Edinburgh is a walker’s dream with alleyways to explore and quaint shops to pop into. The Old Town is charming and transports you back in time, while New Town is a great way to soak up modern Scottish culture.
This famous street connects the city’s two castles and has plenty of shopping, food, and street performers.
Sunken below street level between the New Town and Old Town, this is Edinburgh’s “Central Park.” Up until the mid-1700s, an artificial lake existed there that provided a defense for the castle but also collected the sewage from the Old Town. The city drained the lake and made the area a welcoming place to walk.
Dominating the city’s skyline, this fortress complex includes a 12th-century chapel, the Great Hall from 1510, the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the National War Museum and much more. Guided tours available.
The summer residence for Queen Elizabeth II is attached to an original section of Mary Queen of Scots’ palace. The ornate interiors in the “newer” wings are spectacular, while the history of the original palace rooms are eerie. The art gallery has rotating exhibits.
Originally the palace hunting grounds, it is now a public park with lovely hiking trails. Head up Arthur’s Seat for fantastic views of the palace, city, and coast.
One of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh—about mid-way along the Royal Mile—it’s a popular place for locals and tourists alike. Friendly barkeeps and old world charm make it a good place to pop in for a pint!
A 10-minute walk from the top of the Royal Mile, this free museum houses a little bit of everything from prehistoric tools from Skara Brae on Orkney to medieval weaponry to a T-Rex skeleton. It offers a good sense of
Scottish culture and history.
Made famous in The Da Vinci Code, it’s about an hour south by public bus or 30 minutes by car, and is worth the effort. The incredible carvings throughout the building are a sight to behold. It seems that no two surfaces are the same, and there is hidden meaning in everything—plenty of mysteries to ponder, like how the carvings of American corn cobs showed up sixty years before the continent was discovered.
For a hotel recommendation, please see the Pre- & Post-Tour section of your Trip Planner.
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