As Scotland’s capital city, it will come as no surprise that Edinburgh boasts a plethora of landmarks and activities, making it the perfect destination for a jam-packed weekend break. Whether you’re heading off on a Scottish adventure with a group of friends, planning a romantic getaway with that special someone or just want to kick back and enjoy a family trip away, Edinburgh has everything you need.
To help you plan your getaway, here are our top things to do in Edinburgh over 48 hours.
Why not start your Edinburgh trip with the city’s most famous landmark – the magnificent Edinburgh Castle? The oldest part of the structure - St Margaret’s Chapel – dates back to the 12th century, with the famous Great Hall being constructed centuries later by James IV. Centuries ago, holding the keys to the castle was to be the most powerful presence in all of Scotland, and if its stone walls could talk they would whisper tales of kings, queens and royal secrets through the ages.
Old Town, St Giles’ Cathedral and The Real Mary King’s Close
Follow in the footsteps of royalty, religious leaders, peasants and plague victims on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town. A labyrinth of narrow alleyways, age-old structures and historical landmarks, it’s safe to say that this is no ordinary city neighbourhood. Visit the awe-inspiring St Giles’ Cathedral, with its ornate décor, intricate stained-glass windows and traditional early-gothic architecture.
The cathedral is just a minute’s walk from The Real Mary King’s Close, an eerie reminder of what life was like in medieval Edinburgh. Hidden beneath one of the city’s busiest streets, the Real Mary King’s Close tells stories of a plague-ridden society that’s been forgotten over the last 400 years. Learn all about the mysteries which shroud the ancient houses, and discover what everyday life was like in the Edinburgh of yesteryear.
The National Museum of Scotland
Once you’ve explored the winding streets of the Old Town, head over to the coveted National Museum of Scotland to discover the history behind Scotland’s bustling capital. Here you’ll find an eclectic collection of exhibitions and artifacts; covering everything from natural history and archeology to technology. With lots of activities catered towards younger visitors in particular, this is a wonderful afternoon for the whole family.
What better way to start off your second day in Edinburgh than by taking a hike up the iconic Arthur’s Seat? This relatively easy walk is an ideal way for the whole family to get outdoors, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the cityscape, including an unparalleled view of the Castle and the extinct volcano upon which it sits.
Royal Botanic Garden
Once you’ve made your way back down to earth from Arthur’s Seat, why not take a stroll around the coveted Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh? This free-to-enter green space has an eclectic selection of plants and flowers, including many that can only be seen at certain times of the year. The garden also houses a fascinating range of exclusive collections, including The Living collection, Herbarium and a selection of literary works and archives.
Shopping on Princes Street
Indulge in a spot of retail therapy with the shops and boutiques of Princes Street. Here you’ll find a plethora of designer and high-street names so you can peruse to your heart’s content! It’s the perfect way to end your weekend break in Edinburgh.
For a magical break in Auld Reekie, you need the perfect place to stay. Explore the Simpson Townhouse, Murrayfield and Edinburgh Royal Leonardo Hotels to discover a comfortable place to lay your head after a busy day exploring this wondrous city.