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 for the Prince of Wales in 1893, 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

Great tour, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip

Great day out with a really good guide and driver called Niall. Couldn't really fault the day.

Stunning scenery and really knowledgable tour guide

Loved it!! I've always wanted to visit the Scottish Highlands and I wasn't disappointed. Glen-Coe was definitely my favourite location as the setting is not only stunning but so dramatic. The commentating was also really interesting. Paul was not only very knowledgeable and enthusiastic but accommodating and friendly. I would definitely recommend doing this as the Highlands are just beautiful and considering how much you get to see It's great value for money. Its not to be missed when visiting Scotland.
Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Reviewed by Michael, 05/15/2016

Interesting, scary and entertaining guide

Young Ewan McGregor was our guide absolutely brilliant had me laughing throughout and I screamed the loudest at the scary bit.

We enjoyed our tour of Melrose Abbey and Alnwick Castle very much.

Being huge Harry Potter fans, we were very anxious to see Alnwick castle and it did not disappoint. We spent the day touring the gardens and castle at Alnwick, the hauntingly beautiful Melrose Abbey, Bamburgh Castle, the Tweed River Bridge and a few other places. Our guide was Gary and we had a lot of fun listening to his many stories about Scotland & England, the monarchs, wars, the castles and the history of the area. We learned a lot and enjoyed his stories told with humour and passion for the country. Gary was great to answer our questions and willing to stop for photos along the way. We had a very full, interesting and fun day and were very glad we had signed up. Thanks for the great day Gary.
Melrose Abbey and Alnwick Castle Day Tour Reviewed by Judy, 05/13/2016

Beautiful, informative, fun, so glad we did it! Linda & Jed where fab!

If your only in Edinburgh for a couple of days but you want to get as much in as you can.... This trip is the one for you! Our tour guide Linda and our driver Jed were amazing.... anyhing we wanted to photograph.... they found! Both really knowleadgeable and good fun. We were a group of 4 ladies on a short trip for our friend Ruth's 40th birthday.... We did the trip on Saturday 7th of May, which was her actual birthday! Loved every minute! It's a lot of travel but if you want to see amazing places.... You have to travel! The buses are very comfortable, there's lots of stops to get off for a quick stretch, photos and toilets etc! So if your thinking of doing Loch Ness etc..... Go for this tou!

Edinburgh
4.4
Based on 2,610 reviews of GetYourGuide customers