Edinburgh city centre is brimming with historical sights and cultural attractions, making the Scottish capital the perfect place to visit on your next weekend away.
From castles and museums to centuries-old landmarks, this guide will ensure you don’t miss Edinburgh’s main attractions when you’re wandering the streets of this magical city.
Edinburgh city centre is full of significant landmarks and points of interest, all within walking distance of one another. Put on your comfy shoes, here's what you’ll find.
The Royal Mile, which runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, is the perfect place to start. There you’ll find St Giles’ Cathedral, several covered marketplaces and lots of fascinating museums, such as the V&A Museum of Childhood.
From there, wander to Dean Village with its tight-knit streets lined with old mills and pretty houses. Stop for lunch at one of the cafes, before heading onwards, to Edinburgh Castle. If it’s raining, which it does a lot, spend time sheltering in one of the city’s many art galleries.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress that dominates the Edinburgh city centre skyline. It sits on top of Castle Rock, 80 meters (260 feet) above the city below.
Castle Rock has been lived on since the Iron Age, while the castle, where there has been a Royal Palace since the 12th Century, has had various uses over the years; from prison to army garrison and royal residence.
Charles I was the last monarch to inhabit the castle, but these days it’s open to the public. Visitors can explore historic rooms like the Great Hall, and learn about Scottish history at fascinating exhibitions while the view from Castle Hill isn't to be missed!
Scottish National Galleries, in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, is a vast complex of museums. From contemporary art to national history, visitors are spoilt for choice.
Take your pick from the Museum on the Mound, Surgeons' Hall Museums, National Museum of Flight, National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery, Royal Scottish Academy, City Art Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
They’re all different, but it’s not recommended to pack them all into one weekend. Just decide which ones you’d be most interested in, and set aside a morning or afternoon.
If you want to escape Edinburgh city centre, you should set aside an hour to climb up to Arthur’s Seat, where you’ll find stunning views of the streets below and further afield.
Holyrood Park, which spans most of the area, is the perfect place to sit down with a picnic and watch the world go by. There are 650 acres of crags, cliffs and woodland to get lost in. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of the Scottish capital’s historic centre.
Described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design,” spending some time walking or just relaxing in the area is well worth it.
Book a hotel in Edinburgh city centre and start planning your Scottish city break.
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