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Things to do in Edinburgh

370 contributors
The most visited in Edinburgh
Castles in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle
(72)
Canyons in Edinburgh
Calton Hill
(42)
Streets in Edinburgh
Royal Mile
(36)
Of Cultural Interest in Edinburgh
Old Town of Edinburgh
(38)
Cliffs in Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat
(26)
Cathedrals in Edinburgh
St. Giles Cathedral
(16)
Palaces in Edinburgh
Holyrood Palace
(14)
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Monument to Sir Walter Scott
(17)
Museums in Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland
(7)
Beaches in Edinburgh
Portobello Beach
(9)
Airports in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Airport
(9)
Streets in Edinburgh
Princes Street
(12)
Gardens in Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
(6)
Train Stations in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Waverley Station
(5)
Statues in Edinburgh
Greyfriars Bobby
(11)
Of Cultural Interest in Edinburgh
Edinburgh International Festival
(3)
Squares in Edinburgh
Charlotte Square
(1)
Abbeys in Edinburgh
Holyrood Abbey
(2)
Streets in Edinburgh
Royal Mile
(36)
Streets in Edinburgh
Princes Street
(12)
Streets in Edinburgh
North Bridge
(2)
Streets in Edinburgh
Victoria Street
(2)
Streets in Edinburgh
Edinburgh streets
Streets in Edinburgh
Advocate's Close
(2)
Streets in Edinburgh
Milne's Court
Streets in Edinburgh
Streets in Edinburgh
Streets in Edinburgh
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Monument to Sir Walter Scott
(17)
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Gladstone's Land
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
John Knox House
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Nelson Monument
(1)
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Dugald Stewart Monument
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
National Monument
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Anchor's Close
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Gardens in Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
(6)
Gardens in Edinburgh
Princes Street Gardens
(3)
Gardens in Edinburgh
Heath Garden
Gardens in Edinburgh
Holyrood Park
Gardens in Edinburgh
Gardens of the Royal Palace
(1)
Gardens in Edinburgh
Museums in Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland
(7)
Museums in Edinburgh
National Gallery of Scotland
(1)
Museums in Edinburgh
Museum of Childhood
(2)
Museums in Edinburgh
(2)
Museums in Edinburgh
Surgeons' Hall Museum
Museums in Edinburgh
National Museums Collection Centre
(1)
Museums in Edinburgh
Peoples Story Museum
Museums in Edinburgh
Lauriston Castle
Museums in Edinburgh
Museum of Edinburgh
Museums in Edinburgh
Writers' Museum
Museums in Edinburgh

The top 148 attractions in Edinburgh

Castles in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle
(72)
The spectacular Edinburgh Castle dominates the city from the top of a large, volcanic rock. The silhouette of this medieval fortress against the blue sky or overcast by violet clouds is unforgettable. It is, without a doubt, the symbolic heart of the beautiful city of Edinburgh. The castle, still in use, and very attractive, has a long history, full of legends and fairy tales. Protected by cliffs, access to the fort is only possible via the High Street, located in the Old Town. During the summer months you can visit between 9.30 and 18 pm. During winter, the opening times are from 9:30 am to 17 pm. I recommend that you buy tickets in advance (the website has a virtual box office), as Edinburgh Castle is the most visited castle in the whole of Scotland.
Canyons in Edinburgh
Calton Hill
(42)
It is certainly one of the most beautiful experiences you can have when visiting Edinburgh. I recommend that you go up to the Calton Hill Gardens in the evening to see the whole city iluminated, with a close up of Princess Street and in the background the Balmoral Hotel and the castle dominating the city. It's worth a trip up to this place, which is so close yet so far from the bustle of Edinburgh to enjoy the sounds of the city.
Streets in Edinburgh
Royal Mile
(36)
I'm a lover of cities with a medieval spirit, with their castles and their cobblestone streets, but also Edinburgh is surrounded with this 18th and 19th century atmosphere, which makes it all the more special. Also, there's nothing like getting to know the charms of a British city in the dead of winter. Fog, chill, overcast skies... It irresistibly invites you into its mythic pubs.
Of Cultural Interest in Edinburgh
Old Town of Edinburgh
(38)
Edinburgh, in Scotland, is a place that inspires confidence, enhances your desire to walk no matter what time of day it is and feeds your hunger to keep discovering new places in the world that you weren´t previously familiar with (and, if you have already been there, it´s a place which you must keep returning to.) The division between the "Old town" and the "New town" is of interest to the public, either by the Gothic style / culture of the old buildings, or commercial shopping of many travelers who are enjoying their holidays.
Cliffs in Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat
(26)
Next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, covering a land of 260 hectares, with a rocky hill 225 meters high, you will find the place called Arthur´s seat or Arthur´s chair. It is an extinct volcano from 350 million years ago. Holyrood's name comes from the time of David I, when in 1128 was knocked off his horse by a deer while hunting. According to legend, a cross appeared miraculously on his hands to ward off the animal. In gratitude, the king founded the Abbey of Holy Cross. If I had had my slippers, I would have climbed to the top because it appeared to be miraculous. If I had gone, I would have also given a candle to the Virgin. The park has 3 small lakes and the ruins of the chapel of Saint Anthony, which are few walls.
Cathedrals in Edinburgh
St. Giles Cathedral
(16)
St Giles Cathedral is the former royal cathedral of Edinbourgh city in Scotland. It used to be used by the kings of the castle, which is only 500 meters from the cathedral. Also called High Kirk of Edinburgh. It is no longer a Cathedral like it was in the seventeenth century, but now it's more. It belongs to the Church of Scotland, and is still a religious emblem of the country, since it was built on such an ancient and sacred place. After five o-clock masses are held on Sunday, and rest during the week, you can visit the church, the entrance is free, but they charge two pounds if you want to take pictures. St Giles is the patron saint of the disabled and the lepers. He was a saint invoked in the Middle Ages. It has very beautiful stained glass of the finest quality in the region, and a bell tower in a strange shape, which appears to be a crown. At night, the cathedral is lit up, and it's nice to look at from the royal path. On Sunday and sometimes during the tourist season a guy comes to play the Bagpipe, the national instrument of Scotland, with a kilt and the whole costume.
Palaces in Edinburgh
Holyrood Palace
(14)
The castle is beautiful with its abbey and its grounds. It offers complete tranquility. You must not miss Hollyroad Hill Park, which is just next to the castle and offers spectacular views of the city of Edinburgh. There is a lake with swans at its base and it´s an ideal place for hiking.
Historical Monuments in Edinburgh
Monument to Sir Walter Scott
(17)
I liked the city with its gardens, old buildings and the top part with the castle is very impressive. I'll give you guys only one photo of the monument of Sir Walter Scott, a spectacular Gothic construction erected in memory of one of the city's favorite sons, the author of many famous novels such as, as Ivanhoe and Rob Roy (who starred in the movie Liam Neeson).
Museums in Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland
(7)
The National Museum of Scotland is adjacent to the National Museum of Scotland. It's a very impressive and diverse museum with collections ranging from fauna and flora, life-size animals, British and international wildlife (with the areas where the species are found) and lots of interactive games for children. There's an old part with Egyptian mummies which is also well explained, several objects brought from English voyages of exploration, a collection of porcelain, precious objects of antiquity and explanations of the movements of peoples and ethnic groups through the ages. In the main room, which has a glass roof that makes it very clear, there is a large totem from Africa and a concert of Scottish orchestra, children could sit at a table to drawing and discover activities of the museum. The best thing is that everything is free, you can come as many times as you like! The only thing you have to pay for are the temporary exhibition. There was an exhibition on Scottish silver through the centuries, such as forged silver, jewelry making, combat and taking the whiskey!
Beaches in Edinburgh
Portobello Beach
(9)
It often happens that when I mention the beach in Edinburgh many people doubt what I'm saying, but it does exist in this city, being part of the coast of the Firth of Forth, in the Portobello district, one of my favorite places in Edinburgh, there is the Edinburgh beach and boardwalk/ promenade. The white sand beach is divided by wooden panels by zones and is an area often frequented on the weekends by people of the city, who like to take a walk with their familes, dogs, etc.. Of course it's an ideal place to buy fish and chips to takeaway and enjoy on the beach, with all the stress that usually comes with Edinburgh, being the capital of Scotland, this place is a haven of peace and tranquility with the most romantic and breathtaking sunsets.
Airports in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Airport
(9)
Edinburgh Airport is a fairly small airport, but receives a lot of traffic for the entire region of Scotland. The procedures are very fast due to its size and is very convenient if you want to have a round tour, it is a one-hour flight from Edinburgh to London compared to eight hours by bus and 6 hours by train. Daily flights between London and Edinburgh, to reach Gatwick fly with Easyjet, there are 4 flights a day, usually costs about 30 pounds for trips, planes are generally cheaper than the trains in the UK, especially if you do not buy well in advance. To arrive at Heathrow airport, fly with BMI, the service is much better, more comfortable onboard, but then it depends on where you want to go in London, it may be that another airport is more convenient . Edinburgh Airport also has many international flights, mostly to Europe, with British Airways and Ryanair.
Streets in Edinburgh
Princes Street
(12)
Princess Street is the biggest and most lively street in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It's the most commercial, too, with all the big name brands, and it's the separation between Old Town, the old neighborhood with the castle that dominates the city, and New Town, an add-on of Edinburgh that's already old to us, but was the first after the old historic part and is now made up of perpendicular blocks that are very easy to navigate. The street is a kilometer and a half long and we'll start on the left with a big luxury hotel that in a beautiful building, and on the right, the commercial center of Saint James, one of the biggest in the center. A little further down, on the left is the tourist information center, and a little further, there's a greenspace with a park, a monument to the glorious Scots. On the right hand side there are the more upscale store like House of Fraser, which is like a luxury Corte Ingles, and Marks&Spencer, or the BHS that sells clothes. At the end of the street there's the National Gallery of Scotland, an art museum with paintings, and more than anything, it's open year round and it's free!
Gardens in Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
(6)
The Scottish botanical garden consists of 10 greenhouses, varied and contrasting, which showcase the diversity of the planet's warmer climates. When I visited, they were partially closed to decorate for Chinese New Year, but generally they are open daily, and admission is 3 pounds (the rest of the botanical garden is free). Everything inside, the temperature and humidity levels, is controlled by computer, and a vast number of plants thrive here, with extremely rare plants from the island of Soqotra, between Yemen and Somalia. Many of these plants are used for scientific research, and you'll find the largest collection of rhododendrons in the world, as well as orchids, palms and other plants from hot, humid climates. You can see the tallest palm tree in the country, which has been there since 1858. And in front of the greenhouses, you can see another interesting plant, the oldest fossilized tree in the world. Sadly many children play on it, unaware of its significance.
Train Stations in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Waverley Station
(5)
Waverley Station is the main railway station in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. It's in the city center, between the old town and the new town, and occupies 100,000 square meters, which makes it the 2nd largest station in the UK (after London Waterloo). Glasgow station carries more people, but it's smaller. Waverley is under the bridge from North Bridge, just off Princes street, and you can see the glass roof from the medieval city or the bridges. Before it was a lake of pure water, the Nor Loch, but it was drained in the nineteenth century to build the station. If you take the train from Waverley Station you can reach St Pancras, which is one of the stations in north of London, or go north to Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen. There are also frequent connections to Glasgow that take 50 minutes. Trains in the UK are very expensive, though you can buy in advance more cheaply or buy a youth card, which is worth 20 pounds and gives you 1/3 off for a year.
Statues in Edinburgh
Greyfriars Bobby
(11)
Passing the intersection of Victoria Street and the George V Bridge, is a curious statue of a little dog. After a bit of research, we learned that this is the Edinburgh icon of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrior with faithfully watched over his master's grave for more than 14 years. He would spend all day sitting by the grave in the Greyfriars cemetery, just next door, then come for a meal in a local restaurant (now Bobby's Bar). On his death in 1872, the Baroness Burdett-Coutts erected this statue as a tribute.
Of Cultural Interest in Edinburgh
Edinburgh International Festival
(3)
The largest festival in the world is the Edinburgh Festival (with 2,000+ events). It started in 1947 (to revitalize the city post World War II) and today is the soul of the city, which in itself is attractive. It consists of 12 festivals, Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh's Hogmanay & New Year Party, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, Edinburgh Mela, Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Scottish International Storytelling Festival.
Squares in Edinburgh
Charlotte Square
(1)
Charlotte Square is in Edinburgh, behind the castle and near the commercial Princes Street. It was built in the eighteenth century as part of an expansion of the city as it was at the back of the castle and the area was not developed until then. The square is part of the new town which is a UNESCO world heritage site along with the Old City (the castle area)​​. Most of the square was designed by architect Robert Adam, but he died before he could complete his work, then the design is a little less harmonious due to the death of the engineer before completing their work. Initially it was called St. George Square, but was names on behalf of Queen Charlotte, as there was another George Square. The buildings now belong partly to the Trust for Scotland, which is a partnership for preservation and conservation of natural sites and monuments. Most of them are Georgian and many celebrities of the city lived in Charlotte Square.
Abbeys in Edinburgh
Holyrood Abbey
(2)
This architectural complex built on the edge of the medieval city of Edinburgh dates back to 1128, when the Holyrood Abbey was ordered to be built by King David I of Scotland. In 1529 the Holyroodhouse Palace was built for use as a residence for the kings of Scotland. After its construction, the Abbey of Holyrood became run by Augustinian monks and over the years gained more importance. The so-called Royal Chapel became the venue for coronations and royal marriages. Over the years, the Abbey of Holyrood went on to become a Catholic chapel of the prestigious Order of the Thistle, until the roof collapsed in a storm in 1768. Since then, the abbey has remained in ruins.

The best things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the perfect destination for a few days away. The beautiful city will captivate you, and you'll find an overwhelming amount of stuff to do in Edinburgh.

Old Town, the original medieval city, is one of the main areas along with the more modern New Town. The city was divided because of overpopulation of the old area and during the Age of Enlightenment a new, more organized and spacious district was built. If you're interested in history and wondering what to do in Edinburgh, it's good to start in Old Town. The ancient city, crowned by the castle, is one of the more interesting places to visit in Edinburgh. If you walk from the castle down the Royal Mile, the main street of the area and another of the top Edinburgh attractions, you'll feel like you've been transported to another era. The stone buildings with wooden arcades are unique and beautiful.

Along the way you'll find the Sant Giles Cathedral and Surgeon's Hall, which are interesting things to see in Edinburgh. At the end of the journey you'll come back to the 21st century with the modern Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace at the foot of Arthur Seat's. Arthur's Seat is a hill that deserves a visit. Climbing it may be one of the more daunting Edinburgh activities, but the views across the city are breathtaking. From above you can see the entire panorama of the city and from there finalise your plans for things to do in Edinburgh.

A more relaxing option for visiting Edinburgh may include wandering the grounds of the Princess Garden, walking the streets of the New Town, climbing Calton Hill, or doing some shopping in Princess Street. Visiting some of the museums in Edinburgh can also be a good choice, and at The Mound, a small hill in the center of the city, are the two main galleries in Edinburgh. But of course one of the attractions in Edinburgh is its pubs. The city is full of places where you can enjoy a pint and good music at the end of the day. There is no better way to end a day of sightseeing.

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