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

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

A wonderful and versatile way to see a phenomenal city

A huge bargain by wrapping the bus tours, Castle, Holyrood and Yacht into one. It covered 3 days activities for £57 each. Brilliant!

Royal Edinburgh 48-Hour Attractions Ticket Reviewed by J, 10/23/2018

It was great to visit Scotland again, the land of my Ancestors.

I enjoyed the History of Edinburgh Castle and at the War Museum I sighted my Grandfathers name in one of the large red books to Commemorate him being killed in France on the 15th November 1916 in the 1st World War. I also continued my Genealogy research at Scotlands People.

Edinburgh Castle Ticket Reviewed by June, 10/20/2018

Edinburgh is an amazing city, the Royal Tour made it even better!

We only had 3 days in Edinburgh and could have spent more time there for sure! The city is full of history and is so easy to get around in. We went to a little place called Oink and had the best pulled pork sandwich ever! We enjoyed a lot of food and attractions including the Royal Tour which was fabulous; plus it included 2 days on the hop on hop off bus; which made getting around so easy!

Royal Edinburgh 48-Hour Attractions Ticket Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 10/18/2018

Great job, really had a great time. Well worth the visit. :-))

Great time and well spent. We were able to see it all, nothing hidden. We will be recommending that to friends and Family. Great job Team. Thanks. NH.

It was a magical experience with a great tour guide and route.

The tour was ‘ravenclawsom’, it was full of entertaining facts, Harry Potter enthusiasts and magic. Not only did we learn about Harry Potter but also Scottish history regarding magic and folk lore. If you don’t enjoy the tour, there is something seriously Ron with you.

Edinburgh: Harry Potter Walking Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 10/14/2018