Edinburgh
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Top Tours & Activities in Edinburgh

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Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an effortlessly cohesive reflection of Scotland's breathtaking rural landscape, flaunting cultural vibrancy, historic charm, and scenic wonder. Even its New Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, what are its top attractions?

Edinburgh Castle

The Edinburgh Castle was built at least as early as the 12th century. Looking over the city from Castle Rock, it's been at the heart of some of Scotland's bloodiest conflicts.

Stirling Castle

Having withstood multiple sieges, Stirling is one of Scotland's most important castles. Even if you're not a history buff, the scenery alone warrants a day trip from the capital!

Loch Lomond

What's a holiday to Scotland without visiting one of its picturesque lochs? Luckily, the largest and most breathtaking one in the country, the Loch Lomond, is just a short journey away!

Holyrood Palace

The Holyrood Abbey next to the Holyrood Palace is still in ruins after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Fun fact: Holyrood is Old English for "holy cross."

Royal Mile

The historic thoroughfare, called The Royal Mile, runs through Edinburgh's Old Town from the Castle to Holyrood for one Scots mile. That's longer than a regular mile, in case you were wondering!

Greyfriars Church

The birthplace of 17th-century Scottish Presbyterianism, this church is a landmark of the country's religious history. It still holds Sunday services in English and Scottish Gaelic.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Dating back to 1670, when it was used to grow medicinal plants, this conservation project has bloomed into a leading tourist attraction. Today it houses over 13,000 plant species!

Photo: Hugh Llewelyn @flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

HMY Britannia

Built for the Prince of Wales in 1893, this royal yacht is considered one of the UK's top attractions. You can even enjoy lunch or afternoon tea on the Royal Deck!

Rosslyn Chapel

Just south of Edinburgh lies the village of Roslin, where the spectacular Rosslyn Chapel was built 600 years ago as an object of curiosity and splendor. A truly unique example of religious architecture!

Our Dynamic Earth

The Holyrood area sits beneath a dormant volcano. The information center Our Dynamic Earth is the perfect place to learn about the natural processes that shaped our planet from the Big Bang to the present!

Planning Your Edinburgh Visit

Best time to visit?

Edinburgh is heaving with visitors throughout the summer, but for good reason – it's festival season! If you'd rather see the city significantly less hectic then you'll have to brave the Scottish winter. The good news is that few landscapes lend themselves so beautifully to cloud and drizzle as that of Scotland!

When is the Edinburgh Festival?

Edinburgh has several large festivals occupying its streets throughout summer, including their film, jazz, and book festivals. However, it's common to mistake the Edinburgh Fringe – the world's largest performing arts festival – as THE festival. It spans 25 days of August. This year's exact dates, and those for the other events too, can be found here.

How long to stay?

Book at least a week in Edinburgh if you can. Many of the city's most popular attractions require more time than you'll realise and there's already more than enough to do, especially during festival season. Plus, if you haven't ventured into Scotland's awe-inspiring countryside before, you should consider at least one day trip out of the city too!

Good to Know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    Spring for the mild weather, summer for the cultural events!

Things to Do in Edinburgh

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

Want to discover all there is to do in Edinburgh?  Click here for a full list.

What People Are Saying About Edinburgh

Great night, the vaults did not disappoint!

Steph did a great job taking us above ground and informing us about some of Edinburgh’s Ghost’s and Ghouls. When we ventured below ground into the vaults we were not disappointed, some activity which would have increased with more time spent in the vaults. Lovely finish to the evening with a complementary drink whilst hearing more about Edinburgh’s past. We’ll be back!!

Edinburgh Ghosts & Ghouls Old Town Underground Tour Reviewed by Rebecca, 02/21/2017

Convenient ,informative great customer service.

Absolutely recommend sightseeing in this way. We were able to get a view of what was on offer and arrange to visit attractions we chose. Very convenient and the staff were very knowledgable and friendly and smart ,well presented. Loved it well worth the money!

Great day out shame about the weather, then again it is February

Been to Edinburgh on a good few occasions but never made it to the castle before, booked tickets on line which made access much easier, we had a great time.

Edinburgh Castle Full-Day Skip-The-Line Ticket Reviewed by Iain, 02/19/2017

Great deal.Very informative and enjoyable.

Time saver. Great experience. Worth every penny. Would recommend ,especially for families.

Royal Edinburgh 2-Day Attractions Ticket Reviewed by Jurgita, 02/17/2017

Good value for money and very entertaining.

After waiting a while to sort my tickets we went in. The performance was very slick and and very profesional,The audience participation was good and gave you a sense of realism. You did not feel rushed and the time spent there was just right. Good value for money and very entertaining.

The Edinburgh Dungeon Entrance Ticket Reviewed by Paul, 02/10/2017

Edinburgh
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Based on 2,610 reviews by GetYourGuide customers