Edinburgh
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Top attractions in Edinburgh

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Top sights in Edinburgh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

HMY Britannia
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
    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

Cities in United Kingdom

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

Want to discover all there is to do in Edinburgh? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Edinburgh

My boyfriend and I went on the Late Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour last night and couldn't recommend it enough. We were lucky to have Patrice as our guide, she was engaging, funny, informative and friendly (she really made the experience). The tour offered a variety of experiences - the above ground tour/stories, the torture exhibition and the vaults themselves (which were very creepy). The 75 mins flew by and it was a fab addition to our Edinburgh holiday! Definitely worth the price and I would do it again with friends/family.

Auld Reekie's: The Terror Tour - 90min Reviewed by Sarah, 10/13/2020

Pick up in the morning was on time. Our driver/guide, Jamie was very knowledgeable and pointed out places of interest with lots of stops for us to take photos. As a history lover i found him very infornative about the history of Scotland and he was passionate about the subject. The coach itself was comfortable. The boat trip on Loch Ness itself was very good. The only thing that could have been better was the weather but the sun did come out at times. Overall i enjoyed the day and the trip was good value for money.

I took my folks ( who are in their 80's ) on the 90 minute Three Bridges Cruise, I bought the tickets on line and headed to the kiosk to be booked in. The ship left on time and the weather was fantastic. There was a valued commentary given by the captain, assisted by a crew member who pointed out things of interest. My folks and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, and I would recommend it for people of all ages.

Firth of Forth: 90-Minute Three Bridges Cruise Reviewed by John, 10/13/2020

We had a really great time on our tour with Alan B. He was super knowledgeable, interesting to listen to and even occasionally sang us a tune or two to help reflect the beauty of all Scotland has to offer and it's connection to music :) The trip was safe, enjoyable, comfortable and overall a great day out from Edinburgh. Highly recommend it.

Just back from a tour with John the witch hunter , safe to say i was shitting myself , was creepy , the noises in the tunnels and orbs flying about scared the life out of me never mind the graveyard , would 100% reccomend !