Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland located in the Eastern Scottish lowlands, built on the remains of an extinct volcano, this historic city is packed with attractions making it a great destination of culture perfect for a long weekend break. In the evening you will find plenty of bars and restaurants to sample the local Scottish produce and mingle with the locals in this beautiful city. Make the most of your visit to Edinburgh, with this guide to 5 top things to see and do when in Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle has been guarding the city for over 900 years, a beautifully maintained castle dominating the city’s skyline from the peak of an extinct volcano. Home to important national symbols of Scotland such as; the crown jewels, the stone of destiny and the medieval siege cannon Mons Meg. Take the guided tour at no extra cost, with guides both knowledgeable and funny helping to give a brief historical overview and then you are free to roam the grounds at your own leisure.
Top tip: Plan your visit around 1pm and witness the one o’clock gun being fired, takes place each day except on Sundays.
2. National Museum of Scotland
This is a superb place to visit in Edinburgh. Conveniently situated in the old town, easily accessible off the tourist bus routes and it is free to enter. The building itself is amazing and the displays are varied, a great opportunity to learn some of Scotland’s history. If you have been to Edinburgh Castle first then the Museum will help add more to the story.
Top Tip: Go to the outdoor viewing area on level 7 for fantastic views over Edinburgh.
3. Fringe Festival
If you are visiting Edinburgh during August then you are in for a treat, as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is held over 3 weeks in August. The largest arts festival in the world with thousands of performers taking to stages across Edinburgh, there is something for all tastes from comedy, to dance and children’s shows. With an open access policy, the fringe will include anyone in their programme with a story to tell and a venue to host them.
Top Tip: If you are visiting during the festival download the event programme and plan what acts you want to see.
4. Princes Street Shopping
Edinburgh has many options of places to shop in, from shopping centres to boutiques. It is along Princes Street that the main department stores are to be found, we recommend you enjoy this shopping experience at a leisurely pace. Take your time and enjoy the many other alternatives to shopping along its length including the Scott Monument and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Top Tip: Take a break from the shops with a stop at Princes Street Gardens with its unusual floral clock.
5. Arthur's Seat
With amazing views to enjoy at the end of your walk/climb, Arthur’s Seat sits proudly to the south and east of Edinburgh, a reminder of the hotbed of volcanic activity that Edinburgh once was. It is well worth the effort to make the climb; the Scottish Parliament sits at your feet to the north along with the Queen’s residence in Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace. Apart from the views at the top there are ruins and ponds to enjoy along the way.
Top Tip: Go early morning and watch the morning sunrise over Edinburgh.
As in most major cities, Edinburgh has a wide range of accommodation on offer to suit all needs and requirements from luxurious boutique spa hotels to the budget chain hotels as well of course the local B&Bs, you can find some great deals on websites like Expedia and of course visit review sites like TripAdvisor when planning your next visit to Edinburgh.
This post is a collaboration with Expedia. Thanks to them for providing these excellent suggestions of top things to do in Edinburgh which I also highly recommend and feel free to share your own top tips for things to see and do in the city!
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