Are you searching for issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider ideas and favourite Edinburgh points of interest to profit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Citadel that appears over the town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a kind of locations that may hold you coming again. Edinburgh is a metropolis of historic tales, royal tales, gory tales, and ghost tales. It’s a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.
The High Issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it’s not shocking that I believe the town is unimaginable. With an enormous 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’s not solely an awesome place to go to however to stay as nicely.
Over time I’ve been in a position to discover nearly all Edinburgh points of interest. That has given me the experience to share with you the entire greatest issues to do in Edinburgh whether or not this can be a first-time go to or your fifth time you can find one thing that piques your curiosity.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be just a little intimidating. We needed to make issues just a little simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about one of the best Edinburgh points of interest in addition to our ideas for planning the right journey to this unimaginable metropolis.
Surprisingly, a whole lot of Edinburgh points of interest are free! Under you can find, in no explicit order, what we think about the issues you shouldn’t miss in case you are visiting Edinburgh for the primary time.
1. Edinburgh Citadel
Visiting Edinburgh Citadel might be the primary factor to do in Edinburgh. It has been a significant fortification concerned in army and strategic endeavors for the reason that twelfth century and has been repeatedly occupied in some type since then.
It proudly sits atop one of many metropolis’s extinct volcanos, Citadel Rock, and homes many treasures like The Stone of Future and the oldest crown jewels within the UK. If you’re into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Citadel because it as soon as housed necessary figures equivalent to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t neglect to walk the grounds and be impressed by the huge cannons, The Nice corridor, and naturally the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
If you’re an actual Royal fan get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different points of interest equivalent to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
The citadel has been dwelling 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 citadel every single day besides Sunday. It’s one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – This is among the hottest points of interest within the metropolis and may get very busy, so attempt to go to within the morning in the event you can. I like to recommend that you simply e book your ticket upfront and get one with fast track entry which can will let you skip the ticket traces, particularly in case you are visiting throughout the busy summer time season.
- Hours: Summer time (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).
- Value to Enter: Proper now you will need to e book a ticket upfront on-line for entry. Grownup £15.50 on-line, Concessions £12.40 on-line, Kids 5-15 £9.30 on-line. Underneath 5s are free.
2. The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the oldest a part of the town and is certainly one of my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. Briefly, The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Citadel all the way in which down the volcanic path that takes you to Holyrood Palace – a mile down.
That is Edinburgh’s Previous City and Previous Excessive Road. It’s 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. Excessive Road is stuffed with sights and landmarks in addition to eating places and museums.
Despite the fact that the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour instantly, I’d suggest spending a number of hours right here. Begin on the citadel and work your means down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! In case you plan to go to in the summertime be certain that to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Pageant as you received’t have the ability to transfer within the streets.
Is that this your first time in Edinburgh? In that case, 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’s used as a museum for a lot of the 12 months and is the official dwelling to the Queen and the Royal household after they come to go to.
The Abbey was constructed earlier than the palace courting again to 1128, by order of King David 1st of Scotland. Within 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 sure that to not miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They’re fairly spectacular. One fast be aware. Images isn’t allowed inside however you’ll be able to take photographs of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you’re in any respect within the Royal Household then you’ll want to add this to your record.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They’re solely taking timed entries in the meanwhile in order that they have to be booked upfront. This tour offers a free audio guide as nicely.
4. Nationwide Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this will likely be on the prime of your record when searching for issues to do in Edinburgh. The Nationwide Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Road within the outdated city and is a fantastic Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The Nationwide Museum is free and the in depth vary of subjects coated is implausible. Whether or not you’re fascinated about Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it can have one thing for you.
You may positively spend a whole lot of time within the Nationwide Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so be certain that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, be certain that to go as much as the rooftop terrace the place you’ll be able to soak up some unimaginable views of the town and the encompassing space.
5. Scottish Nationwide Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to be certain that to make a journey to The Scottish Nationwide Gallery. It is a implausible Greek-columned complicated that’s artwork located proper in the course of Princes Road within the very heart of Edinburgh.
It consists of two buildings; the principle Nationwide Gallery is the constructing on the again, with the one on the entrance being a part of the Royal Scottish Academy. The primary gallery holds everlasting collections and is at all times free to go to.
If you’re an artwork lover the Scottish Nationwide Gallery has you coated. With artwork from Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gauguin to works from Scottish artists like Reverent Robert Strolling and Henry Raeburn, the Scottish Nationwide Gallery has one of many premier collections within the UK. If you’re an artwork lover, like I’m, this will likely be top-of-the-line issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
- At the moment, you will need to e book a timed entry ticket on their website.
- Scottish Nationwide Gallery Hours: 10 am-5 pm each day (Thursdays prolonged till 7 pm).
- Value to Enter the Scottish Nationwide Gallery: Free for everlasting exhibitions, some at RSA have a price.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you’re searching for one of the best views of the town then you’ll want 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 heart and may be seen from nearly anyplace within the metropolis.
It’s the web site 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 individuals, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).
The simplest 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 succeed in the highest and is a comparatively straightforward hike (however a bit steep). Make sure that to decorate for the climate as it will probably fairly windy on the prime.
We recommend heading as much as Artur’s Seat for Sundown. The views of the town are magnificent and you’re solely quarter-hour from the town heart. If you’re searching for another for sundown Calton Hill is a good various.
7. Princes Road Gardens
Princes Road Gardens is situated in the course of Edinburgh, on Princes Road proper beneath Edinburgh Citadel. They was once the location of the Nor Loch – the North Loch which was drained when the New City was constructed within 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’re additionally dwelling to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you’re visiting within the winter you need to be certain that to take this in.
8. Go to or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, situated on the jap finish of Princes Road Gardens, isn’t solely one of the spectacular monuments within the metropolis, however it additionally presents some distinctive views of Edinburgh Citadel and different Edinburgh points of interest.
Climbing up the slim 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 stage and study just a little extra concerning the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Inbuilt 1832 to commemorate the demise of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 ft excessive and is intricately adorned with beloved characters from his books. If you’re fascinated about 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 highest of Calton Hill is among the greatest spots for a spectacular view of the town, particularly at sundown. It’s a a lot simpler climb than Arthur’s Seat, taking lower than ten minutes to succeed in the highest from Regent Street.
The highest of Calton hill is dwelling to the Nelson Monument (that appears like a type of upside-down telescope), the Nationwide Monument, which is designed equally to the Parthenon in Athens in Greece, and the Metropolis Observatory.
Despite the fact that the nationwide monument stays unfinished 200 years later, it’s nonetheless very talked-about amongst guests. Calton Hill can be an awesome place to benefit from the fireworks above the citadel throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Backyard Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Backyard is located outdoors the town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there for the reason that Victorian period. It’s 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 alternative nations together with China, Japan, France, Spain, and Australia.
- Royal Botanic Backyard Edinburgh Hours: Each day 10am-6pm.
- Value: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.
11. Mary King’s Shut
The Actual Mary King’s Shut is among the coolest issues to do in Edinburgh, primarily as a result of it’s all beneath the streets of Previous City and the Royal Mile.
What was as soon as one of many busiest streets within the metropolis was coated by development again within the nineteenth century. However you will get a take a look at what life was like between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries with a tour of the Actual Mary King’s shut.
You possibly can solely discover the realm with a delegated information, so we recommend booking a guided tour to get essentially the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there aren’t any photographs allowed on the tour.
12. Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far one of the 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 primary 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 sure that to strive the Vortex!
However the principle attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. That 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 aren’t an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively value it as nicely. You possibly can learn the critiques and book your tickets here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There isn’t any scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. However in the event you resolve to go to solely certainly one of them it’s best to make it to this one. It’s laborious 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.
Situated near Previous City 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 profit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should purchase a images allow for two kilos on the info desk if you wish to take photographs 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’s positively one of the in style issues to do in Edinburgh.
This floating museum was Her Majesty the Queen’s ex-Royal Yacht. Constructed again in 1953 it served because the Royal Yacht till it was decommissioned in 1957. A number of decks are open to the general public to view the varied staterooms and public rooms of the vessel.
You possibly 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 Greatest Attraction in accordance with the tourism web site, you’ll want to book your ticket in advance to keep away from the crowds.
- Hours: 9.30 am-4.30 pm.
- Value to go to the Royal Yacht Britannia: £17.00/15.00 concession, £8.75 for kids 5-17.
15. Georgian Home Museum
The Georgian Home is a museum in Charlotte Sq., which showcases the life-style of the excessive Georgian society in Edinburgh’s New City (George Road). Inbuilt 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 search out one of the best schooling for his sons and one of the best husbands for his daughters. Individuals fascinated about Georgian instances, structure, and existence would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian Home at No. 7 Charlotte Sq..
- Word: They’re closed in the meanwhile. Please test their website for up-to-date hours.
- Hours: Summer time hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm each day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm each day.
16. Scottish Nationwide Portrait Gallery
The Nationwide Portrait Gallery is certainly one of Edinburgh’s greatest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is among the issues to do in Edinburgh that you simply don’t need to miss. It holds lots of 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. Additionally, there’s a statue of Robert Burns – Scotland’s bard – welcoming within the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is apparently one of the haunted cities on the earth. One of many elements that contribute to this consists of the lots of of plague victims who had been walled in, within the outdated streets beneath the Royal Mile.
One other issue is all of the hangings that occurred within the Grassmarket, the place among the sad souls, and grieved harmless individuals hanged hang-out the town. That is my favourite Ghost tour in Edinburgh. Nice 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 sort native policeman named Jock Gray adopted just a little 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 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 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 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. Located within the shadow of Edinburgh Citadel 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. Widespread criminals who had been sentenced to demise had been hanged right here on the spot, which now’s 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 may have accomplished one of the best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in among 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 way in which to get one of the best Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is among the greatest within the metropolis and is absolutely reasonably priced.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Places in Edinburgh
You don’t have to take a guided tour to get pleasure from Harry Potter areas in Edinburgh. You possibly can go to many by your self. Listed below are a number of of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. It is a café the place Rowling did a whole 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 outline of Hogwarts is alleged to be an amalgamation of inspiration from three non-public faculties in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes School, and George Heriots. All three faculties aren’t removed from the 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 Retailers– Harry Potter outlets referred to as The Boy Wizard are popping up round Edinburgh for all of your Potter merchandise wants. There’s at present one on South Bridge, The Royal Mile, contained in the Tartan Weaving Middle proper subsequent to the Citadel downstairs, and one simply opened in Edinburgh airport!
21. A Scotch Whisky Expertise
You can not go to Scotland and never expertise Scotch. Nicely, that is what The Scotch Whiskey Experience is all about. Situated throughout the road from Digital camera Obscura and The World of Illusions, this is among the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh fingers down. Particularly in the event you love whiskey.
Even in the event you don’t you should have enjoyable studying concerning the course of and why it’s so in style on this a part of the world. For individuals who are searching for only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most reasonably priced 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 throughout the summer time.
Edinburgh presents a ton of various whiskey excursions all through the town and I’ve executed a number of. The one above is my favourite however if you wish to test 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 in the event you like exploring just a little of the macabre. This expertise is completed rather well with stay actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Stroll 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 nicely which might be adults solely. You might be assured to have a superb time.
How A lot Time Ought to 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 very least 3 Days in Edinburgh, with a view to take full benefit of visiting all the principle Edinburgh points of interest like Previous City, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill in addition to among the extra distinctive issues like a ghost tour.
If you’re actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you may need to give your self just a little longer.
When is one of the best time to go to Edinburgh?
One of the best time to go to Edinburgh is in the summertime. There are a whole lot of issues occurring and you’ll get one of the best climate. August can be the month when a whole lot of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide competition, so you’ll want to issue that into your planning. The one 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. Lodging 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 one can 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 primary prepare station is the Waverley Practice Station however you can too take the prepare to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Round Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is that you may simply entry a whole lot of the principle points of interest on foot. If you’re not 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’s additionally the HOHO Bust that’s provided free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other nice approach to get round.
Ultimate Ideas 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 an awesome start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.
No matter whether or not you’re visiting for every week or a weekend, I’ve tried to incorporate issues which might be free to do in addition to a whole lot of low-cost objects. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.
Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Scotland With These Assets