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Things to see and do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is Scotland's proud capital. Architecturally it’s split between its medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town, equally as elegant as each other. 

With Arthur’s Seat an imposing peak in Holyrood Park, and Calton Hill, topped with monuments and memorials – you’ll hopefully be spoilt for views, entertainment and choice on your visit.

Top 5 Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

  1. Edinburgh Castle

Towering over the city, you can’t miss Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, and nor should you want to. Part of Historic Environment Scotland, the iconic castle is a classic tourist hot spot. Make sure you take a look at their handy Events Guide when choosing when to visit and there is always something new to take in for returning visitors and the stunning views never grow old.

 

Address:

Edinburgh Castle

Castlehill

Edinburgh

EH1 2NG

 

Contact details
Tel: +44 (0)131 225 9846

https://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/

  1. National Museum of Scotland

The new Museum of Scotland, which opened in 1998, was created to tell the country’s history from earliest times to the present day and to create a landmark museum in Edinburgh for the nation – and how! The redevelopment of the National Museum of Scotland (2006-2011) transformed the adjacent Victorian building into a vibrant museum for the 21st century, opening up public spaces, providing new facilities and displaying the natural world, world cultures, art and design, and science and technology collections in innovative new ways.

When the new galleries opened on 29 July 2011, the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street united the two strands of its history for the first time in a single entity. Prepare to be wowed the first time you enter the Grand Gallery and it’s no wonder the museum was the most visited attraction in Edinburgh last year even overtaking Edinburgh Castle according to Visit Scotland

Address:

Chambers Street

Edinburgh

EH1 1JF

Scotland

Contact details

+44 300 123 6789

https://www.nms.ac.uk 

Absolutely worth checking out all of the Museums within the group – including National Museum of Flight, National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum.

 

  1. Scottish National Gallery

At any major art gallery, you’d expect to be enthralled, shocked, moved and entertained all within a few steps, and the Scottish National Gallery never disappoints on all fronts. With a broad Scottish art bias and a world class exhibition calendar, this is the perfect venue to return to again and again – whether on your own, as a couple, family or school trip.

Address:

Scottish National Gallery

The Mound

Edinburgh

EH2 2EL

Website

 

And if you’re a fan of Art Galleries – make sure you visit two other outstanding galleries within the NGS Group - the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

 

  1. Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) was founded in 1670 as a physic garden (a garden for cultivating medicinal herbs). It is now a world-renowned centre for plant science, horticulture and education and extends over four Gardens (Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan) boasting a rich living collection of plants. Together they represent one of the world’s largest living collections of plants. 

Address

Royal Botanic Garden

Arboretum Pl

Edinburgh

EH3 5NZ

Contact details

0131 248 2909

http://www.rbge.org.uk/

 

  1. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The now World Famous Fringe Festival seems to get bigger and better every year and if you think you know Edinburgh or have never visited the great city in the month of August, there are few transformations like it. 24 hour shows, street events in 2017 alone there were 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues! Whether you are looking to experience, visit or even take part, find out everything you need to know from putting on a show, running a venue, street events, tickets and registration here.

 

Top 5 Kids Activities

Edinburgh offers an absolute feast of children’s activities both free and paid for to suit every budget. An abundance of open spaces and a wide choice of museums and galleries means you’ll be never short of places to choose, whatever the weather.

  1. Edinburgh Zoo

Open 365 days of the year, Edinburgh Zoo is the wildest visitor attraction in Scotland – home to 1000+ rare animals from around the world and of course to the UKs only giant pandas.

 

Visit the new Meerkat plaza, chimpanzee zone, Budongo trail or touch the colours of the rainbow with the interactive, rainbow lorikeet enclosure – the ultimate kids day out.

 

Address: 

Edinburgh Zoo

134 Corstorphine Rd

Edinburgh

EH12 6TS

 

Contact details

0131 334 9171

www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

Latest admission/ticket prices click here

 

Opening hours

9.00am to 6.00pm   April – September

9.00am to 5.00pm   October & March

10.00am to 4.00pm   November – February

10.00am to 1.00pm   Christmas Day

  1. The Royal Yacht Britannia

Be a Queen for a day and see what life was like on board Her Majesty's floating Royal residence. You can follow in the footsteps of world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi. Enjoy a complimentary audio guide and relax in the Royal Deck Tea room, as you experience this 5 star must-see Edinburgh attraction.

 

Fans of LEGO will also love the 11 foot scale model of the Britannia!

 

Address

Royal Yacht Britannia

Ocean Drive

Edinburgh

EH6 6JJ

 

Contact Details

0131 555 5566

http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/

 

  1. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

You can’t come to Edinburgh with children and NOT visit this wonderful attraction. Situated next door to Edinburgh Castle, it could be described as two attractions in one – but it’s so much more than that.

 

Suitable for kids of all ages, Camera Obscura is widely considered to be one of the best family attractions in Edinburgh and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

 

Address

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions 
Castlehill
The Royal Mile
Edinburgh
EH1 2ND

 

Contact details

Tel: 0131 226 3709

http://www.camera-obscura.co.uk/

 

  1. Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

It does exactly what is says on the bus, and is a great way to explore Edinburgh, get your bearings and find out a few of its hidden gems whilst you’re at it. Choose between a 24 or 48 hour pass, the tour has frequent departures from a host of convenient stops, meaning you can travel at your own pace and simply jump out when the moment takes you. With an informative commentary filling you in on where you are and what to do, if the weather is holding and you can get a seat on the open-top, there are few better ways to experience Edinburgh for kids and adults alike.

For timetables and booking click here

  1. Dynamic Earth

Mixing brilliant fun with learning, Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh is a state-of-the-art family attraction. As they put it, a trip here is like nothing else on Earth! A chance to experience the primeval forces of nature, to journey through space and time and even go on a 4DVENTURE around the world. A real adventure taking visitors through history from the Big Bang to modern day.

Address

Dynamic Earth

112-116 Holyrood Rd

Edinburgh

EH8 8AS

Contact details

0131 550 7800

http://www.dynamicearth.co.uk

  

Shopping in Edinburgh

As you’d expect in such a vibrant city, the shopping in Edinburgh is exceptional, whatever your budget or taste - from Designer Boutique stores to Independent Craft Markets and everything in between.

The world famous Princes Street is a great place to start, with its iconic views of the castle and its uniqueness of all the shops only lining one side of the street!

George Street for high street shopping, Multrees Walk for luxury, there’s a great shopping guide here to make sure you find what you’re looking for.

 


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