Are you looking for the best things to do in Edinburgh? Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend, a week-long staycation or a quick day trip, the possibilities are endless. Our guide covers it all – from where to eat in Edinburgh to where to go shopping in Edinburgh. Check out our recommendations below and get planning the trip of a lifetime.
What To Do In Edinburgh
There are so many fun things to do in Edinburgh that it can be hard to fit it all into one trip. But there are a few things that every traveller should have on their list:
• Tourist destinations
So where do you start? Discover all of the best places to go in Edinburgh in our guide for a fun-filled trip of delicious food, spectacular views and local delicacies.
What To See In Edinburgh
The city is well-known for its attractive buildings, historic tourist spots and stunning views, but if you’ve never been before you may be wondering what to see in Edinburgh – and you’re certainly not spoilt for choice… Here are just a few of the top places to go in Edinburgh for a walk through history.
Arguably one of the top things on every tourist’s to-do list when planning what to do in Edinburgh, the castle offers up a whole host of historical value to visitors. The building dominates the Edinburgh skyline as it sits atop the Castle Rock. You need to book in advance, but there are many ways to explore the castle – from jumping right in and wandering round, to following an itinerary or an audio guide.
Arthur’s Seat is the remains of an extinct volcano that erupted 350 million years ago and is located at the end of the Royal Mile in Holyrood Park. Sitting at 251m tall, it is one of the top places to go in Edinburgh for tourists and explorers alike. So if you’re up for a hike, this hill towers over the city with great views in all directions! Just make sure you have your walking poles ready.
National Museum of Scotland
When it comes to Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions, the National Museum is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh to get a feel for history – and it’s free! With 16 galleries and over 8,000 artifacts to peruse, there are plenty of things to see here. You can book a guided tour or simply take a leisurely stroll around the exhibitions, bumping into Dolly the Sheep and a few of Elton John’s iconic costumes along the way.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Take a trip to the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is at the end of the Royal Mile, where visitors can explore up to 14 State Apartments, the ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey and the spectacular royal gardens.
The Royal Mile
If you’re looking for the top places to go in Edinburgh, the Royal Mile is up there with one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. Running through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, between the castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mile is home to some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city.
Where To Eat In Edinburgh
But all that exploring is sure to get you feeling hungry! Find out where to eat in Edinburgh to take a break from the exploring and settle down with some tasty grub – and this is really just a snapshot of all of the delicious eats that are available in the city.
Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, Hawksmoor is a steak and seafood restaurant that prides itself on using local produce – with its seafood sourced from around the Scottish coast and beef from grass-fed native breed cattle. Not only do they serve some of the best steak in the city, but you can also pick up a lighter snack at the bar, served with cocktails created by their award-winning bartenders.
Do you prefer something with a little kick? As one of the top-rated Indian restaurants in Edinburgh, Navadhanya serves up the art of Indian modern dining. With the choice of a seven course tasting menu, starters, mains and sides, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a selection of delicious dishes.
Makars Gourmet Mash Bar:
With the option to dine in or takeaway, Makars specialises in delicious mashed potatoes with various toppings, including haggis and veggie sausage, drizzled in gravy or a sauce of your choice. If you’re looking for no fuss food, this is certainly one of the top places to go in Edinburgh.
New Chapter is an award-winning, family-run restaurant situated right in the centre of Edinburgh. Frequented by locals and visitors, this modern restaurant provides a mix of European influences and Scottish heritage to provide a memorable meal. So whether you’re looking for a romantic meal for two or food for the family, this is one of the best places to go in Edinburgh.
Where To Go Shopping In Edinburgh
Once you’ve eaten and seen the sites, it’s time to do a bit of shopping! Whether you’re after some high-street classics, high-end brands or local, independent stores, the city has it all. So just make sure you have enough room in your luggage before you go! But if you’re wondering where to go shopping in Edinburgh, here are a few of the top spots:
As the central thoroughfare of the First New Town, shopping on George Street is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh. Whether you’re after clothing, jewellery, homeware or more, George Street offers the full retail experience. With brands like White Stuff and Jack Wills, George Street is also home to the flagship Craghoppers’ store where you can browse a range of outdoor accessories for your trip!
If you’re a fan of a luxury label, Multrees Walk is one of the best places to go in Edinburgh for shopping. Home to many exclusive brands, including Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols store, this pedestrian shopping area is located just off the east side of St Andrew Square.
If you’re looking for a spot of shopping right in the heart of Edinburgh, Waverley Mall is the place to be. Home to a whole host of high-street brands across the fashion, health and beauty and tech industries, you could easily spend a whole afternoon here – and you won’t get hungry with the selection of restaurants on offer!
The Royal Mile
When visiting a new city, what’s better than exploring the local shops? If you want to avoid the high-street retailers for some independent shopping, the Royal Mile has a lot to offer. From traditional souvenirs to quirky finds, this is one of the top places to go in Edinburgh for memorabilia. Pick up some tartan, whiskey, chocolates and Harry Potter-themed items all along the stretch of the Royal Mile.
And there you have it – a selection of some of the best things to do in Edinburgh. So get planning your itinerary but make sure you prepare for your trip. We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be, so be sure to pick up some outdoor clothing before you go.