Are you on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider suggestions and favourite Edinburgh sights to benefit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Castle that appears over the town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a type of locations that may hold you coming again. Edinburgh is a metropolis of historic tales, royal tales, gory tales, and ghost tales. It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.
The Top Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t stunning that I feel the town is unbelievable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you possibly can simply change into overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It just isn’t solely an ideal place to go to however to reside as properly.
Over the years I’ve been ready to discover virtually all Edinburgh sights. That has given me the experience to share with you all the finest 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 might be visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be somewhat intimidating. We wished to make issues somewhat simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about one of the best Edinburgh sights in addition to our suggestions for planning the proper journey to this unbelievable metropolis.
Surprisingly, a number of Edinburgh sights are free! Below 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 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 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, 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 need to go to this Castle because it as soon as housed vital figures resembling Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t overlook to stroll the grounds and be impressed by the huge cannons, The Great corridor, and naturally the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
If you’re a actual Royal fan get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different sights resembling, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
The fortress has been residence to royalty, the chief seat of energy, and a army base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the fortress day by day besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to hold time.
Insider Tip – This is without doubt one of the hottest sights in the town and may get very busy, so attempt to go to in the morning in the event you can. I like to recommend that you simply e book your ticket in advance and get one with quick monitor entry which is able to enable you to skip the ticket strains, particularly in case you are visiting through the busy summer time season.
Hours: Summer (April 1-Sept 30) 9.30 am-6 pm (final entry at 5pm). Winter (Oct 1-Mar 31) 9.30 am-5 pm (final entry 4 pm). Price to Enter: Right now you 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 best way down the volcanic path that takes you to Holyrood Palace – a mile down.
This is Edinburgh’s Old Town and Old High Street. It is chock stuffed with historical past and tales worthy of its personal information. The Royal Mile space itself is definitely 5 separate streets and it’s value it to discover all of them. High Street is filled with sights and landmarks in addition to eating places and museums.
Even although the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour immediately, I’d advocate spending a number of hours right here. Start on the fortress and work your method down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you intend to go to in the summer time be certain that to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you received’t give you the chance 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 situated at one finish of the Royal Mile and proper throughout the road from the Scottish Parliament, is without doubt one of the most vital palaces in Scotland. It is used as a museum for a lot of the yr and is the official residence to the Queen and the Royal household once 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. 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 positive not to miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They are fairly spectacular. One fast be aware. Photography just isn’t allowed inside however you possibly can take photographs of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you have an interest in any respect in the Royal Family then you will have to add this to your checklist.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries in the intervening time in order that they have to be booked in advance. This tour affords a free audio information as properly.
4. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this can be on the prime of your checklist when on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Street in the outdated city and is a effective Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the in depth vary of subjects coated is unbelievable. Whether you’re in Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historical civilizations, or pure disasters, it’s going to have one thing for you.
You may positively spend a number of time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a yr, so be certain that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, be certain that to head up to the rooftop terrace the place you possibly can take in some unbelievable views of the town and the encompassing space.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you need to be certain that to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a unbelievable Greek-columned complicated that’s artwork located proper in the center of Princes Street in the very heart of Edinburgh.
It consists of two buildings; the primary National Gallery is the constructing on the again, with the one on the entrance being a part of the Royal Scottish Academy. The most important 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 coated. 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 can be top-of-the-line issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
Currently, you need to e book 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 charge.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you might be on the lookout for one of the best views of the town then you will have 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 heart and will be seen from virtually 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 best way in), however was gifted by the Queen to the folks, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).
The best route up to Arthur’s Seat is to take the grassy slope on the east 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 recommend heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of the town are magnificent and you might be solely quarter-hour from the town heart. If you might be on the lookout for an alternate for sundown Calton Hill is a good 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 fortress, and it’s a excellent spot to stroll or cease for a picnic.
They are additionally residence to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you might be visiting in the winter you need to be certain that to take this in.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, situated on the jap finish of Princes Street Gardens, just isn’t solely probably the most spectacular monuments in the town, but it surely additionally affords some distinctive views of Edinburgh Castle and different Edinburgh sights.
Climbing up the slender staircase (287 steps) of the Scott Monument could also be one of many extra adventurous issues to do in Edinburgh however be certain that to cease on the primary stage and study somewhat extra in regards to the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Built in 1832 to commemorate the demise 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 without doubt one of the finest spots for a spectacular view of the town, particularly at sundown. It is a a lot simpler climb than Arthur’s Seat, taking lower than ten minutes to attain the highest from Regent Road.
The prime of Calton hill is residence 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 extremely popular amongst guests. Calton Hill can be an ideal place to benefit from the fireworks above the fortress 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 spot 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 alternative nations together with China, Japan, France, Spain, and Australia.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Hours: Daily 10am-6pm. Cost: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.
11. Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is without doubt one of the coolest issues to do in Edinburgh, primarily as a result of it’s all beneath the streets of Old Town and the Royal Mile.
What was as soon as one of many busiest streets in the town was coated by building again in the nineteenth century. But you may 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 world with a delegated information, so we propose 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 probably the most enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly in case you are visiting Edinburgh with youngsters. This attraction is made up of two completely different areas. The first is the World of Illusions, which is a number of flooring of magic shows, optical illusions, interactive displays, and different enjoyable issues that everybody will get pleasure from. Make 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 aren’t an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively value it as properly. You can learn the critiques 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 in the event you resolve to go to solely one in every of them you must 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 skin however I discover the within to be actually stunning. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (be certain that to try the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to benefit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should purchase a pictures allow for two kilos on the data desk if you would like 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 certainly probably the most in style 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 web site, you will have 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 one of the best training for his sons and one of the best husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian instances, structure, and existence would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Note: They are closed in the intervening time. Please test 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 in every of Edinburgh’s finest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is without doubt one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you simply don’t need 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 pictures. Also, there’s a statue of Robert Burns – Scotland’s bard – welcoming in the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is seemingly probably the most haunted cities in the world. One of the components that contribute to this consists of 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 number of the sad souls, and grieved harmless folks 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 sort 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 one of the best of pals, 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 night time 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 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.
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 demise had been hanged right here on the spot, which now could be 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’t say you’ve accomplished one of the best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a number of the Harry Potter sights. JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh when she began writing Harry Potter, and through most of her time writing the tomes, so there are many hyperlinks to the tales for these . If you’re a Harry Potter fan you’ll love Edinburgh.
The method to get one of the best Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is without doubt one of the finest in the town and is basically reasonably priced.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t want to take a guided tour to get pleasure from Harry Potter areas 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 number 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 alleged 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 heart, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in the event you go to there, so are simple to go to see.
The Boy Wizard Shops– Harry Potter outlets referred to as The Boy Wizard are popping up round Edinburgh for all of your Potter merchandise wants. There is at the moment one on South Bridge, The Royal Mile, contained in the Tartan Weaving Center proper subsequent to the Castle downstairs, and one simply opened in Edinburgh airport!
21. A Scotch Whisky Experience
You can’t go to Scotland and never expertise Scotch. Well, that is what The Scotch Whiskey Experience is all about. Located throughout the road from Camera Obscura and The World of Illusions, this is without doubt one of the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh fingers down. Especially in the event you love whiskey.
Even in the event you don’t you’ll have enjoyable studying in regards to the course of and why it’s so in style in this a part of the world. For those that are on the lookout for only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most reasonably priced and in case you are extra of a connoisseur then try the Platinum tour or the Masterclass. This place can get fairly busy so I recommend grabbing a Skip the Line Ticket particularly in case you are visiting through the summer time.
Edinburgh affords a ton of various whiskey excursions all through the town and I’ve achieved a number of. The one above is my favourite however if you would like 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 somewhat of the macabre. This expertise is finished very well with reside 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 properly which are adults solely. You are assured to have 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 at the least 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh sights like Old Town, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill in addition to a 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 one of the best time to go to Edinburgh?
The finest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer time. There are a number of issues taking place and you’re going to get one of the best climate. August can be the month when a number of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide competition, so you will have to issue that into your planning. The solely caveat is that it is going to be fairly busy.
If you need to go to when it’s a little much less crowded then the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall are for you. Accommodation costs are a bit decrease and the primary sights are much less busy.
Don’t write off winter although, particularly if you would like to go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market.
How to Get to Edinburgh
There are direct flights to Edinburgh from any of the UK’s main cities and round Europe.
Plus many main cities are linked to the Scottish capital by prepare. The most important prepare station is the Waverley Train Station however you may also take the prepare to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Around Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is which you can simply entry a number of the primary sights 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 be the HOHO Bust that’s provided free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other wonderful means to get round.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to one of the best issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh sights ought to provide you with an ideal place to begin 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 embrace issues which are free to do in addition to a number of low-cost objects. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.