The Most Exciting Places to Visit in Edinburgh

If you're planning a trip to Scotland, a stop in Edinburgh should definitely be on your list. This beautiful hilltop city, Scotland's capital, has ancient roots, amazing architecture, and a charm that captivates visitors from all over the world. Whether you're interested in exploring Scotland's natural beauty, learning more about its storied history, or just want to enjoy its delicious food, music, and culture; Edinburgh is the destination for you.


01 Lauriston Castle

Lauriston castle

Scotland's rolling green countryside is dotted with the ruins of towers, walls, and castles, majestic echoes of a bygone time full of mystery and adventure. Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh is one of these captivating castles. It features daily costumed performances that help visitors feel as though they have stepped back in time. After a tour of the Edwardian interior, don't miss the opportunity to tour its grounds which have an enviable view of the sea as well as extensive gardens.


02 Scott Monument


While in Edinburgh, pay a visit to the Scott Monument, a Victorian tribute to beloved Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, the author of Ivanhoe, Waverly, and Rob Roy. This awe-inspiring monument in Gothic style features stunning stained-glass windows, a marble statue of the famous writer, and fantastic views of the surrounding area from each of its four levels.

 Geoff Eccles / Getty Images


03 21st Century Kilts

If you're brave enough to try dressing like a true Scotsman, you can get a bespoke kilt or kilt suit made just for you at 21st Century Kilts in Edinburgh. Favored by celebrities including Alan Cumming and Lenny Kravitz, this unique independent shop is open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for custom tailoring appointments. Pay a visit and bring home an unforgettable souvenir from your time in Edinburgh.

 stephenmccluskey81 / Getty Images


04 Edinburgh Castle

If anything is a can't-miss attraction in Edinburgh, it's this imposing and impressive castle. By far the most recognizable landmark in the city, this historic castle dominates Edinburgh's beautiful city skyline. History buffs know that this castle was the setting for a number of important events in Scottish history, and was even home to Mary, Queen of Scots. Visitors can browse many interesting Scottish artifacts and even enter St. Margaret's Chapel, which dates from the 12th century and is the oldest surviving structure in Edinburgh.


05 Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Scotland Edinburgh

Edinburgh may be an ancient place, but it loves to show off its modern side too. Well-known for being a haven for culture and the arts, Edinburgh is also the home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, house an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art including Dadaist and Surrealist works as well as an impressive sculpture garden.


06 Scottish National Gallery


If you're a lover of fine art, enjoy a day losing yourself in the collection at the Scottish National Gallery. This museum is home to some of the greatest art in the world, including masterpieces by Renaissance masters like Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian as well as Baroque legends like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, this free museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

 ChrisHepburn / Getty Images


07 Holyrood Palace

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Royal-watchers will not want to miss the opportunity to visit Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. During most of the year, visitors can tour its historic Royal Apartments and State Apartments as long as they are not being used for state functions, as well as its exquisite gardens and grounds. Explore the gift shop or book an afternoon tea at the cafe for the chance to feel like you are having tea with the Queen.

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08 Royal Yacht Britannia

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Another site royal-watchers won't want to miss is the Royal Yacht Britannia, which served the royal family from 1954 to 1997. Now docked at the historic Port of Leith in Edinburgh, visitors can spend a day touring sites such as Queen Elizabeth II's bedroom, the Bridge, the state dining room, and crew quarters. Check out the self-guided audioguide for more information about each location as you walk around the ship.


09 Stroll Down the Royal Mile

royal Edinburgh

The historic Royal Mile was the main highway of medieval Edinburgh. It runs down the hill from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, connecting these two landmarks with five different streets bustling with shops, restaurants, museums, and other interesting attractions. This busy place is a great place to grab a bite to eat or to enjoy people-watching in the old part of the city.

 Alicia_Garcia / Getty Images


10 St. Giles Cathedral


No visit to Edinburgh is complete without stopping at St. Giles Cathedral. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, this 14th-century church is the principal place of worship for the Church of Scotland. Don't miss the small but beautiful Thistle Chapel and its intricately decorated ceiling. It was built in 1911 for the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's most important Order of Chivalry.

 Susanne Neumann / Getty Images


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