Edinburgh, Scotland is a historic and vibrant city that is full of culture, beauty, and fun. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, there are plenty of things to do in Edinburgh to keep you entertained. Here are the top 15 things to do in Edinburgh.
Best Things to Do In Edinburgh, Scotland
1. Visit Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scotland and a must-visit attraction in Edinburgh. The castle sits atop a hill in the city center and offers breathtaking views of the city. You can explore the castle’s various exhibits and learn about the castle’s history and significance.
2. Take a stroll down the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town and is filled with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. It’s a great place to take a leisurely walk and soak in the city’s charm.
3. Experience the Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery is home to a vast collection of artwork, including works by famous artists such as Botticelli, Van Gogh, and Monet. It’s a great place to spend a rainy day or to escape the crowds.
4. Climb Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano that offers stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh. It’s a great place to take a hike and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
5. Try haggis
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that consists of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with oats and spices. It may not sound appetizing, but it’s actually quite delicious and a must-try when visiting Edinburgh.
6. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a beautiful and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It’s home to over 13,000 plant species from around the world, as well as several historic buildings and greenhouses.
7. Take a ghost tour
Edinburgh is known for its haunted history, and taking a ghost tour is a fun and spooky way to learn about the city’s dark past. There are several companies that offer ghost tours of the city, including the popular Edinburgh Ghost Tours.
8. Explore the National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland is a fascinating museum that explores the history, culture, and natural world of Scotland. It’s a great place to learn about the country’s history and traditions.
9. Visit St Giles’ Cathedral
St Giles’ Cathedral is a historic and beautiful church in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and admire the stunning architecture and stained glass windows.
10. Take a whisky tour
Scotland is famous for its whisky, and taking a whisky tour is a great way to learn about the distilling process and sample some of the country’s finest spirits. There are several distilleries located near Edinburgh that offer tours, including the Glenkinchie Distillery and the Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery.
11. Walk through Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is a beautiful park that separates Edinburgh’s Old Town from its New Town. It’s a great place to take a walk and enjoy the city’s green spaces and stunning views.
12. Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland and has been home to kings and queens for centuries. Visitors can tour the palace’s various rooms and learn about its history and significance.
Best Times of Year to Visit Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland is a city that offers something for everyone, no matter what time of year you visit. However, depending on your preferences, there may be certain times of the year that are better for you to plan your trip.
Spring (March – May)
Spring in Edinburgh is a great time to visit if you’re looking for mild weather and fewer crowds. The city starts to come alive in March with the arrival of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which is followed by the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival in May. In April, the famous Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama also begins, with a variety of performances and events throughout the month.
Summer (June – August)
Summer is the busiest time of year in Edinburgh, with warmer weather and a packed schedule of festivals and events. The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Edinburgh International Festival all take place during the summer months, attracting visitors from all over the world. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which runs throughout August, is one of the largest arts festivals in the world and offers a wide range of performances, from comedy to theater to music.
Fall (September – November)
Fall in Edinburgh is a beautiful time to visit, with cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the leaves in the parks and gardens. The Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place in August and September, featuring a variety of authors and literary events. In November, the city celebrates the start of the holiday season with Edinburgh’s Christmas festival, featuring markets, rides, and holiday-themed events.
Winter (December – February)
Winter in Edinburgh can be cold and wet, but it’s also a magical time of year to visit, with the city decked out in holiday lights and decorations. In December, Edinburgh’s Christmas festival continues, with ice skating, holiday markets, and festive events. The Hogmanay Festival, which takes place on New Year’s Eve, is one of the biggest celebrations in Scotland, featuring fireworks, concerts, and traditional Scottish celebrations. In January, the city also hosts the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which offers a range of educational and interactive events.
Overall, the best time to visit Edinburgh depends on what you’re looking for in your trip. If you want mild weather and fewer crowds, spring is a good option. Summer is great if you want to experience the festivals and events that Edinburgh is known for. Fall offers beautiful scenery and literary events, while winter is magical with its holiday celebrations and events. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, you’re sure to find something to love about Edinburgh.