Edinburgh
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Top attractions in Edinburgh

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Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an effortlessly cohesive reflection of Scotland's breathtaking rural landscape, flaunting cultural vibrancy, historic charm, and scenic wonder. Even its New Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, what are its top attractions?

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

The Edinburgh Castle was built at least as early as the 12th century. Looking over the city from Castle Rock, it's been at the heart of some of Scotland's bloodiest conflicts.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

Having withstood multiple sieges, Stirling is one of Scotland's most important castles. Even if you're not a history buff, the scenery alone warrants a day trip from the capital!

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

What's a holiday to Scotland without visiting one of its picturesque lochs? Luckily, the largest and most breathtaking one in the country, the Loch Lomond, is just a short journey away!

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace

The Holyrood Abbey next to the Holyrood Palace is still in ruins after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Fun fact: Holyrood is Old English for "holy cross."

Royal Mile

Royal Mile

The historic thoroughfare, called The Royal Mile, runs through Edinburgh's Old Town from the Castle to Holyrood for one Scots mile. That's longer than a regular mile, in case you were wondering!

Greyfriars Church

Greyfriars Church

The birthplace of 17th-century Scottish Presbyterianism, this church is a landmark of the country's religious history. It still holds Sunday services in English and Scottish Gaelic.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Dating back to 1670, when it was used to grow medicinal plants, this conservation project has bloomed into a leading tourist attraction. Today it houses over 13,000 plant species!

HMY Britannia
Photo: Hugh Llewelyn @flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

HMY Britannia

Built in 1953, this royal yacht is considered one of the UK's top attractions. You can even enjoy lunch or afternoon tea on the Royal Deck!

Rosslyn Chapel

Just south of Edinburgh lies the village of Roslin, where the spectacular Rosslyn Chapel was built 600 years ago as an object of curiosity and splendor. A truly unique example of religious architecture!

Our Dynamic Earth

The Holyrood area sits beneath a dormant volcano. The information center Our Dynamic Earth is the perfect place to learn about the natural processes that shaped our planet from the Big Bang to the present!

Planning Your Edinburgh Visit

Best time to visit?

Edinburgh is heaving with visitors throughout the summer, but for good reason – it's festival season! If you'd rather see the city significantly less hectic then you'll have to brave the Scottish winter. The good news is that few landscapes lend themselves so beautifully to cloud and drizzle as that of Scotland!

When is the Edinburgh Festival?

Edinburgh has several large festivals occupying its streets throughout summer, including their film, jazz, and book festivals. However, it's common to mistake the Edinburgh Fringe – the world's largest performing arts festival – as THE festival. It spans 25 days of August. This year's exact dates, and those for the other events too, can be found here.

How long to stay?

Book at least a week in Edinburgh if you can. Many of the city's most popular attractions require more time than you'll realise and there's already more than enough to do, especially during festival season. Plus, if you haven't ventured into Scotland's awe-inspiring countryside before, you should consider at least one day trip out of the city too!

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    Spring for the mild weather, summer for the cultural events!

Things to Do in Edinburgh

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

Cities in United Kingdom

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

An out of the way trip, that was well worth it!

Guide was very knowledgeable and Posed thought provoking questions that deepened the mystery of why the caves exist !

Edinburgh: Gilmerton Cove Guided Tour Reviewed by Rita, 17/06/2019

Entertaining and informative plus a good stretch of the legs.

The walk was highly entertaining and included some gruesome bits of history and encompassed both the old city and the new. Our guide was well informed and related the tales with enthusiasm.

Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour Reviewed by Sharon, 17/06/2019

Extremely informative and very interesting. Well worth the money

This tour was so interesting and given with such enthusiasm by the guide. I would recommend this to anybody visiting the castle the only problem was trying to retain the information given. My advise would be to do the tour early in the day to give you sufficient time to look around after it is complete. We did it at 13:30 and had to be away by 16:00 which meant we couldn't enjoy the museum etc. So will have to go back another time.

Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour Reviewed by Ryan, 15/06/2019

Lauren was great and kept everyone enthralled.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time. The two hours went very quickly. Lauren was excellent.

Prompt, efficient - best economical way to/from airport to city!

Great price to get transportation to and from the airport to the city! 24-hour schedule with multiple stops in the city to make any flight schedule. If doing the hop on/hop off bus tour, be sure to use the transportation desk at the airport to bundle your purchase. Great staff, friendly and professional.

Edinburgh Airport City Airlink Bus Transfer Reviewed by John, 13/06/2019