Edinburgh is a perfect example of old and new, though I am more partial to the old. I love the cobblestoned streets, the old Victorian architecture all brimming with history. The beautiful walking trails and of course the free museums. It seems everywhere you turn in Edinburgh, there’s a story, even some Ghost Stories. Being from Scotland and living so close I forget that it’s actually a very popular tourist destination (2nd in the UK only to London). Personally I find it difficult sometimes to find good quality attractions in big touristy areas. You never know what it genuinely good and what is just in a convienent location. Hopefully I can help. Without further adue, here is my Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide

Arthur’s Seat

Situated at the bottom on the Royal Mile down by the Scottish Parliament Building, Arthur’s Seat is a nice wee hike that has absolutely spectacular views of the city. Obviously best to do on a nice sunny day, but as this is Scotland beggars can’t be choosers. It was quite overcast when I went up but it didn’t affect the views at all.

Edinburgh Travel Guide
Photo By Matt Machin
Calton Hill

Another lovely walk with incredible views. It’s a nice escape from the busy city where you can enjoy a picnic looking out over the North Sea. Situated beyond the east side of Princes Street, it’s very central and easy to find. It’s also included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

Interesting Fact:  “The National Monument” was intended to be a Parthenon to commemorate Scottish Soldiers killed in the Napoleonic Wars. I say intended because they ran out of money half way through construction and just gave up! Apparently used to be known as “Scotland’s Disgrace”.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Scott Monument

Next up on my Edinburgh travel guide is Scott Monument. I personally just think this is a really cool looking structure. In memory for Sir Walter Scott, you can climb up the 287 steps to the top for £5 a admission fee. You see the Scott Monument as you ride in on the train from Glasgow and I’ve always thought it was a nice ‘welcome to Edinburgh’

Edinburgh Travel Guide

The Elephant House

If you, like me, are a massive Potterhead and love anything to do with Harry Potter then it is essential you go to The Elephant House. Famous birthplace of the stories as this is where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the early HP books. Not to mention the food is delicious. An obvious tourist trap and can get quite busy with queues out into the street, but worth the wait.

Tip: Have a wee peek in the Public Toilets (sounds weird I know) to see the thousands of messages for J.K left by fans over the years.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Ghost Tours

Edinburgh is known for being extremely haunted so how can I write an Edinburgh Travel Guide and not include a Ghost Tour? Given the popularity, there are many tours you can chose from. Daytime/ Nighttime/ Graveyard / Underground Vaults etc. This was something that I always wanted to do and finally got around to is last night and it did not disappoint. I would wrap up warm as most are at night and it can get quite chilly. Even if you’re not into ghosts, the tours take you around cool parts of the city and it’s a chance to learn more about it’s history. Most tours are around the £15 mark.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Royal Botanic Gardens

I’m a sucker for Botanic Gardens if I’m being honest. I don’t know why but I just love them. It’s a lovely walk around the gardens itself, but there are also the Glasshouses to explore (all 28 of them), Inverleith House which hosts art exhibitions and of course a little cafe for some refreshments.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Explore the Old Town

This is where you take over and become your own Edinburgh travel guide. Simply put, just walk around. Take in the city. It has a great atmosphere and the architecture is amazing. You could easily spend all day exploring the Old Town.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Tip: You could bring a guide book with you so you can also read about the history of what you are seeing. 

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura is an Illusions Museum in Edinburgh and it’s amazing. I wrote a full post about it which you can read here. Situated in the Old Town, it is floor upon floor of illusions and fun! Once you read the top there is an outdoor viewing platmorm with beautiful views of Edinburgh! Admission is £15 for Adults, £13 for Students, £11 for kids and under 5’s go free. An absolutely great day out!

Edinburgh Travel Guide

The Royal Mile

The most famous street in Edinburgh full of pubs, restaurants and shops. While it’s very touristy it is still worthwhile as there is a lot of history there. It leads from the Castle down to Holyrood House (which you could then go on to climb Arthur’s Seat as it is right there)

On a Budget:

It can be quite pricey, particularly in the city center. To save money you could walk instead of public transport/taxi’s. It’s such a beautiful city so take advantage and see as much as you can. Take advantage of all the free Museums, parks and gardens. You will certainly not be disappointed.

Good Grub:

Las Iguanas is a Latin American restaurant in George Street. Delicious food, good vibes and lovely staff.

The Elephant House as mentioned above has lovely food. It’s more of a cafe vibe but offers anything from Jacket Potatoes and Nachos to Burgers and Pizzas.

And of course the unmissable spectacle of Hogmany! One of the biggest New Years Eve celebrations in the world. I’ve never experienced it myself but I hear it’s everything you expect it to be. If interested, I would book well in advance as tens of thousands descend onto the streets for the party.

Hope this helps you decide what to do and see in Scotland’s Capital. Let me know in the comments your favourite things to do and see in Edinburgh, or what is on your list for a future trip.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Linking up with WanderfulWednesday and FarawayFiles

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91 thoughts on “Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide”

  1. I visited Edinburgh a few years ago and absolutely loved it – so much history and so many creepy places! I’m hoping to visit it again next year for a few days, as there’s just so much that I didn’t see that first time around!

  2. What a lovely list! I love the Royal Botanic Garden and Camera Obscura – particularly for the view you get from the top! I still need to go to the Elephant House and up Arthur’s Seat…

  3. I love this guide. My friends recently visited Edinburgh and I told them to head to Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill- best places for a look out! I also love Camera Obscura haha. It’s the main thing I always remember from visiting Edinburgh as a wee girl. For food, I would also recommend La Favorita on Leith Walk for the best pizzas ever 🙂 I can’t wait for my next trip to Edinburgh!

  4. I totally loved Edinburgh! One of my best friends is also living nearby nowadays, so I have to go again.  😉 Edinburgh has the world’s best ghost tours, btw. And some of the world’s most famous ghosts, like the MacKenzie poltergeist, if you’d like to get spooked! 😉

  5. Nice travel guide, thanks for sharing! Edinburgh is on my list already for a while and will definitely re-read your travel guide when I finally go 🙂 What would be the best time of the time for a visit?

  6. Would love to visit Edinburg one day, my best friend was studying here. She said – much rain xD
    As a photographer I absolutely need to visit the Camera Obscura!!

    Anna

  7. First of all, girl, you rock at writing! I soak each word of this piece of work! I like the tip which says that public toilet is worth seeing thanks to its “Harry Potter” writings :)) I didn’t know about Camera Obscura, I should go there one day!
    Cheers

  8. So excited to read this post as I’m planning for my trip to Scotland in May. I’ve kept an eye on the Elephant House for a long time and despite knowing it’s a tourist trap, I’ll definitely go there! And I really like your photos, especially the one of the old town 🙂

  9. Thanks for this great overview of the best things to do in Edinburgh; really like these type of activites. With your photos you inspired us and we’d love to try your same experience especially the ghost tours, sounds a scary activity, cool 🙂

  10. A lovely set of pictures and great guide to Edinbirgh. We might be headed there this year. London for Easter and then a few days in Edinburgh so I will keep this post in mind as it will be extremely useful.

  11. The Arthur’s seat looks amazing. I’d love to hike there. Sounds like there’s enough things to see in this city – more than I expected.

  12. Your post was such a great read. I have never been, and now I need to go. I will definitely hit up Camera Obscura and a ghost tour. It looks like you had a fantastic time. I pinned your post for my future travels.

  13. I moved to Aberdeen 6 months ago and have already been to Edinburgh 4 times! It’s such a lovely city. I haven’t been to Camera Obscura so I will definitely have to check it out next time we’re there. I love illusion type of places. #wanderfulwednesday

  14. I was in Edinburgh when I was about 14-15 but hardly remember anything! I’ve been dying to go back, and I think we’ll probably make it over this year! Definitely want to do ALL of these! #WanderfulWednesday

  15. I visited Edinburgh a few years ago and fell in love – really wanting to go back some day soon! I didn’t make it to camera obscura when I went but your photo looks amazing!! So now I have to look at flights back haha!

  16. This list sounds great! I think I am partial to the old side of town too. However, I would like to try the old and modern takes on the cuisine. #WanderfulWednesday

  17. Even though I’ve lived most of my life in the UK, I’ve never been to Scotland! Hubby’s folks live in Newcastle, so we’ve promised ourselves that next time we go up and visit them, we’re adding on a bonus trip to Edinburgh, so your guide will come in very handy!

  18. On a clear day, like you had a walk up Arthurs Seat has great views of Edinburgh. I’ve never been but I’ll walk up here when I go, weather permitting. I had no idea J K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potters there, you should try write some blogs in there, see if you are inspired!

  19. I really want to travel to Edinburgh next and this list has just fueled the desire even more 😉 I can’t wait to check all of these places out!!

  20. Great insider guide! We only had 1.5 days in Edinburgh last year and definitely didn’t have enough time to explore. Would love to come back and see more! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  21. So useful. Thanks Chiera. I need to go back to Edinburgh soon as my mum and aunt have me on a family history mission. Apparently there is a statue of their great grandfather in the old town. Once I’ve done that I’ll be straight over to Camera Obscura. Very cool. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  22. Oooh this is so useful, I’ve been to Edinburgh a number of times but always feel like there is so much more to see than what I manage to fit in! I love the old town, especially the little pubs and cheese shops, but I definitely need to visit the Elephant House. Im going in March so will hopefully go then!

  23. I always knew Edinburgh is a lovely city and always wanted to visit, but somehow never did. At least, not yet.
    It looks really different to any other city I’ve seen.
    And I would really like to visit Camera Obscura, sounds like fun 🙂

  24. Really great and informative post! You really gave me a great list of things to see and do in Edinburgh! The Old Town looks marvellous and the Camera Obscura sounds really intriguing! Definitely pinning this post for future travels!

  25. Edinburgh is so high on my travel list and I might be going there as soon as the next bank holiday. Your travel guide makes it easier to pick the best places to visit, especially that I will be going there on a budget. I will definitely go up to Arthur’s seat and visit the National Monument.

  26. If i have a chance, i will visit the places you posted here except for the ghost tours,lol. Btw, i also love botanic gardens. The photos made me want to pack my things, hop on a plane and go there!

  27. great post! Darcee & I are heading to the UK for the Traverse event in London at the end of April and I told her that we will definitely be heading up to Edinburgh. Arthurs seat and the Scott Monument are on my list while I am sure Darcee will love the Elephant House for the Harry Potter stuff! I had never heard of the Camera Obscura but that looks just totally awesome and bizarre.

  28. So beautiful! When I traveled to Scotland last year, Edinburgh was initially in my plans, but in the end I didn’t make it there. I want to go and see it, I hope soon!
    Warm regards,
    Ioanna (A Woman Afoot)

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