With its rich history and fascinating culture, Scotland’s capital city is a popular stop on the tourist trail for anyone visiting the UK. If you are a keen on historic buildings, artifacts, ghosts and ghouls, top quality cuisine, sport, shopping and Scottish souvenirs then you will find plenty to keep you happy during a stay here – in fact you will probably find yourself with too much to do! In order to help you get the most of out sightseeing in Edinburgh here are 10 sights not to miss.
1. Edinburgh Castle (http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk)
Obviously a trip to the city would not be complete without taking in its crowning glory. There has been a castle on the site here since around the 12th Century and as one of Scotland’s key fortresses, the building has seen plenty of action. There are guided tours of the castle available where you can see Scotland’s crown jewels, the stone of destiny and of course the fabulous views out over the city. Tickets are £14 for adults and £8.20 for kids.
2. The Royal Mile (http://www.edinburgh-royalmile.com)
In Edinburgh’s old town you will find the Royal Mile, a collection of streets that are the busiest tourist spot in the city. Take to the Royal Mile for the shops or restaurants, to see the site of the last ever hanging in the city, the heart of Midlothian, Edinburgh Castle and Parliament Square, among many other sights.
3. National Museum of Scotland (http://www.nms.ac.uk)
If you want to learn about Scotland – from its wildlife, to its culture, then this is the place to come. A comprehensive guide to Scotland, past and present, the National Museum of Scotland is a great way to spend an educational but fun day. Entry is free, which makes it a great option for the budget conscious traveller.
4. Edinburgh Festival (http://www.eif.co.uk)
Outside of the Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve it is probably the Edinburgh festival that brings the biggest influx of tourists to the city each year. Three weeks of theatre, comedy, dance, music and art are a dream come true for culture lovers and if you can’t afford tickets to the festival events then check out the Edinburgh Fringe, where tickets are cheaper or in many cases free.
5. Glenkinchie Distillery (http://www.discovering-distilleries.com/glenkinchie)
Whilst it is located a little way out of Edinburgh, the Glenkinchie Distillery is the home of the Edinburgh malt and so an essential stop for the whisky loving tourist. You can find the distillery 20 miles from Edinburgh, easily reached by bus, and there are tours, exhibitions and opportunities to taste the ‘water of life.’
6. Royal Botanical Gardens (http://www.rbge.org.uk)
For a break from the noise and the hum of the city, head to the botanical gardens for a wander through lush green gardens and exotic greenhouses. Entrance to the garden is free but the glasshouse is £4 for adults and £1 for children.
7. Graveyard/Horror tours
Edinburgh has a pretty spooky past, with a history of plague, cannibals, hangings and grave robbers. If you want to get to know the darker side of the city then sign up with a company like Auld Reekie (http://www.auldreekietours.com) for a haunting walking tour. Tours start from around £9.50 per person.
8. National Galleries of Scotland (http://www.nationalgalleries.org)
Housed in three sites across Edinburgh, the national galleries of Scotland (The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Contemporary Art) are a hat trick of art delights housed in some breathtaking buildings. Entrance is free to the collection, which includes a huge amount of Scottish art, as well as paintings by the likes of Monet and Van Gogh.
9. Murrayfield Stadium (http://www.murrayfieldexperience.com)
If you’re a rugby fan then the Murrayfield Stadium will be well known to you, even if only from TV coverage of international games held here. Buy tickets for a game, wonder around the grounds or purchase sporty souvenirs from the on site shop.
10. The Kitchin (http://www.thekitchin.com)
One of the sights not to be missed has to be Edinburgh’s food and there is no better way to sample contemporary Scottish cuisine a its best than at the Michelin starred Kitchen. Expect dishes like Perthshire partridge, Borders game, West Coast shellfish and Ayrshire pork, served up with minute attention to detail in cosy gentlemen’s club type surroundings.