Are you ready for a tour of the amazing Scottish capital? Discover some of the sights and attractions you shouldn’t miss.
Did you know that after London, Edinburgh is the second-most visited city in the UK? Given that it’s an important educational, historical, and cultural center, the city’s popularity isn’t really surprising.
Its attractions draw tourists from all over the world, as do its fantastic views of the Scottish Highlands. While it may get windy at times, don’t let it stop you – there’s a lot for you to see and do.
So, strap yourself in. You’re in for quite the trip.
- Check Out Blackness Castle
Edinburgh has its fair share of old buildings, but one of the most impressive is Blackness Castle.
This structure dates back to the 15th Century and is only 35 minutes away from downtown Edinburgh. So, going here shouldn’t take much time out of your day.
You can climb the castle’s towers if you want to see some fantastic views of the region. But be sure to explore its interior as well, as it still has plenty of original furnishings and artifacts.
- Explore Edinburgh Castle
Your castle tour is not over yet. In fact, a trip to Edinburgh Castle is easily one of the top things to do in Edinburgh.
It’s a gorgeous structure that happens to sit on an extinct volcano. The castle is an impressive sight to behold no matter the weather or time of the year and stands out like a beacon in the city.
Tourists also gather on the castle grounds to hear the one o’clock cannon fire, which is a tradition that goes back to the 19th Century. But if you don’t want to brave the crowds, you can listen to it from Monday through Saturday if you’re close enough to the castle.
- Hike an Extinct Volcano
The area around the city’s namesake castle is just as impressive to explore. As it’s called, Arthur’s Seat is the largest portion of the volcano once residing in Edinburgh.
The massive hill offers spectacular views of the city and most of its surrounding areas. That’s why taking a trip to Arthur’s Seat is among the top things to do in Edinburgh for free.
If you’re no stranger to hiking, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to reach the top of the hill. It’s not a strenuous activity, although it can get quite windy as you make your way up. So, adequate clothing is recommended.
- Visit the Museum
The National Museum of Scotland is among the top Edinburgh attractions. You can easily spend hours wandering around and learning about Scottish history. Every level depicts a different period in the country’s history.
But that’s not the most impressive part.
The museum combines specialty, history, and natural history museums under one roof. In addition, you can check out various science exhibits, meteorites, and dinosaur displays. You’ll also find works of art among its many rooms, as well as displays from the world of design and fashion.
It’s a fascinating place to tour, especially when you consider the fact that there’s no need to hop around town and go to different buildings to see the different exhibits.
- Discover A Unique Attraction
Have you ever wondered how technology and history can go hand in hand? The Camera Obscura & World of Illusions will satisfy your curiosity.
A unique venue sitting inside a 17th Century building without a lift, it provides some of the best attractions and views of the city.
There’s also plenty to do here. You can go through a mirror maze or a shrinking room. Or even check out the vortex tunnel and get hands-on with mind-bending but fun optical illusions. The list goes on.
It’s one of the top things to do in Edinburgh, and perhaps the most exciting family attraction in the country.
- Explore Royal Mile and Calton Hill
Both of these iconic locations make up the rest of the extinct volcano. And each one provides glimpses into the city’s rich history and fabulous views of Edinburgh’s skyline.
You can check out the Royal Mile aboveground or via an underground tour of the city and feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Meanwhile, Calton Hill is a historic neighborhood with many monuments from the Enlightenment period.
- Palace of Holyroodhouse
Have you ever wondered where the Queen would stay when visiting Scotland? To answer this question, take the road from Royal Mile. And at the end of it, you’ll reach the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
It’s an impressive building and the official royal Scottish residence of the Queen.
Exploring the site is one of the top things to do in Edinburgh if you’re a history buff or simply a monarchy enthusiast. Make sure to take a tour to hear some interesting stories about British and Scottish historical figures who have ties to the palace.
- Discover Authentic Whisky
What better place to go on a hard liquor tour other than Edinburgh?
Joining the Scotch Whisky Experience guided tour is a must. You’ll get an introduction to the distillation process and discover a wide range of regional whiskies you probably never knew existed.
You’ll also be able to step inside a vault known for storing the most extensive collection of Scotch Whiskies. So, get ready for a cool trip and an exciting tasting experience.
- Explore the Eerie Part of Edinburgh
Ghost tours and graveyard tours are always popular with tourists. But these Edinburgh activities are no longer the spookiest.
On your visit to Edinburgh Old Town, remember to check out Real Mary King’s Close. This hundred-year-old hidden street system requires a guide if you don’t want to get lost.
So, check out what’s hidden underneath Royal Mile and what underground Edinburgh is all about. More importantly, share your surreal experience to others.
- Tour the Royal Yacht Britannia
You can think of this as a floating palace for Her Majesty the Queen. And this makes exploring the Royal Yacht Britannia among the top things to do in Edinburgh.
In fact, it’s arguably one of the most popular tourist activities in the city.
The impressive yacht sailed a million miles during its 40 years of service. Five of its decks are entirely accessible, as are most of the important apartments, quarters, and other ship sections.
Rich in History and Activities
What’s more to say about Edinburgh?
Maybe just to add that one trip is not enough to experience everything. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see enough during your brief time there.
And here’s a bonus tip: don’t forget to also go on a pub crawl – the Edinburgh nightlife is legendary.