Top Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a bustling and vibrant city, steeped in history. There are a host of festivals throughout the year, so there is no shortage of things to do! Below is a few of best things to do and see in Edinburgh:


Edinburgh is known throughout the world as the Festival City. This started in 1947 when it hosting the first Edinburgh International Festival. Since then it has grown and grown, celebrating it’s 70th anniversary in 2017, whilst many new festivals has sprung up around it.

Below are a few of the most famous:

Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh Film Festival
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Edinburgh Art Festival
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
Edinburgh International Science Festival
• Plus many more…

History and Landscape

As a very historic city, Edinburgh has many landmarks for you to visit. From Edinburgh Castle (see below) to the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh is very much a merge of the old and the new. There a lot of tours (walking or by bus) available, they’re a great way to learn more about some of the city’s most interesting features.

Edinburgh is a very green city and there a some lovely areas to take a walk or relax during sunny days within a short distance of the city centre:

Princess Street Gardens – Arguable one of Edinburgh’s most famous green spaces, located in the heart of the city centre. For a quick escape from the buzz of the city, Princes Street Gardens is a great place to revive yourself.
The Meadows – Located in the southside of the city, The Meadows is a popular spot all year round but in autumn it is extra special as its tree lined paths create a carpet of crisp leaves.
Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park – Arthur’s Seat is one of four hill forts, dating from around 2,000 years ago. Situated within Holyrood Park, as well as it’s rich cultural heritage, the park offers walks, solace, wildlife, volcanic geology and unparalleled vistas of the city from its many vantage points. The landscape of Holyrood Park gains even more of a rugged charm in the autumn months as tones of brown take over the rolling hills.
The Water of Leith – Starting from beautiful Pentland Hills, running through the city and finishing at the outflow into the Firth of Forth at Leith, the Water of Leith offers a variety of idyllic walking spots along its twenty four mile route. One of the most popular spots is around Dean Village, a former water milling community which still has many of its stunning 19th Century buildings.
Royal Botanic Gardens – The Botanics offers visitors peace and tranquility amongst its stunning 72 acres in Edinburgh city centre. Founded in 1670, the Garden is acknowledged to be one of the finest in the world.

Edinburgh Castle

Towering over the city is the famous Edinburgh Castle. Built on top of volcanic outcrop, the views from the castle allows you views of the whole city and sometimes on a clear day you can see all the way to Fife!

There is a lot to view at the Castle, however, so if you’re desperate to see absolutely everything, it might be worth considering going in the morning, or at least a little earlier, instead.

Christmas and Hogmanay

Edinburgh is one of the best places in the world to celebrate the New Year. Thousands of people take to the city’s streets, parks and pubs to celebrate Hogmanay every December 31st. No visit to Edinburgh during the festive season is complete without taking in the city’s atmosphere on New Year’s Eve.

Also on during the Christmas period is the Street of Light. This 60,000 bulb strong display hosts nightly performances until Christmas Eve, accompanied with music from local choirs and bands.

Another huge tourist attraction is the Christmas markets, which cater to everyone’s tastes.

The Royal Military Tattoo

The Edinburgh Military tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed at the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams. Held during the month of August each year, The Tattoo coincides with the Fringe Festival and International Festival. This really is a must when visiting Edinburgh and really provides for the experience of a lifetime though dress warmly, as it is outdoors and the seating in the esplanade is uncovered!