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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

Outstanding and very good value for money.

Edgar the tour guide was extremely entertaining and put a great deal ofvrealism and energy into the stories he told us. My entire family enjoyed the whole experience from brginning ti the end. Outstanding wonderful experience which i would highly recommend.

Brilliant way to spend a couple of hours in Edinburgh!

Great host (Amandina I think her name was), great atmosphere, enjoyed every minute. Highly recommend.

Edinburgh Ghosts & Ghouls Old Town Underground Tour Reviewed by Michael, 12/01/2017

Excellent value for 3 of the 4 best attractions

Excellent value for 2 days on the 3 different bus tours around Edinburgh and entry to Edinburgh castle, Hollyrood Palace and the Royal Yacht Britannia. All 3 entries fast tracked and very good with Royal Yacht Brittania a MUST- almost worth the whole ticket price on its own!

Royal Edinburgh 2-Day Attractions Ticket Reviewed by Brian, 12/01/2017

fun and interesting despite the foggy day

Rich our guide was very informative, can’t think how can he drive that twisty road while telling stories, hats off

Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands: Full-Day Tour from Edinburgh Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 11/29/2017

Brilliant experience! Amazing, humorous guide!!

Not knowing what to expect, my friend and I waited at the stop for the bus to arrive for our day trip. When it arrived, we had a bright orange "hairy coo" bus which was comfortable and had the most amazing driver, who was also our guide. Graham, was hilarious from the moment we met him, giving us a taste of his humor and sarcasm while he showed us the sights and played some Scottish only music along the way. It was very organised and I felt it was both time and money well spent! I will be recommending to others, and maybe coming along too, if I am lucky enough to find myself in Scotland again soon!