Must-Visit Attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh City

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is full of character with its cobbled streets and wynds from the Old Town, to Georgian squares in New Town. Not forgetting attractions such as Arthur’s Seat and Leith port.Book yourself into one of the greatest cheap hotels in Edinburgh (or one of the finest luxury hotels in Edinburgh) and go exploring, regardless of whether you’re a fan of royals, castles, modern art, or pub crawls. If you want to visit during August when the city becomes an all-night party, reserve your accommodation ahead of time.

Edinburgh Castle

At the top of most visitors’ lists of things to do in Edinburgh, this formidable military stronghold has guarded the city for almost a thousand years, repelling invaders from England and serving as a royal palace. Don’t miss the reconstructed prisons within the castle vaults, Scotland’s Crown Jewels (the Honours of Scotland) and The Stone of Destiny on display at the Royal Palace, or the pageantry of the One O’Clock Gun.

Writers’ Museum

Diehard fans of Scottish literary greats will find an immersive experience at this museum, nestled inside a 17th-century house on the Royal Mile. You can explore the original manuscripts, personal effects and first editions of well-known works like Scott’s Waverley and Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Real Mary King’s Close

The cobblestoned lanes and ancient buildings of the Old Town’s subterranean labyrinth, which was completely forgotten for more than 250 years beneath the City Chambers, are justifiably one of Edinburgh’s top attractions. As you walk through the plague-infested home of a 17th-century graveyard worker and a 16th-century townhouse, actors in costumes tell you ghastly and ghostly stories. One visitor claims to have seen the ghost of an eight-year-old girl named Annie in one of the rooms.

Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish parliament’s seat, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, has divided critics. It’s worth seeing this Edinburgh sight for yourself during one of the free half-hour tours to determine whether the asymmetrical panels on the main façade (closed curtain = government openness), the Main Hall’s triple-arched concrete ceiling, and the strangely formed windows on the western wall that are a tribute to one of Scotland’

Palace of Holyroodhouse

For all the fans of jaw-dropping gossip involving nobility, this is the perfect destination for you. Although it is Queen Elizabeth II’s official Scottish residence, that fun fact takes a backseat to Scotland’s 16th-century ill-fated monarch – Mary, Queen of Scots. You may view the bedroom where pregnant Mary was held down by her second husband – who had her favorite secretary, David Rizzio, murdered next door by his henchmen in a fit of jealousy – from the entrance. The Great Gallery, filled with paintings of Scottish monarchs throughout history, is worth seeing. If you go on a Monday (except for public holidays), make sure your visit doesn’t overlap with Her Majesty’s; the palace is closed to visitors.

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh’s extinct volcano, Holyrood Park, is also the city’s highest point at 251m (823ft). The top of this craggy mountain is where university graduates come to celebrate by carving their names into the rock. On Sundays, dog-walkers bring their pooches here for some exercise and fresh air. You can sit and daydream while looking out over the city panorama and the Highlands on the horizon. Various trails criss-cross the place; it takes fit walkers around 45 minutes to reach the top if setting off from Holyrood Palace.

Our Dynamic Earth

This modern attraction, which is one of Edinburgh’s greatest for families with children, was designed to educate youngsters about the planet’s environmental and geological marvels. This huge white marquee houses multimedia exhibits on everything from the Big Bang to the 21st century; highlights include talks about dinosaurs as well as 3D films on a variety of topics.

National Museum of Scotland

This fantastic Edinburgh museum is housed in two buildings–a contemporary fortress-like construction of honey-coloured sandstone and a 19th century Victorian edifice. The latter building conceals a striking wrought-iron and glass atrium. Enjoy learning about Scotland’s history, starting with its earliest inhabitants up through industrialisation, fashion trends throughout the ages, all the way to Dolly the cloned sheep! You’ll find artefacts from Islamic countries, ancient Egypt, China and beyond scattered throughout both buildings.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, situated in a Venetian Gothic palace across from Queen Street Gardens in New Town, is one of Edinburgh’s main tourist attractions. The large collection of portraits inside features photographs, paintings and sculptures of some of Scotland’s most notable people throughout history – from Mary, Queen of Scots to actor Sean Connery. In addition, the frieze located in the Great Hall depicts various early Scottish figures such as Calgacus – a fierce Caledonian chieftain who unsuccessfully fought against the invading Roman forces.

Surgeons’ Hall Museums

Is a career in surgery or dentistry something you’re considering? Don’t be deterred by the exhibits at these fascinatingly gruesome 19th century teaching collections: this is great entertainment. Step into the beautiful Ionic temple and look through the dental tools, as well as the tumours and other bodily organs floating in jars of formaldehyde, in the Pathology Museum.For all you Sherlock Holmes fans, don’t miss the display on Dr Joseph Bell. Arthur Conan Doyle’s character was modelled after him. And while you’re there, check out the pocketbook made from Burke’s skin inside the History of Surgery Museum!

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

It’s a little odd-looking, with its multiple lenses and mirrors that make it resemble a kaleidoscope. It’s such a deceptively basic gadget, yet it is enthralling. Watch on as unsuspecting walkers are spied on through the use of a 19th century camera obscura – a clever device made up of mirrors and lenses that captures their live perambulations. The Outlook Tower has other rooms dedicated to various illusions, as well as spectacular views of the castle and Old Town.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

If you’re at all interested in Scotland’s national beverage (no, not Irn-Bru), the Whisky Experience is a must-see for all whisky enthusiasts. Viewing the world’s largest collection of single malts and tasting a few of them are highlights of this immersive experience that engages all your senses.

Rosslyn Chapel

This intricately carved 15th-century chapel, which is located a few miles south of Edinburgh, is well worth your time. You may recall the premise behind Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code – that the Holy Grail is hidden beneath the magnificent Apprentice Pillar inside. While it isn’t true – though plenty of Da Vinci fans have gone looking for it – Rosslyn arguably Scotland’s most beautiful church features stunning architectural elements. Don’t forget to see the incredible vaulted ceiling, the upside-down Lucifer in the Lady Chapel, or the Green Man (a pagan symbol of spring) in the Lady Chapel.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

If you’re in Edinburgh and the weather outside is less than ideal, consider visiting this art gallery. It’s a short walk from Dean Village via the Water of Leith, and it boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art. While there are plenty of pieces by European artists like Giacometti, Picasso, Matisse, and Miró on display, what really shines here are the works by Scottish artists throughout history up to today.

Royal Yacht Britannia

One of the most popular things to do in Edinburgh is to go explore other people’s homes. If we’re being honest, many of us are intrigued by other people’s homes and enjoy poking around. Staying at one of the best hotels near the Royal Yacht Britannia and going on a walking tour around the decks of Her Majesty’s royal family’s floating holiday home from 1953 to 1997 will give you an intimate look into Queen Elizabeth II’s private life. Suffice it to say that Her Majesty’s personal preferences leaned towards severe décor, that she and Prince Phillip did not share a cabin, and that travel was accompanied by five tonnes of luggage and an army of dozens.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is not only one of the world’s top conservation zoos, but it’s also a great place to take your kids. The zoo has separate climate zones for species from all over the globe, as well as a fun penguin procession (daily after lunch), and you might even see the zoo’s most famous residents: giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang. What’s more, the zoo’s captive breeding programme has helped to bring red pandas, Siberian tigers and pygmy hippos back from near extinction.

Author: admin

Michaela is a traveler at heart. She loves to explore new places and learn about different cultures. Her travel blog is a place for her to share her experiences and tips with other travelers. She hopes to inspire others to explore the world and see all that it has to offer.

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