Top 10 Things to do in Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK)

August 23, 2017 Hector Krause

Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals. Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
Restaurants in Edinburgh

1. Arthur's SeatVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 amazing bucket list experiences in Edinburgh

Queen's Drive, Edinburgh EH8 8HG, Scotland +44 131 510 7555
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
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1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 16 reviews

Arthur's SeatVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 amazing bucket list experiences in Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat is one of four hill forts, dating from around 2,000 years ago. Situated within Holyrood Park, as well as it's rich cultural heritage, the park offers walks, solace, wildlife, volcanic geology and unparalleled vistas of the city from its many vantage points. The park has several Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designations due to its exceptional range of grassland habitats and its internationally important volcanic geology. Ranger service on site.

Reviewed By Caitlin H

We climbed from Holyrood Park and to be honest, it’s quite a steep hike. There were a few places where a fear of heights will be prohibitive to travelers. Overall we enjoyed it, but the recent rain made for a slippy and slow trek up the mountain. We saw many hikers in trainers and flats—definitely wear shoes you can hike in.

2. National Museum of ScotlandVisitScotland Tourism Organisation9 of Edinburgh’s top arts attractions

Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, Scotland +44 300 123 6789
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
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4.5 based on 16 reviews

National Museum of ScotlandVisitScotland Tourism Organisation9 of Edinburgh’s top arts attractions

Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, science and technology, art, design and fashion, and Scottish history, all under one roof.

Reviewed By Samantha K

We opted to visit here on the morning of our last day, teenagers and small kids in tow we did not expect the place to be so full of stuff to see and do!! We were only able to spend a few hours there and only got to see a fraction of whats there, ate in the cafe on level 3, it was gorgeous and they had a lovely little lunch box option for the kids for less than a fiver, we are going back and its now first on our to do list!!

3. Edinburgh Old Town

Old town, Edinburgh EH1, Scotland
Excellent
71%
Good
25%
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4.5 based on 12 reviews

Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh's oldest neighborhood, dating back to medieval times: these small streets are lined with wool shops, pubs and historical monuments.

Reviewed By Gem T

Yes it's on a steep hill and touristy, but why do people think that's a reason to give it one star and warn people to never visit I have no idea.
It's not the easiest walk if you chose to go down the cute close alleys and steps, but it's easy enough to walk the straight incline to the castle.
Beautiful little shops with friendly workers, a lovely view and cute place to see.

4. Royal Yacht BritanniaVisitScotland Tourism Organisation9 of Edinburgh’s top arts attractions

Ocean Drive | Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ, Scotland +44 131 555 5566
Excellent
73%
Good
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Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 17 reviews

Royal Yacht BritanniaVisitScotland Tourism Organisation9 of Edinburgh’s top arts attractions

Step aboard The Queen's former floating palace and experience this iconic 5 star attraction for yourself. Rated Scotland's Best Attraction for 12 years running and in TripAdvisor's UK Top 10 for the last 5 years, Britannia is one of the most famous ships in the world. Sailing a million miles on a thousand official visits, during 40 years in service, the Royal Yacht played host to glittering state banquets and official receptions, but was also home to the Royal Family and crew of 220 Royal Yachtsmen. Explore Britannia's highly accessible 5 decks with highlights including the elegant Royal Apartments, Crew's Quarters, Engine Room and stunning Royal Deck Tea Room. Highly accessible for wheelchairs and buggies. Open year round .Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh city centre (local buses every 10 minutes - 11, 22, 34 and 300 to Ocean Terminal).

Reviewed By Huw222 - Watford, United Kingdom

Located off a shopping centre, so you can combine a visit with some shopping. It was an interesting glimpse into the life of the Royals in a different era. Worth a visit and better value in my opinion than the castle.

5. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Castlehill | The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, Scotland +44 131 226 3709
Excellent
66%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 10 reviews

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Enjoy unique 360 degree panoramic views over Edinburgh from the fascinating Camera Obscura and rooftop Terrace. In World of Illusions, experience five floors of interactive hands-on optical illusions, tricks and fun things to do including vortex tunnel, mirror maze and shrinking room. Get involved, play, touch everything. Great fun for all ages and nationalities, whatever the weather. Scotland’s oldest purpose-built attraction, established in 1835. Tickets are valid all day, just get your hand stamped and come and go as you please all day long. If you don't see everything we give you a free pass to come back the next day. Unique money back guarantee if not fully satisfied. Free Wifi. 'Best family attraction in Britain’, The Telegraph. 'Five Stars, outstanding, world class', VisitScotland. Bring your camera - lots of photo opportunities throughout. Allow about 2 hours. Please note the attraction is located in a listed 17th Century building over 5 floors without a lift. Open every day, open late on holidays. Latest news: Autowed has arrived - get married, renew vows or become 'best friends forever', with our friendly robotic wedding machine.

Reviewed By Lolskie-and-Mr-Moore - Bristol, United Kingdom

We highlighted this as one of Edinburgh's must-see attractions. The World of Illusions, has numerous floors of incredible science-y fun including the stomach-churning vortex tunnel, hall of mirrors, piano staircase and various optical illusion displays. All of this is topped-off with the Victorian Camera Obscura itself, which offers a unique view of the city with entertaining commentary from the museum guide.
All in all a fun couple of hours, perhaps a little pricey but probably something good to do if you have kids.

6. Royal Mile

Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2PB, Scotland +44 131 510 7555
Excellent
59%
Good
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Satisfactory
9%
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4.5 based on 19 reviews

Royal Mile

Stretch of road connecting Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace, the Queen's residence in Scotland.

Reviewed By David R - Glasgow, United Kingdom

The street is basically a meander up to the gates of the castle. Pleasant enough for window shopping (for goods that are often overpriced in my opinion) and looking at the architecture. In the summer there are sometimes street performers and buskers adding - or detracting - to the atmosphere.
Free and good to get a feel for the older buildings.

7. Edinburgh CastleVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 don’t miss historic buildings of Edinburgh for a glimpse of the city’s history

Edinburgh EH12NG, Scotland +44 131 225 9846
Excellent
60%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
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4.5 based on 38 reviews

Edinburgh CastleVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 don’t miss historic buildings of Edinburgh for a glimpse of the city’s history

Edinburgh Castle is a world famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. It was recently voted top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards and is Scotland’s number one paid-for tourist attraction. This most famous of Scottish Castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War. The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

Reviewed By James D

I was a little dubious about Edinburgh Castle initially due to the price, but I needn't have worried, Edinburgh Castle is fantastic value for the money. I certainly recommend a guided tour which are constantly running (you meet just past the portcullis) Our guide, Richard- a Welshman was absolutely terrific, he knew everything about the castle and we really felt like we'd left feeling enriched!
I truly believe however that you get the value for the money when you take the guided tour it really does make it so much better or you may end up just pottering around without any knowledge. The Castle has a number of great museums such as the National War Museum and the Prisoner of War Museum among others it is amazing. The only criticism I have (and I won't dock points for this) is the fact that it is so ridiculously packed with people, or it was when we were there. Happily, the guided tour allows you to forget all of the people and allows you to be transported to another time.

8. Real Mary King's CloseVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 amazing bucket list experiences in Edinburgh

High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PG, Scotland +44 131 225 0672
Excellent
57%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
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Poor
3%
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4.5 based on 12 reviews

Real Mary King's CloseVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 amazing bucket list experiences in Edinburgh

Hidden beneath the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh’s deepest secret: a warren of hidden ‘closes’ where real people lived, worked and died. For centuries they have lain forgotten and abandoned…until now. Visit Edinburgh's most famous Close, which makes Edinburgh's Hidden History unmissable.

Reviewed By Kezzar53 - Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

The tour guides make the tours. Our guide was really engaging, despite the cow jokes! The tour is through some staged areas where they have recreated scenes that may have occurred in each house. You spend most of your time within the tenaments and the final part is in the close street. You're not allowed to take photographs, presumably so you'll by the one offered to you at the end. It can be very disorientating as it's not always clear where you are.
A fun insight in to Edinburgh's history and the people who lived there before the close was enclosed by the building above.

9. BobCat Alpacas

Bonaly Road, Edinburgh EH13 0PB, Scotland +44 7963 324922
Excellent
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5 based on 142 reviews

BobCat Alpacas

Alpaca farm with visitor options (see website for details) Advance booking is essential via our website booking calendar. Weekends are particularly popular and are booked well in advance.

Reviewed By alis0nchristensen - Macclesfield, United Kingdom

On arriving Bob introduces us to each of the Alpacas, each with their own unique personalities and quirks. I never appreciated what characters they were, and what I thought would be more fun for my grandchildren than me, turned out the opposite. They are fabulous...MoreAlison, thank you very much for your very positive review we do so appreciate all our reviews. We are glad you enjoyed your time with us and the alpacas, they are really wonderful creatures.

10. Edinburgh Gin DistilleryVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 best-kept hidden gems and secret places in Edinburgh

1A Rutland Place | Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH1 2AD, Scotland +44 131 656 2810
Excellent
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5 based on 1 reviews

Edinburgh Gin DistilleryVisitScotland Tourism Organisation10 best-kept hidden gems and secret places in Edinburgh

Located in the beating heart of Scotland's capital, the Edinburgh Gin Distillery is a destination quite unlike any other. It's here that we produce small batches of gin, inspired by the majesty, marvel and mischief of Edinburgh and its inhabitants. The Edinburgh Gin Visitor Centre is the only place in the capital where you can indulge both the mind and the palate in all things gin. From taking a tour or a guided tasting, to trying your hand at making your own, our goal is the educate, excite and libate; all in equal measure.

Reviewed By DriverSouthampton_UK - Southampton, UK

This is a great gin experience! My husband and I did the connoisseur tour on Monday morning, arriving at 11am and feeling slightly apprehensive about such an early start. We needn’t have worried. The waiting lounge is full of really well-chosen furniture and interesting artefacts,...MoreThank you for taking the time to leave a 5 star review for you tour with James. I am sure he will be pleased to hear the kind comments. Kind regards Tarin

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