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A Guide to Edinburgh

What's on in Edinburgh

13 October – 06 November
The award-winning Botanic Lights event at the Royal Botanic Garden is back.  Follow a trail of light through the garden, exploring different regions of the world where the plants and trees come from.

14 – 24 December
Too Many Penguins at the Studio Festival Theatre in Edinburgh will be sure to keep the children occupied with its fun theatrical experience.

18 November – 7 January
The West End of Edinburgh will be transformed by a fairground for six weeks of a winter wonderland for Edinburgh’s Christmas. The German Christmas market will host numerous stalls selling gifts and crafts and delicious treats!

20 - 25 Febuary
The thrilling production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has been hailed by The Times as ‘a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle.’

Jurys Inn Edinburgh City Guide

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is an exciting city explore, from its Fringe Festival in summer to the iconic Edinburgh Castle – a hub of many iconic events throughout the year and home to rich Scottish heritage.

Wander the city by foot, discover the impressive Palace of Holyroodhouse, experience the Edinburgh Dungeon, or embark on a Seafari Adventure – browse below for more Edinburgh attractions.

Staff Recommends

Best Bar: 
A boutique hotel with a variety of internationally themed luxury bars, Le Monde (George St) is Edinburgh's venue of choice for the discerning party-goer.

Best Scottish Restaurant: Stac Polly provides the ultimate Scottish food experience. Boasting a central location and a range of inventive takes on traditional dishes – such as haggis in filo parcels – this eatery fuses highland charm with modern cuisine.

Best Kept Secret: One mile from Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat is a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape in the city centre. The views from the 251-metre peak over Edinburgh are truly spectacular.

Edinburgh Zoo

With more than 1,000 rare and beautiful animals, Edinburgh Zoo offers a fantastic day out for all. From the Penguins Rock to the Giant Panda Experience, there is plenty to explore and learn at Scotland's largest and most exciting wildlife attraction.

Tickets cost £16.50 for adults and £12 for children aged 3-15, with opening times depending on season. Edinburgh Zoo is a short 12 minute drive from Jurys Inn Edinburgh.

Our Dynamic Earth

Enjoy the most fantastic journey on Earth at one of Scotland’s hottest attractions. Our Dynamic Earth offers an interactive experience that will engage, excite, and teach even the most reluctant! You will dive deep beneath the oceans, get caught in a tropical rainstorm, become shaken by earthquakes, and even fly over glaciers. You will have the opportunity to travel back in time and witness the Big Bang with the brand new Deep Time Machine.

This immersive experience costs £12.50 for adults (16+) and £7.95 for children (3-15) on the door, however tickets can be purchased slightly cheaper online. Opening times are dependent on season but are roughly 10am – 5.30pm. Our Dynamic Earth is situated a swift 10 minute walk from Jurys Inn Edinburgh hotel.

Edinburgh Dungeons

The ultimate thrill-filled journey through Scotland’s murky past! The Edinburgh Dungeons brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. It’s hilarious fun and it’s sometimes a bit scary.

‘On the door’ tickets cost £16.50 for adults aged 16 and above, with a child ticket (under 15) costing £12.60. Cheaper online tickets are available. Opening times are dependent on season as well as day of the week, take a look at the full list of opening hours. The Dungeons are just under a five-minute walk from our hotel in Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle sits in the heart of the city and is arguably the centre of Scottish culture and heritage. Affording beautiful views of Edinburgh city centre, as well as offering a fantastic day of immersion into Scottish history, this castle is an attraction that just should not be missed.

An adult ticket costs £16 for over 16s with a child ticket costing £9.60 for ages 5-15. Edinburgh Castle opens 9.30am – 6pm (closing an hour earlier October- March) with last entry one hour before closing time. The Castle is an enjoyable 15 minute walk from our hotel in Edinburgh.

Lauriston Castle

Travel back to 1926 as you explore the artefacts, ornaments, collections, artwork, and elegant furniture of Lauriston Castle. With parts of the castle dating as far back as 1593, the family home has a long history, however, today the interior reflects the décor of its last owner and is filled with Eastern carpets, intricate line engravings, Crossley wool mosaics, and Southern Italian furniture. The exterior offers beautiful views from the garden, overlooking Firth of Forth and Cramond Island.

The castle is only available by guided tours, which run at 2pm Sunday to Thursday, April to October, and at the same time on weekends only November to March. The tour costs £5 for adults and £3 for children, and Lauriston Castle is a 25-minute drive from the hotel.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

This magnificent Baroque palace offers a fantastic day out for all visitors. Grand, stunning, and bursting with Scottish history, Palace of Holyroodhouse is a popular Edinburgh attraction because of its close link with Scotland's monarchy as well as being home to the famous Mary, Queen of Scots.

Opening times at the palace depend on season. Admission includes an audio tour and costs £11.30 for adults and £6.80 for 5-17 year olds. The Palace is located under a ten minute walk from Jurys Inn.

Holyrood Park

Adventure onto the crags and hills of Holyrood Park. Set high above the city with breath-taking vistas of Edinburgh below, the park offers a refreshing walk amongst the natural landscape, as well as thousands of years of history and archaeology. Head to Arthur’s Seat (the highest point of Holyrood at 251 metres above sea level) for panoramic views of the city and beyond, visit the medieval ruin of St Anthony’s Chapel, or enjoy the tranquillity of St Margret’s Loch – Holyrood Park offers a great day out for the whole family.

Jurys Inn Edinburgh is a 11-minute walk from Holyrood Park.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Set amongst 70 acres of lush landscaped grounds, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is ‘renowned for its horticultural excellence’ and ‘provides a tranquil haven’. Just two miles (15 minutes drive) from Jurys Inn Edinburgh, the garden is filled with a range of different plants and flowers from around the world, including wild-origin Chinese plants, a Scottish Heath Garden (recreating the landscape of the highlands), Rock Garden, Herbaceous Border, and the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden

Explore the diverse range of glasshouses, from the beautiful Victorian Temperate Palm House to the Rainforest Riches, or stroll the Arboretum and Woodland Garden. The garden is free to enter but the glasshouses admission costs £5 for adults (children under 15 enter for free), opening times for the garden and glasshouses vary depending on the time of year.

Edinburgh Ghost Tour

Explore Edinburgh under a different light with the terrifying and exciting Ghost Tours. Discover every ‘nook and cranny’ of this fantastic city, learning along the way stories of mysterious happenings and historical events. The Ghost Tours offer a great day out for all, immersing yourself in the long and rich history of the old town as you enter a world of witchcraft, ghosts and the plague.

Ticket prices depend on the tour you choose, varying roughly between £8 and £14 for an adult, but please take a look their online booking for specific prices. The Ghost Tours start at The Mercat Cross just outside St Giles Cathedral, under a ten minute walk from our Edinburgh hotel.

Camera Obscura & The World of Illusion

A truly unique attraction, the Camera Obscura show offers an unusual way to view the city, learning about Edinburgh from entertaining and friendly guides who share stories of the city’s past and present.

The world of illusions offers a range of ‘hands on’ exhibitions playing with light, illusions, and the way we see the world, from the ‘magic gallery’ to the ‘fun, games & stairway’ illusion lab. Admission costs £14.50 for adults and £10.50 for children, and opening times depend on the time of year.

Camera Obscura is a ten-minute walk from the hotel.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Explore the state apartments, crew’s quarters, the bridge, and the engine room of the now berthed Royal Yacht Britannia. The floating home of the Queen and the Royal family for over 40 years, a tour of the Britannia offers a glimpse into life on the yacht, following in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi. Before embarking on the audio tour around the Britannia, visitors can learn about the history of the Royal Yachts and peruse the displays and photographs of this impressive royal residence.

Opening times vary depending on the time of year, and admission costs £15 for adults and £8.50 for children (5-17), with under 5’s entering for free. The Royal Yacht Britannia is a short 16-minute drive from the Jurys Inn Edinburgh Hotel.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Housed in a beautiful red sandstone neo-gothic palace, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery offers a range of different displays to tell Scotland’s story. With portraits of famous historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, and Robert Burns, as well as more recent Scottish heroes and heroines of science, sport, and the arts, the gallery allows visitors to immerse in history, surrounded by incredible architecture.

Admission is free and the gallery is open daily 10am-5pm, closing at 7pm on Thursdays. The portrait gallery is a short 12-minute walk from the hotel.

The Writers’ Museum

Celebrating the lives of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson, The Writers’ Museum is filled with artefacts, portraits, rare books, and personal objects of the writers, from Burns’ writing desk to Scott’s rocking horse. The museum is housed in the historic Lady Stair’s House, dating as far back as 1622, and is filled with first editions, manuscripts, and the printing press on which Scott’s Waverley novels were printed. This museum is a ‘must’ lovers of books and literature, especially admirers of iconic Scottish writers!

The museum offers free entry and is open Monday – Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 12pm to 5pm (August only). Jurys Inn Edinburgh Hotel is a short nine-minute walk from The Writers’ Museum.

Scottish Opera

Experience something new and exciting during your visit to Edinburgh with Scottish Opera! The Scottish Opera stage many productions in Edinburgh's theatres throughout the year, for current and future productions, please visit the Scottish Opera website.

King’s Theatre

Dating back to 1905, the King’s Theatre offers a fantastic range of shows, set in a ‘Viennese Baroque’ designed auditorium with ‘plush gilt fittings’. The theatre has a diverse mix of performances, from Scottish Opera to murder mysteries, musicals, pantomimes, and more – take a look at what’s on to plan a visit.

The King’s Theatre is a 25-minute walk from Jurys Inn Edinburgh.

The Lyceum

Housed in beautiful Victorian structure, The Lyceum is known for its ‘high-quality drama productions’ and puts on a unique programme of performances. Take a look at upcoming shows for more information.

The Lyceum is situated a 20-minute walk from Jurys Inn Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Playhouse

First opening in 1929, the Edinburgh Playhouse offers a large theatre hosting a range of productions, bands and artists. It’s seen performances of hit musicals, including Mamma Mia and Les Miserables, and icons such Johnny Cash, The Who, and Bob Dylan have graced its stage. Browse the show calendar and production list to plan a visit.

Our Edinburgh hotel is a short 15 minute walk from the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Gyle Shopping

Filled with big brand names from M& S and Monsoon to the Disney Store and The Body Shop, Gyle Shopping Centre offers visitors a bustling hub for a day of retail.

Situated a little outside the city centre, Gyle Shopping Centre is a 25-minute drive from our Edinburgh hotel.


Oozing a ‘medieval atmosphere’ and Scottish heritage, Grassmarket offers specialist shopping bursting with craftsmen and ‘artisans’, as well as over 90% independent stores. You can buy everything from vintage and designer fashion to books, photography, music, and more as you stroll the cobbled winding streets.

Grassmarket sits a short 12-minute walk from Jurys Inn Edinburgh.

If you’re looking for the ideal place to whisk your loved one to for a romantic break, look no further than Edinburgh. While the Scottish city may not seem to be the most romantic place in the world, there’s an awful lot here for couples to enjoy.

We’re going to give you a suggested guide to spending 24 hours in Edinburgh on a romantic break you’ll never forget.

Start your day at Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most picturesque churches in Edinburgh, and a very romantic place to begin your day together. This place of worship was founded in 1446 and has been used for services ever since. The exterior and interior of the church are beautifully decorated, with the carvings of local and exotic plants among the building’s standout features.

There are regular guided tours of the chapel, which allow you to learn more about its incredible heritage and design. These are included as part of the entry fee and don’t take longer than an hour. From Monday to Saturday, the first tour is at 10am, while on Sunday tours begin at 12.45pm.

If the weather is good, also take some time to wander around the peaceful churchyard, or take a stroll to the nearby Rosslyn Castle. As the chapel is located outside the city centre, you should allow around half an hour for the drive.

Coffee and cake on The Shore

The Shore in Leith is a beautiful and peaceful corner of Edinburgh, located next to one of the quays in the Albert Dock Basin. After you’ve spent a couple of hours exploring the chapel, now is a wonderful time for some refreshments, and there are a few outstanding coffee shops in this part of the city.

One that particularly stands out is Mimi’s Bakehouse, which has become something of an institution in Edinburgh. This delightful cafe serves up amazing coffee, tasty homemade cakes and (if it’s not too late) brilliant breakfasts made using locally-sourced produce.

Pause here for a breather before taking a walk along the waterfront, which is stunning when the sun is out - if the weather isn’t so kind, enjoy the cosy atmosphere in the cafe and snuggle up close to your partner.

From here, we’d suggest making a beeline for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. If you’ve got the car, it’s just a quick ten-minute drive, while the number 36 bus will bring you within a short walk of the attraction from The Shore. Alternatively, you can walk the whole distance, which will take around 45 minutes.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charming place to discover, but in the winter months it’s best to head to the glasshouses, of which there are several. These giant conservatories replicate the conditions in some of the world’s hottest and most humid climates, allowing a wide variety of exotic flora to grow.

Admission to these structures is just £4.50 per person and, when you consider that access to much of the rest of the site is free, is well worth the cost. The largest of the glasshouses covers two levels, so you and your loved one can lose yourselves among the plants and find a secluded spot to contemplate the peace and beauty of this attraction.

Once you’ve spent an hour or two admiring the displays here, you can head back into the centre of Edinburgh for a few more romantic treats before the day is out.

Climb Scott Monument

The weather will probably inform you choice of transport from the gardens to our next suggestion - Scott Monument. There is a bus that takes you directly to the landmark in Princes Street Gardens that departs from Canonmills, a short walk from the Royal Botanic Garden (jump on the number 23 or 27). Alternatively, you can take a half-hour stroll via Arboretum Place and past Queen Street Gardens to get there.

Ideally, you want to time it to be arriving at Scott Monument shortly before sunset. There are 287 steps leading up to the top, but it’s more than worth the effort when you see the stunning views of Edinburgh laid out before you and made all the more special by the glowing sun sinking beneath the horizon.

Take a bit of time to soak up the sight of this wonderful city and to catch your breath before you make your way down again. As well as the photos you’ll no doubt take at the top, you’ll also have a certificate marking your achievement to take home as a memento.

Dine at the Witchery by the Castle

After climbing all those steps to get to the top of Scott Monument, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s less than a ten-minute walk to the final stop on our romantic day out - The Witchery by the Castle, where you can have a wonderful meal together.

In case you haven’t heard of this iconic Edinburgh restaurant, it’s the perfect place for a sumptuous dinner after a day of sightseeing. The decor is best described as Gothic opulence, while the menu features numerous dishes to die for, including roast halibut, roast loin of Cairngorm venison and artichoke and herb tart.

Round off your meal with a delicious dessert - chocolate tart with orange blossom ice cream, passion fruit and mascarpone trifle and chocolate brioche bread and butter pudding with pistachio ice cream are just a few of your options.

If you’re hoping to explore some of Edinburgh’s historic attractions on your next trip to the city, there are worse places to begin than with those that have royal associations. There are a host of places with links to the monarchy here, and a great way to see those, as well as other parts of the city, is to go on a walking tour.

We’ve come up with a suggested route below that will lead you to some of Edinburgh’s top royal sites.

Edinburgh Castle
Entry fee: £16 for adults

Sitting atop a hill in the centre of the city, Edinburgh Castle is instantly recognisable and very easy to find, making it an excellent starting point for your walking tour. A fortress has stood on this spot for centuries, with many Scottish monarchs having lived here, including Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Margaret.

In the 17th century, the castle became a military base, bringing with it new additions, such as a secure jail for prisoners of war. Among the main points of interest now are the Royal Palace, where Scotland’s monarchs would have spent much of their time, the Great Hall that would once have hosted incredible banquets and the Crown Jewels, which are the oldest in the British Isles.

It’s also worth wandering around the National War Museum, which deals with 400 years of Scotland’s military history and is home to some fascinating personal accounts of various conflicts.

Palace of Holyrood House

Walking time from Edinburgh Castle - approximately 20 minutes
Entry fee: £11 for adults

The walk from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House is in itself a regal attraction, as it takes you along the Royal Mile. This mile-long street is a direct route between the two and passes many of the city’s other historic attractions along the way.

Among the landmarks to look out for as you stroll are the Scottish Parliament, St Giles’ Cathedral and John Knox’s House. At the end of the street you’ll see the Palace of Holyrood House standing proudly, with Arthur’s Seat behind it.

This is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland and is a beautiful Baroque palace that was once the home of Mary Queen of Scots. Although you won’t have access to the whole building, there are several parts of the palace that you can explore.

The Historic Apartments are a good place to begin, as these show you what Holyrood House would have been like in the 16th century, when Mary Queen of Scots was living here. Her chambers are located at the top of the west tower and are a faithful re-creation of how they would have been in during her short reign.

Also make sure you visit the State Apartments, where the Queen and other members of the royal family entertain when they’re staying in the palace. There are some beautiful pieces of art hanging on the walls, as well as impressively ornate plaster ceilings. The Great Gallery is the largest room in the castle and where you’ll find a series of portraits by Jacob de Wet depicting real and legendary monarchs of Scotland.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Walking time from the Palace of Holyrood House - approximately 20 minutes
Entry fee: Free

Walking from the Palace of Holyrood House to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is very straightforward. You head over to Calton Road and follow this street until you reach the stairs that lead to Regent Road.

Follow Regent Road to the left and keep walking until it turns into Princes Street. After a short distance, take a right turn on to St Andrew Street and follow this, passing St Andrew Square. At the end of the road turn left on to Queen Street; the gallery will be on your left-hand side.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is home to several permanent exhibitions that showcase portraits of people who have been important in Scotland’s history and development. There are monarchs among them, as well as authors, scientists and even artists.

Among the Scottish royalty you should look out for here are Prince Charles Edward Stuart, George III, Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots. It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about some of the country’s other historical figures, including Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Knox.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Walking time from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery - approximately 25 minutes
Entry fee: Free (unless you want to go inside the glasshouse)

Once you’ve had your fill of the paintings at the gallery, make your way to the final stop on this little tour - the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. When you leave the gallery, turn left onto Queen Street and then take a right through Queen Street Gardens. Continue onto Howe Street as you exit the park and make your way for SE Circus Place, which will be on your left.

Continue following this road, which will turn into Kerr Street and then Deanhaugh Street. At the third crossroads (by the Stockbridge Tap bar), turn right onto St Bernard’s Row. After a short distance you can turn left onto Arboretum Avenue and then left again onto Arboretum Place, which will bring you to the gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh cover 70 acres and this peaceful green space is located just one mile outside the city centre. The gardens were first established in 1670 by two doctors - Robert Sibbald and Andrew Balfour - who had travelled in Europe and wanted to grow and make use of foreign plants in their medical practices. The gardens grew over the centuries and eventually moved to their current location in the early 19th century.

There are many interesting and beautiful horticultural features to see here, but one not to miss on your royal tour is the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden, which was opened in 2006.

The Real Mary King’s Close
Where: 2 Warriston’s Close, beneath the Royal Mile

The Real Mary King’s Close is a fascinating visitor attraction in Edinburgh, but one you’d never know was there if you didn’t know where to look. This is an amazing warren of streets and alleys hidden beneath the busy Royal Mile that was once at the heart of this bustling city.

This network of passages has been preserved underground since the 17th century and offers a fascinating glimpse into Edinburgh’s past. When you visit here you’ll be guided around the subterranean maze by a costumed tour guide who’s in character and who will happily tell you a host of stories about the city and how this part of it came to be underground.

Interestingly, this particular close is named after Mary King - a prominent businesswoman from the 1630s. She was a widowed mother of four who traded textiles and she’s just one of many characters that you can learn more about at this attraction.

Holy Corner

Where: between Bruntsfield and Morningside

Holy Corner is an interesting spot to visit in Edinburgh with its main sights the four churches that stand on each corner of a junction. It received its colloquial name in the Victorian era, which is when these places of worship date from.

These churches sit on the crossroads between Morningside Road, Colinton Road and Chamberlain Road. Three of the four are still used for religious services, with each practising a different variation of Christianity.

They are Christ Church (Scottish Episcopal), Morningside United Church (Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church) and Morningside Baptist Church (Baptist), while the fourth place of worship is now the Eric Liddell Centre. These landmarks represent the religious rivalry that sprung up in the Victorian period and offer an interesting glimpse into this era of the city’s development.

Craigmillar Castle
Where: Craigmillar Castle Road, just outside Edinburgh

Craigmillar isn’t exactly hidden, but it is often overlooked by visitors who prefer to explore the more famous and prominent Edinburgh Castle. It’s located just outside the city but it’s well worth the trip to see, as it’s one of Scotland’s best preserved castles.

The original 14th century tower house still stands at the centre of the complex, while battlements and thick walls surround it. Elsewhere in the castle are a host of guest rooms, a grand hall and even a basement prison.

Famously used by Mary Queen of Scots as a ‘safe haven’, Craigmillar Castle is an impressive well preserved castle, favoured as a royal retreat through the ages. The historical 14th century tower house not only offers scenic views of Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park, but is home to a ‘fine great hall’ and ‘Queen Mary’s room’. In addition to the fortress, the estate is also home to parkland and gardens, which made it a delightful rural retreat on the edge of the thriving city in days gone by. Opening times and days depend on the time of year, and admission costs £5.50 for adults and £3.30 for children.

Craigmillar Castle is a 12- minute drive from our hotel in Edinburgh.

Flodden Wall
Where: Edinburgh’s Old Town

Although Flodden Wall existed before the 16th century, it is largely known as a defence constructed to protect the city from English invasion following the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Originally, the battlements enclosed the Grassmarket area and the religious complexes of Blackfriars and Greyfriars.

However, it did little to deter incursions and was then largely dismantled in the mid-17th century. Some sections of it remain, though, with the best preserved of these found in the Vennel, which is just to the west of Grassmarket, on the west side of the Pleasance and in Greyfriars churchyard.

You can just visit one part of the wall or go on a short walking tour between the various sections that remain - this is actually a lovely way to explore a bit more of Edinburgh’s Old Town too.

St Anthony’s Chapel
Where: Holyrood Park

In the central part of Holyrood Park are the remains of St Anthony’s Chapel, a small religious building that is thought to have been associated with the nearby Holyrood Abbey. This site is rather intriguing because so little is known about its past.

It’s thought that it could date back as far as the 1300s and, as well as the possibility of it being an outlying chapel for the abbey, there is a theory that it acted as some kind of beacon for religious seafarers on their way up the River Forth thanks to its prominent hillside location.

Only parts of the north wall are still standing today, but despite this it’s worth a visit for the stunning views. You can only reach it on foot, but it’s a lovely walk and a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s streets for an afternoon.

Edinburgh is one of the UK's most beautiful historical cities, home to countless stunning buildings and wonderful attractions to explore. It should come as no surprise that the best way to get around here is on foot.

We're going to give you a suggested walking tour between just three of Edinburgh's beautiful churches. The route we're recommending also leads you past several of the city's other top attractions, so take your time and enjoy this journey of discovery.

Starting point: St Mary's Cathedral
Palmerston Place

St Mary's Cathedral is one of the iconic sights on Edinburgh's skyline, with its three spires making it easy to find. This has the honour of being the largest ecclesiastical building in Scotland and it's a spectacular example of Victorian architecture.

Take some time to admire the spires towering above you and its impressive facade before venturing inside. There are a few features to look out for in the cathedral, including the Lorimer Rood Cross (a national war memorial created in 1922) that hangs above the Nave Altar and the Paolozzi Window - a beautiful stained glass piece based around the Ascension that was designed by Sir Edward Paolozzi.

It's worth noting that the cathedral opens its doors at 07:30 every day, so if you want to get an early start on your walking tour you won't have to skip the treasures inside.

Next stop: Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk
Greyfriars Place
Walking time without stops: approximately 30 minutes (1.2 miles)

From St Mary's Cathedral, head south-east down Palmerston Place and cross over the A8, following Torpichen Street. Continue on the road as it curves south and merges into Morrison Street. Keep walking along this road, you'll pass an Odeon Cinema on your right just before you cross the A700 and find yourself on Bread Street.

Continue straight on and take a slight left on to West Port. This street leads you to Grassmarket, an excellent place to have a break before you move on to Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk.

Grassmarket is a charming old market area that's now home to a range of independent stores, quaint cafes and outstanding restaurants. There are several great pubs here, too, with some - such as The Last Drop and Maggie Dickson - boasting names that allude to the square's history as a place for public executions.

Aside from the shopping, food and drink, another reason to pause in Grassmarket is for the wonderful views of Edinburgh Castle, which is clearly visible above the buildings to the north of the square. If you want to get a closer look at the castle, detour just before you enter Grassmarket - take a left on to King Stables Road, you can always retrace your steps to get back to the main route.

Once you've finished exploring Grassmarket, make your way on to Cowgatehead. You'll reach a roundabout very shortly and you need to bear right on to Candlemaker Row. There are several restaurants along this street - including the aptly-named Greyfriars Bobby Bar - at the bottom of the road, turn right on to Greyfriars.

Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk

Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk has the distinction of being the first church to be constructed in the city following the Reformation, with the current building dating from 1620. In addition to the church, there's also a museum detailing the site's history.

In the museum you can learn about worship at the Kirk throughout the centuries and see a number of important artefacts, including an original copy of the National Covenant, which was signed in 1638.

You can also learn about the story of Greyfriars Bobby, a dog who waited faithfully by his master's grave for years. There's even a statue erected in his honour opposite the gates of the church.

The Kirk and museum are only open to the public between April and October, from 10:30 to 16:30 Monday to Friday and from 11:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. One of the great things about visiting this site, though, is the volunteers who are more than happy to take you on a tour and regale you with stories of its past.

Next stop: St Giles' Cathedral

High Street
Walking time without stops: approximately five minutes (0.3 miles)

It's a nice, short walk from Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk to the final stop on our walking tour - St Giles' Cathedral. Wander back up Greyfriars to Candlemaker Row and follow it to its end, where it meets George IV Bridge.

Turn left on to this street and follow it straight along - unless you fancy another detour. Just after you turn on to George IV Bridge, you'll reach the National Museum of Scotland on the right-hand side of the road.

There is a lot to see in this museum, with its extensive exhibits spread over 36 galleries. The temporary exhibitions regularly change so check what will be on when you're travelling to Edinburgh in case there's anything that particularly appeals to you. Among the permanent displays are artefacts relating to Scottish history (six galleries are dedicated to this subject) and a series of exhibits about the natural world.

Once you've had your fill of the museum's astounding collections, walk to the end of George IV Bridge and turn right on to High Street. Just over halfway down this road you'll find St Giles' Cathedral on the right.

Final stop: St Giles' Cathedral

St Giles' Cathedral was founded in the 1120s and although little of this original structure remains, what you can see is a wonderful example of 15th century Gothic architecture. Its crown spire is its most noticeable external feature, while inside you'll discover beautiful stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings. There are also several ornate tombs within the cathedral for important historical figures, such as James Graham, Marquess of Montrose and Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll.

The cathedral is open all year round, although it does close early in the winter months (at 17:00 between October and April, as opposed to 19:00 between May and September). Entry is free, but a small donation of £3 is suggested.

Views of Edinburgh Castle

It’s the most iconic monument in the city and dominates its skyline, so if you want to capture Edinburgh in all its glory - whether on film, with paints or in pencil - you need to be somewhere that you have a good view of Edinburgh Castle.

Princess Street Gardens - which are picturesque in their own right - boast excellent views of the castle perched atop its rocky crag. Sit close to the ornamental fountain for the best vantage point.

Arthur’s Seat - the tallest of Edinburgh’s hills - is another wonderful spot to visit, particularly if you want panoramic views not only of the castle, but also the rest of the city. If you’ve got aspirations of being a budding painter, take a little tip - don’t try to set up your easel on the hill, take some good photos of the view in front of you and then use those to help you create your masterpiece somewhere a little more comfortable!


Capture Edinburgh’s Old City

Edinburgh’s Old City area is wonderfully atmospheric, making it the perfect place if you’re looking for some artistic inspiration. While the architecture itself is truly stunning, what makes it really special is that all the buildings and streets here are steeped in history.

To capture Edinburgh’s Old City at its best, head to the top of Carlton Hill, which allows you to look down over the winding streets below. Aside from its views, Carlton Hill is also a great spot to visit because from here you can sometimes watch as the sea mist rolls across the city from the Forth - a fantastic image to get down on paper or on film.

Rosslyn Chapel

There are many interesting and beautiful churches in Edinburgh but for art lovers, a visit to the Rosslyn Chapel is a must. This historical place of worship, which dates back to the mid-15th century, is home to some stunning works of art.

The whole church - inside and out - is covered by intricate sculptures and stone carvings depicting both biblical and historical scenes. Inside the chapel are carvings of plants - some native to Scotland and others from much further afield - while elsewhere you can see sculptures of knights, angels, figures from the nativity and the green man, who is traditionally associated with paganism.

Wander into the sacristy, meanwhile, and you can still make out drawings of the chapel’s original design that were etched into the walls by the architects.


Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Moving on now to one of Edinburgh’s best galleries - and a more traditional source of artistic inspiration - the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Within its walls are more than 30,000 pieces of varying genres, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and drawings.

Within this vast exhibition space, contemporary art is displayed along with classic pieces, so there’s a lot to take in and enjoy. The exhibits regularly change, so even if you visit Edinburgh frequently you’ll find something new to enjoy here.

Among the highlights in its collection are portraits of some of Scotland’s most famous figures, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Prince Charles Edward Stewart.


Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

This is one of the venues for a Big Draw event, but first we’re going to look at what’s on show here in case you can’t make it to Edinburgh this month. The gallery is split into two parts - Modern One and Modern Two - with the former home to cubist, expressionist and modern British art, while the latter is where you’ll find a permanent installation by Turner Prize winner Richard Wright, as well as a re-creation of Eduard Paolozzi’s studio.

On October 26th, Modern One will host a Halloween-themed Big Draw event for families, where you can have a go at making the likes of a dancing skeleton, a magic wand and even a witch.

If you plan to attend this event, make sure you also browse the pieces in the gallery, which includes works by David Hockney, Antony Gormley and Pablo Picasso.


Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Our final suggestion to get your creative juices flowing is to spend some time admiring the works in the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. One of the most interesting exhibitions on show at the moment is Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man.

This amazing collection is dedicated to his anatomical studies and is made up of his sketches and notes relating to the human body. Da Vinci conducted a number of autopsies in the winter of 1510-11 to help him better understand how the body worked.