Are you in search of issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider suggestions and favourite Edinburgh points of interest to profit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Castle that appears over the town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a kind of locations that can preserve 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 It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.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
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t shocking that I feel the town is unbelievable. With an enormous quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you possibly can simply grow to be overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It will not be solely an excellent place to go to however to dwell as nicely.
Over the years I’ve been ready to discover nearly all Edinburgh points of interest. 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 you’ll find one thing that piques your curiosity.
If you might be visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be somewhat intimidating. We needed to make issues somewhat simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about the most effective Edinburgh points of interest in addition to our suggestions for planning the proper journey to this unbelievable metropolis.
Surprisingly, loads of Edinburgh points of interest are free! Below you’ll find, in no specific order, what we contemplate the issues you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Visiting Edinburgh Castle might be the primary factor to do in Edinburgh. It has been a significant fortification concerned in army and strategic endeavors because the twelfth century and has been repeatedly occupied in some kind 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 resembling Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t overlook 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 points of interest resembling, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
The fort has been house 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 day-after-day besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was applied to assist with delivery and to preserve 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 should you can. I like to recommend that you just e book your ticket in advance and get one with quick monitor entry which can enable you to 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 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 every of 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.
This is Edinburgh’s Old Town and Old High Street. It is chock filled with historical past and tales worthy of its personal information. The Royal Mile space itself is definitely 5 separate streets and it’s price 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 instantly, I’d advocate spending just a few hours right here. Start on the fort and work your manner down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you propose to go to in the summer time ensure that to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you gained’t give you the option 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 likely 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 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 crucial a part of Scottish historical past.
Make positive not to miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They are fairly spectacular. One fast word. Photography will not be allowed inside however you possibly can take pictures of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you have an interest in any respect in the Royal Family then you want to add this to your listing.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries in the intervening time in order that they should be booked in advance. This tour provides a free audio information as nicely.
4. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this shall 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 superb Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the in depth 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, historical civilizations, or pure disasters, it’ll have one thing for you.
You might positively spend loads of time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so ensure that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, ensure that to head up to the rooftop terrace the place you possibly can take in some unbelievable views of Edinburgh Castle and the encircling space.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to ensure that to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a incredible Greek-columned complicated 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 principal gallery holds everlasting collections and is all the time 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 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 price.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you might be in search of the most effective views of the town then you want to climb up to the highest of Arthur’s Seat for positive. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags are the hills in Edinburgh’s metropolis middle and could be seen from nearly anyplace in the 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 used to be a royal park (you possibly can see from noting the crowns on the lamps on the way in which in), however was gifted by the Queen to the individuals, 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 facet from Dunsapie Loch on Queen’s Drive. It takes about half-hour to attain the highest and is a comparatively simple hike (however a bit steep). Make positive to gown for the climate as it might fairly windy on the prime.
We counsel heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views are magnificent and you might be solely quarter-hour from the town middle. If you might be in search of another for sundown Calton Hill is a superb various.
7. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is situated in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Street proper beneath Edinburgh Castle. They used to be the positioning 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 excellent place to stroll 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 ensure that to take this in.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, situated on the japanese finish of Princes Street Gardens, will not be solely one of the spectacular monuments in the town, however it additionally provides some distinctive views of Edinburgh Castle and different Edinburgh points of interest.
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 ensure that to cease on the primary stage and be taught somewhat extra in regards to the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Built in 1832 to commemorate the loss of life 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 advocate visiting the Writers Museum close to the Royal Mile.
9. Climb Calton Hill
The prime of Calton Hill is likely one of the finest spots for a spectacular view of Edinburgh, 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 prime of Calton hill is house to the Nelson Monument (that appears like a form 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 excellent place to benefit from the fireworks above the fort throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden is located exterior the town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there because the 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 lovely 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 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 development 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 realm with a delegated information, so we advise 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 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 positive to attempt the Vortex!
But the principle attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. This is mainly an old school 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 positively price it as nicely. You can learn the evaluations 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 should you determine to go to solely one in every of them it’s best to make it to this one. It is difficult 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 surface however I discover the within to be actually lovely. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (ensure that to take a look at the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to profit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should buy a pictures allow for two kilos on the info desk in order for you 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 fashionable 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 possibly can have Afternoon Tea on the Royal Deck Tea Room for the complete expertise. Since it’s Scotland’s Best Attraction in accordance to the tourism website, you want 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 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 the town centre to discover the most effective training for his sons and the most effective husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian instances, structure, and life would take pleasure in visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Note: They are closed in the intervening time. Please verify 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 every of Edinburgh’s finest 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 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 seemingly one of the haunted cities in the world. One of the components 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 individuals hanged hang-out the town. This is my favourite Ghost tour in Edinburgh. Great guides and really 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 form native policeman named Jock Grey adopted somewhat Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks outdated. The pair quickly grew to become the most effective of mates, 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 form of people hero since.
Many individuals 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.
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 bought.
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 resembling mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can not say you might have accomplished the most effective 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.
The manner to get the most effective Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is likely one of the finest in the town and is actually reasonably priced.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t want to take a guided tour to take pleasure in Harry Potter places in Edinburgh. You can go to many by your self. Here are just a few of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. This is a café the place Rowling did loads 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 claimed to be an amalgamation of inspiration from three non-public faculties in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three faculties aren’t removed from the town middle, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard should 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 presently 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 likely one of the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh fingers down. Especially should you love whiskey.
Even should you don’t you should have enjoyable studying in regards to the course of and why it’s so fashionable in this a part of the world. For those that are in search of only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most reasonably priced and if you’re 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 if you’re visiting through the summer time.
Edinburgh provides a ton of various whiskey excursions all through the town and I’ve executed just a few. The one above is my favourite however in order for you to verify some extra of the town do that 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 should you like exploring somewhat of the macabre. This expertise is completed very well with dwell actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Walk the plagued roads of 1645, keep away from Burke and Hare and you can even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as nicely which can be adults solely. You are assured to have a superb 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 advocate spending a minimum of 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 may want to give your self somewhat 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 loads of issues occurring and you’re going to get the most effective climate. August can also be the month when loads of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, so you want 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 in order for you 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 practice. The principal 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 fantastic thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is which you can simply entry loads of the principle points of interest on foot. If you aren’t into doing a little strolling (and a few hill climbing) you possibly can 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 provided free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other good way 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 points of interest ought to offer you an excellent 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 can be free to do in addition to loads of low-cost objects. I hope you take pleasure in visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.