Explore the best of Edinburgh

Calton Hill, Edinburgh
The National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, an unfinished monument to the Scottish servicemen who died in the Napoleonic Wars Credit: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett

From the festival to the castle and beyond, we check out the best things to enjoy in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh

arthur's seat, seat, mountain, mount, hill, arthur, park, palace, edinburgh scotlad
A view of Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. credit: VisitBritain / Britain on View

Edinburgh International Festival and Festival Fringe

The biggest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival Fringe take place every August. Going strong for a few decades now, it is an opportunity for performers to showcase anything, with no limitations on who can participate and, as a result, is where many stars are first discovered. The three-week long festival is one Scotland’s biggest attractions, adding to Edinburgh’s reputation as one of the most important cultural capitals in the world.

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Edinburgh Castle built on Castle Rock. Credit: Visit Britain/ Andrew Pickett

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh’s biggest tourist attraction boasts a magnificent view from the top of the castle, along with the rich history. Its prominence in the city’s skyline, standing atop the Castle Rock as it looks over Edinburgh makes it a must-see attraction for visitors to the city.

Holyrood Palace, palace, holyrood, holyrood park, scotland, edinburgh, par, castle, palace
Holyrood Palace, significant in Scotland’s history, is adjacent to Holyrood Park. Credit: Visit Britian/Britain on View

The Palace of Holyrood House

HM the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle. It has been as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century and the British monarch spends one week a year in residence here carrying our a range of duties. It’s also open to the public to view the State Apartments, Mary, Queen of Scots’ Chambers and a range of exhibitions.

National Museum of Scotland

The collections with the museum include collections on technology, natural sciences, art, history, and world cultures. The central hub of information in Scotland, the national museum also offers interesting artefacts and documents about life in the past, taken from sources in the Outer Hebrides, and the Shetland Islands, which are home to several rare artefacts and archeological goldmines which, together, take you in a journey through the history of Scotland.

Scottish National Gallery

Built on the Mound in central Edinburgh, the gallery was first opened to the public in 1859. It is the home of Scotland’s national collection of fine art, including Scottish and international art since the Renaissance period to the start of the 20th century and is another of Edinburgh’s largest tourist spots attracting connoisseurs from all over the globe.

View from the top of Calton Hill over the UNESCO world heritage site, the Old and New Town areas of Edinburgh Credit: VisitBritain/Craig Easton
View from the top of Calton Hill over the UNESCO world heritage site, the Old and New Town areas of Edinburgh Credit: VisitBritain/Craig Easton

Calton Hill

Standing at 103m high, Calton Hill is a World Heritage Site which offers great view of the city. It is home to many other landmarks, too, including the Scottish Parliament building, the National Monument, the Nelson Monument and the Robert Burns monument.

public park, princes street, simon winnall, edinburgh, scotland
Public park built next to Princes Street. Credit: VisitBritain/ Simon Winnall

Princes Street

This is one of the major thoroughfares in Scotland, and the main shopping street in Edinburgh. The name was given in honour of King George III’s two sons, the princes. Due to the amazing view of Edinburgh offered by the street, it became a popular location to build hotels, as early as the 1880s. And with large numbers of hotels, railway companies felt it necessary to build stations here, making it the perfect place to stay: restaurants, shops, hotels, and transport are all located on the street. Some of Scotland’s biggest stores are located here, making it a great destination to head out to do some shopping.

The Royal Mile

One of the other large thoroughfares in Edinburgh, it is roughly one Scots mile long, which is slightly longer than the traditional mile. The road moves downhill, and it moves towards Edinburgh Castle from Holyrood Palace. This is said to be the busiest tourist street in Edinburgh, only matched by Princes Street. There are five roads that make up the Royal Mile, which includes the Edinburgh high street. The Royal Mile is another good location to do shopping, and it has some of Scotland’s largest stores as well.

Words: Khusrau Islam


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