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22 Best Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland

22 Best Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland


Are you in search of 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 Castle that appears over town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a kind of locations that can preserve you coming again. Edinburgh is a metropolis of historic tales, royal tales, gory tales, and ghost tales. It is a potent mix of previous 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 believe town is unbelievable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you may simply turn into overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It shouldn’t be solely an amazing place to go to however to dwell as effectively.

Over 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 greatest issues to do in Edinburgh whether or not it is a first-time go to or your fifth time you can see one thing that piques your curiosity.

If you might be 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 unbelievable metropolis.

Surprisingly, numerous Edinburgh points of interest are free! Below you can 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 Castle

things to do in Edinburgh Castle
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Visiting Edinburgh Castle might be the primary factor to do in Edinburgh. It has been an important 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, 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 could go to this Castle because it as soon as housed vital figures comparable to Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Don’t overlook 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 comparable to, Holyrood Palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia, and 48-hour entry to the HOHO Bus! Get Your Royal Edinburgh Ticket Here

things to do in edinburgh castle grounds
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The fortress has been dwelling to royalty, the chief seat of energy, and a army base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the fortress on daily basis besides Sunday. It is one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was carried out to assist with delivery and to preserve time.

Insider Tip – This is likely one of the hottest points of interest in town and might get very busy, so strive to go to in the morning in the event you can. I like to recommend that you just ebook your ticket in advance and get one with quick observe entry which is able to enable you to skip the ticket strains, particularly if you’re visiting throughout the busy summer season 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 could ebook 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

Things to do in Edinburgh The Royal Mile
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The Royal Mile is the oldest a part of town and is considered one of 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 stuffed with historical past and tales worthy of its personal information. The Royal Mile space itself is definitely 5 separate streets and it’s price 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 straight, I’d suggest spending a couple of hours right here. Start on the fortress and work your means down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! If you propose to go to in the summer season be certain to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as you gained’t have the opportunity 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

Best Things to do in Edinburgh Holyrood Palace
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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 12 months and is the official dwelling 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 shouldn’t be allowed inside however you may take pictures 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 record.

Admission to Holyrood Palace: They are solely taking timed entries in the mean time so that they have to be booked in advance. This tour gives a free audio information as effectively.

4. National Museum of Scotland

Visit National Museum of Scotland things to do in Edinburgh
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If you’re a museum lover then this will probably be on the high of your record when in search of issues to do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Street in the previous city and is a fantastic Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.

The National Museum is free and the in depth vary of matters coated is implausible. Whether you’re in Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it is going to have one thing for you.

You might positively spend numerous time in the National Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so be certain to plan accordingly.

If the climate is good, be certain to head up to the rooftop terrace the place you may take in some unbelievable views of town and the encircling space.

5. Scottish National Gallery

Top things to do in Edinburgh Scottish National Gallery
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When visiting Edinburgh you could be certain to make a journey to The Scottish National Gallery. This is a implausible Greek-columned advanced that’s artwork located proper in the center of Princes Street in the very middle 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 will probably be probably the greatest issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.

Currently, you could ebook 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 price.

6. Climb Arthur’s Seat and stroll in Holyrood Park

what to do in Edinburgh Scotland Arthur's seat and Holyrood Park
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If you might be in search of the most effective views of 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 middle and might be seen from virtually wherever in 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 may see from noting the crowns on the lamps on the way in which in), however was gifted by the Queen to the individuals, so is now a public park (Holyrood Park).

The 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 may well fairly windy on the high.

We counsel heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sunset. The views of town are magnificent and you might be solely quarter-hour from town middle. If you might be in search of another for sundown Calton Hill is a good various.

7. Princes Street Gardens

Things to do in Edinburgh princes street gardens
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Princes Street Gardens is positioned 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 good spot to stroll or cease for a picnic.

They are additionally dwelling to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you might be visiting in the winter you need to be certain to take this in.

8. Visit or Climb the Scott Monument

Scott Monument things to do in Edinburgh Scotland
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The Scott Monument, positioned on the jap finish of Princes Street Gardens, shouldn’t be solely some of the spectacular monuments in town, however 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 be certain to cease on the primary stage and study a bit extra concerning the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

Built in 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. 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 suggest visiting the Writers Museum close to the Royal Mile.

9. Climb Calton Hill

(*22*)

The high 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 high of Calton hill is dwelling 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 very talked-about amongst guests. Calton Hill can be an amazing place to benefit from the fireworks above the fortress throughout Hogmanay.

10. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

fun things to do in Edinburgh Scotland Royal Botanic Gardens
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The Royal Botanic Garden is located outdoors town centre by the beautiful village of Stockbridge and has been there because the Victorian period. It is 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 Garden Edinburgh Hours: Daily 10am-6pm. Cost: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.

11. Mary King’s Close

things to do in edinburgh The Real Mary King's Close
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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 building again in the nineteenth century. But you will 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 realm with a chosen information, so we propose reserving a guided tour to get essentially the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there are not any pictures allowed on the tour.

12. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

things to do in Edinburgh Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
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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 totally 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 strive 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 should not an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively price it as effectively. You can learn the evaluations and ebook your tickets right here.

13. St Giles Cathedral

Visit St Giles Cathedral interesting things to do in Edinburgh
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There is not any scarcity of church buildings in Edinburgh and most are fairly spectacular. But in the event you resolve to go to solely considered one of them it’s 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 stunning. Don’t miss the Thistle Chapel (be certain 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 buy 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

Royal Yacht Britannia things to do in Edinburgh
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You can not go to Edinburgh and never go to The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. It is certainly some of the fashionable 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 may have Afternoon Tea on the Royal Deck Tea Room for the total expertise. Since it’s Scotland’s Best Attraction in accordance to the tourism website, you will have to ebook 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

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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 training for his sons and the most effective husbands for his daughters. People in Georgian instances, structure, and life would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian House at No. 7 Charlotte Square.

Note: They are closed in the mean time. Please verify 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

Visiting the Scottish National Portrait Gallery things to do in Edinburgh
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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is considered one of 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

Taking a Ghost Tour best things to do in Edinburgh Scotland
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Haunted Edinburgh Tour

Edinburgh is apparently 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 previous 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 individuals hanged hang-out town. This is my favourite Ghost tour in Edinburgh. Great guides and truly fairly scary.

18. Greyfriar’s Bobby

Greyfriar's Bobby best things to do in Edinburgh
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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 previous. The pair quickly turned the most effective 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 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

Grassmarket Gallows in Edinburgh Scotland
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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 previous character-filled pubs to go to and nice eating places to pattern Scottish or worldwide meals. Common 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 comparable to mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.

20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh Harry Potter
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You can not say you have got accomplished the most effective issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a number of 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 means 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 admittedly reasonably priced.

21. Tour the Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh

Harry Potter Locations in Edinburgh
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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 couple of of my favorites.

The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. This is a café the place Rowling did numerous 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 faculties in Edinburgh, Stuarts Melville, Fettes College, and George Heriots. All three faculties aren’t removed from town middle, 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 retailers referred to as The Boy Wizard are popping up round Edinburgh for all of your Potter merchandise wants. There is presently 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

Try scotch Whiskey Experience best things to do in Edinburgh Scotland
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You can not 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 palms down. Especially in the event you love whiskey.

Even in the event you don’t you should have enjoyable studying concerning the course of and why it’s so fashionable in this a part of the world. For those that are in search of 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 throughout the summer season.

Edinburgh gives a ton of various whiskey excursions all through town and I’ve executed a couple of. The one above is my favourite however in order for you to verify 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 in the event you like exploring a bit of the macabre. This expertise is finished very well with dwell actors, particular results, and underground rides.

Walk the plagued roads of 1645, keep away from Burke and Hare and you may even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as effectively which are adults solely. You are assured to have a superb time.

How Much Time Should You Spend in Edinburgh?

Visiting Edinburgh Scotland
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Like most locations, the period of time you want in a metropolis is solely depending on how a lot you need to see and do.

We suggest spending at the very least 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh points of interest 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 a bit longer.

When is the most effective time to go to Edinburgh?

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The greatest time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer season. There are numerous issues taking place and you’re going to get the most effective climate. August can be the month when numerous festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, so you will have to issue that into your planning. The solely caveat is that will probably 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 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 practice. The most important practice station is the Waverley Train Station however you can too take the practice to Haymarket.

Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.

Getting Around Edinburgh

The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is that you would be able to simply entry numerous the primary points of interest on foot. If you aren’t into doing a little strolling (and a few hill climbing) you may 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 supplied free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other smart way 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 offer you an amazing start line when planning your journey to Edinburgh.

Regardless of whether or not you might be visiting for every week or a weekend, I’ve tried to embody issues which are free to do in addition to numerous low-cost objects. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do dwelling right here.

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