Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - Old Edinburgh Streets

Scotland is known for its castles, gardens, and museums. Here are some things to do in Scotland Edinburgh that will give you a taste of this beautiful city and surrounding areas.

10 Best Things to Do in Edinburgh Scotland

Take a tour of Edinburgh Castle

Visit Edinburgh Castle and see where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. The visit will give you an idea of what life was like in Scotland during the Middle Ages. You can also take a guided tour of the castle and learn more about its history.

The castle is one of the main attractions in Edinburgh. It’s also known as the “Castle of the Kings” because it was once the residence of Scotland’s kings. 

During summer, it often gets booked out, so pre-book your entrance ticket with a guided tour here.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - Edinburgh Castle
Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh – Edinburgh Castle

See the Scottish Parliament Building

One of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, the Scottish Parliament building, was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer and opened in 1999. It is located at Holyrood Park, near the Royal Mile.

You can join a free, one-hour tour (bookings recommended), which includes visits to the Debating Chamber, the office of the members of parliament and a committee room.


Have lunch on Grassmarket – Eat some traditional Scottish food

The former cattle market site from the 15th – 20th century is now the place to come and enjoy some Scottish food. You can also get a nice photo of the castle at the end of the square. 

This used to be the city’s main place of execution (there is a monument to this at the Eastern End), but today you’ll find humming pubs and restaurants to have lunch and try some typical Scottish food such as the famous haggis.

Perhaps you’ll taste haggis and many other Scottish classics on this 3-hour Secret Food Tour in Edinburgh.

The White Hart Inn is considered the most haunted pub in Edinburgh.

Enjoy a day trip to Stirling Castle and explore its history

One of the famous Scottish Landmarks and one of the best things to do in Scotland, Stirling Castle remains a symbol of Scottish Independence and makes for a great day trip.

The famous 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace defeated the English, occurred here.

The best day trip from Edinburgh is the Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies Tour.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - Stirling Castle
Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh – Stirling Castle

What to do in Edinburgh – Taste some Whiskey

When it comes to Edinburgh and Scotland, you must try their famous whiskey. Of course, you can pop into one of the many shops in the historic centre or simply have a drink in one of the pubs. 

However, I recommend the Whiskey Experience, where you can learn more about how whiskey is made, enjoy a tasting and even enjoy some of the finest Scottish cuisine at their restaurant. This experience was voted one of the best things to do in Edinburgh.

For more options for guided whiskey tours and experiences in Edinburgh, click here.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - Whiskey
Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh – Whiskey

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Go underground at the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland has several exhibitions and displays that explore different aspects of Scottish culture.

One such exhibition is “The People’s Story,” which explores the lives of ordinary people through objects and stories.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - National Museum of Scotland
Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh – National Museum of Scotland

Explore Princes Street Gardens

If you love gardens, then you should check out Princes Street Gardens.

This garden was designed by Sir John James Burnet in 1824. It is located near the Royal Mile and is one of the oldest parks in Scotland.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh - Princess Street Gardens
Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh – Princess Street Gardens

Go Shopping at The Royal Mile

You will find some of the best shops in Edinburgh here. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy while shopping. There are usually some bagpipe performers wearing kilts, adding to the atmosphere. 

If you are a Harry Potter Fan, you will find a small shop with a lot of magic memorabilia from Harry Potter and other magic-related merchandise at Museum Context.

Attend a festival – Check out the Fringe Festival or Hogmanay celebrations

If you wish to visit Edinburgh, you may avoid coming in August as this is when the world’s best arts festival is held here and the price of accommodation skyrockets. 

But if you do plan, this is a fantastic time to be here during the summer and enjoy world-class music, comedy, dance, theatre, and cabaret.

If you prefer to join the biggest NYE street party, come here for Hogmanay – An incredible 3-day festival filled with music and so much more, with, of course, an epic fireworks show over the castle! 

And if you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then this Harry Potter Tour is a must-do experience. See all the locations that inspired JK Rowling to write the world-renowned Harry Potter series of books, which was later adapted into film.

Get out of Edinburgh and see more of Scotland

Edinburgh might be one the most beautiful cities in the world but do head out of the city to truly appreciate Scotland’s beauty.

The Scottish Highlands are simply stunning, and while you can self-drive to visit this region, I highly recommend doing a tour here to see the locations you would likely have missed on your own.

Also, the chance to learn more about the stories this land holds is well worth it.

All the stories told by Mark, my driver/guide on my Rabbie’s 5-Day Northern Coast & Orkney Tour in July 2022, made the trip. I loved this tour and am excited to see that Rabbie’s offers mini-coach tours all over the UK and Ireland, as I’d definitely travel with them again.

Click here to browse Rabbie’s Tours.

Use promo code NOMAD5 at checkout for a 5% discount on any UK/Ireland trip with Rabbie’s.

Things To Do In Scotland Edinburgh Highlands

And that’s our 10 best things to do in Edinburgh!

There are many other sites and experiences you can do here; if you have recommendations, let us know your favourite things to do in Scotland and Edinburgh in the comments below. 

Planning more Travels in Europe?

Our tips on how to travel Europe by train may help you to plan the ideal trip, and this Complete Packing List for Europe has you covered for the essentials.

You may be interested in visiting these 10 Cheapest Countries to Visit in Europe and planning all the incredible things to eat with our Ultimate Food Map of Europe.

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