Travelling to Edinburgh: Edinburgh Tourism Overview

Edinburgh is a city in Scotland, in the north of the United Kingdom, and is one of the famous places not to be missed if you visit the United Kingdom. Edinburgh not only boasts magnificent and distinctive natural surroundings, but it also has numerous historical and cultural artefacts that you may explore indefinitely.

Edinburgh is regarded as one of the few cities with a harmonious balance of economy and art culture, with charming and peaceful areas combined with modern buildings that contribute to the city's unique beauty. Walking through these streets, from tranquil minor lanes to exciting main streets full of bustle, you will forget all the weariness and difficulties of life.

The Essential Edinburgh Travel Things to Note

The Best Time To Travel

Edinburgh is quite chilly, especially in the winter, and snow and fogs emerge frequently all year, hence this location is also known as ‘the island of fog’ 

Essential Edinburgh Travel Things to Note

Photo by Connor Mollison on Unsplash

In the spring and summer, the environment begins to warm up, but not too much; the temperature is not much higher than 18 degrees Celsius, and it is relatively cool, thus this is considered the best season to visit Scotland.

The summer months of June to August are ideal for seeing this picturesque metropolis since the average temperature steadily rises and the weather becomes milder. However, this is also Edinburgh's high tourist season, so it will be rather busy. If possible, come here during the remaining seasons; while it will be colder, it will be less crowded, and you may find many new things.

The temperature here is cooler the remainder of the year, yet it may also provide intriguing experiences. If you visit Edinburgh in the winter, you will be amazed to see it coated in white snow and more beautiful than any European city on a Christmas card.

How to Get to Edinburgh

Despite being an independent country, Scotland is still a member of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is governed by the British constitutional monarchy. As a result, people travel to Scotland - Edinburgh must apply for a UK tourist visa.

Glasgow Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, and Aberdeen Airport are the four main international airports in Scotland where many intercontinental and European routes are served

After arriving at the airport, travellers visiting Scotland may make use of a variety of public transportation options, including taxis, buses, and trains. Visitors to this nation, particularly when touring, must be armed with the appropriate knowledge to enjoy a thorough journey. You may easily get between sites in Edinburgh via public transportation, which includes buses that run 24 hours a day, as well as trams that link Edinburgh Airport and some other cities. Black cabs, which are roomy and pleasant, or town taxis.

Travelling to Edinburgh

Photo by Eric Veiga on Unsplash

Language

Since the United Kingdom lacks a codified constitution, there is no official language. However, Scotland has 3 officially recognised languages: English, Scottish Gaelic and Scottish. Officially, English is the main language and almost all Scots can speak standard English with a Scottish accent.

Currency

Scotland uses the British Pound (GBP) currency for transactions, with an exchange rate of about: 1GBP ~ 1.25USD.

Accommodation

In terms of tourism, Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, are well-developed. As a result, locating a hotel or motel is simple. Motels and hotels of all types, from inexpensive to high-end, are available to fulfil the demands of guests. Staying near the Edinburgh Castle will make it easier for you to get around and see the sights in the area. If you travel with a group, you also find rental apartments that will be much more comfortable.

Cuisine

In addition to visiting the major landmarks, when visiting Edinburgh, don't forget to experience the local cuisine, which is unique to the city's ethnicity. When visiting the city, traditional dishes such as Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties, as well as Scottish cream cheese, excellent pastries, or tastes of local whiskey and warm teas, are must-try specialities. Spending more time at Edinburgh's top pubs to get a feel for the city's rhythm of life and cuisine culture.

Must-Try Things in Edinburgh - 20 Best Things To Do During Your Edinburgh Trip

Edinburgh Castle:  A Symbol of Scotland's Capital

When visiting Edinburgh, don't miss Edinburgh Castle, which stands dangerously on a historic Castle Rock, a massive volcanic rock area that rises magnificently and spectacularly. The castle is not only a one-of-a-kind architectural feat but it is also built on top of a long-dormant volcano.

Edinburgh Castle:  A Symbol of Scotlan

Photo on Pixabay

When you visit the castle, you will have the opportunity to learn about the military jail, the tiny military museum inside the castle, and the exhibition area of the Queen of Scotland's crown, staff, and sword. This is a very good location to visit if you want to view the entirety of this lovely city. A row of guns stood at the top of the castle gate, which had previously been utilized for military reasons. They've been accustomed to firing at 1 p.m. every day except Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

You may go up to the pearl holes to get a panoramic picture of the city. Visiting all of the castle's galleries takes more than two hours. The entrance fee is 16 euros per person.

Location: Castle Hill, Edinburgh, City Of Edinburgh, EH1 2NG

Ticket price : 

  • Adult: £15.50 per ticket
  • Child: £9.30 per ticket

Calton Hill's Views

Calton Hill's Views

Photo on Pixabay

When viewing from the top of Calton Hill, the Scottish sunrise will be breathtaking. Calton Hill was created as an urban park for sophisticated gentlemen to stroll around with their girlfriends. Calton Hill, with its wonderful views of Edinburgh, was the ideal location for the city's elders to build a cultural centre.

Perhaps the most important of Edinburgh's many memorials is the impressive National Monument on Calton Hill, erected in memory of those who died in the Napoleonic Wars. Henry Playfair designed the memorial using the Parthenon in Athens as his inspiration, and work began in 1822, but the project was abandoned due to a lack of funds. The Nelson Monument was unveiled in 1816 after Horatio Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Opposite Calton Hill is a memorial to Scottish poet Robert Burns.

The City Observatory, which exhibits modern art exhibitions regularly, as well as the stylish restaurant The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage, are also located on the hill. On April 30th every year, the fascinating Beltane Fire Festival is hosted here - if you're planning to visit Edinburgh during this time, this is definitely a fun bit!

Location: Edinburgh EH7 5AA, UK


St. Giles Church

Regardless of your religious beliefs, Edinburgh has a plethora of intriguing churches worth seeing. One of the churches you should visit is St. Giles Church. The Church of St. Giles is Edinburgh's principal cathedral, having been consecrated in 1243. The centre tower, which is 161 feet long and has eight arched pillars, resembles a huge crown (Crown Steeple) and is a popular photo background. 

A WWI death monument, stunning stained glass windows, and a figure of John Knox, the Protestant Reformation's leader, are among the interior features (his old home, 45 High St, is nearby and has a museum). The oak carvings, heraldic insignia, and seal of the ‘Knight of Thistle’ distinguish the Thistle Chapel (the oldest order of Scottish knighthood). The chapel was created by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1911 and is an outstanding example of contemporary Gothic style.

Location: Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8RB, UK


Greyfriars Bobby Church

Greyfriars Church includes the city's oldest cemetery, which is the final resting place for several prominent Scots, including the poet Allan Ramsay. It is located at the south end of scenic Candlemakers Row. James Hutton, widely regarded as the pioneer of modern geology, is buried at Covenant Prison. Greyfriars Bobby is perhaps the most well-known name linked with the church. This Skye dog faithfully followed his owner, John Gray, to the graveyard in 1858 and refused to leave until his death 14 years later. An ark was made for him to seek refuge in, and a statue of Bobby, erected in 1873, is a prominent site outside the church.

Location: Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ Scotland 

Greyfriars Bobby Church

Photo by Jamie Wheeler on Unsplash

The Meadows

Meadows' wide green field is shaded by the University of Edinburgh's central campus, so it's no wonder that it's packed with students sunbathing in the summer. Meadows connects downtown with the more calm suburbs of the Southside, where there are numerous gourmet stores, cafés, and shops. Meadows is a relaxing, airy contrast to the rush and bustle of the Old Town and the labyrinthine pathways of the Old Town.

Location: Melville Dr, Edinburgh EH9 1ND, UK


The Meadows

Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Royal Mile

When visiting Edinburgh, you should pay a visit to Royal Mile Street. This is the major district of Edinburgh that stretches from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Park and is constructed on the slopes of an extinct volcano. In Scotland, the route runs for a mile, passing via Castlehill, Lawmarkets, High Street, and Canongate Street. While strolling the Royal Mile, don't forget to visit some of the other intriguing pathways. Terraces atop the roofs of stores north of Victoria Street, as well as Mary King's Close and Cockburn Street, are prominent.

Attractions along the Royal Mile at Castlehill include Witches Well, Scotch Whiskey Experience, Goose Pie House, Witchery by the Castle, Camera Obscura, Tolbooth Kirk and The Hub.

Royal Mile

Photo on Pixabay

King's Theatre

The theatre was not named King at first; it was erected in 1906 by skilled manager Robert C. Buchanan. During construction, funding was depleted, and the project was sold to the King Theater Company, whose name the new theatre bears. The King's Theater staged the most prominent events in the city during the 1960s and '90s until being sold to the municipal council in 1969. The city council chose to thoroughly renovate this ancient theatre in 1985. The Festival City Theater Trust now manages the King's Theater, which still produces mime acts regularly.

King's Theatre

Photo on kingstheatre.com

The theatre’s interior is far more spectacular than it seems from the appearance. The chamber music hall has 1350 seats, all of which are upholstered in luxurious crimson and gold velvet. The space is shaped like a circle, with the stage at the bottom and rows of seats placed in an arc from low to high. There are three sorts of seats: ‘upper circle’ – the high and distant row, ‘dress circle’ – the middle row, and ‘stall’ – the low and nearest to the stage. The dome created by architect John Byrne is another feature of the theatre.

Location: 2 Leven St, Edinburgh EH3 9LQ, UK


Dine at Martin Wishart - A Michelin Star Restaurant

Martin Wishart Restaurant, which opened in 1999, is located in Edinburgh's historic Leith Harbour. More than a decade later, the restaurant is still bringing classic and innovative French cuisine to Edinburgh, using only the best Scottish ingredients.

Dine at Martin Wishart - A Michelin Star Restaurant

Photo on Frostmagazine

The restaurant received a Michelin star in 2001 under Martin's supervision, an honour that has been reaffirmed every year thereafter.

The restaurant of the same name, located on the seashore overlooking the Water of Leith, blends a peaceful and welcoming ambience with exceptional modern French cuisine made with the freshest ingredients obtained from all over Scotland. The menu is often updated to reflect the finest of the seasons. The wines are carefully chosen to complement meals, and the list is kept up to date.

Location: 54 Shore, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6RA, UK

Scottish National Galleries - Where Masterpieces Are Displayed

Under the centre of Edinburgh, right off Princes Street and in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery of Scotland and the neighbouring Royal Scottish Academy constitute a complex. 

Scotland's premier art gallery, the Scottish National Gallery, is a must-see for tourists to Edinburgh. It is made up of two independent structures, one built-in 1828 and the other is in 1859, both designed by the renowned architect William Playfair and recently updated by the addition of an enormous subterranean link between them. The camera obscura is a Victorian construction inside which the whole capital cityscape is projected onto a large viewing table (without the need of a single bar of wi-fi). It's a one-of-a-kind, thrilling way to take in the cityscape.

Location: The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, UK
Admission is free, however, tickets should be reserved ahead of time to minimize the delay. Except for newborns in arms, everyone is expected to obtain a ticket. 
Scottish National Galleries - Where Masterpieces Are Displayed

Photo on Britannica

Mary King’s Close - A Strange Ancient Underground Town

Mary King's Close is located in Edinburgh's Old Town, which is made up of several twisting and small passageways known as ‘closes’. Mary King's Close is now a maze of underground corridors and alleyways after collapsing partially centuries ago. To learn more about the interesting history of this once-bustling Edinburgh street, book a tour with The Real Mary King's Close. 

Learn about life in the closes, as well as rumours of hauntings and gruesome crimes that have sprung up after the close's demise. The close has been well-preserved, and its history can be seen on every street corner. Tour guides are even dressed up to provide a more immersive and engaging experience.

Location: Warriston's Close, 2, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1PG, UK
Ticket price: 
  • Adult:  £18.95 per ticket
  • Child (5 – 15 years):  £12.45 per ticket
Mary King’s Close - A Strange Ancient Underground Town

Photo on The Captains Guide

Visit the Usher Hall

Usher Hall is Edinburgh's main musical venue and a must-see for entertainment and cultural enthusiasts. The hall, which was erected in 1914, has stunning architecture, featuring a curving facade covered with panels depicting notable individuals such as Sir Walter Scott and Mozart. Historically, the hall has been used for a variety of activities, including concerts, political gatherings, and athletic events.

Visit the Usher Hall

Photo on Audio Light System

Usher Hall is especially popular for classical music events and is well-known throughout Europe for its excellent acoustics. Attend one of Usher Hall's numerous performances to see current culture in ancient settings.

Location: Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2EA, UK

Summerhall Art Centres - Edinburgh's Newest Multi-Art Location

It hosts a year-round program of mostly avant-garde, but occasionally political, exhibitions, lectures, music, theatre, dance, and cinema events, as well as seminars and residencies.

During the Festival, it quickly became the go-to for ground-breaking, thought-provoking art, with plays presented in anything from lecture hall-slash-theatre settings to site-specific pieces in underground hallways and tiny lifts.

Summerhall Art Centres - Edinburgh's Newest Multi-Art Location

Photo on Time Out

Beyond its popularity as an art venue, it's also establishing itself as a popular spot to take a coffee or a drink, and The Royal Dick Bar and Bistro, which was originally the school's Small Animal Hospital, is quickly developing as a fantastic location to linger in, owing primarily to a solid food selection. A good cup of coffee is assured across the street, as is a regular display of pop art posters, including work by typical suspects Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and others.

Location: 1 Summerhall Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Climb Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags

Arthur's Seat, at 820 feet, is the highest point in the 640-acre Holyrood Park. The spectacular views from the summit encompass the entire city and extend to the mouth of the Forth. The most direct route is from the park's Dunsapie Loch. The stunning Salisbury Crags, a set of 151-foot cliffs flanking Arthur's Seat, are also easily accessible. Other attractions in this enormous park include historic rice terraces, some of Scotland's earliest and best-preserved examples of ancient farming traditions, and the remnants of St. Anthony's medieval church. 

Location: 1 Queen's Drive, Edinburgh, EH8 8HG

Climb Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags

 Photo on Pixabay

Enjoy a Gig at Sneaky Pete's

Sneaky Pete's is a moniker that most Edinburgh partygoers are familiar with. It's a small nightclub with only 100 seats that's open seven days a week and recognised for presenting the city's greatest up-and-coming DJs and performers. Sneaky Pete's paintings inspired by LCD Soundsystem adorn the back walls, indicating that this is a club with great taste. Sneaky Pete's hosts’ club nights that attract a broad population of music aficionados in addition to live performances. Whether you prefer funk and soul or prefer to dance to indie music, the regular DJs know how to create a lively, carefree atmosphere.

Location: 73 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JW, UK
Enjoy a Gig at Sneaky Pete's

Photo on DesignMyNight

A Discovery Experience at the Edinburgh Vaults

The Edinburgh Vaults are a collection of rooms housed within 19 arches beneath the city's South Bridge. For a brief period in the 18th century, merchants utilised them for storage, bars, hairdressers, and other enterprises. 

However, their most famous claim to fame, particularly among vampire visitors, has been the location where early 19th-century grave thieves and serial killers Burke and Hare kept the organs they sold to a professor of medicine at the University of Edinburgh for his anatomy lesson. The vaults are a collection of compartments formed by the domes of the South Bridge, which was erected in 1788. Originally, the vaults were utilised by drug traffickers and other criminals. The cellars grew popular with the impoverished and criminals throughout time, and they were excavated in the 1990s, revealing a plethora of intriguing historical and archaeological artefacts.

A Discovery Experience at the Edinburgh Vaults

Photo on Visit Scotland

In the Edinburgh Vaults, go below and feel the city's darkness. Today, you may schedule a guided tour of the vaults to learn more about them. Instead, if you're feeling courageous, go on a ghost tour! The vaults, which were originally used by murderers and torturers, are said to be haunted. This is a fascinating - and eerie - look at how to become a significant figure in Edinburgh's history.

Location: 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK
Ticket price : 
  • Adult: £14 per ticket
  • Child (5-15 years): £9 per ticket
  • Senior (60 years +): £12 per ticket

Camera Obscura Illusion Museum

Camera Obscura captivates visitors of all ages by combining Edinburgh history, unique perspectives on the city, and optical illusion experiences. You may explore and participate in more than 100 illusions at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, as well as take a breath of fresh air on the beautiful Rooftop Terrace, which gives the most amazing 360-degree views of Edinburgh.

Camera Obscura Illusion Museum

Photo on Flock

Five levels of interactive optical illusions, pranks, and fun activities, such as vortex tunnels, mirror mazes, and tiny studios. A combination of mirrors and light create the panorama. Since 1853, people have been amused by this light. The rest of the experience will test your faith in your vision, Scotland's oldest purpose-built sights, founded in 1835, feature a mirror chamber, an induction wheel, 3 -D Holograms, and a comprehensive optical experience.

Location: Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, UK
Ticket price : 
  • Adult: £18.95 per ticket
  • Child (5-15 years): £14.95 per ticket
  • Senior (65 yrs +): £16.95 per ticket

Childhood Museum - Bring Back Your Childhood Memories

The Museum of Childhood has a magnificent collection of ancient toys, including model railways, dolls, and games from all around the world. But it's not simply a location full of antique toys (as entertaining as they are): the museum delves into other elements of growing up, such as school days, fads, and fashion. The recreation of a Victorian street setting, complete with outdoor toys, adds to the realism, as does the option to dress up in period clothes and play the types of games our forefathers would have loved. 

This is a really good location for reliving childhood memories. You will probably fall in love with this space. If you have kids for the trip, don't miss this place!

Location: 42 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TG, UK 
Childhood Museum - Bring Back Your Childhood Memories

Photo on Let’s go with the children

Saint Andrew's Square

The garden, which was long deemed private and underused, is now a tourist attraction in the centre of Edinburgh. The people enthusiastically supported the effort to remodel the plaza, which succeeded in introducing a modern place within a historical background.

The alternation of grass and lake has produced harmony in the square's area; moreover, it is perfect for picnic activities of locals and guests. However, because the square's garden is not permitted to be used to generate noise or annoy the local inhabitants, it is regarded as a perfect area for tourists to rest. 

Location: St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH2 2AD
 Photo on Gillespies

Secret Herb Garden - Edinburgh 

The Secret Herb Garden first opened its doors in May of 2014. "We hope that The Secret Herb Garden will become a place where everyone can appreciate the magic of plants, relax, visit the little garden, and enjoy the sense of being surrounded by herbs," said Hamish and Liberty, the store's owners, on their website. It's also a site where you can observe how important nature is in everyday life.

Photo on Emma Lawson Photography

The Secret Herb Garden operates two primary businesses: herb cultivation and sale, as well as a small restaurant. Herbs are planted and harvested by hand in a variety of ways. Each herb has a particular purpose: it may be used as medication, in cooking, to make incense, and so on. The vintage-style restaurant serves delectable meals made with herbs grown in the restaurant's herb garden. Tea and coffee are also chosen with care. There are also a variety of gardening books and tools available for folks who enjoy gardening.

Location: 32A Old Pentland Road, Lothianburn, Edinburgh EH10 7EA, UK

Cramond Island

Cramond Island is an island at the mouth of the Firth of Forth that is linked to the settlement of Cramond by a roughly mile-long road in the riverbed. When the tide goes out, this walkway appears. A sign at the end of the road announces the safe time for tourists to cross the river to the island. This may look superfluous, but there are already a large number of people stuck on the island due to the high tide, which causes the road to disappear.

Photo on Airfrance

The northeastern section of the island has several scars from the war. An array of guns, structures meant to hide searchlights from ships, anti-submarine nets, and an engine used to power the entire island may be found here. There are some hazy remnants of military quarters used for equipment installation. Cramond Island is a popular and appealing tourist attraction. This location has the craziest atmosphere in Edinburgh. You should consider the time of day while visiting this location to prevent being unable to identify the exit.

Travelling to Edinburgh during COVID-19

Travelling to the UK is no longer as difficult as it once was since the British government has invalidated medical travel documentation (vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery from Covid, etc.) Interaction with tourists from other countries, on the other hand, might increase the likelihood of developing COVID.

To reduce crowded areas, consider places that are unoccupied or go during less crowded periods of the week. Also, always have a mask with you since some locations demand you to wear one. Always keep your medical travel documents in your luggage; we're not sure whether your trip destinations inspect them.

Photo on Pixabay

The 20 locations we highlight are well-known destinations that every visitor to Edinburgh should visit and these are the 20 best things to do in this wonderful place. In summary, any location in Edinburgh is worth exploring; all you need to bring is your time and your health!

Vy Nguyen


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