The Best Things To Do In Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. With its breath-taking historical landmarks and stunning scenery, it is a city just waiting to be explored. Edinburgh has become one of the most visited cities in the UK welcoming over a million of tourists every year. ‘Auld Reekie’, the cities nickname, meaning ‘Old Smoky’ for its industrial past, is the perfect city to walk due to its compact size. The intimate pubs and charismatic restaurants all add to the atmosphere of this captivating city.

Edinburgh Castle 

Edinburgh Castle is probably the most famous landmark in Edinburgh and Scotland. This historic fortress had been home to Kings and Queens for many centuries until around the 16th century. Within the castle you will find the Great Hall, the Crown Jewels of Scotland and The Stone of Destiny, which is a powerful and ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy. The One O'clock Gun is also a must see. The gun is fired everyday apart from Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday. Take a tour of this magnificent castle to enjoy the full experience.

Edinburgh Castle history

Holyrood Palace 

The palace built between 1671 and 1678 is the official residence of the Royal Family. The palace is located at the end of the Royal Mile which is a thoroughfare which links Holyrood with Edinburgh Castle. Explore the palace, Holyrood Abbey and the exquisite gardens. This is where the Queen holds her annual garden party for distinguished guests. 

Museum of Scotland 

Discover Scotland in the museum which travels through the history and culture of this fascinating country. In the museum you will find national treasures, technology, science, art and natural history all on display. Entrance is free, but there are options to enjoy a guided tour to ensure you capture everything. 

Whisky Experience 

Whisky is one of Scotland's largest exports and there are over 120 distilleries in Scotland. It goes without saying that the variety of flavours are innumerable. Once known as aqua vitae ‘Water of Life’ go on a tour and learn how Whisky is made from barley, wheat, corn or rye. You will also discover the differences between single malt and blended varieties. Finally, try samples from some of the finest brands. 

Holyrood Palace
Edinburgh whisky tour

Princes Street 

Princes Street is the place to go for shopping in the capital and is located in the New Town area of Edinburgh. Titans of the high street all have shops along this thoroughfare. It is also the perfect place to purchase a souvenir of your city break to Edinburgh. On the south side of the street there is the Princes Street Gardens where you can the escape the hustle and bustle. Here you will also see remarkable monuments, including the Scott Monument and the castle.  

Princes street edinburgh

The Old Town 

The Old Town is one of the most visited parts of Edinburgh. With its old charcoaled building due to its past this area of the city is full of charm. The streets have kept much of their medieval past and layout and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the New Town. The main artery of the area is the Royal Mile, where there are shops, pubs and restaurants all creating an exciting vibrant atmosphere.

Arthurs Seat 

Arthur’s seat is an ancient extinct volcano. It sits at 251m above sea level and is within the Holyrood Park at the end of the Royal Mile. From the top you can observe some of the best 360-degree views over Edinburgh. Climbing the hill is not too difficult but walking shoes maybe preferable. There are various routes you can take which vary in difficulty so worth checking the best option for you. 

Edinburghs old town
Arthurs Seat

Edinburgh Tours & Attractions

Map of Edinburgh

History and Culture of Edinburgh 

The History of Edinburgh can be found to go back as early as the Bronze and Iron ages in 8000 BC. After these ages the area was controlled by Celtic tribes who defended the city from invasions from their fort Dun Eiden. The Romans invade Britain in 55BC, but they were unable to defeat the armies of the North and subsequently retreated. Hadrian’s Wall was built to defend against to North.  

In 638 the Angles defeated descendants of the Celtic tribes and added the then English word for fort, burh, to the existing Eiden, and the name Edinburgh was born. The Angles had control for 300 years until it was abandoned and left to the Scots.  

James VI inherited the English throne in the 17th century. Scotland and England were united although both retained independent parliaments. In the early 18th century, the Treaty of Union was signed which the Parliaments of Scotland and England were united.  

During the 18th century the city began to prosper although due to the over crowdedness living conditions were becoming unsavoury. This led to the planning and creation of the New Town and building of the Georgian Terrace houses. This split the city in two between the Old and New Towns, which can still be seen today.   

Edinburgh industrialised in the 19th century with the opening of new factories and the name ‘Auld Reekie’ or ‘Old Smoky’ was derived for the smog which hung over the landscape.

In 1998, The Scottish Parliament was created and is now based in Holyrood.

Pictures of Edinburgh

Hotels In Edinburgh

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