Top 20 Must Do Activities when visiting Edinburgh

Our Quick Reference Guide to the Top 20 Attractions and ideas for Things to do and see in Edinburgh

Our Quick Reference - Top 20 Attractions

1.Edinburgh Castle , Castle Hill, 0131 225 9846
2.Royal Botanic Garden , 20A Inverleith Row, 0131 552 7171
3.Museum of Scotland , Chambers Street, 0131 247 4422
4.Camera Obscura and World of Illusions , Castlehill, The Royal Mile, 0131 226 3709
5.Royal Yacht Britannia , Ocean Terminal Leith, 0131 555 5566
6.National Gallery of Scotland , The Mound, 0131 624 6200
7.Scott Monument , Intersection of Princes Street and Waverly Bridge, 0131 529 4068
8.Royal Mile , Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse Palace, Old Town
9.Holyroodhouse Palace , Holyrood Road, 0131 556 5100
10.Real Mary King’s Close , 2 Warriston’s Close, High Street, 08702 430160
11.Open Top Bus Tour, Waverley Bridge, 0131 220 0770
12.Museum of Edinburgh , 142 Huntly House Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DD
13.John Knox House , 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
14.Rosslyn Chapel , Chapel Loan Roslin, Nr Edinburgh Midlothian, EH25 9PU
15.The Scottish Parliament , Scottish Parliament Holyrood, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP
16.Scotch Whisky Experience , 354 Castlehill The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE
17.Greyfriars Kirk , Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2QQ
18.Calton Hill , Edinburgh
19.Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS tel: 0131 3349171
20.Burns Monument , Regent Road Calton Hill, Edinburgh


Things to do and see in Edinburgh


From the historic cobbled streets, wynds and court yards of the medieval old town to the elegant Georgian New town, Edinburgh is not only beautiful but steeped in history – making it a top destination.


Wonder the streets

To take in the atmosphere walk the streets or take a guided tour and learn more about the fascinating history of Scotland’s capital:

Start at the Palace of Holyroodhouse – HM The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, then walk up the famous Royal Mile which links the Castle with The Palace of Holyroodhouse. On route explore some of the museums and shops and take lunch in a Royal mile pub or cafe. Edinburgh Castle, built on its own volcanic rock at the top of the Royal Mile is Scotland’s number one visitor attraction and is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels. Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction, built beside Edinburgh Castle in 1853 is The Camera Obscura where for 150 years visitors have spied on passers-by in the street below and enjoyed amazing panoramas of Edinburgh!


A popular evening activity

Combining history with entertainment why not consider a Ghost Tour! They are available every evening around the Old Town and you will hear many tales of ghostly goings on and sinister Edinburgh characters.


Get a great view

A great way to see the city is to take an Open Top Bus Tour. Not only can you hop on and off at your leisure but they provide a convenient link between the main tourist attractions such as Holyrood park, The Old Town and The Royal Yacht Britannia , now permanently moored in Leith.


Parks and Gardens

Edinburgh has some super parks and gardens allowing the visitor and of course locals a break from the buzz of the city. Take a hike up the 251m high Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano and enjoy spectacular views of the city. Or how about a lazy stroll in The Meadows followed by a cappuccino in a city coffee shop.

Just one mile from city centre, lies the tranquil Royal Botanic Garden, 72 acres of beautiful plants. Founded in 1670, it is said to be one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Here you will also find a Glasshouses, featuring Britain’s tallest Palm House, and the award-winning art gallery at Inverleith House. Open all year, the garden hosts many popular events and exhibitions


Explore by bike

An excellent way of exploring the city is by bike . There are over 128km of cycle paths allowing a safe and scenic route past many interesting landmarks such as the Canal Path and Water of Leith walkway. Out of the city there is some fantastic mountain biking in the Pentland Hills Regional Park.


Day visit out of the city centre

It is worth making the 7 mile trip south of Edinburgh to visit the stunning 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, which recently featured in Dan Brown’s book and the film The Da Vinci Code. With elaborate carvings and the famous Apprentice Pillar, the chapel is set in the beautiful Rosslyn glen complete with trail walks around the romantic Rosslyn Castle.


With children

Edinburgh also has lots of activities for kids . The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has hundreds of shows for children, and other festivals throughout the year also provides great kids entertainment. For more things to do with children see our article 'Edinburgh with kids'.