Are you searching for issues to do in Edinburgh? We requested native author Karen Worral to share her insider suggestions and favourite Edinburgh points of interest to benefit from your keep.
From the imposing Edinburgh Fort that appears over town to the well-known Royal Mile, Edinburgh is a type of locations that can maintain 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 Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland
Having lived in Edinburgh all my life, it’s not stunning that I feel town is unbelievable. With a large quantity of historical past, thrilling nightlife, and epic locations to see, you may simply develop into overwhelmed by all of the issues to do in Edinburgh. It’s not solely an important place to go to however to dwell as properly.
Over time I’ve been ready 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 can find one thing that piques your curiosity.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the primary time it may be just a little intimidating. We wished to make issues just a little simpler for you by offering you with up-to-date details about the very best Edinburgh points of interest in addition to our suggestions for planning the right journey to this unbelievable metropolis.
Surprisingly, loads of Edinburgh points of interest are free! Under you can find, in no specific 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 an important fortification concerned in navy 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, Fort Rock, and homes many treasures like The Stone of Future and the oldest crown jewels in the UK. If you’re into Scottish historical past you will need to go to this Fort because it as soon as housed vital figures reminiscent of Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Don’t overlook to stroll the grounds and be impressed by the huge cannons, The Nice corridor, and naturally the Chapel that dates again to the twelfth Century.
If you’re an actual Royal fan get your self the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. It saves you cash on this and different points of interest reminiscent of, 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 navy base all through the years. The one o’clock gun goes off from the entrance of the fort day by day besides Sunday. It’s one thing you don’t need to miss. The gun was applied to assist with transport and to maintain time.
Insider Tip – This is without doubt one of the hottest points of interest in town and may get very busy, so strive to go to in the morning for those who can. I like to recommend that you simply e-book your ticket in advance and get one with fast track entry which is able to permit you to skip the ticket traces, 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 in advance on-line for entry. Grownup £15.50 on-line, Concessions £12.40 on-line, Youngsters 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 considered 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 Avenue. 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 price it to discover all of them. Excessive Avenue is filled with sights and landmarks in addition to eating places and museums.
Although the Royal Mile stroll itself will solely take you quarter-hour instantly, I’d advocate spending just a few hours right here. Begin on the fort and work your method down – it’s simpler strolling downhill! When you plan to go to in the summer season make certain to plan across the Edinburgh Fringe Competition as you gained’t give you the option to transfer in 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 positioned at one finish of the Royal Mile and proper throughout the road from the Scottish Parliament, is without doubt one of the most vital palaces in Scotland. It’s used as a museum for many of the 12 months and is the official residence to the Queen and the Royal household after 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 crucial a part of Scottish historical past.
Be sure that not to miss the Mary Queen of Scots chambers. They’re fairly spectacular. One fast word. Pictures just isn’t allowed inside however you may take pictures of the gardens, exterior, and the Abbey. If you’re in any respect in the Royal Household then you want to add this to your checklist.
Admission to Holyrood Palace: They’re solely taking timed entries in the meanwhile in order that they should be booked in advance. This tour offers a free audio guide as properly.
4. Nationwide Museum of Scotland
If you’re a museum lover then this can be on the prime of your checklist when searching for issues to do in Edinburgh. The Nationwide Museum of Scotland is located on Chamber’s Avenue in the previous city and is a tremendous Victorian constructing that opened in 1866.
The Nationwide Museum is free and the intensive vary of matters lined is incredible. Whether or not you’re in Scottish historical past, expertise, innovations, world cultures, music, pure historical past, royalty, gory historical past, historic civilizations, or pure disasters, it can have one thing for you.
You may positively spend loads of time in the Nationwide Museum, which welcomes over 2 million guests a 12 months, so make certain to plan accordingly.
If the climate is good, make 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 Nationwide Gallery
When visiting Edinburgh you will need to make certain to make a journey to The Scottish Nationwide Gallery. This can be a incredible Greek-columned advanced that’s artwork located proper in the center of Princes Avenue in the very heart 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 at all times free to go to.
If you’re an artwork lover the Scottish Nationwide Gallery has you lined. 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 in the UK. If you’re an artwork lover, like I’m, this can be top-of-the-line issues in Edinburgh that you’ll do.
- At present, you will need to e-book a timed entry ticket on their website.
- Scottish Nationwide Gallery Hours: 10 am-5 pm every 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
If you’re searching for the very best views of town then you want to climb up to the highest of Arthur’s Seat for certain. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags are the hills in Edinburgh’s metropolis heart and may be seen from virtually wherever in town.
It’s the web site 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 facet from Dunsapie Loch on Queen’s Drive. It takes about half-hour to attain the highest and is a comparatively simple hike (however a bit steep). Be sure that to costume for the climate as it will possibly fairly windy on the prime.
We propose heading up to Artur’s Seat for Sundown. The views of town are magnificent and you’re solely quarter-hour from town heart. If you’re searching for an alternate for sundown Calton Hill is a superb different.
7. Princes Avenue Gardens
Princes Avenue Gardens is positioned in the center of Edinburgh, on Princes Avenue proper beneath Edinburgh Fort. They used to be the location of the Nor Loch – the North Loch which was drained when the New City was constructed in the 1760s. The gardens have a beautiful view of the fort, and it’s a excellent place to stroll or cease for a picnic.
They’re additionally residence to the Edinburgh Christmas market. If you’re visiting in the winter you need to make certain to take this in.
8. Go to or Climb the Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, positioned on the japanese finish of Princes Avenue Gardens, just isn’t solely one of the spectacular monuments in town, but it surely additionally presents some distinctive views of Edinburgh Fort 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 make certain to cease on the primary degree and be taught just a little extra in regards to the revered Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Constructed in 1832 to commemorate the demise of Sir Walter Scott, this gothic spire stands 200 ft excessive and is intricately embellished with beloved characters from his books. If you’re 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 highest of Calton Hill is without doubt 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 attain the highest from Regent Highway.
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.
Although the nationwide monument stays unfinished 200 years later, it’s nonetheless very fashionable amongst guests. Calton Hill can be an important place to benefit from the fireworks above the fort throughout Hogmanay.
10. Royal Botanic Backyard Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Backyard is located outdoors town centre by the stunning village of Stockbridge and has been there because the Victorian period. It’s 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 Backyard Edinburgh Hours: Day by day 10am-6pm.
- Value: Gardens free. Glasshouse £6.
11. Mary King’s Shut
The Actual Mary King’s Shut is without doubt 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 in town was lined by development again in the nineteenth century. However you may get a have a look at what life was like between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries with a tour of the Actual Mary King’s shut.
You may solely discover the realm with a chosen information, so we recommend booking a guided tour to get probably the most out of this nice Edinburgh attraction. FYI, there aren’t any pictures allowed on the tour.
12. Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Digital camera Obscura & World of Illusions is by far one of the enjoyable issues to do in Edinburgh, particularly if you’re visiting Edinburgh with children. This attraction is made up of two totally 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 get pleasure from. Be sure that to strive the Vortex!
However the primary attraction is on the roof, which is the Camera Obscura. That is principally an old school projection system, however the demonstration and the story behind are what make this the star attraction. If cameras and magic will not be an excessive amount of of curiosity, the views from the rooftop over Edinburgh are positively price it as properly. You may learn the critiques 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 for those who resolve to go to solely considered one of them you must make it to this one. It’s laborious 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.
Positioned shut to Outdated City 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 certain to try the ceiling) or the rooftop tour to benefit from your time there. Admission is upon donation and you should purchase a pictures allow for two kilos on the info desk if you would like 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’s positively one 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 may 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 web site, you 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 kids 5-17.
15. Georgian Home Museum
The Georgian Home is a museum in Charlotte Sq., which showcases the life-style of the excessive Georgian society in Edinburgh’s New City (George Avenue). Constructed 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 very best schooling for his sons and the very best husbands for his daughters. Folks in Georgian instances, structure, and life would get pleasure from visiting the Georgian Home at No. 7 Charlotte Sq..
- Observe: They’re closed in the meanwhile. Please verify their website for up-to-date hours.
- Hours: Summer time hours (April-October) 10 am-5 pm every day. Winter hours (November-March) 10 am-4.15 pm every day.
16. Scottish Nationwide Portrait Gallery
The Nationwide Portrait Gallery is considered one of Edinburgh’s finest artwork galleries. If you’re a fan of portraiture, then this is without doubt one of the issues to do in Edinburgh that you simply don’t need to miss. It holds a whole lot 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 in the lobby.
17. Take a Ghost Tour
Edinburgh is seemingly one of the haunted cities in the world. One of many components 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.
One other issue is all of the hangings that occurred in the Grassmarket, the place a few of the sad souls, and grieved harmless individuals 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 form native policeman named Jock Gray adopted just a little Skye terrier and named him Bobby when he was simply a few weeks previous. The pair quickly turned the very best of associates, going all over the 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 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 in 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 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. Frequent criminals who had been sentenced to demise had been hanged right here on the spot, which now’s a raised platform with a cross on it.
Some notorious Edinburgh criminals reminiscent of mass assassin William Burke and thief Deacon Brodie met their finish right here.
20. Harry Potter in Edinburgh
You can’t say you could have accomplished the very best issues to do in Edinburgh with out taking in a few 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 way in which to get the very best Harry Potter expertise is to take a tour. This Harry Potter Walking Tour is without doubt one of the finest in town and is absolutely inexpensive.
21. Tour the Harry Potter Areas in Edinburgh
You don’t want to take a guided tour to get pleasure from Harry Potter places in Edinburgh. You may go to many by your self. Listed here are just a few of my favorites.
The Elephant Café – On George Fourth Bridge. This can be a café the place Rowling did loads 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 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 town heart, with George Heriots located proper behind Greyfriar’s Kirkyard for those who go to there, so are simple 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 may be at the moment one on South Bridge, The Royal Mile, contained in the Tartan Weaving Heart 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. Nicely, 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 without doubt one of the most enjoyable grownup issues to do in Edinburgh palms down. Particularly for those who love whiskey.
Even for those who don’t you should have enjoyable studying in regards to the course of and why it’s so in style in this a part of the world. For individuals who are searching for 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 season.
Edinburgh presents a ton of various whiskey excursions all through town and I’ve accomplished just a few. The one above is my favourite however if you would like 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 for those who like exploring just a little 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 might even face prosecution at trial. The Edinburgh Dungeon holds late-night occasions as properly which can be adults solely. You’re assured to have a great 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 need to see and do.
We advocate spending at the least 3 Days in Edinburgh, in order to take full benefit of visiting all the primary Edinburgh points of interest like Outdated City, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill in addition to a few of 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 just a little longer.
When is the very best time to go to Edinburgh?
The most effective time to go to Edinburgh is in the summer season. There are loads of issues taking place and you’re going to get the very best climate. August can be the month when loads of festivals happen such because the Edinburgh worldwide pageant, so you want to issue that into your planning. The one caveat is that will probably be fairly busy.
If you’d like 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 points of interest are much less busy.
Don’t write off winter although, particularly if you would like to go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market.
How to Get to Edinburgh
There are direct flights to Edinburgh from any of the UK’s main cities and round Europe.
Plus many main cities are linked to the Scottish capital by prepare. The principle prepare station is the Waverley Practice Station however you can too take the prepare to Haymarket.
Buses additionally function between London and Edinburgh.
Getting Round Edinburgh
The great thing about a compact metropolis like Edinburgh is that you would be able to simply entry loads of the primary points of interest on foot. If you’re not into performing some strolling (and a few hill climbing) you may entry the cities environment friendly bus and tram traces in addition to the well-run taxi service.
There may be additionally the HOHO Bust that’s provided free for 48 hours on the Edinburgh Pass, one other wonderful means to get round.
Last Ideas on Visiting Edinburgh
And that’s my information to the very best issues to do in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visiting these Edinburgh points of interest ought to provide you with an important 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 embrace issues which can be free to do in addition to loads of low-cost objects. I hope you get pleasure from visiting my metropolis as a lot as I do residing right here.