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Top 5 things to do in Edinburgh

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Palace of Holyroodhouse
1. Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, at the bottom of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, is the Queen's official residence when she's in Scotland. Visitors can explore the 14 state rooms in this 16th-century palace, still used by Her Majesty during royal ceremonies!
The Scotch Whisky Experience
2. The Scotch Whisky Experience
Right on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, the Scotch Whisky Experience is an over-18s trip into the world of whisky. This replica distillery will educate you on the tastes of flavors of Scotland's favorite tipple, and probably get you a little tipsy.
Edinburgh Castle
3. Edinburgh Castle
The city of Edinburgh is dominated by the huge Edinburgh Castle, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Crown Jewels of Scotland, and the National War Museum of Scotland. There's a good chance you'll hear some bagpipes.
The Real Mary King's Close
4. The Real Mary King's Close
The Real Mary King's Close is a walking tour of Old Edinburgh that tells the city's history with all of the grisly truth about the Black Plague, mysterious hauntings, gruesome crimes, and stifled living situations. It is located opposite St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh Old Town.
John Knox House
5. John Knox House
The John Knox House is located on Edinburgh's Royal Mile - the city's main thoroughfare, running downhill between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. As the heart of Scotland's historic capital it's a great place to start a day of sightseeing. It's also close to a host of great bars for a dram of whiskey (or two) when you're done.

Reasons to visit Edinburgh

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All things to do in Edinburgh

The Blair Street Underground Vaults allows visitors to explore a different, darker side of Edinburgh. They were once used as taverns, cobbler shops, and to store materials such as building supplies or – allegedly – stolen corpses! Whatever the story is, these vaults have a rich and fascinating history.
4.8 (16)
From $24.36
The Edinburgh Dungeon offers no less than 360 different sets packed with hilarious, and scary actors, special effects, stages, scenes and even rides. It's an interactive walkthrough experience that will thrill and horrify the whole family! It's located in the heart of Edinburgh and is easy to reach with public transport.
4.7 (31)
From $26.74
Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh is located on George Street, just a short distance from the famous Edinburgh Castle. It offers classic American fare, along with the chance to see some music memorabilia including a jacket worn by Ringo Starr himself. Other popular destinations nearby include the National Museum of Scotland, Holyrood Park, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
4.0 (2)
From $20.59
Opened in 2019, Holyrood Distillery is the first single malt whisky distillery in Edinburgh's city centre since 1925. Apart from producing a fine single malt to rival the established names in Scotch whisky, Holyrood is also designed to be a visitor attraction that brings guests on a hands-on, multi-sensory, and educational journey into the world of whisky production.
4.7 (7)
From $24.36
The Royal Yacht Britannia is one of Scotland's biggest attractions, which should come as no surprise considering the ship was in service as the Queen's yacht for 43 years, from 1954 until 1997. After traveling more than a million nautical miles for Queen and country, Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
4.9 (800)
From $76.75

More ways to experience Edinburgh

Planning your Edinburgh visit

Language

English and Gaelic

Currency

Pound (£)

Dialing code

+44

Time zone

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Getting around Edinburgh

Walking is the best way to tackle Edinburgh, as navigating the one-way roads in the center is no fun in a car. Google Maps works a treat, but you’ll know where you are simply by looking for the huge, imposing castle. It’s pretty much always visible. The Royal Mile separates the Old Town from the New Town and hosts all the shops, bars, and restaurants you could ever desire. If you’re sightseeing, swap the heels for sensible shoes, there’s just too many cobblestones.

Eat and drink

If sheep's guts and oatmeal stuffed into stomach lining sounds delicious, haggis might be your thing! If not, you’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty more on offer in the Scottish capital. Fine restaurants abound, but you can try classics like porridge and oatcakes, neeps and tatties, and Cranachan (a whipped cream dessert with whiskey and raspberries) almost anywhere. The Royal Mile is a great place to start your edible journey. For drinks, it’s whisky of course!

Edinburgh Castle

You can’t miss Edinburgh Castle, the world famous Scottish icon that towers over the city from all angles. This majestic complex dates back to the 12th century, though the Scottish National War Memorial was added after the First World War. It’s the city’s number one paid-for tourist attraction. All for a good reason. There’s plenty of history, cannons, and jewels to explore here. And unbeatable views from the walls! Often with a delightful bagpipe soundtrack.

What to do in Edinburgh for 3 days

Scotland Discover Pass

This money-saving pass puts 5,000 years of history literally in the palm of your hand. With this pass on your smartphone, you can visit over 60 of Scotland's top attractions whenever you like. Highlights include Culloden Battlefield, Crathes Castle, Culzean Castle, Glencoe, and Inverewe Garden, plus loads of top attractions in Edinburgh. You even get restaurant discounts - so the next round of whisky shots is on you.

Ghost Bus Tour

Hop aboard this ex-funeral bus and your witty conductor, dressed in suitably macabre attire, will zip you around the city’s sights, past the likes of like Edinburgh kierowCastle, Grassmarket, Greyfriars Kirk, The Old Town, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Mile, explaining all the grisly and gruesome facts along the way. Learn about the hangings, acts of torture, witch hunts and the plague… just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

John Knox House

As the very last medieval building left on the Royal Mile the John Knox House is an exciting window into the 16th century. As you walk around the parlour, the dining room, the kitchen and the rest, you’ll see the way its past inhabitants (including Mary, Queen of Scots) used to live. Soak up the opulence and the drama of Scotland's turbulent past, before walking straight back into the bustling present on Edinburgh’s main drag.

Arthur’s Seat

If the hustle of Auld Reekie gets to be too much, sneak off and head up to look down on it all. Arthur’s Seat is the big imposing mound of rock that towers over the city, and is the core of Holyrood Park. Admire the striking fauna and head up to its highest point, Arthur’s Seat. This ancient volcano looms 251m above sea level. It will seem imposing - even up close - and also offers incredible views over Edinburgh.

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