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. Here are some of Edinburgh's best offerings of things to see and do. 

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 deserves an afternoon for a full tour – and don't forget to catch the magnificent view of Edinburgh from outside the castle.

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 Great Gallery, 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 from Edinburgh Castle through 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.

Royal Botanic Garden

Set in the beautiful Inverleith area, the Royal Botanic Garden offers visitors the chance to stroll through beautifully maintained gardens, explore contemporary art exhibits, and to learn about the research taking place within. The Temperate Palm House is a particular highlight.

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. Any fan of ghost stories will want to put this at the top of their list.

Amanda Rivera Our Expat Expert

Amanda is an American expat making her home in Edinburgh, along with her husband.  She works full time as a social worker and enjoys spending her time exploring Edinburgh and traveling to other exciting places.  Amanda loves living in Edinburgh and welcomes any questions from those planning or considering a move to this great city. You can read more about her experiences living in bonny Scotland at her family blog:

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