Exciting things to do in Edinburgh
With so much going on, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Scottish capital.
The beautiful Scottish capital is a wonder – Medieval history merges with Georgian grandeur and modern lifestyles to create a city perfect for weekend breaks. With so many amazing things to do in Edinburgh you will be spoilt for choice.
Architectural wonders and historic attractions blend in with the luxury hotels and high end shops. It is difficult to tell them apart. Superb bars and gourmet restaurants compete for your attention, theatres and venues stand on every corner. Edinburgh is a city of culture, so expect to see something remarkable during your visit. Soak up the majesty of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, before shopping in the elegant stores of Princes Street. Come in summer to experience one of the biggest and best art festivals in the world.
A walk up the Royal Mile is the perfect introduction to Edinburgh. Starting at the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, follow the cobbles and you’ll come across some of the city’s most famous attractions. These include the Scotch Whisky Experience, St Giles’ Cathedral, the ultramodern Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You can even venture inside the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, before hiking up the hill to Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park.
Perched atop an extinct volcano at the peak of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. It became Scotland's chief royal castle in the Middle Ages and is now home to the Scottish Crown Jewels – the Honours of Scotland. You can also visit the Stone of Destiny, Mons Meg – the famous 15th century gun – and the National War Museum. Don’t miss the traditional one o’clock gun, which fires every day except Sunday.
With plenty of enlightening hotspots over the city, Edinburgh is ideal for culture vultures. Kids will love the National Museum of Scotland – from meteorites to mummies and monsters of the deep. The neo-gothic National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street offers Scottish history in a different way, with expressive ‘selfies’ spanning the ages. And the two site Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must for fans of contemporary art, starting with the neon ‘Everything’s Going to be Alright’ banner juxtaposing the Modern Two’s classic façade.
There is the best of all worlds when it comes to dining in Edinburgh – from fantastic fish and chip shops to Michelin-starred bistros. You must try the national dish – haggis served with neeps and tatties (mashed swede and potatoes) – at the famous Last Drop pub. The weekly Farmers Market on Castle Terrace is a great place to sample local produce and get a glimpse of Edinburgh life. But those looking for gourmet should dining head to The Balmoral, whose restaurant has held its star for ten years consecutively.
Nightlife takes many forms in Edinburgh, from sipping whisky in a quaint pub to going through the menu at a stylish cocktail bar in the New Town. Have a drink in the Half Way House, Edinburgh’s smallest (and best) pub, or try over 300 single malts at WHISKI Bar. Go and see a live band at one of the city’s innumerable venues - in festival season, there is so much to see that you’ll need a drink just to decide.
The mighty Edinburgh Castle is also home to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo – one of Scotland’s most iconic events. Each August, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world flock to Edinburgh for a spectacular showcase of the world’s best military bands, pipers and drummers, dancers and theatre groups. Each 90-minute show ends with a performance of the haunting Lone Piper and a dazzling fireworks display, making it an unforgettable experience.
Anyone in the world of theatre and comedy would be mad to miss the world’s largest arts festival. The streets of Edinburgh come alive with buskers, street theatre and live entertainment filling every cobblestone. Theatres bulge with keen audiences watching in rapture at the new shows on offer. The International Festival is acclaimed for bringing opera, classical music and world-class theatre. While the Fringe is famous for off-the-wall comedy and offbeat drama. Both offer astonishing talent giving stellar performances.
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