Castle Hill, Edinburgh
Perched atop Castle Rock overlooking the city, this should be a must-see on your list of places to visit in Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle houses important Scottish artefacts, such as the Honours of Scotland – which are the oldest crown jewels in the UK – and The Stone of Destiny, an ancient symbol of the Scottish monarchy. Explore the vast castle grounds, take a guided tour with a castle steward, or listen to the audio guide, which is available in eight languages.
Top tip: Tickets often sell out quickly, especially during the summer months. Make sure to book early to avoid disappointment! Listen out for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun from the castle grounds, which can be heard daily (except on Sundays). Ships in the Firth of Forth once set their maritime clocks according to the sound of the shot.
Climb Arthur’s seat and stroll through Holyrood Park
Queens Drive, Edinburgh
Perhaps one of the most iconic places to go in Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat, located within Holyrood Park. This ancient volcano sits 251m above sea level and offers 360-degree views of Edinburgh and the Lothians. You can see the medieval remains of St Anthony’s Chapel or feed the ducks and swans on Duddingston Loch. There’s an array of paths and trails to follow, suitable for all, including the trail to St Margaret’s Loch which is both wheelchair and buggy accessible.
Top tip: Climbing up to the top of this dormant volcano is hungry work! Why not pack a picnic and enjoy it from the best ‘seat’ in Edinburgh?
The Scotch Whisky Experience
354 Castlehill, Edinburgh
No trip to the Royal Mile is complete without a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience for a dram of fine Scottish whisky. The attraction offers a range of tour experiences that will suit first timers and whisky lovers alike. Take a tour of the virtual distillery and learn about the distilling process, then discover the art of whisky blending in a guided sensory presentation.
Top tip: After you become somewhat of a whisky connoisseur, why not continue into the attraction’s Amber Restaurant, where you can enjoy modern Scottish cuisine with another dram.
Sweet treats at the Chocolatarium
Cranston Street, Edinburgh
Looking to add a bit more sweetness to your trip? Just off the Royal Mile you’ll find The Edinburgh Chocolatarium, a place dedicated to all things chocolate. Enjoy a 90-minute guided tour of the chocolate-making process before making your very own chocolate bar where you’ll have lots of toppings to choose from. To finish off, head to the chocolate Tasting Room where you’ll taste a variety of Scottish and international chocolates. Now that sounds like chocolate heaven!
Top tip: Make sure to stock up on your favorite chocolate bars at the gift shop. You’ll find all the classics including some interesting flavors such as gin and tonic dark chocolate and haggis.
Visit the Scott Monument
East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
The Scott Monument was built in 1832 to commemorate the death of one of Scotland’s best loved writers, Sir Walter Scott, and is decorated with carvings of characters from his novels. The Gothic spire stands at the eastern end of Princes Street Gardens and is the largest memorial to a writer in the world, standing at just over 200 feet high. Climb the 287 steps to the top for beautiful views of the city and visit the Museum Room inside the monument, which holds an exhibition on Scott’s life and work.
Top tip: Not a fan of heights? Not to worry, you can get a great view of the monument with your feet firmly on the ground from the bottom of the Playfair Steps on The Mound. At the base of the monument, you’ll also find a statue of Scott himself with his beloved dog.