12 Best Places To Visit in Edinburgh - Edinburgh Bucket List
Edinburgh is the second most visited city in England. We think this place was inspired by the Harry Potter universe! Or the opposite is more likely. We are sure that Edinburgh will definitely impress you with its sweet architecture and history and will add a new air to your life. If you are looking for the best places to visit Edinburgh, here are the 12 Best Places to Visit in Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland's most famous landmark, is one of the UK's most visited tourist attractions. Highlights of a visit include hearing the famous One O'clock Salute from the Half Moon Battery (cannon fire commemorates the tradition of helping ships synchronize their clocks), the impressive Scottish National War Memorial, and National War Museum, and the Crown collection, which includes stunning jewelry.
Like many charming castles, this castle in the UK has magnificent architecture and looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, especially during the winter months. The location of the castle is so beautiful that you can see all your people and property through the glass.
Although this place is not in its final form, it is known that it was first used as a royal residence by David I in the 12th century. It is one of Scotland's most important castles and research shows it was besieged 26 times. Another notable feature is the Stone of Destiny (aka the Stone of Scone), which was stolen by Edward I and placed under the British throne in London but returned to Scotland 700 years later in 1996.
Get your ticket online; With the Edinburgh Castle Entry Ticket, you can spend more time touring the castle instead of waiting in long lines.
2. Holyrood Abbey
The Palace of Holyroodhouse – often referred to as the Palace of Holyrood – is the Queen's official Edinburgh residence and is often at the heart of Scottish history. Built-in 1678, it was where James II and James IV each married, James V and Charles I were crowned, and "Bonnie Prince Charlie" appeared at court in 1745.
While the Queen is away (usually 51 weeks of the year, because she's only here for "Royal Week" every summer), public access is allowed to the stunning Historic Apartments (the former home of Mary Queen of Scots) and Government Offices. It is famous for its quality furniture, tapestries, and plasterwork. If it fascinates us so much even during this period, who knows how first-time visitors would react. Especially the greenery on the walls may not have existed when it was first built, but now it gives an image of being intertwined with nature. Even the fountain can fascinate you with its excellent craftsmanship. Although the church has not survived as a single piece, it still preserves its splendor.
The Grand Gallery displays portraits of Scottish kings, both legendary and real. Opened in 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, Queen's Gallery hosts changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. The neighboring 12th-century Holyrood Abbey was founded by King David I.
If you're traveling with kids, have fun dressing up in the Family Room; and if you have time, linger a little longer in the cozy cafe and enjoy a good afternoon tea. Guided tours are available.
3. The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile refers to the streets connecting Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Surrounded by charming townhouses, churches, and historic sites, this gorgeous street is a great place to wander the shops (including the kiltmaker), inns, museums, cafes, and restaurants. If you love to shop, this route can be a great experience for you to buy lots of authentic ones. I'm sure you can find valuables and it has an environment that will make you feel like you've traveled through time.
Most of the buildings are tall, averaging between six and 15 stories, and are referred to locally as "land". Narrow little streets called "winds", with quaint secret backyards "closed", weave in and around them.
Some of the most popular attractions are at the upper end of the Royal Mile - often called Castle Hill - and include: the Outlook Tower and the Camera Obscura; Tolbooth (St. John's Highland Church) has the city's tallest church tower and houses the interesting Folktale Museum; Gladstone's Land, a six-story merchant's house with beautiful ceiling paintings and original furnishings; and Lady Stair's Close, home to the Writer's Museum, which showcases the manuscripts, portraits, engravings and memoirs of the poet Robert Burns and writers Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. You can enjoy it without the extra time or planning burden.
Just around the corner and overlooking Princes Park, the Museum on the Mound is worth a visit for its exhibits on money and economic history.
4. Climb Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Cliffs
At 820 feet, Arthur's Seat is the highest point in the 640-acre Holyrood Park. Spectacular views from above cover the entire city to the mouth of the Forth. The easiest route is Dunsapie Loch, where there is a good-sized car park. Alternatively, you can cross the Dynamic Earth science center from the Old Town and walk down a path off Queen's Drive. Now it's just a wreck and what was once St Anthony's Chapel with what was probably a perfect view, you can find information about this structure in a sign fixed in a stone. It's also home to one of the most interesting compasses, but it's a bit damaged as it's not protected by anything.
Also easy to climb is the dramatic Salisbury Crags, a 151-foot row of cliffs adjacent to Arthur's Seat. Other features in this massive park are the ancient farming terraces and the medieval St Anthony's Chapel, some of the oldest and best-preserved examples of ancient farming practices in Scotland.
5. Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal Yacht Britannia is one of England's most popular monarchy-related attractions. The Queen has hosted heads of state and celebrities from all over the world on this luxury vessel over the years. Serving the Royal Family for over 40 years, the 60-year-old yacht has been sent to Edinburgh's harbor area of Leith as the centerpiece of the Britannia Visitor Centre.
Once onboard, you will learn about the history of this and other royal yachts as you explore the ship's five main decks. Highlights include the Royal Apartments and their bedrooms; a beautiful sunbed; and the Royal Deck Tea Room on the boat where you can stop for tea and cake. It looks elegant from the outside but once you take a tour of the ship you really start to understand why it was used as a royal ship.
For those who want to pamper themselves with a luxury getaway, consider staying aboard the former lighthouse ship Fingal, adjacent to the royal yacht. But why was this ship retired, because the ship was quite worn and required £17m for re-maintenance, and such a huge expense could have extended its life by another 5 years, so the ship was retired and now it's making money.
6. National Museum of Scotland
Since opening in 2011, the National Museum has become one of Scotland's most popular attractions and one of the best things to do in Edinburgh for free. Welcoming more than two million visitors each year, the museum is home to a number of collections, including national archaeological collections from Edinburgh's old museums; medieval works; and images focusing on natural history, geology, art, science, and technology.
Its 16 galleries, containing more than 8,000 works, include Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, as well as some of Elton John's more elaborate stage costumes. Traditional museum exhibits also include material from Ancient Egypt and an early guillotine form, the Maiden. There's a lot to see and do here, so expect to spend at least three or four hours exploring. Guided tours are available and there are two restaurants on-site. Of course, you can also take a quick trip, but we recommend that you consider the history, which is the main purpose of this place, instead of the restaurant.
Edinburgh Museum is also worth a visit and has fascinating displays of the city's long and rich history. So is the Surgeons Hall Museum. Located in the Royal College of Surgeons, this fascinating museum has collections related to medicine and surgical procedures. Although it looks quite historical and authentic from the outside, many things inside are more like a technological and modern museum, and although it is not overly large, it makes you feel like you are in a very small space due to its structure and architecture. But of course, like many places here, the houses around it can be the subject of excellent photographs.
7. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Established in 1670, Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden (RBGE) is England's second oldest garden. It is also one of the largest and boasts an impressive 13,200 different plant species. A wetland containing more than three million specimens within its magnificent 70-acre area; Britain's largest palm house; a tropical house with exotic orchids; a chalet; a terraced steppe garden; a heather garden; and a vast arboretum with rare giant trees from the Himalayas, North America, and China. If you have a pollen allergy and haven't taken your medication this place can be hell for you, think about that before you go.
Other attractions include the woodland garden with its colorful azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias, and rhododendrons; a water house with tropical aquatic plants such as the pink water lily from India; and traveling displays in the Exhibition Hall. Especially standing next to the small ice-cold waterfall will cool you down. If you go in the morning, it would be beneficial to see that beautiful architecture once in the evening.
Visit the spectacular light displays during Christmas for a special festive feast. A variety of educational programs are also available for those who want a more immersive experience.
8. Princes Street and Gardens
12 Best Places To Visit In Edinburgh
Princes Street is the main street of New Town. It stretches for almost a mile and is surrounded by colorful gardens and elegant shops, including the tradition-conscious Jenners of Edinburgh, founded in 1838, and one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. You can take a walk full of air and scenery and greenery.
Princes Mall, popular with its small shops and many places to browse among fountains and cafes, is also suitable for shopping. Alongside these temples dedicated to consumerism, you'll find restaurants from fast food to gourmet bistros.
Of interest to genealogy, buffs are the New Register House, which houses the Scottish National Archives, some of which date back to the 13th century. Princes Street's historic landmarks include the 200-foot Sir Walter Scott Monument and the David Livingstone Monument, a memorial to the missionary and African explorer.
When you're done with all that shopping and history, head to Princes Street Gardens, home to the world's oldest flower clock (1903). From here, you will also get a magnificent view of Edinburgh Castle overlooking the gardens. If you want to relax and have a small picnic, you can find a place for one.
9. Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions
A combination of Edinburgh history, cityscapes from a new perspective, and experience with optical illusions, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is definitely an attraction for people of all ages. Set in a Victorian attic room, the centerpiece is the pinhole camera that projects live motion pictures of Edinburgh onto a viewing table. The panorama created by combining mirrors and lenses has been entertaining people here since 1853.
The rest of the experience will challenge your belief in your own vision with a hall of mirrors, a dizzying swirling vortex, 3D holograms, and a range of optical experiences.
Edinburgh is full of beautiful historical buildings and activities, there are architectural beauties everywhere you look, but if you want to take advantage of the blessings of the modern world, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is an excellent option that will challenge your mind and mind.
10. Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Paintings of Scotland's leading historical figures from the 16th century to the present can be seen at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, one of Edinburgh's three major art galleries. A highlight of the gallery's more than 65,000 pieces is the huge ceremonial frieze that showcases Scotland's most famous personalities, including Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Sean Connery, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Stuart, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, among others. The gallery is also home to the Scottish National Photography Collection. Unlike most museums, apart from the exhibits inside, you can see that the walls themselves are a work of art. It offers a mix of old authentic architecture.
Established in 1859, the Scottish National Gallery is the country's second-largest art collection and showcases Scotland's largest collection of European paintings and sculptures. Its collection includes works from the Renaissance period to the Post-Impressionists.
11. Calton Hill
12 Best Places To Visit In Edinburgh
Calton Hill is the best spot to watch the city view, which you can reach from the end of Princess Street. This place is among the important points included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It contains the Nelson Monument and the National Monument. The Nelson Monument was built for Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The other National Monument was built in memory of all the soldiers who lost their lives during the Napoleonic Wars.
Beltane Fire Festival, which is continued as a Celtic tradition, is held on Calton Hill on the last day of April.
12. Scott Monument
The Scott Monument in Edinburgh is the second largest monument in the world after the Jose Martin Monument in Havana. It was built in the Gothic style using black and white marble and is dedicated to a writer. If you want to watch the city view from the monument on Princess Street, you can reach the top floor after climbing a 287-step ladder.
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12 Best Places To Visit In Edinburgh