Edinburgh
Things to do for adults

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Our most recommended Edinburgh Things to do for adults

Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

1. Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close, voted Scotland’s Best Heritage Tourism Experience. Discover over 400 years of history and learn about the intriguing stories of Edinburgh’s past residents. From the deadly plague epidemic to a famous royal visitor, there is a myriad of tales just waiting to be told. Journey through time and find out why the Close, once open to the skies and bustling with trade, came to be underground. An experience rooted in social history, this 1-hour character-guided tour also includes an immersive walk-through of the city’s uniquely preserved streets and spaces, all located underneath Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. Expect a truly unique glimpse into the city’s past. 

Edinburgh: 24-Hour or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

2. Edinburgh: 24-Hour or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

Explore Scotland’s capital city across one or two days on a hop-on hop-off bus tour. See famous landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, the iconic Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyrood House and learn about their historic significance from the onboard audio commentary. Hop on the bus at the first stop at St Andrew's Square. From either the top deck or the interior of the bus, you can explore the city in a convenient way, catching a glimpse of some iconic buildings and sights. With your ticket, you will also receive additional perks and discounts such as discounted entry to the Holyrood Distillery, a bus ride to Edinburgh Zoo, and many more benefits. Choose between a 24-hour or 48-hour pass with stops at a variety of locations along several routes including: • The Royal Mile• Edinburgh Castle• Dynamic Earth• Edinburgh Dungeons• Real Mary Kings Close• Greyfriars’s Bobby • Lothian Road• Grassmarket• Lauriston Place• Johnston Terrace• National Museum of Scotland• John Knox House• Museum of Edinburgh• Scottish Parliament• Palace of Holyrood House• Burns Monument

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

3. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen’s official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once inside the baroque palace, learn about its close associations with Scotland's history via a complimentary multimedia guide (available in 9 languages). Visit the State Apartments to see the changing tastes of successive monarchs. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the Queen and Royal Family for official ceremonies. Go to the Throne Room to see where lunch was served to the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle when a new knight was installed. Discover where the Queen holds her private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Queen's Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony. Admire Jacob de Wet's portraits of real and legendary kings of Scotland in the Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace. Learn about dramatic events from Scotland’s history in Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, where she witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary, Rizzio, by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley. At the end of your multimedia tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or light lunch (own expense) at the Café at the Palace.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Panoramic Bus Ticket

4. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Panoramic Bus Ticket

Explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a hop-on and hop-off open-top bus tour. Enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the city. Stop at locations like St Andrew Square, Johnstone Terrace, the Royal Mile. See sights like Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket. Board the bus and begin your city adventure. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

5. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

Heading north from Edinburgh, pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle and skirt the Trossachs (Rob Roy country) before crossing the wilds of Rannoch Moor and moving on to dramatic Glencoe, the site of the massacre of the McDonald clan in 1692. The tour takes you past Fort William and Britain's highest mountain, the mighty Ben Nevis, before following the Great Glen and stopping in the village of Fort Augustus by the shores of mysterious Loch Ness. You then have the option to take a boat trip on mysterious Loch Ness and hunt for Nessie, explore the shores of the loch, or simply relax and enjoy your free locally produced picnic lunch. A typical lunch includes a bottle of Scottish mineral water, a choice of freshly made sandwiches, and shortbread. Your return journey passes south along Loch Laggan stopping at one of the quaint Highland villages along the way. After one last look at the spectacular Forth Bridges, arrive back in the capital at around 8:00 PM. Loch Ness Cruise option: A cruise on Loch Ness is an unforgettable experience, where you might just catch a glimpse of Nessie. Locally-owned custom-built boats are used, designed with sonar and underwater imaging systems, giving you a fascinating view of the terrain and life underwater. You can also enjoy the views with a coffee or beer from the onboard bar. The cruise lasts about 1 hour. You can purchase your cruise ticket from your guide on the day of the tour. Tickets cost £12 (a savings of £1.00 on the standard ticket price) and allow you to board the boat immediately on arrival in the village without having to queue. The Loch Ness Cruise is subject to availability during winter months.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

6. Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

Embark on a full-day guided trip to Loch Ness from Edinburgh and tour the Scottish Highlands. See the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, keep an eye out for Nessie on a boat cruise and enjoy a picnic lunch. Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs Rob Roy country, and cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at dramatic Glencoe; the scene of the infamous 1692 massacre.  Your journey takes you through Fort William. Pass Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, before entering the Great Glen. Arrive at the pretty Highland village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy a lovely picnic with freshly made sandwiches, fresh fruit, shortbread, and Scottish mineral water. If you fancy something more substantial, your guide will happily recommend some great local cafes.  Take an optional boat cruise on the loch, go for a scenic hike, or just relax by the Caledonian Canal. If you choose to sail along the waters of Loch Ness, it really is an unforgettable experience. Your boat is equipped with the latest hi-tech color, sonar, and underwater imaging system, giving you a fascinating view of the underwater terrain and life. You might even see Nessie! You can also relax with a coffee or beer in the onboard bar. Having seen the best of the Scottish Highlands, it's time to head back to Edinburgh via shimmering Loch Laggan and the wild and lonely Drumochter Pass. Head south and enter Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers, and mountains. See the spectacular Forth Bridge before arriving back in Edinburgh at around 20:00.

Edinburgh: Silent Disco Adventure Tour

7. Edinburgh: Silent Disco Adventure Tour

Join your silent disco team as they take you on a journey of song and dance through the famous streets of Edinburgh. This musically instructed adventure aims to have your funky moves on display and your pop star voices serenading the people of the capital. Your hi-tech headsets will fill your body with beats, playing theme songs and your favorite hits from across the decades. As your inhibitions evaporate and laughter takes over, you will be part of the best all-dance, all-singing walking tour in town. Ganging up with your super-stylish leader at the starting point, you’ll groove down the historic streets, passing famous landmarks, performers and the public (who will be looking on in awe and jealousy). Your moves are awesome, you just don’t know it yet!

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

8. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

On this 9.5-hour excursion from Edinburgh you’ll visit the picturesque town of Coldsream and the inspiring Bamburgh Castle. But it’s Alnwick Castle that’s the main destination of the day. It’s been a key filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey and is a historic location in its own right. You’ll leave Edinburgh at 08:15 in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Along the way, you’ll have views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines. The first stop is the beautiful coastal town Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the dramatic 5th-century Bamburgh Castle sitting on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite. In the afternoon you’ll visit Alnwick Castle. Admire the large stately rooms and the stunning architecture or learn a little about all the popular films and TV shows that have been filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will make your way back over the border and in to Scotland. The final stop is the border town of Coldstream that lies on the north side of the River Tweed. Hear about the turbulent past of this charming town before your journey ends in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

9. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket. Pick from a ticket that lasts for 24 or 48 hours. Explore the city with stop options like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Hop aboard and embark on your city adventure. Contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

Scottish Highlands & Whisky Full-Day Tour from Edinburgh

10. Scottish Highlands & Whisky Full-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Enjoy a fabulous day trip from Edinburgh to experience Scotland’s beautiful countryside just minutes from the capital. Drive to the stunning Highlands, and stop to sample a drop of the national drink to get a complete taste of Scotland. Leaving Edinburgh, the tour makes its way to the ancient capital of Stirling, where the skyline is dominated by its castle on the rock, and the iconic Wallace Monument. Stop to hear of Scotland’s most famous patriot, and his part in the medieval Wars of Independence. Say hello to “Hamish the hairy coo,” before driving through the scenic Trossachs National Park. Heading further into the Highlands, pass the shimmering waters of Loch Earn, before stopping for lunch at The Famous Grouse Experience, one of Scotland’s best known whisky distilleries. Once revived, enjoy a “wee dram” of Scotch whisky and drink the “Water of Life.” Continue to the Hermitage in the heart of Perthshire for a short woodland walk to see the spectacular Black Linn Falls on the River Braan. On the return journey, visit the quaint village of Dunkeld, an area associated with Macbeth, where the stunning cathedral sits on the banks of the River Tay. Pass the iconic Forth Bridge on the way back into Edinburgh, admiring the amazing 19th century feat of engineering.

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Louise was our tour guide and she was absolutely delightful! She has a great sense of humor and is full of fun little facts. She also played great music that wasn’t overpowered by bagpipes (although she played some). She is just so kind and a positive woman. She truly made our trip that more enjoyable and my mom just loved her!

If you are on a cruise you will have to take a city bus into town to get on the bus. Right outside the port, across the street and takes about 20 minutes. If you buy the pass with the 3 tours you can take the blue tour back to the ship as it stops at the port.

It was a fun fulfilling day trip despite the long drive but our tour guide Tanya made it fun and entertaining. Wish we could have stopped at more places to take quick pictures but other than that it was a fun trip!!! Thank you for a great experience!

Wonderful - Holyrood is lovely and everyone was very friendly. The cafe was quite expensive but enjoyed buying a couple of gifts in the shop . The Palace is steeped in history and lovely to walk round at my leisure

Easy convenient way to get an initial overview of the city We did 2 tours and were satisfied with both