Edinburgh
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Top attractions 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 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

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Informative, entertaining, loads of fun.

Our guide, MacKenzie, made the trip! He kept us entertained the entire time we were on the bus, whether he was recounting a bit of history, passing on some folklore or playing Scottish music and singing along. We had a terrific time touring a uniquely beautiful part of the world. I recommend this tour for all adults, whiskey drinker or not. And the overnight accommodations were incredible.

Great experience - highly recommend this day trip!

Our driver, Sergio, was friendly, engaging, knowledgable and entertained us with did-bits of local Scottish history throughout the trip. It was a full day but went by fast and was well worth it. I'd highly recommend this day trip!

Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond & Whisky Tour Reviewed by Kelly, 18/09/2018

Stunning, enjoyable and unforgettable!!!

My daughter (8) and I (older) had a fantastic tour. We still need to analyse the photos we took while on our cruise on Loch Ness just in case Nessie was lurking. I was a little concerned about the length of the tour and if my daughter would be able to cope but cope she did and she loved it. Highlights were Glencoe, Loch Ness and the twinkling lights of Queensferry on our way back to Edinburgh. From start to finish we were entertained by Chris. We learnt a lot about the history of the areas we were travelling through as well as some lighter entertainment information about scenes from films and TV. It would be great if the bus had a toilet onboard, my reasoning behind this is that at each stop normally three things need to happen - bathroom, food and exploring. However if you spend three quarters of the tight timeframe standing in the queue for the ladies one of the two things to follow will not happen which is a shame. We had such a great time, saw and learnt so much. Thank you

Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Tour from Edinburgh Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 18/09/2018

Excellent trip! Loved every minute of it!

Exploring Edinburgh Castle was such a pivotal aspect of exploring the beautiful city. Perfect for family fun! The sheer beauty of the architectural ruins will not cease to amaze you! This trip cannot be missed! Lots of museums situated within the castle walls and lovely gift shops! Such a wonderful experience!

Edinburgh Castle Ticket Reviewed by Sara, 17/09/2018

Was a fun experience with some history insights.

I like more paranormal activities so would have liked an option to do EVP session. Overall it was a fun activity for my family