Are you on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider ideas and favourite Edinburgh points of interest to take advantage of your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Fortress that appears over the 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’s a potent mix of previous and new at each flip.
The Prime Issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t stunning that I feel the town is unimaginable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you’ll be able to simply turn into overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It’s not solely a terrific place to go to however to dwell as nicely.
Through the years I’ve been in a position to discover virtually 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 it is a first-time go to or your fifth time you will see one thing that piques your curiosity.
In case you are visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be a little bit intimidating. We wished to make issues a little bit simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about the perfect Edinburgh points of interest in addition to our ideas for planning the proper journey to this unimaginable metropolis.
Surprisingly, loads of Edinburgh points of interest are free! Beneath you will see, in no specific order, what we think about the issues you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time.
1. Edinburgh Fortress
Visiting Edinburgh Fortress 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 constantly occupied in some type since then.
It proudly sits atop one of many metropolis’s extinct volcanos, Fortress Rock, and homes many treasures like The Stone of Future and the oldest crown jewels within the UK. In case you are into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Fortress because it as soon as housed necessary figures similar to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t overlook to walk the grounds and be impressed by the large cannons, The Nice corridor, and naturally the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
In case you are an actual Royal fan get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different points of interest similar to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Right here
The citadel 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 citadel daily besides Sunday. It’s one thing you don’t wish to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – This is likely one of the hottest points of interest within the metropolis and might get very busy, so attempt to go to within the morning in case you can. I like to recommend that you simply e-book your ticket upfront and get one with quick observe entry which is able to permit you to skip the ticket strains, particularly if you’re visiting in the course of the busy summer season 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. Beneath 5s are free.
2. The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the oldest a part of the town and is one in all my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. In short, The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Fortress all the best way 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 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. Excessive Road is filled 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 straight, I’d advocate spending a number of hours right here. Begin on the citadel and work your method down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! In the event you plan to go to in the summertime be sure 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? If that’s the 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 likely one of the most necessary palaces in Scotland. It’s 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. 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 certain to not miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They’re fairly spectacular. One fast be aware. Images just isn’t allowed inside however you’ll be able to take photographs of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. In case you are 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 intervening time in order that they have to be booked upfront. This tour gives a free audio information as nicely.
4. Nationwide Museum of Scotland
In case you are a museum lover then this can be on the prime of your record when on the lookout for issues to do in Edinburgh. The Nationwide Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Road within the previous city and is a superb Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The Nationwide Museum is free and the intensive vary of matters coated is implausible. Whether or not you’re interested by Scottish historical past, know-how, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it would have one thing for you.
You would undoubtedly spend loads of time within the Nationwide Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a yr, so be sure that to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, be sure that to go as much as the rooftop terrace the place you’ll be able to absorb some unimaginable views of the town and the encircling space.
5. Scottish Nationwide Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to be sure that to make a journey to The Scottish Nationwide Gallery. It is a implausible Greek-columned advanced that’s artwork located proper in the midst 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.
In case you are 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. In case you are an artwork lover, like I’m, this can be among the best issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
- At present, you will need to e-book a timed entry ticket on their web site.
- 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 charge.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
In case you are on the lookout for the perfect views of the town then you’ll want to climb as much as 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 within the metropolis.
It’s the website of a 350 million-year-old extinct volcano. The final eruption was greater than 100 million years in the past. Arthur’s Seat was a royal park (you’ll be able to see from noting the crowns on the lamps on the best way in), however was gifted by the Queen to the individuals, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).
The best route as much as Arthur’s Seat is to take the grassy slope on the east 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 certain to decorate for the climate as it could possibly fairly windy on the prime.
We propose 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. In case you are on the lookout for another for sundown Calton Hill is a good different.
7. Princes Road Gardens
Princes Road Gardens is situated in the midst of Edinburgh, on Princes Road proper beneath Edinburgh Fortress. They was the location of the Nor Loch – the North Loch which was drained when the New City was constructed within the 1760s. The gardens have an exquisite view of the citadel, and it’s a good spot to walk or cease for a picnic.
They’re additionally residence to the Edinburgh Christmas market. In case you are visiting within the winter you wish to be sure that to take this in.
8. Go to or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, situated on the japanese finish of Princes Road Gardens, just isn’t solely some of the spectacular monuments within the metropolis, however it additionally gives some distinctive views of Edinburgh Fortress 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 sure that to cease on the primary stage and study a little bit extra concerning the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Inbuilt 1832 to commemorate the dying of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 ft excessive and is intricately adorned with beloved characters from his books. In case you are interested by 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 highest of Calton Hill is likely one of the finest 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 residence to the Nelson Monument (that appears like a kind 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 extremely popular amongst guests. Calton Hill can be a terrific 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 because the Victorian period. It’s one other good 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 various international locations 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 likely one of 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 may 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’ll be able to 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 aren’t any photographs allowed on the tour.
12. Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far some of the enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly if you’re visiting Edinburgh with youngsters. This attraction is made up of two completely 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 take pleasure in. Make certain to attempt the Vortex!
However the principle attraction is on the roof, which is the Digital camera Obscura. That 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 should not an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are undoubtedly value it as nicely. You’ll be able to learn the opinions and e-book your tickets right here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There isn’t a scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. However in case you resolve to go to solely one in all them it’s best to make it to this one. It’s arduous 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.
Positioned near Previous City and the Royal Mile, it’s spectacular from the surface however I discover the within to be actually stunning. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (be sure that to take a look at the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to take advantage of 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’t go to Edinburgh and never go to The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. It’s undoubtedly some 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’ll be able to 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 complete expertise. Since it’s Scotland’s Greatest Attraction in keeping with the tourism website, you’ll want to e-book your ticket upfront 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 youngsters 5-17.
15. Georgian Home Museum
The Georgian Home is a museum in Charlotte Sq., which showcases the approach to life 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 the perfect schooling for his sons and the perfect husbands for his daughters. Folks interested by Georgian instances, structure, and life would take pleasure in visiting the Georgian Home at No. 7 Charlotte Sq..
- Word: They’re closed in the intervening time. Please test their web site 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 one in all Edinburgh’s finest artwork galleries. In case you are a fan of portraiture, then this is likely one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you simply don’t wish to miss. It holds tons 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 some of the haunted cities on the earth. One of many elements that contribute to this consists of the tons of of plague victims who have been walled in, within the previous 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 a little bit Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks previous. The pair quickly turned the perfect of associates, 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 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 Fortress 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 – have been bought.
The bustling sq. hosts a meals and craft market on Sundays and has a plethora of nice previous character-filled pubs to go to and nice eating places to pattern Scottish or worldwide meals. Frequent criminals who had been sentenced to dying have been hanged right here on the spot, which now’s a raised platform with a cross on it.
Some notorious Edinburgh criminals similar to mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can’t say you might have accomplished the perfect 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 . In case you are a Harry Potter fan you’ll love Edinburgh.
The best way to get the perfect Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Strolling Tour is likely one of the finest within the metropolis and is de facto reasonably priced.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Places in Edinburgh
You don’t must take a guided tour to take pleasure in Harry Potter places in Edinburgh. You’ll be able to 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 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 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 case you go to there, so are straightforward to go to see.
The Boy Wizard Outlets– Harry Potter retailers known as The Boy Wizard are popping up round Edinburgh for all of your Potter merchandise wants. There’s presently one on South Bridge, The Royal Mile, contained in the Tartan Weaving Heart proper subsequent to the Fortress downstairs, and one simply opened in Edinburgh airport!
21. A Scotch Whisky Expertise
You can’t go to Scotland and never expertise Scotch. Properly, that is what The Scotch Whiskey Expertise is all about. Positioned throughout the road from Digital camera Obscura and The World of Illusions, this is likely one of the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh fingers down. Particularly in case you love whiskey.
Even in case 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 on the lookout for 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 in the course of the summer season.
Edinburgh gives 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 wish to test some extra of the town do this Historical past 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 case you like exploring a little bit of the macabre. This expertise is completed rather well with dwell 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 very good 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 wish to see and do.
We advocate spending at the least 3 Days in Edinburgh, with the intention 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.
In case you are actually into Scottish historical past and Museums you may wish to give your self a little bit longer.
When is the perfect time to go to Edinburgh?
The most effective time to go to Edinburgh is in the summertime. There are loads of issues occurring and you will get the perfect climate. August can be the month when loads of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, so you’ll want to issue that into your planning. The one caveat is that will probably 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.
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 primary practice station is the Waverley Prepare Station however it’s also possible to take the practice to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Round Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is which you could simply entry loads of the principle points of interest on foot. In case you are not into performing some strolling (and a few hill climbing) you’ll be able to entry the cities environment friendly bus and tram strains in addition to the well-run taxi service.
There’s additionally the HOHO Bust that’s supplied free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Move, one other nice strategy to get round.
Last Ideas on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to the perfect 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.
No matter whether or not you’re visiting for per week or a weekend, I’ve tried to incorporate issues which might be free to do in addition to loads of low-cost gadgets. I hope you take pleasure in visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.