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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
  • 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

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Nice stories! I almost started believing in ghosts :)

Apolline was a wonderful guide. The stories were interesting and she sure knows how to tell them.

Very very very entertaining guide - Andy

We enjoyed our trip to the Highlands very very very much. Mostly of all because of the funny guide, Andy, who told many stories along the road and in a very humerous way that was welcomed very much by our 14-15-year-old students. (I tell you, not normally an age group easy to impress). We could have used a little more time in the Loch Ness area though. As an extra service we got picked up by the hotel because we were a big group and filled up the bus on our own. Thanks for the flexibilty in that way.
Loch Ness and Highlands Small Group Day Tour Reviewed by Lene, 04/15/2016

Marvelous tour, fantastic guide/driver Arran!

We had a fantastic day! All drivers will be good, but we had Arran! He is the most enthusiastic, friendly and funny guide we ever had! The introductions with his music, so funny! Allso the way he amuses the 2 children on board, great! I am a travel agent from the Netherlands and I will recommend Rabbie's for sure!

I would recommend visiting the castle to everyone a good full day out

I was surprised at how much there was to see and do at the castle ,even the wet weather didn't spoil the day
Edinburgh Castle Full-Day Skip-The-Line Ticket Reviewed by gary, 04/06/2016

Great tour - small group - well worth it - pack snacks to save money

We had already rented a car w/ the intention of doing this drive ourselves not wanting to be stuck w/ strangers & no say-so on when to stop for coke or bathroom breaks, but at the last minute changed our minds & booked this tour instead. What a great decision! You can not replicate our guide Kevin's expertise & humor! He knew all about the sites & was able to give historical & political insight as well. He was very approachable for asking questions & was chatty w/out being annoying. I know some people have complained about the political talk but we found it interesting & it didn't bother us at all. There were plenty of stops for meals & toilet which was nice. My only "complaint" would be having to drive past several things I would have like to have seen & a few times having to rush back to the waiting van. But that is due to time constraints & much to see, not a fault of the tour. Sit in the first row of seats if possible & don't eat breakfast as a cafe is one of the first stops.
Loch Ness and Highlands Small Group Day Tour Reviewed by Patrick, 04/06/2016

Based on 2,610 reviews of GetYourGuide customers