10 Best Places to visit in Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is a captivating city that exudes an air of history and charm. Nestled in the heart of Scotland, it offers a perfect blend of stunning architecture, bustling streets, and breathtaking landscapes. Edinburgh offers a truly unforgettable experience whether you are here for a day or more. You can explore the city at your own pace with a 24-hour ticket hop-on hop-off bus tour and there are also some great day trip options from Edinburgh. Here is our compilation of the 10 best places to visit in Edinburgh during your visit to Scotland. Hope this inspires you to travel and plan your trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Explore History at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress with centuries of rich history dominating the city’s skyline offering panoramic view of the city. It was once the residence of Scottish monarchs. Explore the Crown Jewels, the One o’clock Gun, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th-century gun Mons Meg, and the National War Museum of Scotland.

As you explore the castle, you will come across bronze statues of heroes like William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The One O’clock Gun is fired every day at 1pm except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

You can explore this important fortress while visiting Edinburgh by taking this guided walking tour available in English, German, Spanish and Italian languages. It also includes skip-the-line so you can make most of your valuable time. Surely Edinburgh Castle is one of the best places to visit in Edinburgh which should be on your travel plans while visiting Scotland.

Check out the top rated and recommended walking tours from Get Your Guide below:

Arthur's Seat

Arthur’s Seat is an iconic peak and a dormant volcano is situated in Holyrood Park and offers panoramic views of Edinburgh. Hike to the summit for a breathtaking perspective of the city and its surroundings. It is one of the most popular places to watch the sunset. The highest point of the Arthur’s seat is at 251 metres and there are many walking trails around the park and hike to the peak is moderately easy and very well worth the efforts to watch the sunset. This is definitely one of the free things to do while visiting Edinburgh.

Scott Monument

The Scott Monument, a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, is the second-largest monument to a writer globally after the José Martí monument in Havana. Standing at 200ft and 6 inches, you can climb 287 steps to reach the top to see amazing views of Edinburgh and beyond. Tickets can be purchased from the Scott Monument kiosk on arrival.

Prices: Adult £8 | Child/Concession £6 | Family Ticket £20
Timings: Open 7 days a week from 10 am to 3:30 pm
Website: https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/scott-monument
Address: E. Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia, once Queen Elizabeth’s private getaway, is now a popular tourist attraction in Scotland. It has served the Royal Family for over 44 years, traveling over one million miles and undergoing 186 state visits. The ship features a state dining room, 24-hour laundry, a state drawing-room, separate sitting rooms and bedrooms for the Duke and Queen of Edinburgh, and a sun lounge which you can explore with a free audio guide.

Did you know that all the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01pm!

Prices: Adult – 19.50 | Child (aged 5-17) – 9.25
Website: https://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/
Operational Hours: 9:30 AM – 04:00 PM
Location: Ocean Drive Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ Scotland.

National Museum of Scotland

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, National Museum is a cultural gem showcasing the rich Scottish History, diverse exhibits spanning science, art, design and technology. The Millennium Clock, Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, and Lewis Chessmen collection are among the notable exhibits. The National Museum of Scotland provides a comprehensive exploration of the nation’s historical and contemporary heritage.

Prices: Free Entry
Opening Hours: Open daily, 10:00 – 17:00
More Information: Website

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is surely a must visit when in Edinburgh where you can enjoy five floors filled with hundreds of optical illusions, tricks and fun things to do. You can also visit the Rooftop Terrace with spectacular 360 panoramic views of the city. It is the Scotland’s oldest built attraction built in 1835 and also winner of VisitScotland’s Best Visitor Attraction Experience 2022/23! The whole experience will take about 2hours but take as much time to enjoy as possible. Remember that the building has over 5 floors and no lift.

Admission Prices from 1 Jan 2024:
Adult: £22.95 Standard, £21.95 Online
Student (with ID): £20.95 Standard, £19.95 Online
Child (5-15 years): £17.95 Standard, £16.95 Online
Under 5s: Free

Opening Hours: Open all day, and well into the evening. Check Details here

St Giles Cathedral

A majestic landmark in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town and Dating back to the 14th century, this Gothic masterpiece with its iconic crown spire is dedicated to St. Giles, the patron saint of Edinburgh. The Cathedral, a working Protestant church in Edinburgh, has been a religious hub for over nine hundred years. Known for its Gothic architecture and impressive design, it features the Montrose and Marquises of Argyll memorials from the mid-seventeenth century. Mark this on your list as it is surely one of the best places to visit in Edinburgh.

Location: High Street Historic Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1RE Scotland
Timings: 1:00 pm – 05:00 pm

Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh’s Old Town, the oldest part of the city, is home to a unique layout due to its location on a “crag and tail” formation, featuring an extinct volcano at its summit and a glacier ridge running downhill. This unique terrain remains the city’s heart. Stretching along the Royal Mile, from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood house, this UNESCO World Heritage Site transports visitors to a bygone era.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

A visit to The Scotch Whisky Experience is definitely a must for all whisky enthusiasts and surely when whisky is the national drink of Scotland! This attraction is located in Edinburgh Old Town and houses the world’s largest collection of whisky bottles.

Experience a guided tour and tasting of one of the world’s largest collections of Scotch whisky, showcasing the art of blending and single malt whisky secrets across five regions. The Scotch Whisky Experience is located at the top of The Royal Mile. Book your tickets for the Silver Tour here.
Duration: 50-75mins
Prices: From £23 pp
Frequency: Daily
Tour Guide: Live

Check out the different Whisky Tasting Experience from the activities below:

Victoria Street

All Harry Potter Fans must surely visit this iconic and most photographed streets in Edinburgh. Often referred to as the inspiration being the fictional Diagon Alley in Harry Potter series, this street is renowned for its colorful charm and unique architecture and surely cast a spell on you. Nestled in the heart of the Old Town, Victoria Street is surely a treasure trove for shoppers and explorers alike making it one of the best places to visit in Edinburgh.

It is recommended to enjoy a magical Harry Potter Walking Tour and Discover the city that inspired JK Rowling’s famous books & Test your Harry Potter knowledge.
Duration: 2 hours
Prices: From £16 pp

How many days to spend in Edinburgh?

If you are short in time, then you can visit the top attractions in this page in 24 hours such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Camera Obscura, and Arthur’s Seat. It is recommended to spend at least 2 days to explore the attractions and neighborhood with ease.

How to get around Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is is pedestrian-friendly and is best explored on foot as most of the attractions are quite close to each and located across the Old and New Town areas. The city has a good public transport system in the form of bus, trams and trains. Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street. Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tours offer a convenient way to explore the city’s main attractions, allowing passengers to disembark and rejoin at various stops.

We hope this article on the best places to visit in Edinburgh gave you an inspiration and helped you plan your visit to Edinburgh. Do read our other blogs to find more such travel inspirations

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