Welcome to Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is a city to immerse yourself in Scottish culture. It has a great history, beautiful architecture and a Medieval Old Town right next to an elegant Georgian New Town. Edinburgh is also home to Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s crown jewels, Holyrood and the Royal Family. And of course, one must try traditional Scottish food like haggis or whisky!

How To Get There

Getting to Edinburgh is easy, with many different transportation options. You can fly to Edinburgh Airport, located just outside the city centre. Alternatively, take a train or bus from London or any other nearby convenient city.

With only a short flight from London, Edinburgh is a place to explore even if you have limited time, with many attractions to inspire you to come back. But, if you have more time, you could also take a train from London.

Flights – As long as there are no delays, flights generally take 1.5 hours from London. Search Skyscanner or WayAway for great deals.

Train – Direct trains can take about 4.5 hours from London Kings Cross for a comfortable, scenic journey. Check prices here.

Bus – For those on a budget, taking a bus is a good option. FlixBus or Megabus have both day and overnight buses, which take approximately 9 hours from London to Edinburgh.

Campervan: Take a dream holiday with Paul Camper in a campervan or motorhome!

Edinburgh Tram

Day Trips From Edinburgh

As part of our Scottish travels, we visited our friends in a beautiful piece of Scotland called Stirling, 37 miles northwest of Edinburgh, the gateway to the Scottish Highlands

We took the train from London to Stirling, which takes approximately five and a half hours, but if you are already in Edinburgh, the train journey will only take 45 minutes. 

Stirling is beautiful with ancient castles, national heroes, distilleries and stunning landscapes, including a breathtaking walk up to Conic Hill, Balmaha, to see fantastic views over Loch Lomond, including Ben Lomond. 

Getting Around Edinburgh

Once you’re in Edinburgh, the best way to get around is on foot or by bike. Buses and trams are also available but can be a little confusing if it’s your first time in the city. And since Edinburgh is such a charming historic city, it’s worth taking your time walking around and exploring everything on offer. 

We recommend taking a walking tour to give you an overview of this compact city. There are choices of free walking tours or paid walking tours. Alternatively, you can opt for many of the available bus tours that give you commentary and the freedom to hop on or off at any time.

Places Of Interest

Edinburgh Castle

The iconic landmark of Scotland, built on the foundation of Castle Rock, is a historical and architectural masterpiece dominating the Scottish skyline.

Located in Castlehill, the grandeur of Edinburgh Castle is worth visiting. 

Click here to buy tickets to explore the Castle. It will take approximately 3 hours to see the entire Castle, St Margaret’s Chapel, dating from the 12th century; the Great Hall of the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th-century gun Mons Meg, the One O’Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

The Castle is open every day from 9.30 am – 6 pm, with the last entry being at 5 pm. The closest bus stop is Waverley Bridge, and the nearest train station is Waverley Station.

National Museum

The National Museum is home to some of the most important collections of Scottish history and culture, and it’s all free to visit. You can explore exhibits on the Scottish Enlightenment, Scotland’s role in the British Empire, and WWI battlefields.

Royal Mile

The Royal Mile runs between Edinburgh’s old and new towns, where it was once the main road from the palace at Holyroodhouse to the Castle at Edinburgh Castle. Today in Edinburgh’s old town, royal mile, you can find a variety of exciting shops and restaurants, including The Real Mary King’s Close or the Scottish Storytelling Centre and historic sites, including St Giles’ Cathedral.

St Giles Cathedral

St. Giles Cathedral is a historic building in Edinburgh, the mother church of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which has been at the heart of Scottish religious life for over 900 years. The cathedral is named after Saint Giles, the patron saint of hospitals and lepers, who was famous in medieval Europe. 

The cathedral on the Royal Mile, between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, is a large and imposing Gothic building with a central tower topped by a spire. The cathedral’s grand interior has a nave, transepts, and a large east window. It’s open to the public and conducts regular services.


Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic and oldest part of the city, the Grassmarket area is a bustling marketplace and one of the most vibrant areas with many pubs and inns, including the smallest pub in Scotland!

Palace of Holyroodhouse (Holyrood Palace)

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, located at the bottom of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. It’s a beautiful palace built in the 16th century by James IV. It is open to the public, and visitors can see displays of furniture, art, and other objects from the royal collection. There is also a visitor centre with exhibits about the palace’s history.

The palace is filled with gorgeous rooms, suites, and several fascinating historical relics. For example, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James VI (who became James I of England) in one of the palace’s chambers. And if you’re into ghosts, you’ll be interested to know that the palace is said to be haunted by the spirit of David Rizzio, who was brutally murdered there in 1566 on orders from Mary Queen of Scots.

Harry Potter

Do you know that J.K. Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books while living in Edinburgh? She even based many of the locations in the books on real places in Edinburgh! For example, Diagon Alley was based on Victoria Street, and The Leaky Cauldron was based on The Elephant House Cafe. Being here, I can say that Edinburgh served as an inspiration for the Harry Potter series. Additionally, several Harry Potter tours in Edinburgh take visitors to some of the most famous locations from the books/movies.

The Elephant House is a cafe in Edinburgh and is famous for where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series. The restaurant has become a tourist destination for Harry Potter fans, and it’s worth a visit if you’re in Edinburgh!

St Andrew Square

In the heart of Edinburgh, St Andrew Square is home to some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks, including the Scottish National Gallery, the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, and St Andrew’s House – the home of the Scottish Government.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill provides visitors with breathtaking views of the cityscape below and several historical and cultural attractions. One of the most notable features of Calton Hill is Edinburgh Royal Observatory, which was built in 1818 and is home to Scotland’s National Meridian Line. The observatory is open to the public and offers tours, exhibitions, and events throughout the year. 

Other attractions on Calton Hill include Nelson’s Monument, The National History Museum of Scotland, and The Memorial to Scottish Soldiers and Sailors from the Napoleonic Wars. In addition, some parks and gardens are perfect for a stroll.

Scotts Monument

The Victorian Gothic monument was built to honour Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott in Princes Street Gardens. The memorial is made of sandstone and rises over 200 feet tall, with 282 steps leading to a viewing platform at the top to enjoy stunning views of Edinburgh’s old town and Castle and 64 statues of characters from Sir Walter Scott’s novels inside the monument’s base.

Greyfriars Bobby - Pub & Story

Greyfriars Bobby ia captivating story and legend in the mystical city of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist attractions. It is a recital of Bobby’s life; born in 1856, a Skye Terrier, a beloved companion who for over 14 years spent guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray. 

They began their journey together when Bobby was just a pup. John, a nightwatchman for the Edinburgh City Police Force – carried out his duties with his trusty companion night after night. For two years, the pair developed an unbreakable bond. But, when John died in 1858, Bobby would not leave John’s grave. Day and night, Bobby would sit by his grave even in inclement weather of rainfall, bitter winters and hot summers. Sadly, Bobby passed away in January 1872, at 16 years old and was buried close to his master in the kirkyard. You will find a granite fountain with a statue of Bobby opposite Greyfriars Kirkyard – a permanent memorial to this faithful pup.


The Planetarium is home to an impressive collection of astronomical instruments, including a 1-meter reflector telescope. Unfortunately, the telescope is only open for public use on special occasions. However, there are plenty of other fun things at the Planetarium!

You can explore the night sky in the planetarium theatre or take a tour of the universe in the cosmology exhibits. You can also learn about Scottish astronomy and watch live demonstrations of astronomical phenomena. A Planetarium is an excellent place for stargazers, with a newly upgraded, state-of-the-art projection system at Dynamic Earth. Book tickets here.


Waverley station, situated between the old medieval and modern towns, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens, is the central hub to arrive from Aberdeen, Inverness, London, York, Leeds, Newcastle or Durham (to name a few). Not only is it a historic train station to be admired, but you will also find many shops and eateries here. It is a 3-min walk to Scott’s monument, amongst many other attractions, including Princess Street Gardens.

Fringe Festivel

The Fringe Festival is one of Edinburgh’s most popular annual events, and it’s no wonder why! This massive Festival takes over the city for three weeks every August and hosts thousands of performers worldwide. Everything from comedy and theatre to music and dance has something for everyone at Fringe Festival. Plus, with numerous venues throughout the city, you can easily explore all that Edinburgh has to offer while enjoying some fantastic entertainment.

Edinburgh Tattoo

Another popular yearly event is the Edinburgh Tattoo. Thousands of people flock to the town yearly to watch world-famous tattoo artists work their magic.

The event is held in Edinburgh Castle, which adds to the overall atmosphere. It’s such an incredible spectacle, and you feel like you’re part of something special when you’re there.

There are loads of different things going on at Edinburgh Tattoo. You can watch street performers, listen to live music or soak up the atmosphere. A great range of food and drink is also available to keep your energy levels up! We managed to get great tickets to watch this spectacle, and it was well worth the money to experience.

Where To Stay

The Balmoral Hotel is a stunning 5-star property in the heart of Edinburgh. It also boasts an excellent reputation for customer service, and it’s one of the few hotels in Edinburgh that offers views of both the Castle and the Royal Mile. Plus, it’s just minutes away from all of the best restaurants, shops, and attractions in Edinburgh.

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is an excellent option if you’re looking for 4-star accommodations. The hotel boasts spacious and well-appointed guest rooms with modern amenities. You will also enjoy panoramic views of Edinburgh from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Relax later in a Scottish spa or take a swim in the pool.

The Ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre, St Andrew Square is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a central location. This 3-star accommodation offers comfortable rooms at affordable costs. The Royal Mile, Grassmarket, and Princes Street are all within walking distance and are many of the city’s top attractions. The hotel offers excellent facilities and services, including free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour reception, and a laundry service. 

Where To Eat

Want a fine dining experience in Edinburgh? There are plenty of great options! For French cuisine, try L’Escargot Bleu Restaurant. For Scottish fare, The Ivy on the Square is a fantastic choice. And if you’re in the mood for seafood, head to Fishers for a platter of delicious fish and seafood, including my all-time favourite, oysters!

For a little more budget-friendly, there are still plenty of great places to eat in Edinburgh. For casual dining, try The Herbivore Kitchen or  The Haggis Box. For fast food, Siam@Home Thai Street Food Bar is a delicious option. And if you want something sweet, Fortuna Coffee Bar is a must-try!

There are endless great places to eat in Edinburgh, Scotland, so you’re sure to find something to suit your taste.

Final Thoughts

Edinburgh is a beautiful city with plenty of history and culture. If you’re looking for an exciting place to visit in the United Kingdom, we highly recommend spending some time in this fantastic city. There is an abundance of things to explore, so be sure to plan your trip carefully to make the most of your time, especially if you are around for the Fringe Festival or the Edinburgh Tattoo!

Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

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