Scotland’s capital remains the most beautiful city in the country, bursting with fascinating culture, exquisite architecture, and vibrant nightlife in the Old and New Town. Catch a glimpse into the extraordinary imagination of J.K. Rowling whose sensational Harry Potter sagas were deeply inspired by the city, by strolling through the old cobbled streets and narrow alleys.
There is so much more to the city than haggis, whiskey, and bagpipes (though these may feature in your visit). Whether you’re currently living in Edinburgh and haven’t experienced being a tourist in your own city or you’re looking for your first adventure in a new destination after lockdown, the following list of experiences are guaranteed to fulfill your expectations of the stunning city.
What To Do & See?
The most iconic attraction is impossible to miss from various parts of the city, as the ancient castle perches on an extinct volcano dominating the skyline. Located at one end of the famous Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is home to a range of cultural sights and activities. Tour the Royal Palace, admire the country’s crown jewels known as the Honours of Scotland, and witness the firing of the one o’clock gun. St Margaret’s Chapel, the National War Museum, and the old prison quarters of 1700s are also popular among tourists.
Camera Obscura World Of Illusions
Explore the attraction with the perfect combination of history and adventure, providing over 100 interactive exhibits in the city’s first-ever purpose made attraction. The collaboration between artists, inventors and tech experts provides eye-catching illusions that will trick the minds of people of any age. Located in the Old Town of the city, discover the five floors of fun and take in the panoramic views of the city from the rooftop terrace.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Labelled the best UK attraction of 2020, take a free audio tour to hear about the life of royalty as you hop aboard one of the most special of the Queen’s residencies which she used for over 40 years. Explore the ship’s five decks from the State Apartments to the Engine Room, where icons have dined including Frank Sinatra and Nelson Mandela along with many others.
Set aside a couple of hours to enjoy a steady climb to the summit of another extinct volcano in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat. Offering one of the best views of the city with a variety of stunning monuments during your hike and the gorgeous landscape when you reach the top, it is the perfect picnic spot.
National Museum of Scotland
One of the most favoured attractions among tourists is the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. With free admission, walk through the evolution of Scottish antiques, culture and history. A feature often unknown to new visitors is the incredible views of the city from the 7th floor. If you’re keen for more, discover the neighbouring Royal Scottish Museum which introduces you to the world of science and technology, natural history and world culture.
You Don’t Want To Miss…
Plan your trip wisely as the lively city also hosts a variety of extravagant events throughout the year, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer months, the illuminating Christmas Markets at Princes Street Gardens, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on New Year’s Eve!
Where To Eat?
Hawksmoor Edinburgh is located in the magnificent former Royal Bank of Scotland Banking Hall, a Grade A listed building just off St. Andrew Square and a short walk from Waverley station and Princes Street. The 185-seat restaurant has been tastefully renovated to highlight the building’s unique features and uses the best of Scotland’s produce, including seafood from the Scottish coast and meat from grass-fed native breed cattle on both sides of the border. Hawksmoor provides some of Edinburgh’s finest steaks, as well as lighter nibbles at the bar and award-winning cocktails concocted by skilled bartenders.
On Mondays, corkage is £5 all day, and on Sundays, there are roasts considered among the best in the UK. Every Monday through Saturday, the restaurant’s Express menu is offered for lunch and early evenings at £23 for three courses.
The Elephant House
Known as the birthplace of Harry Potter, visit J.K. Rowling’s main writing spot at the Elephant House. Take your favourite novel or write your own like Rowling while indulging over the delicious cakes.
With an extravagant, traditional Chinese interior, Tattu is a restaurant experience you won’t forget. Chinese cuisine incorporates traditional flavours with a modern cooking style, which looks just as delicious as it tastes!
Just a 2-minute walk from Edinburgh Castle is one of the city’s most romantic high-end restaurants, The Witchery. With a relaxed atmosphere, delicious food and elegant interior, this is the perfect place to enjoy a candle-lit dinner with your partner for a special occasion.
Some of the best places to experience the Edinburgh nightlife include Brewhemia, Tigerlily, Paradise Palms, and The Devil’s Advocate. The Dome is a popular restaurant and bar at Christmas, with its iconic Christmas decorations which is a must-see!