Old TownEdinburgh

Image for Old Town showing heritage elements and street scenes

Wander the narrow alleys of Edinburgh's historic center to discover the hidden delights of an area that also encompasses some of the city's top attractions.

Edinburgh's Old Town features the greatest sites of the country’s capital, among them the mighty Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland and The Scotch Whisky Experience. However, the maze of narrow closes and streets that sit on top of each other are also home to several smaller, quirkier attractions. Explore this part of the city on foot. Follow routes that lead you past medieval tenements, down hidden “wynds” (alleys) and into pedestrianized squares.

Climb to Edinburgh Castle on a hill overlooking the rest of the city, with the Old Town spreading down the slope below it. The historic core is separated from the Georgian houses of New Town by Edinburgh Waverley Station.

Walk up and down the Royal Mile, one of the most important thoroughfares in the Old Town. The cobbled street leads from Holyrood Abbey and Palace in the east to the top of Edinburgh Castle’s hill. Spend a long time exploring the vast castle, which houses an extensive museum.

The Royal Mile is also home to St. Giles' Cathedral, the ecclesiastical center of the Church of Scotland, and the Camera Obscura. Trick your mind in the museum of optical illusions, which is built beneath a 150-year-old lens that uses natural light.

Step into one of the smaller museums occupying some of Old Town's most picturesque historic buildings. The John Knox House is dedicated to the Presbyterian reformer and the Writers’ Museum focuses on Scotland's famous authors. Get in touch with your younger self at the Museum of Childhood and discover the city's past at the Museum of Edinburgh.

Wander along George IV Bridge, which leads to the National Library of Scotland; Greyfriars Kirkyard, where a loyal Skye terrier guarded his master's grave for 14 years; and the National Museum of Scotland. End your day on the Grassmarket, an open square set beneath the shadow of the castle and lined with traditional pubs and modern eateries.

To get to the Old Town, ride the train to Edinburgh Waverley station. Trains serving this station run regularly and serve destinations all around the United Kingdom.

Top hotels in Old Town

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Jurys Inn Edinburgh
Jurys Inn Edinburgh
3 out of 5
43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
£44
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in Old Town, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Museum of Childhood, Princes Street and Royal Mile. George Street and Edinburgh Dungeon are also ...

3.8/5Good! (2,039 reviews)

"Great location for everything we needed. Breakfast was just what we needed"…"

Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020

Jurys Inn Edinburgh
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
4 out of 5
31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
£77
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Grassmarket, Royal Mile and The Hub. Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street are also within 10 minutes. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,171 reviews)

"Great uninterrupted view of the castle. Warm, friendly, helpful staff. Central location, easily reached from train station."…"

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2020

Apex Grassmarket Hotel
The Scotsman Hotel
The Scotsman Hotel
4 out of 5
20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland
£109
per night
Mar 9 - Mar 10

Located in Old Town, this boutique hotel is steps away from City Art Centre, Princes Street and Royal Mile. Edinburgh Dungeon and Real Mary King's Close are ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,992 reviews)

"Very central. Beautiful rooms - big, really nice decor. Big bathrooms."…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

The Scotsman Hotel
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel
4 out of 5
61 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland
£59
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps away from Grassmarket, The Hub and Scotch Whisky Experience. Royal Mile and National Museum of Scotland are also within ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (2,165 reviews)

"The hotel had a great location, I could use the gym in the sister hotel next door. I so appreciated the tea and biscuits and the espresso machine in the room was a delightful surprise. The staff at reception as well as in restaurant were all friendly, gracious and helpful. I highly recommend this ..."…"

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020

Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel
Novotel Edinburgh Centre
Novotel Edinburgh Centre
4 out of 5
80 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
£70
per night
Mar 16 - Mar 17

Located in Old Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of The Meadows, Grassmarket and Royal Mile. University of Edinburgh and Usher Hall are also within ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,930 reviews)

"Nice big room, bed could have been more comfortable but everything was nice."…"

Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020

Novotel Edinburgh Centre
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel
4 out of 5
23-27 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, Scotland
£69
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in Old Town, this spa hotel is steps away from Waterloo Place and Princes Street. George Street and Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre are also within 10 minutes. ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (2,164 reviews)

"Small inconvenience but not enough milk in the fridge for more than two cups of tea."…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

Popular things to do in Old Town

Edinburgh Castle
Image for Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

4.5/5(996 reviews)

Fortress, palace and repository of the crown jewels, this landmark overlooking the city has played a crucial role in Scottish history.

Royal Mile
Image for Royal Mile

Royal Mile

4.5/5(555 reviews)

Explore this area in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town to find ancient buildings, historic relics, shops, museums and range of dining options.

Grassmarket
Image for Grassmarket

Grassmarket

4.5/5(420 reviews)

You can browse for souvenirs when you visit Grassmarket, a popular shopping spot in Edinburgh. Visit the lively bars or top-notch restaurants in this family-friendly area.

National Museum of Scotland
Image for National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

4.5/5(528 reviews)

Science, nature, history and culture come together in this spectacular museum, which celebrates learning about the world and all its wonders.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Image for Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

4/5(11 reviews)

Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a popular theatre with a rich history in Edinburgh. Add the area's shops or notable monuments to your travel plans.

St. Giles' Cathedral
Image for St. Giles' Cathedral

St. Giles' Cathedral

4.5/5(472 reviews)

See stunning artwork, beautiful chapels, poignant memorials and musical performances at this ancient place of worship.

Top activities in Old Town

Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
Image for Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

92% of travellers recommend
£16
Per adult
Glen Coe, Loch Ness & the Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour
Image for Glen Coe, Loch Ness & the Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour

Glen Coe, Loch Ness & the Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour

92% of travellers recommend
£45
Per adult
Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Tour
Image for Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Tour

Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Tour

88% of travellers recommend
£32
Per adult
Secrets of the Royal Mile Walking Tour with Edinburgh Castle Admission
Image for Secrets of the Royal Mile Walking Tour with Edinburgh Castle Admission

Secrets of the Royal Mile Walking Tour with Edinburgh Castle Admission

96% of travellers recommend
£30
Per adult
Royal Edinburgh Ticket- Hop-on,Hop-Off with Edinburgh Castle
Image for Royal Edinburgh Ticket- Hop-on,Hop-Off with Edinburgh Castle

Royal Edinburgh Ticket- Hop-on,Hop-Off with Edinburgh Castle

94% of travellers recommend
£57
Per adult
Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide
Image for Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

Edinburgh: 3-Hours Walking Tour - English Tour Guide

£12
Per adult

Other areas in Edinburgh

Edinburgh which includes night scenes and heritage architecture

New Town

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,200 area reviews)

A noteworthy feature of New Town is its popular shops. While you're in town, be sure to stop and check out Princes Street and George Street.

New Town
Tollcross, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
trover photo by Fiona D

Tollcross

4.5/5Wonderful!(49 area reviews)

Tollcross is popular for its ample dining options, and you might make a stop by The Meadows, a top place to visit in the area.

Tollcross
Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
trover photo by Ashley Wanders

Bruntsfield

4.5/5Wonderful!(47 area reviews)

Bruntsfield is popular for its abundant dining options, and if you're looking for more to see and do, you might think about a trip to King's Theatre or The Meadows.

Bruntsfield
Marchmont, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Marchmont

Visitors to Marchmont enjoy its bars, and if you want to do some exploring, The Meadows is worth a stop.

Marchmont
Newington, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Newington

4.5/5Wonderful!(268 area reviews)

Historical sites, museums and cafes are just a few things travellers enjoy about Newington. Check out Queen's Hall or National Library of Scotland while you're exploring the area.

Newington
West End, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
trover photo by Audrey Bergner

West End

4/5Very Good!(652 area reviews)

Gourmet restaurants interesting history and top sights from Princes Street to Edinburgh Gin Distillery – discover West End, a destination also famous for its shopping.

West End