Top attractions 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?
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.
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!
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!
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."
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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- Best time to visit
- Spring for the mild weather, summer for the cultural events!
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What people are saying about Edinburgh
I liked the one oclock artillery gun fire. It was a great treat to see how land was ruled and controlled by the rulers in the old days. Wars were fought for land, money and women. The dress codes and the weapons used during wars were astonishing. Justice and fairness were never the number one goal may it be in the past or in the present. Achievements were always measured with wealth that got acquired at the end of wars. It is also great to see how records were kept in those days and how those records were safe guarded against enemies. Hats off to those Who had the foresight and the determination to safe guard all those remaining wealth. Thank you once again. Rajah
Truly enjoyed the day. Booked an eight hour walking tour focusing on the historical aspects of Scotland, starting out at the Edinburgh Castle, walking the Royal Mile and the Palace, with other highlights pointed out and discussed. Enjoyed a great lunch with our Guide, Doug, as well as a end of tour cocktail. Most enjoyable way of touring, flexible, personal and most of all, informative. Was like touring with a member of the family, who was very knowledgeable about Scotland, Edinburgh and all the activities we visited. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Well Done.
Would recommend this tour for people visiting Edinburgh to give them a feel of the city in the Early years of it's existence and how hard it was for the early settlers who came to find work in this city and through no fault of their own could fall on hard times and ultimately put their own Iives and family at risk by just being here and not finding work, harsh penalties were dealt out to those who took to crime, or simply were homeless.
Our guide Conner was absolutely amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed his company and were sad to end the day and have to say good-bye. The combination of his knowledge of facts/history and humour were delightful and added so much more to the experience then what we had expected for the day. I would recommend this tour and Conner as the host to everyone!
Worth every penny. Especially Royal Yacht Britannia and Hollyrood House. Bus very easy to catch. Automated tour guide very informative. Would highly recommend. We had the 48 hour pass and 3 attractions which was excellent value for money.