24 August 2018
As the UK’s second most popular tourist destination, Edinburgh certainly offers a lot in the way of things to do. Boasting centuries of rich history and famed for its arts festivals, it’s the ideal destination for any keen culture-seekers. There are boundless things to see, explore and sample all year-round from the most iconic sites, to the smaller delights, so make the most of it.
The list is endless. To make it easier, we’ve handpicked the best Edinburgh has to offer, added in some top tips, and made this handy rundown.
Let’s get the obvious out the way; Edinburgh Castle – the hallmark of the Scottish Capitol – is an incredible heritage site and a must for any visitor. The castle is a spectacle from the outside and a journey through time once within. There’s its panoramic vistas, fascinating exhibitions of the city’s ancestry, and of course, the magnificent Scottish Crown Jewels. If you do one thing during your trip, make sure it’s a trip to Edinburgh’s quintessential landmark.
We recommend getting to the castle no later than midday to secure a great spot for the one o’clock gun. Apart from Sundays, every day a gunner from the Royal Artillery fires the symbolic weapon as a time signal – a tradition which has existed since 1861.
To find out about upcoming events and skip the dreaded ticket queue, check out the castle’s website: www.edinburghcastle.scot
For even more breath-taking sights, Arthur’s Seat is more than worth the short walk to its distinctive peak. The area had been used as an Iron Age defence with the remains of its walls and terraces discoverable throughout. At the centre of Holyrood Park, this ancient hill fort provides stunning views across the entire city making it the perfect spot for photos.
There’s an assortment of different path lengths up the seat so anyone can reach it. We advise taking the east approach for the quickest journey to the top, but others are great if you fancy something a little more challenging.
Either way, make sure to wear some extra layers as it can get a little windy at the top…
The Royal Mile
At the centre of the city is an almost mile-long stretch of shopping, architecture, and history. Running between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace (the Queen’s Scottish residence), this famous street is the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Expect bagpipes and other street performances whilst taking in the beauty of its historic buildings and retail opportunities. If it’s souvenirs you’re after, we suggest shopping around the street first as there’s bargains to be had.
There are plenty of quaint alleys to explore along the mile, but for a more terrifying trip to Edinburgh’s past, there are tours of the notorious Mary King’s Close. This underground reconstruction shows a 17thCentury street as it was during the year of the plague. Bring a friend.
To guarantee your place, we suggest booking in advance on their website as it’s popular: www.realmarykingsclose.com
National Museum of Scotland
Did you know that our restaurant is perched on the rooftop of the National Museum of Scotland? We're very proud to be neighbours with such a fantastic collection of history, treasures and fascinating exhibitions. The museum is a must-visit all year round, see their website for latest exhibitions, opening times and more.
Royal Yacht Britannia
This 400ft yacht was once the Queen’s on-sea palace for 40 years of official visits across the world. Now this floating museum boasts five decks of insight into the lifestyles of British royalty and their crew. Since its decommissioning two decades ago, the museum has perfectly preserved the vessel’s royal apartments, tea room and crew quarters and provided visitors a pristine royal time-capsule.
The Britannia has been rated Scotland’s best attraction by TripAdvisor for 12 years running, and for good reason. It’s not far from the city centre and there’s regular buses that’ll take you straight to it.
For more details and to grab your tickets, head to their website: www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk
Pickering’s Gin Distillery
For a similarly educational experience but with 100% more alcohol tasting, Pickering’s Gin Distillery is the place to go. They offer one-hour ‘Gin Jollys’ that take guests through the entire gin-making process, from the raw botanicals to the final bottling. To top it off, every ‘Jolly’ ends with a sampling of Pickering’s gin offerings. What more could you want?
This tour is also highly popular so book in advance. You can select your visit date on their website: www.pickeringsgin.com/distillery-tours
The Ultimate Dining Experience
The Tower’s prime location a stone’s throw from the city’s biggest attractions our exceptional cuisine, not to mention panoramic views over Edinburgh castle and the rest of the city make us the perfect choice for dining during your visit. Join us for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.