Edinburgh knows how to have fun. It’s home to the epic Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the world-renowned Hogmanay New Year’s celebration. Not too many cities have an extinct volcano in the middle of them, but Edinburgh has Arthur’s Seat at just over 250-metres high. Hike up here, or visit on May Day when it’s traditional for young women to wash their faces in the morning dew to make them beautiful.
Explore the Old Town on foot. Visit the urban villages of Stockbridge and Cramond, each with their own quirky charms. Pop into a bar for some live local music, or go shopping on the Royal Mile or Victoria Street. Climb the gothic Scott Monument in the city centre, with gorgeous views of Princess Street Gardens. And, of course, visit the Edinburgh castle on the hill. Be sure to take it in during the evening too – its lit-up façade never gets old.
Places to Visit in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle
- Scottish National Gallery
- Scott Monument
- City Chambers
- St. Giles Cathedral
- The Royal Mile
- Rosslyn Chapel
Unique Things to See and Do in Edinburgh
- Visit an exhibition at Summerhall
- Watch live music at the Queen’s Hall
- Eat at the Castle Terrace
- View the art at the Scottish National Gallery
- Walk through the Meadows
- Take a tram across town
- Hop on a pubcrawl with some fellow travellers
- Do a scotch whiskey taste test
Edinburgh is drenched in history. Believe it or not, there are over 5000 nationally protected buildings within the city. In the late 18th century, Edinburgh began growing rapidly around its Old Town. It’ll be obvious when you walk around this area that this place is preserved in antiquity: cobbled streets meander into narrow alleyways, the iconic castle sits at the top of the Royal Mile, and the Victorian architecture all around will have you snapping photographs constantly. During the industrial revolution, Edinburgh earned the unflattering nickname “Auld Reekie” thanks to its pollution. But don’t worry – some history is best left in the past! You can learn all about this revolution at the Prestongrange museum.
Edinburgh is also known for churning out scholars and artists. The University of Edinburgh has been around since the 1500s, and touring its impressive school grounds is never a bad idea. You can even do a literary pubcrawl in Edinburgh, visiting the former haunts of famous writers like Robert Burns.
The Lothians are another special area of Edinburgh to visit. In East Lothian, check out the state homes of Newhailes, and Lennoxlove House. Visit Edinburgh Castle’s grounds, and the Crown Jewels held there. Follow the Linlithgow Heritage Trail to see 44 of the Royal Burgh’s historical and architectural sites of interest. Hire a local guide in Edinburgh to lead you fascinating points of interest that might get overlooked by the average traveller. And above all, enjoy this beautiful city!
Getting around Edinburgh
Getting around Edinburgh is a breeze. Like most modernized United Kingdom cities, Edinburgh has an efficient and impressive public transit system. There are plenty of buses to go around, as well as trams. You can also just opt to explore the city on foot, as most of the area’s attractions are located near the city centre. Another option is to rent a bicycle.
Did you know…?
The Encyclopedia Britannia was first produced in Edinburgh.
Did you ALSO know…?
Edinburgh has more listed buildings than anywhere else in the world.
Best time of year to travel to Edinburgh
Edinburgh has four distinct seasons, ranging from freezing winters to very warm summers. Things get very busy from May to August, however, but it’s also the best time to visit for good weather. Many of the major festivals occur during this time, including the Edinburgh Fringe. Spring and autumn are the shoulder seasons, and are also pleasant. You might find prices much more affordable during this time as well!
Ready to plan your visit to Edinburgh? Check out these popular guides and trips.