Edinburgh has so many amazing things to do and see that we can’t list them all. We have included a selection of our favourite attractions so please browse through the categories below and see what you’d like to visit on your Edinburgh vacation. You will find many of the most famous sights on this page and perhaps some that you haven’t heard of before. We would be delighted to help you plan a vacation around the interests of your party, contact us to get started.
Click below to see just some of the famous sights that Edinburgh has to offer:
(hover over the images below for an enlarged view)
Edinburgh Castle is the city's most recognisable landmark. Standing at the top of the Royal Mile it offers views across Edinburgh and beyond to the Kingdom of Fife. Humans have settled on the rock on which it stands since the Iron Age and the first recorded castle on the site was built in the 12th century. The One O'clock Gun, fired from the castle is a popular attraction. A time signal for Edinburgh townsfolk and the port of Leith, it was originally a cannon, now replaced by an artillery gun; listen out for it on our Walking Tour of Edinburgh.
The Royal Mile
Starting from the gates of Edinburgh Castle to the gates of the Palace of Holyrood, the Royal Mile is the main thoroughfare of the Old Town and boasts many famous sites. Best experienced on foot, the Royal Mile encompasses St Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square and many 'closes' (narrow side streets) run off to either side including Warriston Close with the house of the protestant reformer, John Knox.
Edinburgh's classic architecture led to its title of the 'Athens of the North'. Calton Hill at the eastern end of Princes Street boasts several examples of this including the Royal High School (inspired by the Temple of Hephaestus) and the National Monument which was to have been an exact copy of the Parthenon but was never completed.
Royal Yacht Britannia
The world-famous yacht of Queen Elizabeth II is now permanently moored in Edinburgh's port, Leith. Rated as the top heritage attraction in Edinburgh, a visit to Britannia gives an insight to lifestyle aboard this floating palace. Round your visit off with afternoon tea on deck! A visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia forms part of our Royal Edinburgh tour.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh, standing at the eastern end of the Royal Mile. Visit the chambers of Mary, Queen of Scots and the ruins of a 12th-century abbey and the Royal Gardens. A visit to the Palace forms part of our Royal Edinburgh and Edinburgh City tours.
This famous Edinburgh landmark is the statue of a Skye Terrier said to have guarded the grave of his owner, John Gray, for 14 years in the late 19th century. Bobby himself is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from John Gray's grave. Greyfriars Kirkyard itself is a popular visit, full of stories with many of the old gravestones providing names for characters in the Harry Potter books. Greyfriars Bobby and the Kirkyard are visited on our Edinburgh Walking Tour and can be part of a tailor-made tour.
Experience the outdoors life without leaving the city ! Arthur's seat is a rocky outcrop just 15 minutes walk from the Royal Mile and is the site of several prehistoric hill forts. From the summit, the views over Edinburgh are astounding
You may have spotted Calton Hill in our Famous Sights section, but it's worth another mention here. It is so close to the city centre and offers such wonderful views over the city. If you don't feel adventurous enough to climb Arthur's Seat then take a stroll up Calton Hill and be rewarded with some stunning views across the old and new towns. Take some binoculars and tick off the landmarks one by one!
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens run along the valley between Edinburgh's main thoroughfare and the castle mound. Ideal for a leisurely stroll away from the crowds. If the weather is being kind, grab a picnic and gaze upwards at the old town, castle and Scott Monument.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Situated in Edinburgh's New Town, the Royal Botanic Gardens dates back nearly 350 years and is a world leading centre. Take a break from the crowds come rain or shine. Stroll through the gardens or explore the glasshouses with 8000+ plants including a 200+ year old palm tree
The Meadows is a large park located just to the south of the old town, next to Edinburgh University, a popular location for sports events and festivals in the summer months. Stroll among the tall elm trees, let your chilredrun off some energy in the playgrounds, try the pitch-and-putt golf of simply have a picnic on the grass.
Yes, Edinburgh has a beach! Only 15 minutes drive from the city centre, you can be strolling along the wide uncluttered beach at Portobello. This award-winning beach boasts 2 miles of sand and there are several bars and cafes along the promenade. Portobello is in a conservation area protecting its Georgian and Victorian architecture.
Situated a short distance from Edinburgh, the three bridges across the river Forth link the capital to the Kingdom of Fife. The original rail bridge is a World Heritage Site while still being fully operational as the principal rail link from Edinburgh to the east coast of Scotland. Our East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews tour offers photo opportunities at the Forth bridges.
Several sites around Edinburgh have been used for 'on-location' scenes in the popular Outlander TV series. We provide a dedicated day-tour visiting these, full details or our Outlander Tour are on our main website.
The home of golf is only an hour away from Edinburgh and boasts seven courses. The town also has may attractions for non-golfers including its University (dating from 1413), quaint shops and galleries, its ruined cathedral and the famous 'Chariots of Fire' beach. Visit St Andrews on our East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews tour or build it into a Tailor-made Tour.
Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies
The Falkirk Wheel is the world's first and only rotating boat lift used to transport boats between canals at different heights, replacing a staircase of 11 locks. Its ingenious design allows the 600 tonne 'gondolas' to be rotated using power equivalent to just 8 kettles. A short distance away are the stunning (and big) Kelpies sculptures representing the mythical Scots sea monsters