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 benefit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Castle that appears over town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a type of locations that may 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 It is a potent mix of outdated and new at each flip.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, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t shocking that I believe town is unimaginable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you possibly can simply develop into overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It just isn’t solely a terrific place to go to however to dwell as properly.
Over the years I’ve been ready to discover virtually all Edinburgh points of interest. That has given me the experience to share with you all the greatest issues to do in Edinburgh whether or not this can be a first-time go to or your fifth time you’ll discover one thing that piques your curiosity.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be a bit intimidating. We wished to make issues a bit simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about the most effective Edinburgh points of interest in addition to our ideas for planning the right journey to this unimaginable metropolis.
Surprisingly, a variety of Edinburgh points of interest are free! Below you’ll discover, in no specific order, what we take into account 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 an important fortification concerned in army and strategic endeavors for the reason that twelfth century and has been constantly 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’re into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Castle because it as soon as housed vital figures equivalent to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t neglect 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 equivalent to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here
The fort 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 fort day by day besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was carried out to assist with transport and to preserve time.
Insider Tip – This is likely one of the hottest points of interest in town and may get very busy, so attempt to go to in the morning should you can. I like to recommend that you just guide your ticket in advance and get one with quick monitor entry which is able to enable you to skip the ticket traces, particularly in case you are visiting throughout 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 in all 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 value 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 a number of hours right here. Start on the fort and work your manner down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you intend to go to in the summer time make sure that to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you received’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 positioned at one finish of the Royal Mile and proper throughout the road from the Scottish Parliament, is likely 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 word. Photography just isn’t 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 checklist.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries in the meanwhile in order that they have to be booked in advance. This tour gives a free audio information as properly.
4. National Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this will likely be on the prime of your checklist when searching for issues to do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Street in the outdated city and is a tremendous Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The National Museum is free and the in depth vary of subjects coated 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 a variety of time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a yr, so make sure that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, make sure that to head up to the rooftop terrace the place you possibly can take in some unimaginable views of town and the encompassing space.
5. Scottish National Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to make sure 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 heart 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 foremost gallery holds everlasting collections and is all the time free to go to.
If you’re an artwork lover the Scottish National Gallery has you 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’re an artwork lover, like I’m, this will likely be probably the greatest 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 every day (Thursdays prolonged till 7 pm). Cost to Enter the Scottish National Gallery: Free for everlasting exhibitions, some at RSA have a charge.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
If you’re searching for the most effective views of 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 heart and may be seen from virtually wherever in town.
It is the location of a 350 million-year-old extinct volcano. The final eruption was greater than 100 million years in the past. Arthur’s Seat 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 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 aspect 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 could fairly windy on the prime.
We counsel heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of town are magnificent and you’re solely quarter-hour from town heart. If you’re searching for another for sundown Calton Hill is a good different.
7. Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is positioned in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Street proper beneath Edinburgh Castle. They used to be the location 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 fort, and it’s a excellent place to stroll or cease for a picnic.
They are additionally residence to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you’re visiting in the winter you need to make sure that to take this in.
8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, positioned on the japanese finish of Princes Street Gardens, just isn’t solely some of the spectacular monuments in town, nevertheless it additionally gives 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 make sure that to cease on the primary degree and be taught a bit 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 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 advocate visiting the Writers Museum close to the Royal Mile.
9. Climb Calton Hill
The prime of Calton Hill is likely one of the greatest spots for a spectacular view of 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 kind 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 fashionable amongst guests. Calton Hill can be a terrific place to benefit from the fireworks above the fort throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden is located outdoors 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 luxuriate in nature, however right here it’s cultivated nature, with many lovely flowerbeds. There are gardens and flora from many various nations together with China, Japan, France, Spain, and Australia.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Hours: Daily 10am-6pm. Cost: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.
11. Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is likely one of the coolest issues to do in Edinburgh, primarily as a result of it’s all beneath the streets of Old Town and the Royal Mile.
What was as soon as one of many busiest streets in town was coated 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 world with a chosen information, so we advise reserving a guided tour to get essentially the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there aren’t any pictures allowed on the tour.
12. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far some of the 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 principle attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. This is principally an old style projection system, however the demonstration and the story behind are what make this the star attraction. If cameras and magic are usually not an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively value it as properly. You can learn the evaluations 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 should you resolve to go to solely one in all them it is 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 skin however I discover the within to be actually lovely. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (make sure that to take a look at the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to benefit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should purchase a 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’t go to Edinburgh and never go to The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. It is certainly some of the 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 varied 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 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 kids 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 positioned 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 discover the most effective schooling for his sons and the most effective husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian occasions, structure, and life would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Note: They are closed in the meanwhile. Please examine their web site for up-to-date hours. Hours: Summer hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm every day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm every day.
16. Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is one in all Edinburgh’s greatest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is likely one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you just don’t need to miss. It holds a whole lot 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 pictures. Also, there’s a statue of Robert Burns – Scotland’s bard – welcoming in the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is seemingly some of the haunted cities in the world. One of the elements that contribute to this consists of the a whole lot 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 among the sad souls, and grieved harmless folks hanged hang-out 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 a bit Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks outdated. The pair quickly turned the most effective of mates, 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 kind 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 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 loss of life had been hanged right here on the spot, which now could be 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’t say you’ve accomplished the most effective 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 manner to get the most effective Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is likely one of the greatest in town and is absolutely inexpensive.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
You don’t want to take a guided tour to get pleasure from 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 variety 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 personal colleges in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three colleges aren’t removed from town heart, 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 outlets 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!
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 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’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 searching for only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most inexpensive 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 gives a ton of various whiskey excursions all through town and I’ve accomplished a number of. The one above is my favourite however in order for you to examine some extra of 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 a bit of the macabre. This expertise is completed rather well with dwell actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Walk 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 properly which are 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 at the very least 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 among the extra distinctive issues like a ghost tour.
If you’re actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you may want to give your self a bit longer.
When is the most effective time to go to Edinburgh?
The greatest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer time. There are a variety of issues occurring and you’re going to get the most effective climate. August can be the month when a variety of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, so you want to issue that into your planning. The solely caveat is that it will likely 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 linked to the Scottish capital by prepare. The foremost prepare station is the Waverley Train Station however it’s also possible to 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 you can simply entry a variety 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 traces in addition to the well-run taxi service.
There can be the HOHO Bust that’s supplied 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 the most effective issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh points of interest ought to provide you with a terrific start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.
Regardless of whether or not you’re visiting for per week or a weekend, I’ve tried to embrace issues which are free to do in addition to a variety of low-cost objects. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.