Top Attractions in Edinburgh
Demography of Edinburgh
The capital and the second most populous city of Scotland, Edinburgh offers a unique historical and cultural exploration. It became the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2204. Its Old Town and New Town are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It hosts the world’s largest annual arts festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, which takes place every August since 1947 and lasts the entire month. Edinburgh is one of the busiest and most expensive cities to stay in in Scotland. Hotels should be booked well in advance, particularly if you want to come during the summer festival. Hotels range from the five-star Balmoral, which has hosted the likes of J.K. Rowling, to Edinburgh Backpackers Hostel. Once you’re there, there are a few attractions you absolutely must see while visiting Edinburgh.
Some Tourist Attractions of Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle –
Atop Castle Hill, this tourist must is home to the crown jewels of Scotland, the Mons Meg cannon, and some great views of the city. Every day at 1 PM, a gunshot is fired.
Palace of Holyrood House
The Edinburgh home of the Royal Family is open to the public when not occupied by the Queen. The top sites at the Palace are the King James Tower, the abbey, the Royal Dining Room, and the Throne Room.
Royal Mile –
This stretch of road takes you past most of the city’s top tourist attractions as well as fine shopping and dining.
Camera Obscura and the World of Illusion –
The oldest public attraction in Edinburgh has been enjoyed since the Victorian era. It houses six floors of hands-on exhibits and optical illusions. On the roof, there is a collection of telescopes through which to view the city.
Royal Botanic Garden –
Seventy acres filled with flowers plants, rock gardens, and an art museum, Inverleith House. The Chinese Hillside comes complete with a T’ing, or traditional pavilion, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Arthur’s Seat –
The peak sits atop an extinct volcano and offers a beautiful 360-degree view of the city. Located in the center of the city by Holyrood Park, the nearby by Salisbury Crags are great for rock climbing. It is a bit of a hike to get to the top, but it’s also free.
Scott Monument –
It takes 287 steps in a narrow, spiraling staircase to get to the top, but the view is well worth it. The monument itself is a sight, built in Gothic style. On your way out stop by Princes Street for some of Edinburgh’s best shopping.
Calton Hill –
For a great view of the city and a chance to stop by some of Edinburgh’s top buildings and monuments, including the Nelson Monument, which commemorates the 1805 victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, and the Scottish Parliament Building, Carlton Hill is a must.
Scottish Storytelling Center –
A great place to sit and hear classic Scottish tales, the Center is fun for the whole family and will inspire your imagination.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art –
Along the Water of Leith walkway, this museum houses Edinburgh’s contemporary art collection. Edinburgh also has 4 other National Galleries of Art with different specialties.
Charlotte Square –
Located in New Town, Charlotte Square is a beautiful area filled with gardens and historic buildings, including the 18th-century townhouse, Georgian House.
Hopetown House –
The home of the famous Hope family was built in 1700. The gardens alone are worth the trip.
Linlithgow Palace –
Just west of Edinburgh, this royal family home was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
St. Giles Cathedral –
It’s Europe so visiting a church is basically a requirement. St. Giles’s Gothic architecture and stained glass are truly a standout.
Mary King’s Close –
A guided tour beneath the city offers a look into life in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is advisable to reserve a spot in advance.