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Top Things To See In Edinburgh

From the 17th-century Royal Botanic Garden to haunted Greyfriars Kirk and the legendary Royal Mile, no city keeps its history as close to its heart as Edinburgh. This is a place where tranquil churches nestle in the shadows of bustling shopping centres, and where your evening nightcap might be made from a recipe dating back centuries. There’s no shortage of things to see in Edinburgh – Holyrood Palace and Arthur’s Seat deservedly top many travellers’ bucket lists – and now you can explore some of the most notable landmarks from the comfort of your own home. Just click through to catch a 360° look at some of Edinburgh’s most popular hotspots.

The Royal Mile And Castle Of Edinburgh
  • The Royal Mile And Castle Of Edinburgh
  • A mile-long stretch connecting Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile is the most popular thoroughfare in the Old Town. It’s packed with elegant boutiques, atmospheric churches, cosy cafes and magnificent museums, as well as some of the city’s most notable sights. The Scottish Parliament is situated across from the Palace and offers free tours, while visitors can head to the roof of the 14th-century St Giles Cathedral to discover sweeping views of the city. Families trying to figure out what to do in Edinburgh might want to check out Camera Obscura and the Museum of Childhood, which offer a great day out for kids.
  • A mile-long stretch connecting Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile is the most popular thoroughfare in the Old Town. It’s packed with elegant boutiques, atmospheric churches, cosy cafes and magnificent museums, as well as some of the city’s most notable sights. The Scottish Parliament is situated across from the Palace and offers free tours, while visitors can head to the roof of the 14th-century St Giles Cathedral to discover sweeping views of the city. Families trying to figure out what to do in Edinburgh might want to check out Camera Obscura and the Museum of Childhood, which offer a great day out for kids.
  • Edinburgh Castle Tour
Calton Hill
  • Calton Hill
  • Calton Hill not only provides breathtaking views of Edinburgh, it’s also home to St Andrew’s House – the headquarters of the Scottish government – and a handful of noteworthy monuments. The Nelson Monument, Rock House, the tomb of philosopher David Hume, and the hauntingly unfinished Scottish National Monument can all be found on the hill, making it one of the most photogenic locales in the city. A blustery wander around Calton Hill is a great way to spend a morning – especially if it includes Leith Walk and the Collective art gallery – or you can take a virtual tour by clicking here.
  • Calton Hill not only provides breathtaking views of Edinburgh, it’s also home to St Andrew’s House – the headquarters of the Scottish government – and a handful of noteworthy monuments. The Nelson Monument, Rock House, the tomb of philosopher David Hume, and the hauntingly unfinished Scottish National Monument can all be found on the hill, making it one of the most photogenic locales in the city. A blustery wander around Calton Hill is a great way to spend a morning – especially if it includes Leith Walk and the Collective art gallery – or you can take a virtual tour by clicking here.
  • Small-Group City Tour
Gladstone's Land
  • Gladstone's Land
  • Gladstone’s Land is an original 17th-century tenement building that provides a fascinating window onto everyday life in the Royal Mile. The Old Town property is under management of the National Trust, so meticulous attention has been paid to restoring the attraction to its authentic 1600s glory. Visitors can explore apartments that once housed merchants, servants and shopkeepers, as well as check out art exhibitions at the Gladstone Gallery on the second floor. Of special note is the tenement’s hand-painted Renaissance ceiling, which was uncovered during restoration work, and the original stone arcade.
  • Gladstone’s Land is an original 17th-century tenement building that provides a fascinating window onto everyday life in the Royal Mile. The Old Town property is under management of the National Trust, so meticulous attention has been paid to restoring the attraction to its authentic 1600s glory. Visitors can explore apartments that once housed merchants, servants and shopkeepers, as well as check out art exhibitions at the Gladstone Gallery on the second floor. Of special note is the tenement’s hand-painted Renaissance ceiling, which was uncovered during restoration work, and the original stone arcade.
  • Guide to Exploring Writers' Museum
Greyfriars Kirk
  • Greyfriars Kirk
  • Just around the corner from the National Museum of Scotland is Greyfriars Kirk, a picturesque church where Scots have been worshipping for over 400 years. The church houses a museum with historical artefacts from the property, including a signed copy of the National Covenant dating from 1638, and a John MacLeod painting of Greyfriars Bobby – the city’s most famous dog. The Kirk also hosts world-class concerts. Adjacent to the church is Greyfriars Kirkyard, where bibliophiles can pay their respects at the grave of William McGonagall, Scotland’s worst poet. But beware: the Kirkyard is supposedly haunted by “The MacKenzie Poltergeist”, so take our digital tour to avoid getting goosebumps.
  • Just around the corner from the National Museum of Scotland is Greyfriars Kirk, a picturesque church where Scots have been worshipping for over 400 years. The church houses a museum with historical artefacts from the property, including a signed copy of the National Covenant dating from 1638, and a John MacLeod painting of Greyfriars Bobby – the city’s most famous dog. The Kirk also hosts world-class concerts. Adjacent to the church is Greyfriars Kirkyard, where bibliophiles can pay their respects at the grave of William McGonagall, Scotland’s worst poet. But beware: the Kirkyard is supposedly haunted by “The MacKenzie Poltergeist”, so take our digital tour to avoid getting goosebumps.
  • Discover Hotels Near Greyfriars Kirk
The Scotch Whisky Experience
  • The Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Exploring Edinburgh’s history isn’t just about touring the Royal Mile’s opulent palaces and majestic museums; visitors can also get a taste of the city’s legendary tipple with a trip through time at The Scotch Whisky Experience. Offering a shop and a restaurant, along with tours and tastings, the attraction offers a great pre-lunch respite after an active morning of sightseeing. Visitors can book a tasting tour featuring traditional Scotch whiskies, and pair it with a three-course Scottish meal. For the true connoisseur, there’s also a morning masterclass, as well as a training class where you can invent your own one-of-a-kind whisky blend.
  • Exploring Edinburgh’s history isn’t just about touring the Royal Mile’s opulent palaces and majestic museums; visitors can also get a taste of the city’s legendary tipple with a trip through time at The Scotch Whisky Experience. Offering a shop and a restaurant, along with tours and tastings, the attraction offers a great pre-lunch respite after an active morning of sightseeing. Visitors can book a tasting tour featuring traditional Scotch whiskies, and pair it with a three-course Scottish meal. For the true connoisseur, there’s also a morning masterclass, as well as a training class where you can invent your own one-of-a-kind whisky blend.
  • Guide to Exploring Scotch Whisky Experience
Holyrood Palace
  • Holyrood Palace
  • As the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Holyrood Palace is steeped in lore and legend, and its elegant halls, ruined abbey and royal gardens cast a compelling spell on curious visitors. The Neoclassical property features a gallery that hosts rotating exhibits from the Royal Collection, and history buffs can wander through the former apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as seeing the Outer Chamber, where her Italian secretary met his tragic end at the hands of her husband. The grand estate is nestled at the end of the Royal Mile, and should top any list of things to do in Edinburgh.
  • As the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Holyrood Palace is steeped in lore and legend, and its elegant halls, ruined abbey and royal gardens cast a compelling spell on curious visitors. The Neoclassical property features a gallery that hosts rotating exhibits from the Royal Collection, and history buffs can wander through the former apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as seeing the Outer Chamber, where her Italian secretary met his tragic end at the hands of her husband. The grand estate is nestled at the end of the Royal Mile, and should top any list of things to do in Edinburgh.
  • Priority Admission to Holyroodhouse Palace with Audio Guide
Arthur's Seat
  • Arthur's Seat
  • If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends while trying to figure out what to see in Edinburgh, than take a trip to the top of Arthur’s Seat, an iconic hill providing sweeping views of the city. Technically a sleeping volcano, Arthur’s Seat rises dramatically from the grounds of Holyrood Park, a 640-acre Royal Park next to the Palace. The location is steeped in lore – its dew is claimed to contain restorative powers, and its name is tied to an origin myth which pegs it as the site of King Arthur’s Camelot – but it’s not hard to believe the legends when you’re standing atop Arthur’s Seat’s awe-inspiring summit.
  • If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends while trying to figure out what to see in Edinburgh, than take a trip to the top of Arthur’s Seat, an iconic hill providing sweeping views of the city. Technically a sleeping volcano, Arthur’s Seat rises dramatically from the grounds of Holyrood Park, a 640-acre Royal Park next to the Palace. The location is steeped in lore – its dew is claimed to contain restorative powers, and its name is tied to an origin myth which pegs it as the site of King Arthur’s Camelot – but it’s not hard to believe the legends when you’re standing atop Arthur’s Seat’s awe-inspiring summit.
  • Guide to Exploring Arthur's Seat
National Museum of Scotland
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • One of the most visited museums in the world, the National Museum of Scotland offers a fascinating foray into the country’s past. Visitors can start their journey on the lower floor of the new building, where exhibits are arranged chronologically, and slowly wind their way upwards, moving from pre-history to the present. Exhibits in the Victorian building, meanwhile, are ordered by theme. Plan your trip with our 360° look at the museum, and then visit in person to take in the Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, the taxidermied remains of Dolly the sheep, and the Monymusk Reliquary – thought to have contained the relics of St Columba.
  • One of the most visited museums in the world, the National Museum of Scotland offers a fascinating foray into the country’s past. Visitors can start their journey on the lower floor of the new building, where exhibits are arranged chronologically, and slowly wind their way upwards, moving from pre-history to the present. Exhibits in the Victorian building, meanwhile, are ordered by theme. Plan your trip with our 360° look at the museum, and then visit in person to take in the Andy Goldsworthy sculptures, the taxidermied remains of Dolly the sheep, and the Monymusk Reliquary – thought to have contained the relics of St Columba.
  • Discover Hotels Near National Museum of Scotland
Royal Botanic Garden
  • Royal Botanic Garden
  • The Royal Botanic Garden dates from 1670, and covers a 70-acre site a mile from Edinburgh’s city centre. It’s a popular place for families, and it hosts live performances and community events throughout the year. There’s a small entrance fee for the Glasshouses, but general admission is free, and it’s easy to while away a day strolling the grounds, lingering over a cappuccino in the coffee bar, and enjoying al fresco dining in the city-view café. Visitors can stop by the RBGE Herbarium to check out over three million botanical specimens, and then explore the 18th-century Inverleith House, which now houses a contemporary art gallery.
  • The Royal Botanic Garden dates from 1670, and covers a 70-acre site a mile from Edinburgh’s city centre. It’s a popular place for families, and it hosts live performances and community events throughout the year. There’s a small entrance fee for the Glasshouses, but general admission is free, and it’s easy to while away a day strolling the grounds, lingering over a cappuccino in the coffee bar, and enjoying al fresco dining in the city-view café. Visitors can stop by the RBGE Herbarium to check out over three million botanical specimens, and then explore the 18th-century Inverleith House, which now houses a contemporary art gallery.
  • Guide to Exploring Royal Botanic Garden

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