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Things to Do in Edinburgh

  1. A visit to Edinburgh Castle can take several hours (plan for a minimum of 2 hours). The entrance is from the Royal Mile (use The Scotch Whisky Experience to find the entrance on google maps). Click on the map below to enlarge it. Here is the link for information on visiting the castle.

  1. Revisit places on the Royal Mile – you don’t get to wander off on your own on the Outlander Immersion tour.

  1. The Scotch Whisky Experience is right on the Royal Mile and an entertaining way to see how whisky is made. You actually sit in a whisky barrel (with seats) that moves along tracks showing you different aspects of whisky making. Afterwards, you see an amazing room full of whisky bottles, then can do a sample (or more depending on the tour you choose). My pictures are here.

  1. I found The Albanach Whiskey Bar on my last night in Edinburgh one time. It is amazing – 220 malt whiskies line the walls. I almost didn’t go home!

  1. The Scottish Parliament Building sits at the foot of the historic Royal Mile. In 1997, the people of Scotland voted for the creation of the first Scottish Parliament in almost 300 years. In 1998, the Scotland Act establishing the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive was passed by the UK parliament. Information about visiting is here. Lonely Planet does a good job of describing it.

  2. Take a hike or drive up Arthur’s Seat. It is accessible from Holyrood Park and a fairly easy hike of 250 meters/820 feet. From the top you can look back up the Royal Mile and have a good view of the surrounding area. Here is a picture of people starting the climb (not the ones in the parking lot – the people on the hill – you have to enlarge to see them).

You can visit Edinburgh on our Outlander Tours of Scotland.

  1. Grassmarket is a fun, outdoor market area. When we were there they were showing Mary Poppins on a large screen with a seating area.

  1. The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the official residence of His Majesty The King in Scotland.

  2. St Giles’ Cathedral is a common meeting place on the Royal Mile. Some parts of the building date back to the 12th century, and it contains some incredible stained glass windows. The cathedral also houses memorials to about 200 distinguished Scots. And it has a nice little café. Plan your visit here.

  3. Camera Obscura is “an attraction that incorporates not only the device itself, but also a range of interactive optical tricks, including the World of Illusions, the Light Fantastic collection of holograms, a light corridor and a display of photographs of Edinburgh stretching back to the earliest days of photography.” More information here.

  4. Get a tour of Edinburgh on the Hop on Hop off bus. This will give you a good overview of the city and what you might want to go back and see.

  1. After being on your feet shopping, it might be nice to sit or even lie down on some nice green grass at the Princes Street Gardens. This local favorite public park divides the Old and the New Town. You can explore the gardens which have seasonal floral displays, monuments and statues. There is also outdoor café to grab a bite or wet your whistle.

  2. Scott Monument is one of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks. In the heart of Princes Street, the Scott Monument was constructed in 1846 to commemorate Edinburgh born writer Sir Walter Scott. This is another place you can climb to get views over Edinburgh. It stands at 200 feet and there are 287 steps if you wish to climb them.

  3. Get fitted for a kilt or a whole kilt suit. My friend bought her kilt from Edinburgh designer Howie Nicholsby who runs 21st Century Kilts, and she says he’s a hoot. His press coverage is impressive and the Observer says, Howie has the “odd power of making kilts seem practical, and, well, butch.” (Appointments are required if you wish to have a kilt made for you.)

Howie Nicholsby and friends. (Photo Courtesy of 21st Century Kilts).

  1. WOW there are a ton of place that have “Afternoon Teas”. The Signet Library was used for Outlander filming, if you want to eat at the same place as Lord John Grey. Or if you want to see what else is available, here are 30 Places in Edinburgh for Afternoon Tea.

  2. The Scottish Genealogy Society, Family History Centre & Library located just south of the Royal Mile “helps with research into Scottish family and local history. Run by volunteers, we can advise you at all stages in your research. Members and visitors will always get a friendly welcome at the Library & Family History Centre.”

  3. Shopping: Just north of the Royal Mile is Princes Street. Its shops line only one side of the street, leaving the opposite side a “lush and verdant garden space giving shoppers breathtaking views of the Old Town cityscape.” The city’s most famous department store, Jenners, is situated across from the Scott Monument. It provides upscale shopping with a wide variety of goods from fine fragrances to high fashion. Just around the corner from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Multrees Walk hosts top labels including Mulberry, Armani, and Louis Vuitton.

  4. Visit Leith and the Royal Yacht Britannia and some fine sea food restaurants. The yacht was the British royal family’s floating holiday home during their foreign travels from the time of her launch in 1953 until her decommissioning in 1997. There is an audio tour available. Leith is a great place to sample some tasty sea food. Here is a map that shows the Royal Yacht Britannia and a couple of sea food restaurants.

  1. Edinburgh’s West End: “Tucked away just behind Shandwick Place, the West End Village is one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems. At the very heart of the village lies both William Street and Stafford Street, where the colourful, stylish boutiques and some much-loved pubs and bars combine to create a bohemian feel to this part of Edinburgh. This is a delightful area to explore for both locals and visitors alike.”

  2. Get Scared!City of the Dead has been named ‘Britain’s Best Ghost Walk’ by, Yahoo! Travel and Virgin Media and is the only Scottish attraction to be shortlisted for the prestigious Screamie Awards (3 times!) and the Luxury Travel Awards. We also won Scare Tours ‘Best Ghost Tour’. Which proves good doesn’t always triumph over evil.”

  3. Walking Tours of Edinburgh: Since 1985, Mercat Tours has been captivating tourists with their history and ghost tours. They offer a plethora of tours of groups sized up to 30 as well as private tours for your group. The Edinburgh Guided Tour have a single walking tour but limit their tour size to 10 walkers maximum, and they have private tours as well.

  4. The National Museum of Scotland has many Jacobite artifacts including Prince Charles Stuart’s silver canteen shown in “The Battle Joined” and a suit which I’m sure inspired his costume in the Outlander TV series. They say “Our diverse collections will take you on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland and around the world, taking in the wonders of nature, art, design and fashion and science and technology – all under one roof.” More information is here.

  5. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery “is one of Edinburgh’s most remarkable buildings – a great red sandstone neo-gothic palace which sits proudly on the city’s skyline. The Gallery was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson as a shrine for Scotland’s heroes and heroines. It opened to the public in 1889 as the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery.” As they say, “Come face to face with the people who shaped Scotland’s past, present and future at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.” See their site for more information.

  6. The National Gallery of Scotland sits between Princess Street Gardens and Waverley Station. Masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Constable, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, and many others are on display. “The Scottish National Gallery comprises both the National Gallery Building and the Royal Scottish Academy Building. Both of these buildings, designed by William Henry Playfair, stand in the heart of Edinburgh. Although originally built as separate structures, their histories have long been intertwined, and, since 2004, they have been physically connected by the underground Gardens Level.” Visiting information is here.

You can visit Edinburgh on our Outlander Tours of Scotland.

Or you might enjoy our Ancient Scotland Tour.

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