provide you with a fantastic start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.
Regardless of whether or not you might be visiting for per week or a weekend, I’ve tried to incorporate issues which are free to do in addition to a whole lot of low-cost gadgets. I hope you take pleasure in visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.