Things to do in Edinburgh

With its green hills, beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture, and rich history, Edinburgh is a capital city that has so much to offer. Find out what you can do in your free time!

Old Town

The Castle and Holyrood Palace on the Royal Mile are major tourist attractions. If you feel adventurous, the Mary King’s Close, with its spooky tours of Edinburgh’s underground city, will leave you breathless!

While in the Old Town, make sure to pay a visit to the most famous dog in Edinburgh: Bobby. This nineteenth-century Skye Terrier spent several years of his life guarding the grave of his master, and after he died a statue was erected in this honour.

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Bobby

Parks (and beach)

Arthur Seat, the highest point of Holyrood Park, is a must-see. Climb the hill and enjoy the stunning view of the city from up there. If you prefer a walk along the river, follow the Water of Leith: the walkway passes many beautiful sites including Stockbridge, Leith, the Dean Village and the Gallery of Modern Art.

If you would like to spend some time away from the busy city centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect spot for you. Here you can discover a great variety of plants, spend some time in the glasshouse, check out the latest art exhibition, or relax on one of the benches – and watch squirrel running around!

If you prefer long sandy beaches, Portobello beach is ideal. Located just a few miles from Edinburgh city centre, Portobello is easy accessible by bus or on foot. Take a walk along the promenade and enjoy the view of the bay.

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Arthur’s seat

Art, music and festivals

If you love art, you will find something for you in one of Edinburgh’s many galleries and museums. Become familiar with Scottish art at the National Galleries of Scotland, learn about Scotland’s history at the National Museum, and visit the Surgeon Hall Museum to discover Edinburgh’s contribution to surgical practice in modern times. If you prefer movie nights, check the calendar of events at the Filmhouse. Theatre lovers will find the Lyceum Theatre, the Traverse Theatre and the Festival Theatre particularly good. If you are in town over the summer, the Fringe, Edinburgh’s three-week art festival, will keep you entertained.

Harry Potter Trail

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Check out JK Rowling’s handprints in the quadrangle of Edinburgh’s City Chamber, and visit the birthplace of Harry Potter: The Elephant House. Overlooking Edinburgh’s Castle, this cute café on George IV Bridge is a classic. If you feel brave enough, you can also venture inside the nearby Greyfriars Kirkyard, and search the grave where Lord Vodelmort is buried.

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Cake, anyone?

Everyone deserves yummy cakes and good coffee, especially after a day of sightseeing (or long study sessions at the Library!). Clarinda, at the bottom of the Royal Mile, will surprise you with its delicious cakes and flowery tablecloths. Anteaques is a little antique shop that has been transformed into a tea house. Its unique setting and wide range of teas will not disappoint you.