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Best Things To Do in Edinburgh

When you think Edinburgh, you might quickly conjure up images of grassy hills, rowdy pubs, a sea of tartan – but this ancient city has so much more to offer. Take a walk down Old Town's Royal Mile and you'll find yourself face to face with the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Explore the nearby seaside and you're likely to stumble upon the Royal Yacht Britannia. And if you're visiting Holyroodhouse Palace, you might suddenly fancy a wander up the adjacent Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill for some magnificent Scottish views. And come festival season in August, expect the city to be alive with libations as Edinburgh celebrates the beloved annual Military Tatto, Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Festival. 

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Things to do in Edinburgh
    View all Photos
    #1 in Edinburgh
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Arthur's Seat, located in the verdant Holyrood Park, affords one of the best views of the city. Standing 800 feet above sea level, Arthur's Seat is the highest point in the park, providing panoramic views of the sea and nearby sites, including attractions like Edinburgh Castleand the Scott Monument. If you're

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  • #2
    Calton Hill
    View all Photos
    #2 in Edinburgh
    Hiking, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're like the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, you might enjoy the view from Calton Hill; this spot was a favorite of his. One of the most popular vantage points for photo ops (and included in the city's UNESCO World Heritage site distinction), Calton Hill affords a majestic panorama of the

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  • #3
    National Museum of Scotland
    View all Photos
    #3 in Edinburgh
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    IfEdinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht BritanniaandHolyroodhouse Palacedon't quench your thirst for some Scottish history, take a trip to the National Museum of Scotland. The museum houses a whopping 20,000 historical artifacts spread out through its numerous, diverse galleries. Here, visitors will find exhibits dedicated to art and design, the natural world

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  • #4
    Royal Botanic Garden
    View all Photos
    #4 in Edinburgh
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for some peace and serenity after a long day on the Royal Mile, the Royal Botanic Garden is the perfect place to rest your feet. This garden, which covers 70 acres, brims with so much beautiful foliage you're likely to forget that you're in one of Scotland's

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  • #5
    Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
    View all Photos
    #5 in Edinburgh
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're traveling with kids, there is no better place in Edinburgh to bring them than Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. Located at the top of the heavily (tourist) trafficked Royal Mile, Camera Obscura is filled with enough colorful puzzles, games and optical illusions to keep the kids entertained for days.

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  • #6
    Palace of Holyroodhouse
    View all Photos
    #6 in Edinburgh
    Castles/Palaces
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're one for the royals, a stop at the Palace of Holyroodhouse is a must. The palace is the official Scottish residence of the queen and has housed many other notable royal figures throughout history, including King George V, Charles I and Mary, Queen of Scots. When the current queen

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  • #7
    Royal Yacht Britannia
    View all Photos
    #7 in Edinburgh
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Did you know Princess Diana and Prince Charles honeymooned aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia? You'll find the impressive yacht anchored at the Leith Docks, just north of central Edinburgh. Along with serving royal honeymooners (the Duke and Duchess of York used it as well), this yacht served as a residenceforthe

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  • #8
    Royal Mile
    View all Photos
    #8 in Edinburgh
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Stretching from the high-on-a-hill Edinburgh Castle to the Holyroodhouse Palace, the Royal Mile is both Old Town Edinburgh's main thoroughfare and one of the city's main streets. Here you'll find top attraction after top attraction, including theScotch Whisky Experienceand Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, as well as a big concentration

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  • #9
    Edinburgh Castle
    View all Photos
    #9 in Edinburgh
    Castles/Palaces
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Hoisted high atop Edinburgh, almost as if it's monitoring its city below, Edinburgh Castle is not only one of Scotland's most recognized landmarks, but one of the country's most-visited attractions. Not only has the castle housed various royals throughout history, but also once housed military prisoners and was the site

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  • #10
    Scotch Whisky Experience
    View all Photos
    #10 in Edinburgh
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're interested in broadening your whisky repertoire, you might enjoy spending time at the Scotch Whisky Experience. The Scotch Whiskey Experience features a variety of tours varying in price. The standard Silver Tour includes a whisky barrel ride through the production of scotch whisky, introductions to whisky aromas, a

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Explore More of Edinburgh

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