Ultimate Guide to visit EDINBURGH
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Having lived for about 3 years in Glasgow we have spent a lot of time in Edinburgh too (as it is my favourite place, don't tell my Glaswegian friends!) as the cities are just about 46 km apart (about 1 hour travel by car).
Here is our ultimate guide on WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN EDINBURGH!
BUT FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT THIS SCOTTISH GEM:
Edinburgh is a lovely little city situated on the east-coast of Scotland (therefore very windy!), the city's name derives from old English of “Edwin’s fort”, Edwin is 7th century's King Edwin of Northumbria and “burgh” that means “fortress” or “walled collection of buildings”.
Unlike other major cities of Scotland that expanded and developed heavy industries during the industrial revolution, Edinburgh saw its expansion it Leith (port district near Edinburgh), leaving Edinburgh city centre intact and well preserved. The history of Edinburgh has therefore survived and guaranteed Edinburgh a title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in1995 (when I was born, do you call it a coincidence?! I don't think so!).
WONDERING OF WHAT TO SEE IN EDINBURGH?
1. ARTHUR'S SEAT
Hike up to Arthur's Seat! It is the best place I ever found for a great view over Edinburgh and surrounding areas. The hike will take about 30 mins and make sure to bring a k-way because up there is very windy and most of the times is raining! The Arthur's Seat forms part of the extinct volcano where Edinburgh lies on (other parts of it being Calton Hill and Castle Rock).
2. EDINBURGH CASTLE
As said in a previous post, there are about 2.000 castles in Scotland and Edinburgh Castle is the most famous castle amongst all of them, and the reason why is because the castle is visible from every part of the city of Edinburgh, it seat right on top of the extinct volcano and solemn guards the city. Not every city has a castle right in the city centre! This is a unique feature of Edinburgh and you will love to see it from every angle!
3. THE ROYAL MILE
My favourite forever and ever spot in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile! From Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile is of course only 1 mile long, although it may seem a pretty short walk it is full of monuments to see, old pubs and retails! It is usually very crowded during summer time and especially when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is on!
4. BAGPIPE MUSIC
The Scottish bagpipe music is a huge tradition that has to be appreciated, the sound of the bagpipes is solemn and unique. As you travel around Edinburgh sounds of the bagpipe will fill the air, traditional music is very appreciated and listened to nowadays in Scotland.
Buskers on the street will usually entertain the crowds playing their bagpipe, in pubs there are still traditional music evenings where you can appreciate folk music!
5. DEAN VILLAGE
A Hidden Gem in Edinburgh where just few people go to visit is Dean Village, it is a picturesque small village with a tranquil stream, with gardens, and stone 19th-century buildings. It need to be on your itinerary! I mean just look at thins incredible view! this perfect picture spot of Dean Village is taken from the bridge crossing the Water of Leith! Thank us later! :)
6. EDINBURGH OLD TOWN
As previously said, the old city of Edinburgh is UNESCO World Heritage recognised, and this does not surprise me, the Old part of Edinburgh is a mixture of colourful and traditional houses, historic pubs and modern retail shops, cobbled streets, everything is very well kept and will make you feel you are living in Medieval times!
The road you can't and won't miss wandering about the Old Town is Victoria Street (from the Royal Mile down to Grass Market) there you can visit some local boutiques and nice little restaurants.
7. HARRY POTTER PLACES
Harry Potter fan? We got you covered! Of course you know that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potters novel right here in Edinburgh! As she said:
“…Edinburgh is very much home for me and is the place where Harry evolved over seven books and many, many hours of writing in its cafés.”
Read More: Harry Potter Things To Do in Edinburgh!
8. SCOTT MONUMENT
Scott Monument is right in the middle of the town, it is a Gothic spire which opened in 1846 in honour of the novelist Walter Scott. It has been called "the largest monument to a writer in the world". You can also climb up the monument, but the stair are very narrow!
9. CALTON HILL
Calton Hill is more or less like Arthur's Seat, but it requires much more less effort to reach, it makes a really nice spot for a nice sunset view point over Edinburgh! The are few benched available for you to sit and enjoy the view up there!
10. DISCOVER LEITH
Leith, as said before, is a port district of Edinburgh, it is situated on the coast and it makes the perfect day trip from Edinburgh! You will be amazed by this little port, its nice restaurants and ambience! Worth a visit if you have a spare day in Edinburgh!
What do you like the most about Edinburgh? Let us know in the comment section below, can't wait to hear your stories!
Stay safe and see you at the next adventure!