What to Do and See in Edinburgh

A tour of Edinburgh takes you on a fascinating journey through its past, present, and beautiful surroundings. Edinburgh, the charming capital of Scotland, offers the ideal fusion of historical significance and contemporary vitality.

At the top of the storied Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, the city’s most recognizable landmark, dominates the skyline. Its mediaeval chambers should be explored, and seeing the One O’Clock Gun fire and taking in the expansive vistas of the city are all must-do activities. The Royal Mile is a busy roadway lined with businesses, eateries, and landmarks including the charming St. Giles’ Cathedral.

World-famous festivals like the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe display Edinburgh’s vibrant cultural sector. These gatherings unite artists from all around the world, displaying everything from theatre to comedy to dance to music.

The vast Holyrood Park is a calm haven and offers stunning views from Arthur’s Seat, an old volcano. It also makes a lovely environment for a leisurely stroll. It is easy to explore, shop, and indulge in traditional Scottish cuisine in the Old Town’s quaint streets and New Town’s exquisite Georgian buildings.

Edinburgh offers visitors an amazing experience that perfectly embodies the spirit of Scotland’s alluring city thanks to its historical buildings, exciting events, and surrounding natural beauty. In this article, we will give you our suggestions on what to do and see in Edinburgh.

If you would like to read our article on Must See Hidden Gems in Edinburgh click here or What to do and see in Scotland click here for our recommendations. 

  1. Visit Edinburgh Castle

Anyone exploring Scotland’s capital city must absolutely go to Edinburgh Castle. This historic fortification is perched high above Castle Rock and gives a fascinating look into the history of the country as well as breath-taking panoramic views of the city below.

As soon as tourists enter the castle grounds, they are thrust into the past. Discover the significance of the regal Crown Jewels to Scottish kings, especially the renowned Stone of Destiny. Discover the fascinating tales of Scottish royalty and military history as you gaze in awe at the magnificent Great Hall, which was built in the 16th century.

The daily firing of the One O’clock Gun, a long time custom that dates back to 1861, is one of the castle’s highlights. The thunder of the cannon reverberates across the city, acting as a reminder of Edinburgh’s illustrious past.

Take in the amazing views of the city skyline and the surrounding area as you tour the castle’s ramparts and courtyards. The view from the castle provides a magnificent vantage point from which you can fully appreciate Edinburgh’s splendor and charm.

A trip to Edinburgh Castle is a rewarding experience that immerses you in the enthralling tales of Scotland’s past and provides unrivalled views of the city’s present thanks to its historical significance, breath-taking architecture, and panoramic panoramas.

  1. Walk Down the Royal Mile

To appreciate Edinburgh’s vibrant culture and rich history, you must explore the Royal Mile. This famous thoroughfare, which connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is a fascinating historical excursion.

You will come across a patchwork of architectural marvels, stores, eateries, and historical landmarks as you meander through the cobbled streets. Explore St. Giles’ Cathedral’s ornate interior and take in its majestic majesty, a marvel of Gothic architecture. Explore the secret alleyways (closes) that branch off the Royal Mile to discover hidden treasures and engrossing tales of the ancient Edinburgh.

A shopping wonderland, The Royal Mile features a variety of boutiques, gift shops and Scottish specialty businesses. Enjoy Scottish-themed tartans, kilts, traditional crafts, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Visit fascinating sites that will transport you back in time, such as the Museum of Edinburgh, which explores the history of the city, or the Real Mary King’s Close, an underground tour that explores the mysteries of the past.

During the greatest arts festival in the world, the Royal Mile comes alive with street performers entertaining people and pop-up venues hosting a wide variety of shows.

A trip to the Royal Mile is a rewarding experience that brings the spirit and heritage of Edinburgh to life, whether you are visiting its historical sites, searching for Scottish treasures, or soaking up the festive atmosphere.

  1. Visit Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park

A trip to Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park is a mesmerizing experience that mixes regal heritage with unspoiled beauty. The British monarch’s official house in Scotland is Holyrood Palace, which is located at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle.

Explore the magnificent State Apartments of this mediaeval palace, which feature sumptuous tapestries, elaborate ceilings, and rare works of art. Do not pass up the opportunity to see the old rooms where Mary, Queen of Scots, formerly lived and discover more about her turbulent life.

Holyrood Park, a vast green haven that provides a tranquil break from the busy city, is located close to the palace. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around its walkways while admiring the lovely surroundings and taking in the views of Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano that offers a bird’s-eye view of Edinburgh.

A popular activity that rewards you with amazing views of the city skyline and the surrounding countryside is hiking to Arthur’s Seat. It is the ideal location for nature enthusiasts, photographers, or anyone seeking peace in the arms of nature.

When you visit Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park, you can learn about Scotland’s royal past and take in the natural splendor that Edinburgh.

  1. Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Experiencing the best performing arts from around the world at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an exciting and absorbing experience. Every August, Edinburgh becomes a thriving and creative center thanks to the Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world.

The festival presents a wide variety of performances, including spoken word, theatre, comedy, music, and dance. There are performers for everyone, both well-known and up-and-coming. Explore the crowded streets where entertainers enthrall audiences with spontaneous performances and street shows, resulting in an electrifying environment.

You can explore and discover new talent and genres during the Fringe thanks to the thousands of shows dispersed across different venues. In renowned theatres, you can catch well-known acts or discover undiscovered gems in small settings.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a celebration of artistic expression, cross-cultural interaction, and community. It is not only about performances. It offers a chance to interact with artists, other festival attendees, and the city itself.

Whether you enjoy comedy, theatre, or are just interested in the arts, going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a remarkable event that highlights imagination and the nearly endless potential of human expression.

  1. Nightlife in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s nightlife is a colorful and varied tapestry that appeals to all tastes and preferences. The city offers a wide range of possibilities for a thrilling evening out, from cozy pubs to busy clubs.

The nightlife in Edinburgh is greatly influenced by the city’s historic taverns. These quaint places are full of charm and personality and provide a welcoming environment to sip on a superb whisky or a pint of regional artisan beer. Discover hidden jewels while listening to live music, participating in storytelling events, and taking in the Old Town’s cozy atmosphere.

Edinburgh has a vibrant club scene for those looking for a livelier ambiance. Experience the explosive atmosphere of live music performances in larger concert halls or dance the night away to a variety of music genres in hip venues with renowned DJs.

Additionally, the city is well-known for its thriving comedy industry, which includes stand-up comedy clubs and comedy festivals that draw top comics from around the globe.

The nightlife in Edinburgh has something for everyone with its wide variety of pubs, bars, live music venues, and comedy acts, ensuring an amazing evening of entertainment and companionship.

If you would like to know our recommendations on some of the go to pubs in Edinburgh, click here go to our post where you will receive the best information and some of our recommendations.

  1. Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s hop-on, hop-off bus tours are a practical and pleasant way to see the city’s finest sights at your own pace. These excursions let you get off at any point that appeals to you while providing a thorough overview of Edinburgh’s famous landmarks.

The buses travel in a circle and stop frequently at popular destinations such Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and the National Museum of Scotland. As you journey, you can learn about the city’s history, culture, and must-see attractions thanks to the informative audio commentary that is available in a variety of languages.

Due to the flexibility of these trips, you are free to get off at any point and spend as much time as you like taking in the sights. Simply board the following bus when you are ready to continue travelling.

Hop-on, hop-off bus tours provide convenience, flexibility, and a hassle-free way to discover the finest of Edinburgh, whether you’re a first-time visitor or looking to return favorite sites. Allow the buses to take you on a fascinating tour of this alluring city while you sit back and unwind.

If you would like to book a ticket on a hop on hop off bus tour in Edinburgh, click here or on either the Big Bus Tours or CitySightseeing banners below to select from one of our preferred suppliers.

  1. Visit the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh offers an enthralling tour of the nation’s rich history, culture, and technological advancements. This top-notch museum offers a wide range of exhibits that cross numerous disciplines and eras, and it is housed in a gorgeous Victorian edifice.

Explore the varied galleries inside, which feature everything from ancient civilizations and prehistoric artefacts to contemporary science and technology. Be amazed by the Lewis Chessmen’s fine artistry, the mummies from ancient Egypt, and the Scottish artefacts.

The museum also has an outstanding collection of artwork, which includes pieces by well-known creators including Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Monet. The art galleries are a visual feast, with everything from modern displays to old-world treasures.

The fascinating Science and Technology galleries will teach you about Scotland’s innovative contributions to science and technology. Learn about the innovations, inventions, and discoveries that have influenced the modern world.

An exploration of Scotland’s past, present, and future is made possible through the National Museum of Scotland’s interactive exhibits, immersive exhibitions, and substantial holdings. For individuals who are interested in history, art, or who want to fully comprehend Scotland’s cultural legacy, it is a must-visit location.

  1. Go up Arthurs Seat

When visiting Edinburgh, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts should climb Arthur’s Seat. As part of Holyrood Park, this extinct volcano offers a thrilling walk with breath-taking all-encompassing views of the city and its surrounds.

As you begin the climb, you will go via a range of landscapes, from easy slopes to rocky trails, on your route to the summit. Although the ascent might be challenging, the breath-taking views make it all worthwhile.

A stunning 360-degree perspective of Edinburgh is unveiled when reaching the summit of Arthur’s Seat. You can see the ancient sites of the city, like Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, as well as the vastness of the Scottish countryside, from this vantage point.

It is not just about the vistas when you visit Arthur’s Seat; you can also get close to nature there. The park offers a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city thanks to its abundance of vegetation and fauna.

Ascending Arthur’s Seat is a remarkable experience that emphasizes Edinburgh’s natural beauty and rewards you with stunning views, whether you are looking for a strenuous walk or a peaceful respite.

  1. Visit the Royal Yacht Britannia

A fascinating look into the regal life of the British monarchy may be had by visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh. Visitors are welcome to go on-board this majestic ship, which served as the royal family’s former floating house and experience its opulent interiors and fascinating history.

You will meander through the opulent State Apartments on your own-guided tour, where dignitaries and heads of state were entertained. Admire the sumptuous decorations, deft construction, and breath-taking artwork that graced the boat during its active service.

Discover the intriguing tales and regal happenings that took place on board, including official state banquets and private family moments. Visit the Royal Deck Tea Room for a great lunch and a look at the Engine Room, where the yacht’s workings are unveiled.

The Royal Yacht Britannia, which combines opulence with a maritime experience, provides a singular window into the lives of the British royal family. Visitors can immerse themselves in a bygone era of grandeur and elegance at this enchanting site.

If you would like to book a tour on the Royal Yacht Britannia, click here or on the Get Your Guide image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Explore The Shore

Edinburgh’s The Shore is one of the city’s most lovely neighborhoods, and exploring it is a wonderful way to get to know it better. The Shore is a center for culinary delights, cultural expression, and waterfront attractiveness and is located in Leith’s historic port neighborhood.

You will come across a variety of eateries, cafes, and pubs that provide a wide variety of cuisines, from traditional Scottish meals to cosmopolitan flavors, as you meander down the cobblestone streets. Enjoy local specialties, indulge in fresh seafood, or simply unwind with a drink while admiring the magnificent waterfront views.

A lively arts community with various galleries and studios showing the work of regional artists is also present in the neighborhood. Discover one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics by spending some time exploring these artistic locales.

Historic structures and the Royal Yacht Britannia’s presence on the Shore both attest to its maritime legacy. Enjoy a moment to gaze at the lovely docks and the adorable boats bobbing in the sea.

The Shore is a hidden treasure in Edinburgh that offers a revitalizing and pleasurable experience for locals and visitors alike thanks to its thriving food scene, cultural attractions, and picturesque waterfront.

  1. The Scotch Whisky Experience

For whisky lovers and others who are interested in learning more about Scotland’s national beverage, the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is a must-visit destination. This comprehensive tour, which situated nearby the famous Edinburgh Castle, takes you through the development and appreciation of Scotch whisky.

Upon arrival, you will start a fascinating guided tour that includes a barrel ride where you will discover how whisky is made. Explore a virtual distillery to learn the secrets of the many Scotch whisky locations and flavours.

Exploring the over 3,000-bottle collection of Scotch whisky, the largest in the world, is the experience’s high point. You can select and try several whisky samples with the help of knowledgeable advisers, learning about the distinctive scents, flavours, and qualities of this well-loved drink.

Whisky masterclasses and blending sessions are available for individuals looking for a more in-depth experience, offering a hands-on exploration into the craft of whisky making.

For whisky enthusiasts and those seeking to broaden their knowledge and appreciation of this renowned spirit, The Scotch Whisky Experience offers an in-depth and engaging trip that honors Scotland’s whisky legacy.

If you would like to book a tour on the Scottish Whisky Experience, click here or on the Klook image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit Real Mary King’s Close

Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh offers a unique glimpse into the secret lanes and tunnels that run beneath the busy city. This historical site provides a fascinating look into Edinburgh inhabitants’ daily lives from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

You will enter a conserved area of the Old Town that was once a busy street under the guidance of costumed guides. Discover the maze-like streets, admire the intact homes, and take in the fascinating tales of those who once inhabited and worked in this underground setting.

Find out about the difficult living circumstances, the effects of the epidemic, and the secrets that these secret caverns possess. You will believe you have travelled back in time thanks to the immersive experience and accurate reconstructions.

The combination of history, narrative, and evocative surroundings in Real Mary King’s Close makes for an engrossing experience. It gives tourists a distinctive look at Edinburgh’s past and gives them a chance to explore the city’s rich heritage from a breath-taking vantage point.

If you would like to book a tour on the Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, click here or on the Viator image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Go up Calton Hill

Visitors to Edinburgh who climb Calton Hill are rewarded with breath-taking panoramas and a calm atmosphere. This well-known hill in the middle of the city is home to a number of impressive structures and provides a tranquil haven from the busy streets below.

You will be welcomed with breath-taking sights of the city skyline, Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, and the surrounding landscapes as you ascent the steps and trails to the peak. The vistas are especially beautiful at sunrise and dusk, when the warm sky colours create a mystical setting.

The National Monument, which resembles the Parthenon in Athens, and the Nelson Monument, which is topped with a peculiar telescope-shaped tower, are just a couple of the prominent structures that can be seen on Calton Hill. These buildings give the hill a sense of grandeur and historical significance.

Exploring Calton Hill offers a tranquil escape from the rush of the city, a spot to pause, snap pictures, or just take in the splendor of Edinburgh’s surroundings. For those seeking breath-taking views and a peaceful connection with nature and history, it is a must-visit location.

  1. Visit Dean Village

Dean Village in Edinburgh is like entering a beautiful sanctuary tucked away in the middle of the city. This beautiful neighborhood offers a delightful getaway from the bustle of the city and is situated along the Water of Leith.

You will be mesmerized by Dean Village’s cobblestone lanes, lovely houses, and the sound of the river running as you stroll through it. The region is well-known for its charming and characterful 19th-century architecture, which features a mix of Georgian and Victorian structures.

The serene ambiance, breath-taking views of the gorgeous river, and lush surroundings of Dean Village are its defining features. Enjoy a picnic in one of the parks, take a leisurely stroll down the riverfront path, or just relax and take in the quiet atmosphere of this wonderful location.

A tranquil getaway and a chance to take in the beauty of Edinburgh’s hidden beauties may be found by visiting Dean Village. It is the ideal location for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone looking for a quiet retreat in the middle of the city.