See and Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a beautiful and historic city full of exciting places to explore and spectacular annual events to enjoy. The city is also well-connected with the rest of the UK, making day trips to other parts of scenic Scotland very accessible.

Expats interested in visiting many of the UK's sites of the past, like castles and manors, may find the Historic Scotland pass to be a worthwhile investment. The annual fee allows admission to most sites across Scotland and half price admission in England, Wales and the Isle of Man.

Those who want a door-to-door experience of the main Edinburgh attractions may enjoy a “hop on-hop off” tour, which is easily accessible outside of Waverly Station.

Recommended attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

This old and magnificent fortress was once home to kings and queens and has been involved in numerous historic conflicts. A centre point of the city, the castle, built upon volcanic rock, deserves an afternoon for a full tour.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland, this stunning property is situated at the foot of Arthur’s Seat in the midst of Holyrood Park. Visitors may tour the palace, the Queen’s galleries, as well as Holyrood Abbey (the oldest section of the palace) all year round, except when the Royal Family is in residence.

Royal Mile

Running 1.1 miles from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile is a favourite tourist spot. Lining the streets of the Royal Mile is an eclectic mix of tourist shops, pubs and historical attractions.

John Knox House

Traditionally assumed to have been the one-time home of the Protestant reformer, tours of this house allow the visitor a chance to explore a well-preserved home, while learning about Mary Queen of Scots and the historic conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants.

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh’s second focal point seen from anywhere in the city is Arthur’s Seat, the main peak of the group of hills in Holyrood Park. The climb to the top is relatively quick, and the effort is richly rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Botanic Gardens

Set in the beautiful Inverleith area, the Botanic Gardens offer visitors the chance to stroll through beautifully maintained gardens, explore contemporary art exhibits, and to learn about the research taking place within. The Temperate House is a particularly delightful treat.

Mary King’s Close

These alleyways are the subject of many myths and legends about ghosts, murders and plague victims left to die walled up in their homes. A very popular tourist activity, any fan of ghost stories will want to put this at the top of their list.