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Things to do in Edinburgh

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Hullo, lads and lasses! If your travel spree is spiked to visit one of the dear old cities of northern European civilization you are sailing through the right webpage. We offer you Edinburgh, the city which has kept its history intact with a wee smell of Scotch-ish heritage, as your upcoming destination. A touch of regality is something you would get for free with a bunch of friendly people, dialoguing in a charming yet totally foreign accent of English. Recognized as the capital of Scotland, the city has received its name from Eidyn, a region that was situated near the same place between the 5th–7th centuries.

The city is famous for a lot of things including the Edinburgh festival, the Edinburgh castle, pipes and drums ensemble, and many more that you would discover once you go through the next pieces. The sixth busiest in the world, Edinburgh airport is connected to all the major cities via air route. If you are traveling from London, catching a train from King’s Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station would be your best option.

One thing you must know is that the culture of Scotland is very friendly. You are not advised to trust a stranger but you can always get a good laughter with a passerby. The culture of Edinburgh is cosmopolitan since it is not only home to Scottish natives but gives shelter to people from Asia and the Middle East. Not only is it an LGBTQ+ friendly community, but people also love their own privacy and choose to respect others’ freedom as well. 

Ready to dive in? We welcome you to go through the next sections if you need an outline of the city from a traveler’s perspective. 

1) Take-away points

1.1)  Depend on your credit card and ATMs. The credit card exchange rate is 1% at the maximum, depending on your bank, whereas ATM is another possible alternative. The best part is, you can have a budget living under £50 and you don’t need to cash out as often as you may think. 

1.2) Try March to May session instead of June to August especially if you wish to avoid the regular tourist crowd. 

1.3) Avoid private taxis, public transport is as good as them in terms of service. Try Transport for Edinburgh and take a Lothian bus. You will not miss anything – rather gain an awesome experience. 

1.4) Standard voltage and frequency rating in Scotland is 230 volt and 50 Hz. Always carry an international plug adapter and check if your electronics support dual voltage.

1.5) Go wine tasting in Edinburgh. I will definitely recommend Edinburgh Gin Distillery and ScotBeer Tours. If you want to get into the geeky stuff then these places will quench your thirst pretty well. You definitely don’t wanna miss this. 

1.6) If you are around or your plan fits the time, don’t ever dare say no to “The Fringe.” It’s one of the biggest entertainments you will ever get to see. 

1.7) If you are with a Potterhead, gift him/her a potter trail tour. It’s basically a guided tour of Edinburgh from the perspective of J.K. Rowling. Guides will show you the places that inspired different scenes in the Harry Potter series. 

1.8) Say no to gold rings fallen from heaven. Especially if somebody approaches you to offer that to your special one as a gift. It’s a scam, really. 

1.9) There’s a ton of free food options all day, every day. Try Bethany care van lunch if you are in adverse trouble and can’t arrange your own food.

2) Buckle up for Edinburgh: Currency and daily budget info!

2.1) Finance and Currency information:

The currency used in Edinburgh is Pound Sterling. Scottish banknotes as well as “Bank of England” issued notes are both accepted here in Edinburgh. However, you are advised to use Scottish banknotes in Scotland because stores in England may refuse to take them. So, you may wish to keep English banknotes if your travel itinerary demands you to visit England afterward. 

The most common banknotes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100. The coins in circulation include a total of 8 coin denominations, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 and £2 where 1 pound (£) is divided into a hundred pence (singular. penny). If you are extremely lucky you may get to a £1 note as well but they are pretty rare. 

Coin Image
Value 1p2p5p10p20p50p£1£2

2.2) Best methods for exchanging money?

Forget about airport exchange kiosks. Try your credit card instead. This is the thumb rule you must follow in Scotland. You may think I am giving an absurd suggestion but for your information, know that the credit card exchange rate is the least in Scotland (maximum 1% depending on your bank). There are some other methods as well and you may get a good deal by using the following. 

  • ATMs: The second best options of all, ATMs will take a commission of 4%. It’s best if you check with your bank what they would charge you for debiting from a foreign ATM. 
  • Your banks: I personally repeat this method whenever I travel. The only good thing about getting money from your bank is you would feel prepared for your journey. Plus You may incur a low exchange rate. Not to forget, this will significantly tighten your budget within limit. 
  • Foreign Exchange Bureaus: If you have to cash out in Edinburgh try some foreign exchange kiosks spread across the city. Location wise you will find No. 1 currency, Eurochange, Thomas Cook near Gyle Avenue. You will also find two other branches of No. 1 currency in Waverly and High street whereas one branch of Eurochange is located in Waverly as well. 

2.3) The daily budget checklist

Budget Option (USD) – up toMid Range (USD)High Range Option – More (USD)
LivingHostel bed: £15–30Double room bed: £80-100Double room in a four-star hotel: £175-225
  1. Breakfast = £0  (free food in hostels)
  2. Lunch + Dinner = £10 (cook your own food)
  1. Breakfast = £5 (Take something from cheap stores)
  2. Lunch + Dinner + Wine = £40 (from a roadside restaurant)
  1. Breakfast = £10
  2. Lunch + Dinner + Wine = £70 (from a top-quality restaurant)
Transport £1.60 (use public transport)£1.60 (use public transport)£2.60 (Taxi tariff)
Attractions£0 (free sights, walking tours)£10 (live music at a pub)£15 (more paid sites)

The budget is an estimate of cost per day (CPD). Use XE converter for an accurate conversion

3) Language: the majority speaks English

While it seems the language is common to us, the dialect is way different from standard British or American English. Not only it sounds unique, but it also has its own pronunciation, grammar, and expression. The majority speaks English however the minority speaks Scottish and Scottish Gaelic. As a traveler, you will not face any issue with language, but it’s so much fun to throw a Scottish word every now and then! So, do you need to learn it? NO! Do you want to feel really close to Scotland? Then you should catch a phrase or two. For your convenience, we have put here a list of words or phrases helpful for travelers. 

3.1) Scot phrases: 

  • Wee: small
  • Braw: great
  • Blether: chat away
  • Scran: food
  • Rank: disgusting 
  • Chum: friend/ accompany someone
  • Spraff: gossip
  • Pure barry: totally wonderful
  • Reeking: intoxicated due to extreme abuse of alcohol
  • Ay: alcohol

4) Movies and Books to see before arriving in Edinburgh

Wish to know more about a place? Watch a movie or read a book. There’s nothing better than preparing yourself for the tour to come. Before you pack your bags for the city, scan through this list and see if you can fit 1 or 2 in your busy schedule. Don’t like to get a spoiler and enjoy everything for the first time? Better. Come back and check how different or similar your journey was. 

4.1) Movies:

  • The Illusionist (2010) – If you are a film buff, there’s no way you could have missed this masterpiece. Although it has been characterized as a comedy/drama it will hold your breath until the end comes and knock you out of your realization. When Eisenheim, a magician, does not get to be with his lover Sophie, the Duchess von Teschen, he makes a perfect plan to free her.
  • One day (2011)  – Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, the film depicts a story of two friends who met in the University of Edinburgh. They decide to meet every year at their anniversary and gradually explore their unique relationship. The movie covers a lot of Edinburgh including Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, Victoria Street, and Parliament Square. 
  • Trainspotting (1996) – This movie is one of the biggest hits directed by Danny Boyle. A British dark comedy film that reveals a drug addict’s life story. How he tries to come out of his junk habits and how his friends pulled him back again. You will see a glimpse of Princes Street, Waterloo Place, Leith Street of Edinburgh in this movie. 
  • Festival (2005) – A series of events evolve in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as the movie unravels an interwoven story among multiple short incidents. About Edinburgh? Yes 100%. This is one of the biggest of all films dedicated to Edinburgh’s special Fringe festival. So unless you do not want to see what it’s like, you must watch this. 
  • Burke and Hare (2010) – Need wee smell of historical Edinburgh? Try, Burke and Hare which casts its light upon corpse-stealing, the primary theme of the movie. This is based on Burke and Hare murders in 1827 and 1828, 16 killings committed over a period of about ten months. You will be able to see a lot of places in it, including Royal Mile, Old Fishmarket Close, University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum, Heriot Place.

4.2) Books:

  • The Heart of Midlothian by Sir Walter Scott (1818) – This book enlightens about the political turmoil occurring throughout Scotland in 1736 and the title refers to the old Tolbooth Prison in the city. Grim at the heart, you should go for it if you are interested in the historical past of Edinburgh.
  • Kidnapped by R.L. Stevenson (1968) – A historical fiction set in the 18th century comes alive through this novel. If you love drama and adventure, go give it a read.
  • An Existential Detective by Alice Thompson (2010)On the backdrop of Edinburgh seaside resort of Portobello, the author reveals a detective’s outlook to several mysterious disappearances that ultimately pushes him to look back in his life.
  • One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson (2006)Another detective story on this list set at Edinburgh talks about a murder during festive season. Nicely sculpted, it can be a good treat to your grey matter. 
  • 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith (2005)As per Goodreads summary “The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.” The story was initially published as a series in a Scotsman newspaper. 

5) Best time to visit Edinburgh

June through August are the best months for destination, Edinburgh. The reason is mainly due to its soothing temperature. However, this is also the busiest time since August incubates a horde of festivals that host international guests and tourists. If you are not keen on joining other tourists and rather enjoy serene Edinburgh, target March to May season. If you wanna wrap up everything within a budget, you can also grab some winter deals but the weather can go extreme. 

MonthsMin. Temp in ºCMax. Temp in ºCAvg. Rainfall in mmAvg. Sunshine in hrs.
Summer (May, June, July)614606.66
Fall (August, September)916608.5
Autumn (October, November)39753
Winter (December, January, February) 15641.66
Spring (March, April)295510.5

6) Getting there and getting around

Traveling around in the city is quite easy due to the punctual availability of buses, national rail train services, and the Edinburgh Tram service. The city is very bicycle-friendly so you can always bring your ride with you. Thanks to Transport for Edinburgh initiative, now you can enjoy a seamless travel experience. 

6.1) Bus

If your exploration involves public transport, search no more. Edinburgh houses a few bus companies among which Lothian and First are the biggest names. Both buses have separate tickets (the single-journey adult ticket will cost you £1.60 for a First bus ticket and £1.70 for a Lothian bus ticket). Remember, if you are buying a ticket from the driver, you have to have the exact amount as he can’t return your changes. There is also a small vending machine on the bus from which you can buy your tickets but keep changes handy. 

6.2) Tram

There’s only one Tram route in Edinburgh that connects York Place with the Edinburgh airport. One way adult ticket will cost you £1.70. If you wish to purchase tickets, you can do so from tram vending machines located near each tram stop. Also, make sure to validate your ticket within 30 minutes of purchase, either on the Lothian bus or a tram stop.

6.3) Taxi

Taxis are spacious and comfortable rides to your destination. There are various Taxi companies available, including Central Taxi, Lida Taxi, and E&I Taxi. A standard journey around the city center will cost you £4 to £7 whereas from airport to city center it will cost £20-£25. 

7) Important things to know about Edinburgh

7.1) Visa Information

Scotland welcomes everyone around the globe and if you are an EU citizen, you won’t even need a visa or permit to live, work or study. If you are a non-EU citizen, with the right kind of visa your experience (most probably) will stand magical at the end. If you are simply thinking of traveling to Scotland, you will only need a standard visitor visa which allows you to visit the country and UK for a maximum of 6 months. Check this website for more information.

7.2) Items prohibited in Edinburgh

The UK govt. bans certain items to be circulated within the country which also means you can’t take them inside. These include controlled drugs (eg. opium, heroin, morphine, cannabis, etc.), firearms, most animals and all birds, articles derived from protected species, meat/poultry and most of their products (cooked or uncooked), pornographic material not available for free in the UK, certain plants, seeds, vegetables, bulbs and fruits. 

7.3) Get a SIM card

You can always get a local sim card from offline stores and Vodafone seems to offer a good coverage in Scotland. However, I will not advise you to get a local sim especially if your tour plan does not end in Scotland or the UK. You can always stick to global SIM options and for that  SIMCORNER  definitely provides some cool options. 

7.4) Free Internet zones

If you are living in the heart of the city, you would get access to Edinburgh’s official free wifi aka #EdiFreeWifi

7.5) Will my electrical equipment work in Edinburgh?

Let’s start with power plug adaptor first. In Scotland (and the UK) power plugs and sockets are of type G. Unless you have the same socket type you will definitely need an adaptor. Also, the standard voltage and frequency rating is 230 volt and 50 Hz. 

Caution: Make sure your equipments support dual voltage before plugging it in. If it isn’t supported (things like hairdryers and water heaters don’t), you will need a power converter that meets the required voltage conversion. My best advice to you will be, leave unnecessary products that your hotel service can provide you. 

8) Places to stay: Old, grand, and royal

The Balmoral Dining Hall

8.1) Luxury Hotels

  • The Balmoral, Edinburgh: Wish to enjoy some days with utmost lavishness and the best services from a trained batch of Forte employees? You may head to this one. This is by far the most reviewed five-star hotel available at an expensive cost per day (CPD). Choose this only if you are looking for a high-budget inn. The hotel is embezzled with extravagant decorations and carries its own heritage. The landmark is not only a show from outside but also offers numerous features such as whiskey tasting opportunity, rich culinary options, and a refreshing spa. This will cost you £196 per night.
  • Prestonfield House: If you are looking for a regal infrastructure with gothic style bed and swankiest furniture you would probably swoon over this Baroque-Georgian mansion. The rooms are opulently designed (silver chariot bath, silk toilet paper) with a vibrant romantic theme. You can also enjoy your dinner at two oval-shaped dining rooms with an 800-bottle wine list. This will cost you £200 per night. 
  • Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa: The brand is a well-known one and this five-star hotel is mainly aimed at business travelers. However, with a little cheaper price tag, it can save a bit from your budget. Features include a luxurious spa, a 19-meter infinity swimming pool, a thermal suite with seven treatment areas, Spa treatments, a gym, a café, and a beautiful rooftop hydro-pool and yes, it’s available at £149 per night. 

8.2) Mid-range Hotels

  • Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Mile Edinburgh: The only five-star hotel in Royal Mile, also portrays Scottish artwork in its nine, specially designed suites. It’s not as extensive as other five-star hotels in giving services but it provides gym and treatment rooms and guests are eligible to use the facilities at the Radisson Blu hotel (in five minutes walking distance) where there is a pool, sauna and wider range of treatments. Per night cost of this hotel is £113. 
  • Albyn Townhouse: Way cheaper than the Balmoral, it is an affordable choice if you want to experience a surreal day, away from the bustling Edinburgh. Famous for its award-winning breakfast, the hotel provides a comfortable accommodation with private parking and free wifi. However, if you are traveling with your fur baby you have to look elsewhere as it does not allow pets. £62 is what you pay for a night at this hotel. 

8.3) Cheap options

  • Safestay Edinburgh: The cheapest on our list, Safestay Edinburgh is situated in the heart of Edinburgh old town and offers a hostel-style living. This is an extremely good option for students and groups. However, you can also find private bedrooms with a maximum capacity of 4 people. It has laundry services, cafe-cum-bar, private courtyard, cycle store and a lot more in its arsenal. If you are short on budget or simply wish to stay modest in terms of living, you can absolutely trust this one. You will only pay £10 for one night. 

9) Food in Edinburgh

Scotland is a great place for all foodies. You will certainly enjoy your stay if you are willing to try new delicacies. While non-veg diners will find it easy to hop around in restaurants vegans are most welcome too. Let us get into the lavish list of meals, restaurants and bars. 

9.1) Non-veg options

  • Haggis, Neeps and Tatties: If you are a foodie then don’t mind trying Haggis, Neeps and Tatties combination. This is a Scottish non-veg delicacy which seems to lure people across the globe. Haggis is prepared from sheep’s pluck (liver, lungs, and heart), spiced up with salt, oatmeal, suet and onion. Neeps represent turnips and Tatties stand for potatoes. Together, they taste delicious. 
  • Full Scottish breakfast: Also, don’t miss the opportunity to get your mouth on a full Scottish breakfast served with black pudding and Scottish salmon. It generally includes half a tomato broiled with cheese on top, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, sausages, and one egg, and a beverage such as coffee or tea. 
  • Partan Bree, seafood dish: This is one of the most famous soups available in Scotland and it has a history too. This is a traditional dish of Gaelic people. Ingredients include crab and rice, along with a number of other spices and herbs. Just in case you are wondering how it tastes like, it would give you a tangy hot and sour feeling. 

9.2) Veg options

  • Vegetarian haggis and Irn Bru: If you are  a vegetarian like me, you can try vegetarian haggis and Irn Bru, an orange soft drink native to Scotland. Wondering what’s inside? It includes onions, carrots, mushrooms, lentils, borlotti beans, hazelnuts, almonds. And yes, they taste good together. 
  • Chip shop chips: Grab a bite of chip shop chips with salt and sauce, it’s an Edinburgh specialty. The recipe may sound as easy as frying potatoes but the type of oil, potato used and cooking temperature are really important.
  • Scottish vegan cottage pie: This is a vegan version of traditional cottage pie. It includes veggie mince, mushrooms, carrots, and sliced potatoes. 

Pic Courtesy – ICHScotland – (a) Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, My Scottish Heart – (b) Full Scottish Breakfast, (c) Castle Maclellan – Partan Bree, BBC goodfood – (d) Vegetarian haggis, BBC – (e) Chip shop chips, Tinned Tomatoes – (f) Scottish vegan cottage pie 

9.3) Restaurants

  • The Ship on the Shore – for seafood platter: If you are a seafood fanatic, try this restaurant for a seafood platter. It is not only a seafood restaurant though, and you will get other food options as well but it is specialized in bringing  fresh scallops and lobster in a plate of shells, squids and lemon.
  • Castle Terrace Restaurants – for the cheese trolley: This is a fine dining restaurant with modern continental dishes with Scottish ingredients. Try the special tasting menu or the vegetarian tasting menu. However, keep a good room in your belly cause the fun starts after dinner. They have this thing called the cheese Trolley. It’s exactly what you see in the picture. 
  • The City Cafe – for pancakes: Who doesn’t love pancakes? Okay you may not, but I absolutely love them. This cafe offers all-day breakfast menus but their vanilla-infused pancakes with maple syrup and fresh berries or Nutella are amazing.

9.4) Where to go for drinks?

Drinking alcohol falls under standard habits in Edinburgh. It’s world-famous for its Scotch whiskey, Drambuie and Scotch Ale. If you fancy a drink and you want that in a cozy place, try the bars and pubs in the city center, Edinburgh. The Raging Bull, The Bon Vivant, The Voodoo Rooms, and Panda & sons are the best-rated ones. The first one offers a bull adorned mural, rustic walls, marble tables and some purely fantastic cocktails option including their famous coffee cocktails.

The Bon Vivant is known for their champagne list, a comprehensive wine and full stock of rare spirits. The Voodoo Rooms is known for a comprehensive list of classic cocktails, cutting-edge mixes, rums and tequilas. There are some other fantastic bars in Edinburgh’s west end including Whighams wine cellar, Teuchters bar, Foundry 39, Sygn etc. You will also get some good options in old town, Edinburgh including Geroge IV bar, BrewDog, The Devil’s advocate etc. 

The Scotch Whiskey Experience – Visit this place if you wish to try different types of whiskey

10) Festivities

10.1) The Fringe

This city knows how to enjoy the festivities and why won’t it? The Fringe, world’s largest arts festival is Edinburgh-born. Every year it attracts thousands of comedians, performers, singers, cabaret stars and street artists from across the world. The anyway-touristy city becomes more crowded than ever and yet it glows. It’s so famous that many films and books are based upon it. 

Pic Courtesy: Daily Record

10.2) Edinburgh International Film Festival

This is again one of the main attractions of the city which happens during summertime. It has a reputation for recognizing new talent.

10.3) The Edinburgh science festival

It is another interesting show of the city if you plan to engage in pragmatic experiences surrounding technology and science. The festival is always busy with discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. 

10.4) Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival

This one is my personal favorites. The music festival goes way beyond genres. According to, “From bop to boogie-woogie to blues-rock, from samba to swing to soul, there’s something to suit every mood and musical taste over ten groove-packed summer days.” And that’s true, guys. Plus, the committee every year takes many innovative ways to unearth talents around the world. 

10.5) Edinburgh’s International Children festival

If you are traveling with a child and you just happen to be in Edinburgh in late May, take him/her to this awesome event. First of all, it hosts engaging and inspiring shows, dance programs and dramas that are suitable for children. This also inaugurates with a free day of arts and performances at the National Museum of Scotland. 

11) Places to visit

11.1) Edinburgh Castle

No doubt, this one should be on the top of your priority list if you are visiting Edinburgh for the first time. A century-old fortress placed on the castle rock has housed the royal families until 1633. With a memory of the millennium, the monument is proudly populating the skyline of Scotland. Inside the building, you will discover multiple sites worthy of your time. Do make a stop at the St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in the entire city of Edinburgh which was once created as a private chapel to serve the royal family of King David I. 

On a terrace, in front of the chapel you will not miss the 15th century Bombard (canons of middle age), known as Mons Meg. Fill your list with other important sites such as the Half Moon Battery, Queen Anne Building, Scottish National War Memorial. Finish your castle journey with One O’Clock Gun, a time signal that is fired every day at 1:00 pm except for certain occasions and Sundays. Buy a “ Skip the Line: Edinburgh Castle Entrance Ticket” to avoid standing in a long queue.

Pic Courtesy:

11.2) Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Abbey

The official Edinburgh residence of the Queen is a famous tourist spot for its significance in the royal history. This luxurious palace contains 12th-century Holyrood Abbey, the Palace gardens, the State Apartments of the Palace itself. Mary, Queen of Scots’ has stayed in the palace between 1561-1567.

It is famous for witnessing the marriage ceremonies of James II and James IV and this was where James V and Charles I was crowned and “Bonnie Prince Charlie” established court for six weeks. Surrounding the place, the palace gardens have remained which is open to the public with conditional admission guidelines.

11.3) Arthur’s seat

The highest point of the city is not only a top-notch choice for a hillwalking exercise but also popular for offering an unmatchable panoramic view of the city. The easiest way to rise to the top is to climb from the Holyrood Park’s Dunsapie Loch. Apart from its charming natural beauty, it is known to be the maintained home for ancient cultivation practices of Scotland. 

Pic Courtesy: Novotel

11.4) Cramond

A village built on the ruins of the Roman Empire not only offers a majestic view of the Cramond Island, but also connects you to the ancient history with its old architectural remains. One of the most beautiful features of this place is a long Cramond causeway that connects the mainland with the island. If you are planning to visit then make sure the tides are low. It’s not rare for tourists to get trapped once the tide comes back in. Nevertheless, this place is one of the most romantic ones in Edinburgh.

11.5) The royal yacht Britannia

One of the newest additions to tourist spots of Edinburgh is her majesty’s yacht Britannia. Being one of the happening destinations, it welcomes 300,000 people in a year. Previously, it served the royal family for more than forty years and now it is open to public. If you decide to go onboard, you can get a guided tour to the ship’s five main decks including the Royal Apartments and bedrooms, the sun lounge, and the onboard Royal Deck Tea Room, where you can stop by for snacks.

Pic Courtesy: Hidden Edinburgh

11.6) Camera Obscura

Attention to all science lovers! If you are looking for something to get your hands on, this might be the best place to fulfill your wish. It is a great source of entertainment for all ages that runs from 9 am to 9 pm every day. It’s a 5 story building full of technology-equipped illusions that could blow your head off. Famous for showing optical illusions, this one can also be a great source of knowledge. 

11.7) The Museum of Childhood

Do you often miss your childhood? The city in fact delivers a solution for all those who want to live their childhood again. This building has a huge collection of old toys, railroads, dolls, and games from across the world. It also serves as an activity ground for kids by giving them opportunities to take part in creative day to day events and spreading happiness through wellness workshops. The best part? The admission to the museum is free. So enjoy a day alone or with your kids, for free, from 10 am to 5:45 PM.

11.8) Calton Hill and the Scottish National Monument

The Scottish National Monument was built on the top of Calton Hill, in memoriam of martyrs of Napoleonic War. It attracts a lot of tourists due to its bloody history and closeness to Princess street, the shopping street of Scotland. 

11.9) St. Giles Cathedral

Established in 1124, the church played an instrumental role in Scottish reformations. Currently one of the most known names for hosting concerts, lectures, exhibitions and civic ceremonies, you can definitely make a stop at this ancient building to reminisce all it has witnessed. 

11.10) Loch Ness

Although not specifically in Edinburgh, the story of this lake predates its humble volume. Around 170 miles away from the city, situated in the Scottish highlands, the freshwater lake is home to a variety of fishes such as European eel, Northern pikes, Atlantic salmon, etc. However, the lake is infamous for supposedly bearing a cryptid named Loch Ness Monster. The news gained popularity after an unconfirmed sighting of the monster in 1933. Feeling adventurous? You should visit this loch without regret. 

Your list must include other places such as Royal Botanic garden, National Museum of Scotland, Scotland National Gallery, Water of Leith, The Writer’s Museum, Nelson Monument.

12) Day trips from Edinburgh:

12.1) National Mining Museum and the Lady Victoria Colliery

Situated 16 km. south of Edinburgh, the museum is at the Lady Victoria Colliery, one of the finest preserved Victorian Collieries in Europe. The mining opened in 1895 and ceased coal production in 1981. Housing the Grant-Richie winding engine which once used to lift coal from a depth of almost 1,640 ft, the museum is there to protect the physical surface remains of Lady Victoria Colliery.

The museum has a total of 60,000 items, including objects, archive material, photographs and books. The objects list is pretty exhaustive as it includes tools, safety equipment, lamps, models, clothing, trophies, geological specimens, banners and art. The museum also has a reference library with articles, journals, books, catalogs and periodicals describing the history of coal mining. This is definitely on the list of 1 day trip from Scotland as it is only 22-mins car distance away. Getting there’s pretty easy, you can take a Lothian bus no. 33 and 29. 

However as advised on their official website as well, 29 no. Lothian bus from the city center is the quickest transport to the destination. Also visit the local tourist attractions such as Rosslyn chapel ( yes, the Da Vinci Code featured church building), Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World (world’s longest-running tropical Butterfly house), Newbattle Abbey (a medieval Cistercian monastery). 

12.2) National Museum of flight

Get ready to witness the history of Scottish aviation as the museum keeps aircraft from the first world war to the present day. This is a former RAF airbase which now houses a De Havilland Puss Moth (1930), a Weir W-2 (1934), a Supermarine Spitfire and a Sea Hawk, Red Arrows Hawk T.1A, the famous Concorde jetliner, a Nimrod and some really old flights from the history. 

Explore the hangers via Airfield Explorer tour car or simply hover around on foot. While returning, you can literally fly away with a microlight. Pay a visit to the East of Scotland Microlight and fulfill your dreams of flying. You can also add Hailes Castle and the coastal village of Aberlady famous for its sandy beaches and seabird reserve. 

12.3) Trekking to Ben Nevis, Scottish highland’s topmost peak

If you are not a pro hiker, you shouldn’t start with Ben Nevis. Since most of the tourists come and explore Scottish highlands, I couldn’t chuck off this from the list. It takes three to three and a half hours to climb up and takes 1 and a half hours to come down. 

You can take a Citylink bus from Edinburgh to Fort William. From Fort William, you may take a taxi ride to the Ben Nevis Gondola. First time in Scottish highlands? This website will help you prepare. Also, if you can stretch up your tour day and add Loch Ness in the same-day list too.

13) Edinburgh Sample Itinerary: (3 day and 5-day plan)


7:30 am – 9:00 am 10:00 am – 12:00 pm1:00 pm – 3:00 pm3:30 pm – 5:00 pm6:00 pm – 9:30 pm10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Day 1Transfer to hotel Take a tour of the Edinburgh castleGet sciencey in Camera ObscuraVisit the Holyrood palace Take a stroll at the Holyrood Park and visit Arthur’s seatDinner + Return to hotel
Day 2Journey to Cramond villageHave fun at the Cramond beachVisit the Cramond island + Cramond KirkVisit Calton hill and Scottish National MonumentWine tasting at Carlton hill vineyardTransfer to hotel
Day 3Journey to Royal Yacht Britannia via Victoria parkHave a visit to Royal Yacht Britannia and shop at Ocean Terminal shoppingWalk across Water of Leith Pay a visit to the museum of childrenPray at St. Giles Cathedral and witness the Royal mileTransport to Hotel / Transport to airport
Day 4A day trip to National mining museum and lady victoria colliery + Rosslyn Chapel + Edinburgh butterfly and insect world + New battle abbey / A day trip to National flight museum + East Scotland Microlight + village of Aberlady Transport to Hotel
Day 5A day trip to Ben Nevis, enjoy the Scottish highlands + Visit Loch Ness Transfer to Edinburgh airport

14) Traveling with kids to Edinburgh

Traveling with kids can be a totally different experience. While you may find one place suitable, things can go south if your kid has separate demands. It’s very important they get the right  set of activities to engage in when you are visiting a new country. These small activities or visits will also add to the sweet memories of their upbringing. 

14.1) Learn about Real Mary King’s Close

This is a very enjoyable tour, plus it’s not boring at all. The tour guide will take you to 1645 Edinburgh, Mary King’s Close, an alleyway in the city. The same year, half of Edinburgh’s population died due to severe illness. You will not only learn the stories but will experience their living first hand. An adult ticket will cost you £15.50 and a child (5-15 years) ticket will cost you £9.50. However if you are traveling with your family, you can save some by booking a family ticket which costs £42.50 only. 

14.2) National Museum of Edinburgh

 Even if your kids dread museums, this will make them happy. Take a plunge into Scottish history, take a spin in a giant hamster wheel, visit the Grand gallery – one of the most beautiful places of Edinburgh. Don’t miss the natural world galleries with a huge T-Rex hanging in the middle. At the end, do climb up to the rooftop terrace to witness the panoramic view of Edinburgh city. 

14.3) Follow the Potter trail

A must-visit for all Potterheads, this tour is hosted by Visit the places where J.K Rowling wrote one of the hottest fiction stories for children. The tour will also take you to places that inspire characters and scenes of the stories. A word of caution, though, it’s a free tour – so be prepared to tip the tour guy at the end. 

Pic Courtesy: – The Potter Trail Show

15) Disabled people traveling to Edinburgh

Edinburgh is known for being one of the most accessible travel cities in the world. The city is home to 500+ accessible hotels with friendly accommodation option. Though they are no less swanky, these hotels allow people to move in comfortably even with their disabilities. You will also get easy transport access throughout the city. 

15.1) Use public transport such as Lothian buses to get around the city

Lothian buses are friendly to disabled people as they provide retractable boarding ramps for wheelchair access and also a dedicated wheelchair space. Once you board the bus, you are supposed to park the wheelchair in the dedicated space The back of the wheelchair must face the front of the bus. Once you wish to leave the bus you need to hit a bell to let the driver now. 

15.2) Accessible Black cabs

Edinburgh’s two most famous black cabs including City Cabs and Central Taxis offer accessible service for disabled travelers. Having entrance to most tourist places getting an accessible taxi is the best decision you can make. 

15.3) Accessible toilets

Edinburgh participates in the National Key Scheme (NKS) which allows people to independently access disable toilets with a RADAR NKS key. The key system has been made so that the locked rooms can be opened upon request. 

16) Shopping in Edinburgh

Hey you, like to shop? So do I. Even if you don’t have enough money or strength to buy stuff, you can always window-shop and absorb the vibes. I mean, that’s what you would probably end up doing because there’s only so much you can fit into your bag. Never mind, there are some good places where your shopping spree will come alive. The following five can be great examples of that. 

16.1) Princes Street

There are not many places in the world like this where you would get a shopping place with a great view of a castle. However Princess street offers a view like no other with castle, bridge and Old Town cityscape in its surrounding. This is one of the most expensive shopping streets available including brands such as Debenhams, New Look, House of Fraser, Zara, Primark and Jenners. You will also get tech hubs, for example, an Apple store and other health and beauty stores as well. 

16.2) Multrees Walk

This is like the “Rodeo Drive” of Edinburgh with luxury shopping stores here and there. You will see Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton, and Nespresso outlets in Multrees Walk. Also, pay a visit to Celine, Victoria Beckham, Balenciaga, Gucci, Christopher Kane, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney if you have a fascination with designer clothes. 

16.3) The Grassmarket and Victoria street

A place for luxury fashion brands and vintage shops alike, you can literally spend your day by gawking at restaurants, pubs and shopping areas beneath Edinburgh Castle. It is said that Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley is based on Victoria Street. Oh, and don’t forget to get a hat from Fabhatrix. 

16.4) Stockbridge market

 Surrounded by excited jewelers, galleries, gourmet food shops and cafes, this place is like none other. This place is famous for hosting independent stores. The Sunday Stockbridge market is known for fresh produce and artisan bakers, and for high-quality cheese pop of I.J Mellis. 

16.5) The Royal mile, High street and Canyon Gate

If you are particularly looking for a Scottish souvenir, this place is the best for stuff not so modern. If you are passing by Royal Mile, just get inside Cadenhead Whisky Shop,Cranachan & Crowdie, Ragamuffin and The Scotch Whisky Experience. 

17) Keep an eye open for travel scams

It’s not native to Edinburgh and almost every tourist spot has issues. By issues I mean travel scams. It comes free with our human existence but if you always keep your mind alert, you will most probably dodge these tourist targeted scams. 

17.1) The fake ticket

How does it work? You pay for an event ticket online but never receive a ticket. Also, you get a free event ticket from a stranger while you were visiting other spots. You have to be strict and say no whenever they approach with a heavenly deal. That’s the only way to fight them off. Also whenever buying, only get tickets from the official website or offline counters. 

17.2) The gold ring scam

A gypsy lady will approach you and point out an “18k” gold ring on the ground. She will ask if the ring belongs to you. If you say no, she would convince you to gift the ring to your special one. Afterward, she will tell her sob story and ask for money. Avoid her at all costs and her gold ring. Also, watch out for your stuff as sometimes the more scheming ones even try to pickpocket. 

17.3) Fake police car

A stranger (accomplice of fake police) will approach you to click a photo of him. When you are doing that, two officers (fake, of course!) will appear out of nowhere and demand you show your baggage. Rest be assured, all your valuable stuff will be gone with them. How to get out of this situation? Verify their badges and tell them that you would call the police. Never show your passport and place your stuff in a hidden wallet. 

18) Knowledge zone

18.1) If you are a fan of games

If you are indeed a fan of games, Edinburgh wouldn’t disappoint you at all. There’s a number of video game arcade stations and some of them are really interesting. For example, the Realm VR is one of the sweet spots for a techy mind. They use Virtual Reality and modern computing technology that brings you pure and real gaming experience. 

You can also take your kids to Xtreme karting, that offers a phenomenal motor racing and combat sessions experience. If you are looking for a cute experience though, you should head to Maison de Moggy, the first cat cafe in Scotland.

Now talking about video gaming only, Konbo is the best-known name of the city with 4.9 stars. You will get your hands dirty at the vintage machines and retro gaming goods. Plus, you will get a supply of caffeine there, what more can you get anyway?

18.2) If you are a book person

To all book lovers out there, I am with you and I do understand how getting the scent of books may turn you on. While you are in Scotland you should definitely visit Armchair Books. It is a space stuffed with second-hand books and antiques from the Victorian era. 

There’s some more like the Fruit Market Gallery, Golden Hair Books, Cabaret’s antique curios and books, McNaughtan’s bookshop and gallery, etc. They all have their own traits and their collection is just fantastic. If you are looking for an environment then you must visit The Edinburgh Bookshop, Elvis Shakespeare Bookshop and records and definitely the Looking Glass Books.  

19) What if you are thinking long term

19.1) Edinburgh for higher education

Edinburgh is very supportive of students, especially if you wish to pursue a degree here. Things are not that hard and if you have a clean record, you would also get a student visa. In fact, if you come from an EU country you wouldn’t need a visa at all. Students from other countries will require a visa known as Tier 4. 

This visa is meant for international students coming to Scotland for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Some of the best universities of Edinburgh include University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University

19.2) Edinburgh for Business or Jobs

If you wish to start a start-up business in Edinburgh, Tier 1 start-up visa is your key to success. Now, before moving on to the application part, you may wish to decide why it’s Edinburgh and not something else. Reasons can be various starting from personal or availability of resources around your dream start-up. 

People now choose Edinburgh because it’s full of talent and it’s easy to find support for your start-up. If you are there for something similar, you are definitely encouraged to take a plunge into it. 

20) Short on money? Read this

20.1) Cheap food/free food

While Edinburgh is embellished with medieval beauty, it’s certainly not the cheapest city you would come around. The expensive tour ticket is one, food and transport will not spare you either. So, if you are looking for a quick bite and have pizza craving, you can grab a bite at @Pizza. The food is great, the price is even better. Also, if you are around old town try Oink for delicious roast pork rolls. the Pie maker is great for meat and veggie pies. For a full meal, you can try Mosque Kitchen. Their Indian food will fill your belly for only  £7.

Okay, so all these options are great if it’s cheap food you are looking for. But what about free food? If you can’t manage a penny or you are suddenly in a difficult situation, try World care for foundation: food for needy project. You will see them every Monday at the junction of North Bridge and Royal Mile on every Monday at about 6pm. They offer vegetarian hot food until it’s all gone.

There’s also Bethany care van lunch which sits on Waverley Bridge every day at about 9 pm. If you are interested in Indian vegetarian cuisine, you may go to Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen every Wednesday from 6 pm (location: North Bridge & Royal Mile, near Torn Church).

20.2) Save in Transportation

There’s a fixed rule, avoid taxi and go for public transportation. If you need to book a cab, Uber is your friend.  Please go to “Getting there and getting around” section for a detailed list of public transportation available throughout the city. The best way to save cost is by documenting the cost. So, if you do not use a budget tool, you can always hook on to a productivity tool such as Notion. This has been a great addition to my life and writing my daily cost and setting a bar has greatly reduced my unprecedented cost. 

21) Emergency?

21.1) Hospitals 

I know you won’t need to take help from this section. However, if need be, don’t shy away from choosing the best hospitals. So, if you are coming to Scotland as a tourist, you may even get some health services for free but you are advised to get travel insurance that covers for medical treatment. 

However, some services can be freely available to a tourist such as emergency care, sponsored by the NHS. Emergencies include accidents and GP ( General Practitioner ) surgeries. Some known hospitals include Leith Community Treatment Center, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital. There are other private facilities including Edinburgh clinic, Edinburgh medical center, Spire Murrayfield Hospital, etc. 

21.2) Drug Policies 

Honestly, I would never leave my medicines home as I never want to take the headache to look for the specific stuff I use. Oh, and carry a prescription. Also if you feel unwell, you can always go to your nearest pharmacy and ask for advice. You can always find your store via calling  0800 22 44 88 or look on the Internet ( Some of the pharmacies include Royal Mile Pharmacies, Clark Chemist, Well Edinburgh – Stenhouse Cross. 

21.3) Women Solo Travel and Safety  

It’s super easy to get around the city and great companies can be found easily. Plus street harassments rate is very low. It also has a very friendly hostel culture which will help you to accommodate yourself. Some old cautions should always be followed including treating yourself like a queen. What I mean is, you must know you are the boss of your life and you don’t need to do anything until and unless you want it. For better comfort and accessibility, you may choose a hotel near the city center.

Also, know that if you are feeling unsafe about your accommodation, you can always shift to the dorm rooms of the University of Edinburgh. They open their dorms for tourists in the summer months. The building looks like a castle and you will get fresh towels every day.  The biggest plus – the rooms are extremely cheap compared to hotel rooms. We also wrote tips for women safety while traveling to France, India, and Spain. You are very welcome to read them. 

21.4) Embassy Houses

Being the capital of Scotland, it houses a big number of consulate offices. For more information, rather a comprehensive list of all the consulates present, refer to this website

21.5) Important Numbers

  • 111 – Medical help from NHS. 
  • 999 –  Emergency cases 
  • 101 – Non-emergency cases. 
  • 0800 027 1234 – women’s aid.

22) LGBTQ+ Friendly Edinburgh

Proud to be a pride member? Edinburgh is in your team too. This place is one of the most progressive cities in the world and its mother, Scotland was recognized as the “best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality” in 2015 and 2016. There are year-round pride activities all over the city among which gay pride festivity called Pride Scotia, takes place every June. It’s a long march through the city and at the end there’s a BBQ, health and community fair, live music and entertainment. Edinburgh’s open culture embraces everyone.

However, CC Blooms on Greenside Place is where you will have the most casual experience. There’s The Regent on Montrose Terrace who claim to be the best gay ale bar in Edinburgh. Various other gay bars include Planet Bar on Baxter’s Place, The Street, Cafe Habana etc. We also have a guide on LGBTQ friendly places around the world. Make sure to add it in your reading list. 

23) Helpful Apps

23.1) Transport for Edinburgh

Don’t have the right change for your trip? Short on cash? Don’t worry, Transport for Edinburgh is your key to a convenient ride. You already know about the website but their app is much more helpful because you will have all your trips in your pocket. Plus its not just the Lothian buses, even trams are included in it. The app lets you purchase m-tickets via phone and you would be able to track all your trips. 

23.2) City Cabs Edinburgh

When city buses and Uber cars fall short, this option will definitely save you. It’s a fully functional app to use in Edinburgh for taxi services. It also sends you car just like Uber. 

23.3) Edinburgh Fringe

You know all about Fringe but get this app if you don’t want to get lost in the festival. Plus, it has plenty of helpful features such as grabbing individual tickets for shows. It has a pin-location based map and listing of every show that is going to take place this year. Also, if you are looking for an offer, this is the place where you can find some. 

23.4) Zomato

It can be a very known name for many. However, their unparalleled service is what made them appear on the list. Plus there’s a lot of good offers for the first time and all dedicated users. Instead of thinking about going to a specific eatery, you grab ‘em all and chow down. 

23.5) Timeline trip Edinburgh

It’s your own time machine to take a tour of the past. They offer interactive maps of a specific area but that map shows what stood there hundreds of years ago. So, it’s eerie but very cool for someone with an avid interest in knowing the history and culture. 

And this is all you need to know before your trip! What’s your favorite among the things to do in Edinburgh? What will you visit there? Did we miss something? Tell us in the comments!

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