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Top five things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the historic capital of Scotland, is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular tourist destinations, with its medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town sitting side by side.

Boasting fabulous architecture, fascinating museums, spacious parks and gardens, great restaurants and a wide variety of entertainment, this vibrant city offers so much for travellers to see and enjoy. Here is our list of the top five things to do on a visit to Edinburgh - but make sure you stay for more than a day if you want to fit it all in!

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh_Castle_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam.jpgEdinburgh Castle © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Majestic Edinburgh Castle perches high on a rock overlooking the city and is Edinburgh’s most iconic landmark. Recently voted the top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards, it is one of Scotland’s most popular visitor destinations. With a history dating back over 800 years, the castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the famous Stone of Destiny – the ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, St Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in Edinburgh, and the Scottish National War Memorial.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal_Botanic_Garden_Edinburgh_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam.jpgRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh  © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Dating back over 350 years, it originally began life as a ‘physic garden’ for growing medicinal plants. Today the garden covers 72 acres of magnificent landscape and offers fantastic views of the city skyline. With over 13,000 living plants built up over centuries of global exploration, highlights include the Chinese Hillside, the world-famous Rock Garden and the spectacular Giant Redwood trees in the Woodland Garden. During the winter months, the garden lights up with a magical, illuminated, botanical trail.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal_Yacht_Britannia_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam.jpgRoyal Yacht Britannia  © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Follow in the footsteps of royalty and explore Her Majesty The Queen’s floating palace. Named TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winner in 2020, visitors can enjoy a fascinating audio tour of five decks. Britannia was launched from Scotland on 16 April 1953, serving the Royal Family for over 44 years and travelling more than a million nautical miles to become one of the most famous ships in the world. For The Queen, Britannia provided a perfect royal residence for glittering state visits, official receptions, royal honeymoons and relaxing family holidays.

National Museum Scotland

National_Museum_Scotland_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam.jpgNational Museum Scotland © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

One of the UK’s top ten visitor attractions, the National Museum Scotland takes visitors on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland, the wonders of nature, art and design, science and technology, and world cultures – all under one roof. The perfect introduction to Scotland’s heritage, the museum boasts a treasure trove of artefacts dating back to Celtic, Roman and Viking times, including the famous Lewis chess pieces – as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! The Grand Gallery (pictured) is one of Scotland’s most impressive indoor spaces.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace_of_Holyroodhouse_C_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam.jpgPalace of Holyroodhouse © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Standing at the end of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the home of Scottish royal history. While today it is Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, it is perhaps best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the 16th century chambers where she lived are not to be missed. Other highlights include the State Apartments, which have played host to monarchs throughout the ages and are used regularly to this day by The Queen for State ceremonies and official entertaining, the romantic ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey and the remarkable royal gardens.

Some of our other favourite places in Edinburgh include Calton Hill – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for the best views of the city, the Scottish National Gallery, home to Scotland’s national collection of fine art, St Giles Cathedral, which has been at the heart of Scottish history for over 600 years, Edinburgh Zoo, which houses over 1,000 species including the UK’s only giant pandas - and be sure to take in a Scotch whisky tasting experience when you’re in Scotland, the home of whisky!

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tour of Scotland or the United Kingdom, including a visit to the historic city of Edinburgh, please do contact our friendly team today. Along with the top attractions, enjoy the finest accommodation and delicious food on your tailor-made tour.

Tags: Scotland  Edinburgh  Royal Tours  

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