Edinburgh
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Top Tours & Activities 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What People Are Saying About Edinburgh

A most professional & enjoyable family experience, 1st time & not last

Lived up to its reputation. Thoroughly memorable performance by all participants. Our 14yr old daughter loved everything! I was particularly impressed also with the friendly yet clearly well organised marshalling, security, other volunteers etc all of whom gave one a sense of 'being in safe hands' at all times. We shall definitely return and have already been recommending the experience to family and friends. So, well done to all, thank you. Paul, Clare and Rosie Ratcliffe

Royal Edinburgh Ticket Reviewed by Paul, 08/21/2017

Very informative and interesting, a very enjoyable trip.

We thoroughly enjoyed looking around the ship and seeing where the royals used to relax. Very interesting seeing the car on board too and the massive laundry. The crew lived in cramped conditions!

Deliver exactly what promised! Great tour and excelent guide

This is by far the best small groups I have ever taken. Great places to enjoy, that I knew already but Franzisca (our driver) made al the difference. Great talent to join people from different corners of the World during a day. Great selection of Scotish music during the trip and very enjoyable comments. A truly performer you could feel she is passionate to make you have a memorable day. A must in Edimburgh!

Rosslyn Chapel and the Scottish Borders - Small Group Tour Reviewed by ELSA MATILDE, 08/18/2017

Very effective way of seeing the city.Alternate routes also was a plus

The service kept to schedule given the heavy traffic Drivers were courteous,and informative. Perhaps a few more stops such as St Andrews Square would have been a plus. Overall very good value

City Tour Grand- 24 or 48 Hour Ticket Reviewed by graham, 08/18/2017

Excellent mixture of information and entertainment

Excellent example of sophisticated storytelling. The tour guide, Jenny, was superb, and found the right level of audience participation