Towering majestically over the city, the iconic castle will fascinate you with its three roles: Royal palace, historic fortress and war museum. Check out the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and medieval bombard Mons Meg, before admiring the stunning view over Edinburgh.
Camera Obscura and the World of Illusion is a place where you cannot trust your eyes and a place that fascinates young and old! Explore over five floors of attractions in which you can shrink yourself, step into a dark room and spy on people walking in the street outside, get lost in a mirror room or challenge your balance in the Vortex Tunnel!
Uncover the secrets of Scotland’s national drink at the Scotch Whisky Experience. Take a unique tour through a replica distillery in their Whisky Barrel Ride before learning more about the whisky regions of Scotland and enjoying a dram as you marvel at the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky.
For a mysterious journey through myth and legend, visit Rosslyn Chapel! If it sounds familiar, it may be because it was featured prominently in Dan Brown’s international bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Hear the intriguing tales behind Rosslyn’s beautiful ornate carvings before taking a peaceful walk in Roslin Glen.
The National Museum of Scotland is an adventure for the history lovers and the families. In their galleries, you can find ancient Egyptian mummies, the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and specimens collected by Charles Darwin. They also have temporary exhibitions to keep an eye out for!
Explore the lives of over 1,000 exciting animals from all over the world. Watch giant pandas, big cats, penguins and other birds or take part in some of interactive activities the Zoo offers. Don't miss Edinburgh Zoo gardens inside the park, featuring beautiful exotic flowers and plants.
The Scottish Parliament stands in the Holyrood area, overseen by the Royal Mile. The building has won awards for its striking design. It's the place to learn about Scotland's political history, watch live debates and admire its unique architecture. If you want to watch the members of the Scottish Parliament in action, you need to book a ticket in advance but they are free of charge.
Escape the city and watch the beautiful Scottish scenery from a bike. You can go directly from Edinburgh city centre and there are paths for all levels of fitness, with colour codes which are easy to follow. One of the best areas for off-road cycling is the Pentland Hills Regional Park, just outside Edinburgh. If you don't have a bike with you, you can for example hire one at Bike Trax.
In 1128, an Augustinian abbey was built on Canongate. Due to the favourability of the location, a Gothic Palace was built, adjacent to the Church, in 1501: the Holyroodhouse Palace. The building is very important to the history of Scotland and during Holyrood week, in the summer, The Queen herself stays there.
Walk through the Scottish Seabird Centre and its different discovery centre zones to get a real wildlife experience. The knowledgeable staff will guide you and offer presentations on various topics. There are also seasonal boat trips and, for the kids, there are three aquaria and a kid’s zone!
There are many beautiful parks and gardens in Edinburgh, but the one you have to visit before leaving the city is the Royal Botanic Garden. With 70 acres of beautiful gardens, it represents one of the world’s largest living collections of plants. It was founded in 1670, which also makes it part of the city's history.
Enter the Edinburgh Dungeon and experience 500 years of Scotland’s darkest history, presented with theatrical actors, storytelling, special effects, scenes and stages. Prepare yourself to meet murderers, cannibals and ghosts. The bravest ones can also hop on one of the two scary rides! Tours leave around 10 minutes apart.
The Festival Theatre is, with King's Theatre, one of the top venue in Edinburgh for entertainment. You can simply admire its glass facade, but coming in for a show of drama, dance, music, comedy or opera is well worth it. The Festival Theatre is famous for its Scottish Ballet and Opera.
Right in the centre of Edinburgh´s World Heritage Site, there is a spot of nature, a spot of relaxation and one that offers some of the greatest sights around: the Princes Street Gardens. With the amazing view over the Edinburgh Castle and the city this garden is truly a great place where to have a picnic. There is also a children’s playground to keep the kids busy.
If you love catching a movie but cannot be bothered to sit in classical theatre sits, you may found the Dominion Cinema quite revolutionary and definitely to your taste: a few of the rooms are furnished with actual sofas - you will be very tempted to curl up or watch a romantic movie with your significant other.
Arthur's seat, is an ancient volcano and the highest point in Holyrood Park, it stands 251 meters above the city. It is a popular place to hike both for tourists and locals alike and you will understand why once you reach the top, the panoramic views of the city is just breath-taking.
Explore a fantastic floating museum and follow the footsteps of royalty at the Royal Yacht Britannia, in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith. With your own audio tour you can get a glimpse at the life of the British Royal Family before enjoying a tea in the Royal Deck Tea Room.
Britannia Spice is an award-winning restaurant offering the best food from Bangladesh, northern India, Thailand and Nepal. The restaurant has a great location, it´s in fact situated in Leith, with The Royal Yacht Britannia within sight so you can definitely combine the two.
Whether you choose to sit at the open kitchen counter or in the dining room, you will be served the best traditional Japanese dishes including, but not limited to, sushi and tempura. For the anecdote: the word Kanpai means literally "bottoms up" and is the word for "cheers" in Japanese.
A top-notch Thai restaurant that puts the emphasis on authenticity, with only Thai chefs in the kitchen and the best Thai cuisine on the menu. "Passorn" means Angel in Thai, and they truly are angelic to their customers. The restaurant has also received several distinctions including a "Bib Gourmand" in the Michelin guide for 2015-16.
Wildfire is a family-owned Scottish steak and seafood bistro. Their focus is on carefully sourced Aberdeen Angus beef and Scottish Seafood but they also offer the finest Scottish cheeses. If you want to know what Scotland has to offer in terms of food, Wildfire sure hits the spot.
Who said Italian was limited to pizza and pasta dishes? If you thought so, Locanda De Gusti is here to prove you are wrong with its rich Southern Italian cuisine, made with love and great products. The place is quite simple but the food will surely take you away. Added bonus: the pasta and desserts are gluten-free!!
This cosy basement restaurant is a real institution in Edinburgh. Savour delicious, wholesome vegetarian dishes as you enjoy evening performances from local musicians. Or, if you have a busy day of exploring ahead, visit their popular deli upstairs for a tasty and nutritious lunch ‘to go’.
Treat yourself to exquisite French cuisine at this elegant, Michelin-starred, restaurant where the skilful chefs utilise the finest Scottish produce. Opened in 1999, Restaurant Martin Wishart is a sophisticated restaurant that overlooks the beautiful waters of the Leith and has grown to be a must-try in Edinburgh!
For a classic yet imaginative menu featuring the very best of Scottish produce, look no further than this award-winning restaurant at the gates of Edinburgh Castle! Dishes at this restaurant are pieces of culinary art and served in a historical setting, the enchanting fairy tale décor only adds to the dining experience.
This much-loved Edinburgh institution - named after the 600 elephants in all shapes and sizes decorating its walls (unless it is the other way around) - serves coffee and tea from all corners of the earth. Take a seat in the back room to enjoy a magical view over Edinburgh Castle: you will soon find out why this place is popular among writers!
In Casa Amiga you can either sample delicious sweet delicacies on location or choose to take away. This Portuguese bake-house and coffee shop is the place to visit for an excellent coffee and homemade cakes baked to perfection. There are also Portuguese beers and liqueurs available if you are in the mood for more.
Probably the best place for breakfast in Edinburgh, and just a stone throw away from the Castle. Definitely try the porridge with fresh fruits and have a chat with Alex, the very kind and friendly owner. Do not be misled by the French name: this place is as Scottish as it gets.
Before opening Brew Lab, its owners took four years to think through what they really wanted to do with the place. The result is a success: a great spot to have a cosy cup of Joe - whether you like it filter, espresso or cold brewed! On top of that, there is food offered and it is all local!
On a chilly day in Edinburgh, you might find yourself dreaming of a hot beverage but also feeling hungry: Union of Genius is the answer to all your prayers. In this charming little place you can eat some of the best soups existing (and most are gluten-free), accompanied by local artisan bread, cakes, salads and tea or coffee coming from neighbouring shops.
Dovecot Studio is an Art and performance venue, hosting regular exhibitions of art and craftsmanship over various subjects. It is also home to a great cafe where the attentive staff serves freshly prepared sandwiches, soups, salads and other yummy dishes including crispy pastries. If you hesitate between the different coffees, a suggestion is the Artisan Roast espresso!
In Edinburgh, there is a place for the sweet-tooth and the history lover, the gelato-addict and the photographer: this place is Mary's Milk bar. Gorgeous ice creams, intense hot chocolates, sweet treats and a breath-taking view over the Edinburgh Castle: what more could one possibly want?
For Mimi, baking is an art form, and she loves to experiment and come up with exciting new recipes and an example of this inventive energy is the chocolate beetroot cake. This family-run business has been awarded Scottish Craft Baker of the Year several times. Are you in for an original and yummy afternoon tea?
A real institution in Edinburgh’s music, performance and general underground scene. Since 1996 this cult nightclub and live music venue has specialised in offbeat club nights and presented new talents. It is a very non-traditional place. Check their website to see upcoming gigs!
Stand-up comedy fans will love this relaxed basement venue, the best place in town to see local, national and international comedians. The club is open seven days a week and there is always something fun going on. Don't miss Sunday lunch when the scene is open for anyone!
An after-work on a Friday is a great way to feel like a true local, and this hip bar/restaurant is the spot to make sure you're part of the crowd. The DJ has a special way to ease you into the weekend, and if you are in a party mood, Tigerlily is a great first stop for a wild night out!
Frankenstein Pub sure knows how to party. Not only do they host the biggest karaoke nights and other special events such as Full Moon Show and Rocky Horror nights, but they gather all the true sports fans by showing all the major sporting events and where the DJ takes requests via Twitter.
Bailie Bar takes particular pride in their cask ale that first and fore most comes from Scottish brewers. Come here early for a juicy burger or yummy stuffed chicken before taking a second glance at the drink menu! Bailie Bar is also the place to catch a game or watch live music on Fridays.
52 Canoes is the kind of bar that truly comes to life on weekends. The atmosphere is described as "urban beach hut vibe" and, of course, the fun and fruity cocktails are at the centre of the attention! You can also come in for lunch, coffee, dinner (Polynesian is on the menu)... So walk in for the best Tiki experience available up north!
Located on the ground floor of G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, Epicurean is a stylish and chic bar with an upbeat vibe. The colourful cocktails are shaken and stirred by some of the best mixologists in town, prepared with fine Scottish and Mediterranean spirits as well as home grown flowers and herbs. Craft beers and wines from selected small producer are also on the menu including food.
This is Michael Neave first restaurant and what a place! The food is amazingly prepared with products from local farmers and the whisky bar is just heaven for whiskey-lovers. If whisky is not your thing, do not worry, they have a big selection of rum and gin as well.
Opal Lounge has a lot going for it and is one of the leading club scenes in Edinburgh with no doubt. They have an award winning cocktail mixologist, always ready to give you a good night any day of the week; it´s open till late and, if there is any celebrity in town, then this is the place to spot them at.
For a truly Scottish experience, treat yourself with dinner and a pint before enjoying a lively ceilidh (a Gaelic gathering with folk music and dancing) at this traditional yet strikingly modern Scottish pub and live entertainment venue! Look out for the surprising architecture and the special events on weekends in the auditorium.
This unique performance and sport venue for private hires is made up of a series of vaults steeped in history, and has built up an enviable reputation with its club nights and intimate music gigs. The different rooms, historically used as stables or for storing whisky, hide stories from a legendary past.
Do not miss the small streets in Edinburgh Old Town, the so-called 'closes', which not only hide cosy backyards but also cheese shops, jewellers and kilt designers. To regain some strength and energy after a long shopping spree, nibble on some shortbread, typical Scottish biscuits sold everywhere.
Close to the Royal Mile, explore the attractive Victoria Street, where brightly coloured shops containing a treasure trove of shopping delights. Pick up artisan cheese, cutting edge fashion and authentic Scottish designs. When the hunger kicks in, head over to one of the restaurants and pubs in this buzzing area.
Jenners - House of Fraser is one of the top leading department stores in the United Kingdom. In its boutiques you will find a sophisticated range of brands like DKNY, Calvin Klein, Armani Jeans, Levi's, Diesel, Triumph, Michael Kors, Polarn O. Pyre, Swarovski, Miss Selfridge and Hugo Boss just to name a few. Clothing for men, women and children including accessories and interior design are all provided here.
Princes Mall is located right next to the Waverley Station and it is a shopping destination for both shopping fans and food lovers. Here you will find brands such as Oasis, Lipsy, Superdry, and Warehouse but also a wide range of small food venues and coffee shops. Great shopping spot for a rainy day!
Beautiful design comes naturally to Sheila Fleet, the designer of these lovely pieces of jewellery (for him and her). Her design is intensely inspired by the sea, the sky and the colours of the landscapes she has seen. You will most likely walk out of the store either with a new neckless, a ring or a pair of earrings.
Head to Cranachan & Crowdie if food and beverage is your thing. Not only is this charming store offering a wide range of whiskey and ale they also sell quality Scottish treats like the best shortbread, award winning chocolates, traditional Black Bun, different types of oatcakes as well as jams, marmalades and chutneys. A perfect store where to pick some food gifts to bring back home.
Fudge, fudge, fudge, welcome to fudge heaven! The most popular flavours are salted caramel and peanut butter but the selection of handmade fudges extends way beyond them and, if you are not sure that these are your cup of tea, you can first try a small piece. The best part? You can even make your own fudge!
One can find the Grassmarket in the middle of the Old Town of Edinburgh. It is probably the most picturesque place in Edinburgh and might remind you of a well-known children's book about wizards. Here, you will find original and pretty shops where artists and artisans’ are displaying their items. The area itself is very lively, a great place where to stroll around and do some shopping and when the hunger kicks in, there are restaurants here too or why not even attend the Farmer's Market on Saturdays?
This self-proclaimed "first Gourmet Marshmallow Shop" really is a treat. It is hard to find more fluffy and tasty marshmallows than these, made with love and only with local ingredients. Are you adventurous enough to taste the beer-flavoured marshmallow? If not, you may find the chocolate mousse flavour more appealing, but really, there is something for everyone.
Edinburgh Farmers' Market has won several awards and definitely a lovely place where to spend a Saturday morning with friends and families. Walk around the different stalls and buy some fresh fruits or sweet delights and enjoy the atmosphere with a hot cup of coffee!
Established in 1999, Doodles is a creative pottery workshop where you can also make some purchases. Take a couple of hours here to create something and relax with some coffee or tea. You can pick a piece and choose your favourite colour from a selection of over 80 glazes and your item will be available after a few days.
Primark’s offers the latest in fashion at very affordable prices. Here you will find everything from womenswear to menswear, childrenswear, lingerie, shoes and accessories, basically there is something for the whole family whatever the style. So if you stroll along Princes street, do not miss this shop!
Edinburgh Airport is only 11 km west of the city, but it will take nearly 25-30 minutes to get to the city regardless of whether you go by bus, taxi or rented car. From the airport, take the Airlink express bus no.100, just outside the main entrance (Stop D). This bus runs to Waverley Bridge (close to Princes Street and the main rail and bus stations). It departs every 10 minutes during the day and the journey time is 30 minutes. Tickets can be bought in advance online, at the bus stop, or from the driver. If you travel by night, take the night bus N22 (from stop D). This bus runs from the airport via South Gyle to the city centre and to Ocean Terminal in Leith between 00:45 and 04:15 seven nights a week. It departs every 30 minutes. There is also the bus service 35 (from stop F) that runs to the city centre and on to Ocean Terminal. It departs every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime and every 30 minutes in the evenings and Sundays. Taxi prices to and from the airport vary and many of the vehicles are adapted for disabled people. Taxis are located on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park opposite the main terminal building. Edinburgh Airport has a car hire centre where you can find all the major car hire companies such as Hertz, AVIS, Europecar, Alamo, Budget and Sixt. It is conveniently located with direct access to the terminal and easy to book in advance via the airport website.
There are a number of bus companies. The largest are First Edinburgh and Lothian Buses, you can use both to get around town or explore the surrounding coast and countryside. For both companies you can purchase tickets on the bus, in shops, online or on the mobile app. Edinburgh is a small and fairly compact city though, and most destinations in the city are within walking distance. Lothian Buses - Internet: www.lothianbuses.com/index.php First Edinburgh - Internet: www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/scotland_east/
To find details on your nearest healthservices including pharmacies, dentists, GP (doctors) surgeries and hospitals visit the NHS24 website (www.nhs24.com) or give them a call (111). Here are some examples of pharmacies: Royal Mile Pharmacy - Alphega Pharmacy 67 High St, Edinburgh +44 131 556 1971 Edinburgh University Pharmacy 6 Bristo Pl, Edinburgh +44 131 668 2182 Lindsay & Gilmour Pharmacy 257A Leith Walk, Edinburgh +44 131 554 6591