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

We went to the tour with James Douglas, who is a charismatic and funny guide. Both me and my friend sometime did not even know, where the story got fictional and what was the truth! Really enjoyable. The guide was also very knowledgeable about the city and provided extra tips for another sightseeing tour. Both me (George) and my friend Andrew recommend the tour, and don’t forget to bring a good mood!

Old Town & Underground Ghost Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 11/23/2020

It was an amazing experience! Highly recommend! James our tour guide was lovely and very informed!! There was a lot of history and ghost stories in the tour the hour went by so quickly! 10/10 would do it again!!

Old Town & Underground Ghost Tour Reviewed by Cameron, 11/22/2020

We got a ghost walk with some time in the vaults. Honestly such a good tour. James the guide was amazing. He was so informative and great to listen too! He should be a history teacher he captivated everyone.

Edinburgh: Famous Underground Ghost Tour Reviewed by Margaret, 11/19/2020

We had a brilliant time from start to finish while on the boat. The crew were excellent and very friendly. I cant wait to do another trip next year in the summer

Firth of Forth: Sightseeing Cruise with Cream Tea Reviewed by Rebecca, 11/08/2020

My Harry Potter mini fans loved this tour, as did I! Sean was fantastic and clearly is a true HP expert. Highly recommend.

Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour Reviewed by Dr. Anna Louise, 11/07/2020