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Edinburgh – Explore Scotland’s Capital

WELCOME TO THE EDINBURGH TRAVEL GUIDE

Come explore this historic and royal capital of Scotland. From wandering castles to hiking the hilly surroundings, from an afternoon tea to a luxury whiskey tasting – Edinburgh has something for everyone!

Need to Know for Edinburgh:

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)

Check conversion here

Language: English

Airports:

EDI – Edinburgh Airport

GLA – Glasgow

Electrical Outlets: 230V supply voltage and 50Hz, Type G plugs

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation – We visited Edinburgh in August which is the busiest month to visit because of Fringe Festival. This meant all the accommodations were more expensive than usual. We stayed at the Regent House Hotel – a budget, 2-star hotel. This is definitely a cheap option, nothing luxury, but it worked for what we needed. It was also in a good location! I recommend staying as close as you can to the Royal Mile so you can walk to most of the main sights.

Getting to Edinburgh:

By Train: Getting to Edinburgh from anywhere in the UK is very easy via train. We traveled from London to Edinburgh via train. Trainline became our best friend. This is an official website/app where you can buy train tickets. You can also give seat preference and it will assign you a seat so that you are ensured a spot on your train.

By Plane: From anywhere outside of the UK, flying to Edinburgh is probably your best bet. There is an airport tram that will take you from the airport into town.

Getting Around:

Walking: We laced up our walking shoes and walked everywhere we needed to go. Edinburgh is perched up on a hill so be prepared to climb some hills getting around.

Uber: It’s not super common, but there are Ubers. We just used one to take our luggage from the hotel to Waverley Station (the main train station).

Driving in Scotland
Train to Edinburgh
Walking in Edinburgh

Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle: Probably the top tourist attraction, but it’s popular for a reason! You will definitely want to buy tickets in advance to avoid the line and get the online discount. Adult tickets are £19.50. I also highly recommend a tour of some kind. They sell audio tours for very cheap, but I used the Rick Steves walking tour. This famous castle was built in the 11th century and has been involved in a variety historic events including the Wars for Scottish Independence. The most popular attraction within the castle is the “Honours of Scotland” – essentially the crown jewels of Scotland. 

Royal Mile: The famous main drag of the Old Town of Edinburgh. This street actually does run about a mile long, starting at Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood House. You will find this street lined with shops, restaurants, tour companies, and buskers. You’ll find everything from whiskey to tartan scarfs, from tea to souvenirs and trinkets. Check out my Royal Mile guide below!

St. Giles Cathedral: Make sure to visit this parish church located right on the Royal Mile. This beautiful cathedral is famous for its role in the Scottish Reformation and is considered one of the world’s most important medieval parish curch buildings. You’ll also find a statue of the Scottish minister, John Knox. 

Royal Mile Sights
Edinburgh Castle
Royal Mile Edinburgh
St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh

Scottish Whiskey Experience: We love whiskey so we definitely wanted to do some kind of whiskey tasting in Scotland! This is the main one and it includes a whole educational experience and the largest collection of whiskey in the world. It is a little pricey, but we really enjoyed it. If you like whiskey, I’d recommend the getting at least the gold tour. You can buy your tickets here!

National Museum of Scotland: This is an awesome free museum in the city. It is home to the taxidermy of the first ever cloned sheep! There is also a great exhibit on the history of Scotland. Make sure you head up to the rooftop for some great views of the city. 

Grassmarket: Visit this beautiful part of town with colorful storefronts. Make sure you visit Victoria street that turns into Bow on the east side. This street is what instagram dreams are made of. There are some really cute shops including a Harry Potter store and Cuttea Sark which has the cutest tea cups and accessories. 

 

Scottish Whiskey Experience
National Museum of Scotland
Victoria Bow Street Edinburgh

Dean Village: Off the beaten path, head over to Dean Village, a picturesque neighborhood with a quaint river running through the town. You can stroll through and enjoy the classic European architecture and small town feel.  

Arthur’s Seat: This extinct volcano hike is located at the Holyrood end of the Royal Mile. There are multiple routes up to Arthur’s Seat – you can check out this blog for the different options. My friends that have hiked it say it is not a hard hike, but definitely don’t try to climb up in flip flops.

Mary King’s Close:  This is a historic close named after Mary King, a merchant burgess. This is the most popular close in Edinburgh, located right on the Royal Mile and usually requires advanced booking. Adult tickets to enter are £21.

Edinburgh Buskers
Edinburgh

Our Top Experiences in Edinburgh:

1
Highlands Day Trip We rented a car for one day and did a big day trip out to the highlands. Check out my separate blog on the details of what we packed into one day!
2
Afternoon Tea at The Colonnades at the Signet Library This was definitely another highlight of our trip. It was definitely a splurge experience at £60 per person, but it was totally worth it! We hung out here for 3 hours, enjoying two beautiful towers of food, sweet and savory. They also accommodated gluten free so well!
3
Try Scottish Food The main Scottish food people will tell you to try is Haggis! While these are worth trying, there is so much more! Neeps and Tatties, Cullen Skink (smoked fish soup), Scottish Pies, and more!
Loch ness Scotland
Afternoon Tea Edinburgh
Edinburgh Lauder

My Edinburgh Essentials

*Disclaimer: I do earn a small commission if you purchase from any of these links*

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