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Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the United Kingdom and has an old-world charm that is difficult to resist.

The Scottish capital is a center of Scottish history, culture, and the arts, making for an ideal vacation.

There are so many ways to embrace the city, but it is better to start with Edinburgh’s tourist attractions.

Discover the top tourist attractions in this fascinating city with our list of the things to do in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle
Brendan Howard / Getty Images

With more than 2 million visitors annually, Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most visited tourist attraction.

Resting on Castle Rock, the historic fortress has dominated Edinburgh’s skyline for the last 900 years.

Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe, with a rich 900-year-long history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress. Find out what’s inside Edinburgh Castle.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh
Image: GetYourGuide

Royal Yacht Britannia is a perfect opportunity to see how the British Queen lived when traveling with other Kings and Queens, World leaders, and celebrities. 

It used to be Queen Elizabeth’s Palace on water.

Holyrood Palace

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Rabbit75_Cav / Getty Images

Holyrood Palace is the British Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

Visitors can explore 14 State Apartments, the ruins of 12th-century Holyrood Abbey, the Royal Gardens, and the exhibitions in the Queen’s Gallery.

Mary King’s Close

Real Mary Kings Close
Image: Realmarykingsclose.com

Hidden beneath the Royal Mile, Mary King’s Close is a collection of streets, homes, and passageways offering a glimpse of life of Edinburgh in the 17th century.

Edinburgh Vaults

Edinburgh Vaults ghost tour
Image: Mercattours.com

Edinburgh Vaults are the most extensive underground caverns in the city and offer the most popular ghost tours.

Many believe these Vaults to be a hotbed of paranormal activity.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo Panda
Rihast / Getty Images

Edinburgh Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals and an extraordinary wildlife experience for kids and adults alike.

Koalas, Penguin parades, etc., are some of the highlights of this century-old Zoo.

The Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is ideal for curious travelers and history enthusiasts. Join the tour as it traverses the winding cobblestone lanes and majestic avenues of Scotland’s capital, where every stop promises a glimpse into centuries of captivating history.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh
Image: Camera-obscura.co.uk

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction, entertaining visitors since 1853.

Its two parts are – five floors of ‘illusions’ and a 360° view of Edinburgh city provided by the Camera Obscura on the 6th floor.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel
Image: SaltireHospitality.co

Rosslyn Chapel, located in Roslin, Edinburgh, is a fascinating 15th-century chapel known for its rich history, intricate carvings, and connections to the Knights Templar. 

Made famous by Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code,” it attracts visitors from around the world who are eager to explore its mysteries.

Outlander Film Locations

outlander filming locations edinburgh

A guided tour of Outlander Film Locations is a fantastic experience that lets you enter the show’s charming universe and learn about the treasure of stories, legends, and folklore woven into Scotland’s stunning landscapes.

With its captivating fusion of history, romance, and time travel, Outlander, the epic television series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novels, has captivated audiences worldwide.

The Edinburgh Dungeon

The Edinburgh Dungeon
Image: ScotchWhiskyExperience.co.uk

The Edinburgh Dungeon is a thrilling and immersive experience that takes visitors back in time through the city’s darkest and most macabre history when the devil and its maidens roamed the land, and shadows hidden in caves cannibalized innocent travelers of the night. 

Gin Distillery Tour

Gin Distillery Tour
Image: Tripadvisor.com

Edinburgh Gin Distillery Tour will give you a hands-on and immersive experience of exploring the intricacies of gin production and indulging in a sensory adventure through the diverse flavors.  

Harry Potter Edinburgh Tour

Harry Potter Edinburgh Tour
Image: Pottertour.co.uk

Harry Potter Edinburgh Tour is a delight to the lovers of Harry Potter and even those unfamiliar with Hogwarts (I doubt if there are any!).

This walking tour is your gateway into the wizardly world of Harry Potter and to learn more about JK Rowling, the writer of this series.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience
Image: ScotchWhiskyExperience.co.uk

The Scotch Whisky Experience is a renowned visitor attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland, dedicated to celebrating the heritage and craftsmanship of Scotch whisky. 

It offers a variety of interactive and educational experiences for whisky enthusiasts and curious visitors alike.

Chocolatarium Edinburgh 

Chocolatarium Edinburgh
Image: Edinburgh.org

Enjoy the world of delectable tasty treats in the heart of Edinburgh with a visit to Chocolatarium Edinburgh.

It offers a one-of-its-kind immersive experience for chocolate lovers of all ages. 

John Knox House

John Knox House
Image: tripadvisor.in

John Knox House is the only surviving structure associated with John Knox, a prominent Scottish Protestant reformer. 

Dating back to the 15th century, the house showcases a blend of medieval and early modern architecture, featuring stone walls, a crow-stepped gable, and a charming courtyard.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle
Image: GetYourGuide.com

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most architecturally important castles, with most buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Holyrood Distillery

Holyrood Distillery
Image: Isgltd.com

Holyrood Distillery is a renowned distillery located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. Established in 2018, it is a relatively new addition to the vibrant Scottish distilling scene.

This distillery specializes in crafting exceptional spirits, including gin and single-malt Scotch whisky, while exploring unique and experimental offerings.

Edinburgh Graveyard Tours

Edinburgh Graveyard Tours
Image: VisitScotland.com

The Edinburgh graveyard tours offer a unique glimpse into the past and some spooky tales whispered by the dearly departed.

Walking through the quiet graveyards, filled with headstones dating back to the 1700s, is eerie enough. But hearing stories from the living about the people who are buried here takes it up a notch.

Edinburgh Three Bridges Cruise

Edinburgh Three Bridges Cruise
Image: (Facebook.com)EdinburghTour

The Edinburgh Three Bridges Cruise offers a fascinating and scenic boat tour along the picturesque Firth of Forth near the vibrant city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

This unique cruise showcases the three iconic bridges that span the estuary: the Forth Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge, and the Queensferry Crossing. 

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle
Image: AlnwickCastle.com

Alnwick Castle, located in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland, England, is a magnificent medieval fortress with a history of over 1,000 years. 

It stands as one of the country’s most iconic and well-preserved castles. For its grandeur and architectural splendor, Alnwick Castle has been the ancestral home of the Percy family, the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, for centuries.

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Image: CulturedNorthEast.co.uk

Hadrian’s Wall is a remarkable testament to the ingenuity and engineering prowess of the ancient Roman Empire. 

In the 2nd century AD, Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of a wall that functioned as a strong barrier and a visible indicator of the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

Edinburgh Comedy Horror Ghost Bus tour

Edinburgh Comedy Horror Ghost Bus tour
Image: SykesCottages.co.uk

The Edinburgh Comedy Horror Ghost Bus tour is not only about amusing ghost stories and visible dread. 

It also has sightseeing of iconic landmarks like Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriars Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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