Top 16 Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city that never fails to amaze. Overshadowed by the breathtaking beauty of the landscape draping the towns picturesque buildings engrossed with history, the city has many hithering corners that call for the aching travelers.


The skyline towered with medieval architecture, the monicker “Athens of the North” is more than apt to the city. The high culture and ideals are an integral part of the city’s essence,


For a city that can offer multitudes of entertainment on a massive scale, there are many choices of best things to do in Edinburgh Scotland for visitors.

1. Hike up Arthur’s Seat

Hike up Arthur’s Seat

It is imminent to get at least one bird view of the city you are visiting. Arthur’s Seat occupies the largest part of the volcano of Edinburgh. The volcano has long been extinct and now offers a great viewpoint to see much more than the city limits. It would take a short and relatively easy hike of half an hour to the top.

2. Climb the Tower of Blackness Castle

blackness castle

Edinburgh is home to a few castles. Ashore the Firth of Forth, the Blackness Castle is breathtaking, to say the least. The castle dates back to the 15th century, and 30 minutes ride from the center of the city. While there, do not miss to climb to the top of the towers to get the sweeping views of the surrounding blue waters and sky.


The castle stays open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, with an entry fee of 6 Pounds.  It would make for a short day trip, and you might want to avoid the rush hour between 4 to 6 pm.

3. Ramble through the Old Town

Ramble through the Old Town

The reminiscent of its old charm, the Old Town part of Edinburgh will take you for time travel. Compared to the New Town region around George Street, the streets between the Royal Mile to the Grassmarket on Victoria Street gives out a totally different vibe of antiquity and history.


It is quite amusing to see how the facades have adapted to the modern era with the curious shades of colors accentuating the door and window frames. Here, you can also find some of the best bars and restaurants in the city, especially that offers authentic Scottish food.

4. Visit the Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

The castle is one of the top selling points is definitely one of the top things to do in Edinburgh. In fact, no visit to the city is complete without seeing the castle and the view from the top. The castle sits on the same volcano that hosts Arthur’s Seat.


The structure of Edinburgh Castle looks like it is almost cascading down with the rocks on the hill. The fortress serves as a royal residence, military base and now forms an important constituent of the UNESCO World Heritage Site listings of Scotland.


If you are heading to the castle at around noon, stay to listen to the firing of cannon at one o’clock on every day of the week except Sundays. The traditions date back to the 19th century and were used by maritime captains to set their clocks to navigate in the sea.

5. Check out the Georgian House Museum

georgian house museum

Georgian House Museum tells the tale of how the wealthy Edinburgh families lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum reconstructs the architecture, furnishings and other household amenities that once adorned the mansions and castles of the richest of the country. Among the exhibits, you will find art, porcelain, silver, and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings.


Right next door to the museum, at address Number 6, Charlotte Square is where the First Minister for Scotland resides.

6. Look down from the Calton Hill

Calton Hill

Edinburgh due to its landscape has a few vantage points to see the city from. So if you want to avoid the hike to Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill is just by the Balmoral Hotel and offers a spectacular view, especially at sunset.

7. See the Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. Situated right across the Scottish Parliament, you can find the palace at the end of the historic Royal Mile. Visitors have access to 14 State apartments in the palace and the gardens.


The Place is famous as the abode of the Mary Queen of Scots and has been featured in movies. Today, the palace is used by the Queen for official State affairs and entertainment.

8. Have a Scottish Picnic on the Meadows

Have a Scottish Picnic on the Meadows

The Meadows is much loved by the families, students and thus offers a lively and chill ambiance to relax in. It is close to University buildings and sits in the middle of the city center and the Southside suburbs of the city.


On a lazy Sunday, the favorite activity here is to go to the meadow and have a picnic under the bright sun.

9. Pop into the Scottish National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery

The Greek colonnaded complex of the Scottish National Gallery is sure to impress art and architecture enthusiasts. The complex is perched on Princes Street, a beautiful pathway leading to the acclimated collection of artwork housed in the gallery. The Scottish Art in the Artist Rooms is worth a visit to learn about the evolution of the country through the history.

10. See the Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet

More than the ballet, it is the theatre than arouse curiosity in the mind of travelers. The Edinburgh Festiva theatre was initially opened in the 19th century and now serves as the center for Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet.


It is said that the theatre is haunted by the Illusionist The Great Lafayette, who perished in the building during a fire.

11. Get to the Top of the Scott Monument

Scott Monument

As one of the impressive monuments in the city, the Scott Monument shouldn’t be missed during your trip. From the top, it offers a unique bird's eye view overlooking the castle. If you are planning to climb all the way up, let us warn you that the stairway is quite narrow, and if you are claustrophobic, it would be best to avoid it.

12. Stroll along the Royal Mile

Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the incredible street stretching from the Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace. Just by the mention of these two places, it is evident how beautiful and inspiring it would be to walk the Royal Mile.


It would only take 15 minutes to cover the entire street, and if you want to take your time, staring at all the oldest streets in Edinburgh, imbibing the historical essence of the city. The best time to visit Scotland is the summer, as the city not only swells with tourists but also with shows, and exhibitions everywhere to entice the visitors.

13. Get Underground

Royal Mile

There is a secret under the streets of the Royal Mile. The Real Mary King’s Close is one of the most exciting things to do in the city. In the old town region, this name refers to the network of hidden streets, spaces, and nooks that were built centuries ago. People once worked and lived here and had been abandoned for hundreds of years.


Before a few years, the close was open to the public and with a designated guide, learn about the long gone customs and traditions of a whole world that thrive underground. A visit here is highly recommended and is very much in demand, so make sure to confirm tickets before.

14. Wander in Leith


Leith once had a very different vibe, a not so attractive place that even locals tend to stay away from. But now, the neighborhood has changed and evolved, with the waterfront as a highlight spot to spend evenings. The Royal Yacht Britania, the Queens Boat is actually moored in here at Leith at the Ocean Terminal. While there, feel free to get on board and check out the royal abode. Visitors can even have an afternoon tea at the Royal Deck of the Yacht.

15. Visit the National Museum

National Musuem of Scotland

A museum visit in Edinburgh is a must to know about the rich culture and traditions of the city. But the National Musuem of Scotland is not only for the history buffs. There is another section of natural history, amusing for kids and adults with dinosaurs, meteorites and much more. Then there are the World Cultures and Grand Galleries. In conclusion, the museum does not only pay tribute to Scotland but the treasure of the entire world.

16. Get Illusioned at Camera Obscura


There are so many places to soak in views of the city, that you will never miss a chance. Camera Obscura is another place, but in here you won’t be spending much time on the view. It is a fun spot for those who like to get tricked with illusions, interactive displays and offers a quite thrilling experience for everyone.


Start your journey at Edinburgh if you are planning to get cheap flights to Scotland. It is the most exciting place to start and finish your trip to this beautiful country.

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