Unless you’ve visited Edinburgh, it’s difficult to picture just how beautiful it really is. The city’s cobbled streets and ancient architecture spiral around each other under the watchful gaze of Arthur’s Seat. Music fills the air. On every corner, there’s a warm, homely pub with a dram of whiskey waiting for you. Visit the city in winter and the snow will provide an extra layer of magic. It’s simply stunning.
If you want the full Edinburgh experience there’re a few activities you just can’t miss out on. Check out our top ten list of things to do in Edinburgh.
Take a walk
By far the best way to see the city is on foot. Edinburgh sits across numerous split-level streets and exploring them is a delight. You’ll walk across a bridge only to look down and see where you were 15 minutes earlier. Take a short walk then hop on one of our sightseeing tour buses to see the rest of the city.
Visit Edinburgh Castle
The view from Edinburgh Castle is breathtaking. Literally. The castle sits on a hill right at the top of the city and its a bit of a hike to get up there. Once you do, though, you’ll be treated to a view you won’t forget. If you like history, you’ll find a tour of the castle fascinating too.
Do the Potter Trail
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll know that it was the streets of Edinburgh that inspired J.K. Rowling’s vision of Hogwart’s. In fact, many of Rowling’s early works were written in The Elephant House cafe on George IV Bridge. This free tour will show you all the key Potter-related locations and the stories behind them.
Climb Arthur’s Seat
Edinburgh is built at the foot of an extinct volcano. For one of the best views in the city, it’s worth a hike to the summit of this beautiful park. Take an afternoon and savor the fresh Scottish air.
Royal Botanic Gardens
These stunning gardens were established over three hundred years ago and the heritage is palpable. From its hot houses to its beautiful lily ponds, you’ll find a lush and tranquil scene unique to Scotland’s capital.
The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a traditional light show brought into the 21st century. From 3D holograms to a giant pinhole camera, you’ll get to see some of the coolest light shows in the UK.
Climb the Scott Monument
This one is an overlooked gem for most visitors to Edinburgh. Climb the spiral staircase of this historic gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and experience a little piece of history.
Knock back a dram
Did you know that Scotland produces some of the world’s best whiskey? Not exactly a revelation, right. We highly recommend a taster board from one of the many heartwarming pubs you’ll find on the Royal Mile. Just tell the staff what kind of whiskey you enjoy and they’ll take care of the rest.
Check out the Scottish National Gallery
Get a peek into Scotland’s rich cultural heritage through the frame of the Scottish National Gallery. Some of the country’s most beautiful works of art are stored here, so take some time for yourself and indulge.
Shopping on Princes Street
When you’re tired out from all the other fantastic activities there’s nothing like some retail therapy to help you unwind. Take a walk down Princes Street – the city’s shopping hub – and pick up a few souvenirs. Some real Scottish Shortbreads make excellent presents for the folks back home.
And that’s everything you simply can’t miss on your trip to Edinburgh. If you’d like to visit the city from London check out our tours by rail.