Are you in search of issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider ideas and favourite Edinburgh sights to benefit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Fort that appears over town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a kind 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 High Issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it isn’t stunning that I feel town is unbelievable. With an enormous quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you possibly can simply turn out to be overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It isn’t solely an excellent place to go to however to dwell as nicely.
Through the years I’ve been in a position to discover nearly all Edinburgh sights. That has given me the experience to share with you all the finest issues to do in Edinburgh whether or not it is a first-time go to or your fifth time you will see that one thing that piques your curiosity.
In case you are 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 very best Edinburgh sights in addition to our ideas for planning the proper journey to this unbelievable metropolis.
Surprisingly, lots of Edinburgh sights are free! Beneath you will see that, in no explicit order, what we contemplate the issues you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time.
1. Edinburgh Fort
Visiting Edinburgh Fort 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, Fort 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 Fort because it as soon as housed vital 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 sights similar 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 house to royalty, the chief seat of energy, and a army base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the citadel daily besides Sunday. It’s one thing you don’t wish to miss. The gun was carried out to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – This is likely one of the hottest sights 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 ebook your ticket upfront and get one with fast track entry which is able to mean you can skip the ticket traces, particularly if you’re visiting in the course of the busy summer time season.
- Hours: Summer season (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).
- Worth to Enter: Proper now you will need to ebook 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 town and is certainly one of my favourite issues to do in Edinburgh. Briefly, The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Fort all the way in which down the volcanic path that takes you to Holyrood Palace – a mile down.
That is Edinburgh’s Outdated City and Outdated 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 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 suggest spending a couple of hours right here. Begin on the citadel and work your manner down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! Should you plan to go to in the summertime make certain 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, 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 likely one of the most vital palaces in Scotland. It’s used as a museum for a lot of the 12 months and is the official house to the Queen and the Royal household after they come to go to.
The Abbey was constructed earlier than the palace relationship again to 1128, by order of King David 1st of Scotland. 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 notice. Pictures just isn’t allowed inside however you possibly can 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 meanwhile in order that they have to be booked upfront. This tour offers a free audio guide as nicely.
4. Nationwide Museum of Scotland
In case you are a museum lover then this will probably be on the high of your record when in search of issues to do in Edinburgh. The Nationwide Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Road within the previous city and is a tremendous Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The Nationwide Museum is free and the intensive vary of matters coated is improbable. Whether or not you’re keen on Scottish historical past, know-how, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it should have one thing for you.
You could possibly positively spend lots of time within the Nationwide Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so make certain to plan accordingly.
If the climate is sweet, make certain to go as much as the rooftop terrace the place you possibly can soak up some unbelievable views of town and the encircling space.
5. Scottish Nationwide Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to make certain to make a journey to The Scottish Nationwide Gallery. It is a improbable Greek-columned complicated that’s artwork located proper in the course of Princes Road within the very middle of Edinburgh.
It consists of two buildings; the primary Nationwide Gallery is the constructing on the again, with the one on the entrance being a part of the Royal Scottish Academy. The principle gallery holds everlasting collections and is all the time 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 will probably be top-of-the-line issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
- At the moment, you will need to ebook 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 payment.
6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park
In case you are in search of the very best views of 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 middle and might be seen from nearly 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 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 simplest route as much as 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 achieve the highest and is a comparatively simple hike (however a bit steep). Make certain to decorate for the climate as it could fairly windy on the high.
We recommend heading as much as Artur’s Seat for Sundown. The views of town are magnificent and you’re solely quarter-hour from town middle. In case you are in search of an alternate 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 Fort. They was the positioning 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 good spot to walk or cease for a picnic.
They’re additionally house to the Edinburgh Christmas market. In case you are visiting within the winter you wish to make certain 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 probably the most spectacular monuments within the metropolis, but it surely additionally presents some distinctive views of Edinburgh Fort 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 make certain to cease on the primary degree and study a bit extra in regards to the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Inbuilt 1832 to commemorate the dying of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 toes excessive and is intricately adorned with beloved characters from his books. In case you are keen on 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 likely one of the finest spots for a spectacular view of town, particularly at sundown. It’s a a lot simpler climb than Arthur’s Seat, taking lower than ten minutes to achieve the highest from Regent Highway.
The highest of Calton hill is house 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 very talked-about amongst guests. Calton Hill can be an excellent place to benefit from the fireworks above the citadel throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Backyard Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Backyard is located exterior town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there for the reason that Victorian period. It’s one other good spot 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 international locations together with China, Japan, France, Spain, and Australia.
- Royal Botanic Backyard Edinburgh Hours: Every 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 Outdated 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’ll be able to solely discover the realm with a chosen information, so we propose booking 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. Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far probably the most 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 reveals, and different enjoyable issues that everybody will take pleasure in. Make certain to strive the Vortex!
However the primary attraction is on the roof, which is the 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 positively value it as nicely. You’ll be able to learn the evaluations and book your tickets here.
13. St Giles Cathedral
There is no such thing as a scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. However in case you resolve to go to solely certainly one of them it’s best to make it to this one. It’s exhausting 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 Outdated 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 (make certain 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 data 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 positively probably the most common 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 possibly can have Afternoon Tea on the Royal Deck Tea Room for the total expertise. Since it’s Scotland’s Finest Attraction in keeping with the tourism website, 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 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 town centre to search out the very best training for his sons and the very best husbands for his daughters. Folks keen on Georgian instances, structure, and life would take pleasure in visiting the Georgian Home at No. 7 Charlotte Sq..
- Observe: They’re closed in the meanwhile. Please examine their website for up-to-date hours.
- Hours: Summer season 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 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 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. Additionally, there’s a statue of Robert Burns – Scotland’s bard – welcoming within the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is seemingly probably the most haunted cities on this planet. One of many components that contribute to this contains the lots of of plague victims who had 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 folks hanged hang-out 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 bit Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks previous. The pair quickly turned the very best 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 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 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 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 Fort 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 previous character-filled pubs to go to and nice eating places to pattern Scottish or worldwide meals. Widespread criminals who had been sentenced to dying had been hanged right here on the spot, which now could be 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’ve got accomplished the very best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in among 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 . In case you are a Harry Potter fan you’ll love Edinburgh.
The best way to get the very best Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is likely one of the finest within the metropolis and is absolutely inexpensive.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Areas in Edinburgh
You don’t have to 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 couple of of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. It is a café the place Rowling did lots 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 claimed to be an amalgamation of inspiration from three non-public faculties in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes Faculty, and George Heriots. All three faculties aren’t removed from town middle, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in case you go to there, so are simple to go to see.
The Boy Wizard Retailers– Harry Potter outlets known 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 Fort downstairs, and one simply opened in Edinburgh airport!
21. A Scotch Whisky Expertise
You can’t go to Scotland and never expertise Scotch. Effectively, that is what The Scotch Whiskey Experience 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 palms down. Particularly in case you love whiskey.
Even in case you don’t you’ll have enjoyable studying in regards to the course of and why it’s so common on this a part of the world. For many who are in search of only a style I like to recommend The Silver your which is their most inexpensive and if you’re extra of a connoisseur then try 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 time.
Edinburgh presents a ton of various whiskey excursions all through town and I’ve carried out a couple of. The one above is my favourite however if you wish to examine some extra of town do this History of Whiskey Tour.
22. The Edinburgh Dungeon
Edinburgh has an extended historical past and a tumultuous one. A go to to The Edinburgh Dungeon is a should in case you like exploring a bit of the macabre. This expertise is completed very well with dwell actors, particular results, and underground rides.
Stroll the plagued roads of 1645, keep away from Burke and Hare and you can even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as nicely which might be adults solely. You’re 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 wish to see and do.
We suggest spending a minimum of 3 Days in Edinburgh, in an effort to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh sights like Outdated 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 bit longer.
When is the very best time to go to Edinburgh?
The most effective time to go to Edinburgh is in the summertime. There are lots of issues taking place and you’re going to get the very best climate. August can be the month when lots of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, 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 primary sights are much less busy.
Don’t write off winter although, particularly if you wish to go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market.
The way 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 practice. The principle practice station is the Waverley Prepare Station however you can even 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 can simply entry lots of the primary sights on foot. In case you are not into performing some 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’s additionally the HOHO Bust that’s supplied free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other nice technique to get round.
Ultimate Ideas on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to the very best issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh sights ought to offer you an excellent 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 lots of low-cost objects. I hope you take pleasure in visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do residing right here.