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Top attractions in Edinburgh

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

Things to Do in Edinburgh

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

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Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Great guide on this tour - very knowledgeable

This was a very enjoyable tour and easy to get to from our hotel ! the only thing that could of been better was the weather - it was a very cold drizzly day

Edinburgh Castle Skip-the-Line Ticket and Tour Reviewed by Jennifer, 04/16/2018

Exceptional — great for first time tourists in Scotland!

Our tourist guide Mark was the best! He knew what he was talking about and explained the history of places in detail and shared stories with passion and conviction!

Mark was the greatest tour guide, summing up Scotland in a story fille

Mark was the greatest tour guide telling the history of Scotland in a story form. He is a great asset to your company!

Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Tour Reviewed by Nilda, 04/13/2018

Great little tour and history of ‘old Edinburgh’

Although it was wet and cold our tour guide managed to take my mind off of it with his great stories. Nial our guide was great from start to finish and couldn’t fault his fascinating facts of the life of old Edinburgh, and his enthusiasm throughout. Only things that could improve is the route to the vaults as it was very slippy and the Hill was difficult to get down as there was no railing to hold on to. We didn’t get to see as much of the vaults as I thought we would. Although the tour above ground was good, it would have been better to get to explore a little more of the underground.

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Daytime Tour Reviewed by Alexander, 04/11/2018

Very good and helpful it’s a must for your first day

Very good tour shame the buses stop at 6pm a little annoying as you think they are 24hrs would be nice if they went on till a little later. But tour was very helpful to get to know where you are and about the history of where we are. Thank you