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Top Activities in Edinburgh

See all 608 things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Attractions

One of the great joys of visiting Edinburgh is that not only does the city itself offer myriad attractions from mouthwatering foodie tours to world-class museums but it is bordered by the Lothians’ sandy beaches and breathtaking countryside panoramas. The Edinburgh Festival held every August

is the largest arts festival in the world and is made up of a melting-pot of dozens of smaller events involving comedy street theatre jazz politics and lots more besides. Princes Street is famed for its boutique shopping and looking south from the pavement there you can see the imposing Edinburgh Castle sat on Castle Rock. Dating to at least the 16th century the castle dominates the top of the Royal Mile the main thoroughfare of the old town that is lined with historic architecture.

Areas & Neighbourhoods in Edinburgh

Old Town - The Royal Mile running from the castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the principal artery of Edinburgh’s old town a charmingly chaotic maze of alleyways cobbled streets and courtyards in which it’s easy and fun to lose yourself. During the Edinburgh Festival in August this labyrinth brims with street performers.

New Town - By contrast the layout here is far easier to understand but there are just as many architectural jewels to discover from Georgian and Neoclassical mansions to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery where you can see works from the likes of Rubens and Botticelli as well as Scottish artists such as Arthur Melville.

Broughton - To the east Broughton is the centre of Edinburgh’s Pink Triangle with many LGBT-friendly bars and nightclubs. It once boasted a darker hue with a sinister reputation for the ‘Black Arts’. Supposedly witches awaiting execution were once held in dungeons here.

The Mound - When the foundations for modern Edinburgh were excavated in the late 18th century they needed to put the earth somewhere and so the Mound was formed. Stand atop it for stunning city views or to visit some of Edinburgh’s most prestigious buildings from the Royal Scottish Gallery to the New College.

Leith - Edinburgh’s harbour area is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon whether you’re shopping dining or just out for a scenic walk along the footpath. A vibrant cultural scene ensures Leith is one of the city’s premier nightspots.

Things to See in Edinburgh

Experience the beauty and heritage of the Western Highlands with a full-day guided coach tour of its castles and lochs. Alternatively for something a little more exciting and stylish you can take a spin around Edinburgh’s landmarks on a motorized trike chauffeured by an expert guide.

Things to Do in Edinburgh

You may not know it but some of the world’s finest chocolatiers are based in Edinburgh and guided walking tours are available which include plenty of delicious tastings. Harry Potter fans can also take a tour of locations in the city where the film series was shot. If you’d like to head out into the countryside for a while stunning kayak expeditions along the River Forth reveal some of Scotland’s most picturesque landscape or you can join a day-trip to Loch Ness and Glen Coe by coach keeping an eye out for the fabled ‘Nessie’.

And of course no trip to Scotland is complete without a Whiskey Tour.

You can also book top Edinburgh hotels and great Edinburgh holiday package deals right here on Expedia.co.uk.

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Where to stay in Edinburgh

Old Town Edinburgh

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.

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Leith

The ample dining options and beautiful seaside views are top of the list for many visitors to Leith. A stop by Royal Yacht Britannia or Princes Street might round out your trip.

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New Town

Stroll around the refined Georgian quarter of Edinburgh to encounter iconic monuments, stunning art galleries and an array of stores.

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Haymarket

Get to know Haymarket by checking out its museums, restaurants and shopping. Consider a visit to nearby sights like Edinburgh Castle or George Street during your time in the area.

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West End

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

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How to Plan a Trip to Edinburgh Fringe Festival

All you need to know for planning a trip to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including when to go, where to stay, how to get to the Scottish capital.

Expedia Team
How to Plan a Trip to Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Opens in a new window.

Must-do Walks: Guide to Climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

One of the highlights of any trip to Edinburgh is a trip to Arthur's Seat. Here's our guide to climbing the natural landmark.

Expedia team
Must-do Walks: Guide to Climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. Opens in a new window.

The Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Edinburgh

Discover the best shopping in Edinburgh for everything from luxury brands to vintage goods and plan for your excursion.

Expedia Team
The Ultimate Guide to Shopping in Edinburgh. Opens in a new window.

Things to Do in Edinburgh in Autumn

Discover the fun activities, seasonal events and other things to do in Edinburgh in autumn to make the most of the trip.

Expedia Team
Things to Do in Edinburgh in Autumn. Opens in a new window.