We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

97%
Found this guide helpful

One day in Edinburgh will never do the city justice, but it's time enough to get a good feel for its attractive city centre. This divides into the Old Town – which lies densely packed on a hill around Edinburgh's landmark castle – and the Georgian-era New Town below. A long park separates the two.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Nature Lover
  • Trendsetter

11 Places

3 City Tips

Print
Map

11 Places

Royal Mile

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Edinburgh Castle

Castles

Edinburgh Old Town

Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods

National Museum of Scotland

Speciality Museums, Natural History Museums

Arthur's Seat

Geologic Formations

Calton Hill

Lookouts, Geologic Formations

Princes Street

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Jenners

Department Stores

Scottish National Gallery

Art Museums

Princes Street Gardens

Gardens, Parks

Georgian House

Historic Sites

Christian W's City Tips

  • You're probably best just walking around town. Otherwise, buses are the next best option: they are fast and frequent along major roads. Taxis are relatively expensive.
  • Scottish independence is probably a topic not to raise, as most people are either tired of discussing it, or very passionate about their opinions!
  • Cafes and restaurants are scattered throughout the centre, but if the weather is nice consider picnicking – all supermarkets sell good sandwich/sushi/salad lunch deals.
  • Save
    Royal Mile
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    This historic thoroughfare in the heart of the Old Town is a natural focal point for visitors exploring the city – as its many souvenir shops suggest.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Look for alleys off the side of the Royal Mile. Known as "wynds", they're worth wandering up and down to get a feel for the city's medieval street plan.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • typical city tourist street 16/07/2018
    • This is a must for travelers in Edinburgh! 16/07/2018
    • Royal Mile
    Address:
    Royal Mile
    Edinburgh EH1 2PB
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Price range:
    US$17 - US$17
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Edinburgh Castle
    Castles
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    Edinburgh Castle is arguably the city's most iconic landmark and a great place to orient yourself. From its ramparts, you overlook Old Town roofs, grand Georgian New Town facades and, beyond all that, the Firth of Forth and the Pentland hills. There's plenty of Scottish history – mostly military history – in the castle exhibitions, too.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The daily discharge of a cannon at 1pm is something you might like to catch.
    • To avoid the large ticket lines in front of the castle, book online in advance.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Impressive from Even the Outside 16/07/2018
    • Extremely crowded. 16/07/2018
    • Edinburgh Castle
    Address:
    Castlehill
    Edinburgh EH1 2NG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 225 9846
    Price range:
    US$32 - US$32
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Edinburgh Old Town
    Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    There's much more to the Old Town than just the Royal Mile. Take a moment to explore its cobbled streets on your way from the castle to the National Museum, dropping down to Victoria Street (there's a shortcut down some stairs just downhill from the roundabout below the castle) to the Grassmarket, and then climbing back up along Candlemaker Row (at its eastern end). Along the way, you'll pass by small, interesting boutique shops and a series of good pubs – both of which you might like to return to later!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Some of Edinburgh's most pleasant and sunniest pavement seating lies outside the pubs and cafes of the Grassmarket.
    • At the top of Candlemaker Row look out for the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, the dog who, according to legend, spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not very welcoming 16/07/2018
    • So much history 16/07/2018
    • Edinburgh Old Town
    Address:
    Old town
    Edinburgh EH1
    Scotland
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Scotland
    Speciality Museums, Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    Scotland's most popular attraction by visitor numbers (1.5 million annually) has two strong collections: The modern sandstone wing charts Scottish history in full, while the 19th-century main building is packed with natural history and curiosities from around the world. Because the museum is free, it's a great place to come for just an hour or so, without feeling guilty that you've not seen enough.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If you're into Harry Potter, don't miss a coffee at the Elephant House cafe – the place he was created by writer JK Rowling. Find it on George IV Bridge en route to the castle.
    • The vast Meadows park is great for picnicking and only a 5-minute walk from the museum (turn left out of the main entrance, left again on the main road, then follow forest road)
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun for Kids 16/07/2018
    • Always a lovely day out 16/07/2018
    • National Museum of Scotland
    Address:
    Chambers Street
    Edinburgh EH1 1JF
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 300 123 6789
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Arthur's Seat
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    This iconic city landmark offers much more than just great city views – its landscape is also a microcosm of rural Scotland, complete with heather, lochs, rocky outcrops and moody ruins. It's also a pretty good workout which will require a couple of hours.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If the weather is unpleasant, Princes Street is a great plan B. Take Bus #30 or #33 from opposite the Commonwealth Pool.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Awesome park in the middle of a city 16/07/2018
    • Walk up this, its not difficult 16/07/2018
    • Arthur's Seat
    Address:
    Queen's Drive
    Edinburgh EH8 8HG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Other:
  • Save
    Calton Hill
    Lookouts, Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    This small, steep hill is scattered with architectural oddities and follies that were once supposed to make Edinburgh the 'Athens of the North'. They remain intriguing, but just as impressive are the views over Princes Street, the New Town and down to the large Leith neighbourhood.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If hungry, don't retrace your steps to Princes Street. Instead, descend to the right of the observatory building to Leith Walk, where Kushi's does great curries.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good place to have a walk 16/07/2018
    • Well worth the walk!!! 15/07/2018
    • Calton Hill
    Address:
    St. Andrews House 2 Regent Road
    Edinburgh EH1 3DG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    Princes Street
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    While busy with trams, cars, buses and all the other usual city-centre hustle and bustle, Princes Street is arguably Edinburgh's most important street. A major shopping strip beside the main railway station, it's another key orientation point, with plenty of interesting spots dotted along it, and fantastic castle views. Gardens run almost all the way along one side of the street too, so there are plenty of spots to drop after you've shopped.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The back alley behind Princes Street is called Rose Street, and is lined by pubs and cafes.
    • Most shops on Princes Street are chain stores with broad appeal. Rose street has smaller, less generic shops. George Street (next street along) has high-end clothing boutiques.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #93 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Princes Street shopping 01/07/2018
    • Summer Sale! 26/06/2018
    • Princes Street
    Address:
    53 Princes Street
    Edinburgh EH2 2DG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7575
    Other:
  • Save
    Jenners
    Department Stores
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    Edinburgh's answer to Harrods department store in London oozes timeless style and offers carefully-selected quality stock. While its cafe is nothing special, and it's unlikely you'll find a bargain here, the kids' toy section is particularly good for it's size.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • You can access this store from its back door on Rose Street too.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #169 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    • Well worth a visit! 08/07/2018
    • wonderful 01/06/2018
    • Jenners
    Address:
    48 Princes Street
    Edinburgh EH2 2YJ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 844 800 3725
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 18:30
    Mon - Wed
    10:00 - 19:00
    Thu
    10:00 - 20:00
    Fri
    09:30 - 19:00
    Sat
    09:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Scottish National Gallery
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    This Grand Neo-Classical art museum is relatively compact, but its collection of art is impressive nonetheless. Here, Old Masters rub shoulders with impressionists and some lesser-known, but accomplished, Scottish artists.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The gallery gift shop in the basement is well-stocked with quality items.
    • The gallery restaurant is good for modern Scottish fare and offers great views over Princes Street gardens.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #48 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • lovely collection 16/07/2018
    • Gorgeous art in a lovely setting 16/07/2018
    • Scottish National Gallery
    Address:
    The Mound
    Edinburgh EH2 2EL
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 624 6200
    Hours:
    Thu
    10:00 - 19:00
    Fri - Wed
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Princes Street Gardens
    Gardens, Parks
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    Apart from being attractively landscaped, Princes Street Gardens is also one of the best places in Edinburgh to rest sore feet while still absorbing the sights: The castle rises overhead and there's people-watching galore – from boisterous teenagers to strolling pensioners to curious visitors from all corners of the globe.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The Marks and Spencer supermarket - in the basement of the store which lies across from the Scottish National Gallery – has an excellent selection of picnic items.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A beautiful Park in the centre of Edinburgh 16/07/2018
    • Great place to relax in the centre of the city 16/07/2018
    • Princes Street Gardens
    Address:
    Princes Street
    Edinburgh EH2 4BA
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 529 7921
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    Georgian House
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Christian W Says:

    If you have time and an interest in the city's architectural history, be sure to head to this New Town mansion and discover some fascinating facts about the family who originally resided here.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • George Street – the main road which leaves Charlotte Square to the east – is full of high-end clothing stores and a number of cafes and restaurants.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best way to see New Town Edinburgh life 15/07/2018
    • Interesting step back in time 13/07/2018
    • Georgian House
    Address:
    7 Charlotte Square
    Edinburgh EH2 4DR
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 225 2160
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo