I have had the privilege of visiting Edinburgh twice, the first was on a Year 11 school trip in the middle of February (It was a bitterly cold few days). The second was just over a year later with my college friends in July (although it wasn’t much warmer). As we are currently in Lockdown some of these places we are currently unable to visit due to COVID restrictions. Nonetheless, this is my roundup of the top 10 places to visit if you ever do have the chance to stay in the city.
One of the first places we visited on both occasions in the city was Edinburgh Castle. The castle which is now over 900 years old sits above the rest of the city, on what is called castle rock. Which is estimated to have been formed over 350 million years ago by a volcanic explosion. You are able to explore the castle by guided tour or on your own accord, and it is open daily all year round with the exception of Christmas, ‘Boxing day & New years day.’
The Royal Mile
This historic street leads the way between Edinburgh castle in the west and Holyroodhouse also referred to as the Palace of Holyrood in the east. The street is seen as the heart of Edinburgh old town and features many traditional Scottish shops along its length. Additionally, some notable attractions along the street are the Camera Obscura and the Museum of Childhood!
Camera Obscura & World Of illusions
The third place on this list is one that may leave you slightly dazed and confused after a visit here. The world of illusions attraction features five different floors of confusing and baffling illusions that is a great experience for people of all ages, but children especially will definitely find this one a treat! When you have reached the top you also get to see the views of the city from the top of the building, which is lovely unless it is rather windy as it was when we were there!
Princess Street & Gardens
This street and its accompanying gardens lie in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The vast open space has many historical monuments throughout and is an ideal place for a quick walk or a short rest while exploring the city itself. We spent quite a lot of time here on my second visit as it gave us a welcome break from the tourist full streets.
Arthurs Seat & Salisbury Crags
If you’re looking for a picturesque view of the city this is exactly where you want to be! These natural landmarks look out over the city and give a great view of the castle. (Without having to pay the entry fee!) There are many ways in which you can walk this route, but it should be around a short 3 miles walk for the full experience.
If you enjoy a show this is the perfect place to visit during your time in Edinburgh. The theatre opened to the public over 90 years ago in 1929 and hosts a wide range of different shows from comedy, to pantomime, live bands and touring productions.
Museum Of Childhood
This museum was the first of its kind to be dedicated to the history of childhood. You are able to explore 5 different galleries filled with toys, games and much more-dating from the 1800s to the present day. However, be warned some of the displays may be rather creepy! I strongly wouldn’t advise watching a horror film such as Annabelle before your visit!
The Elephant House
Credited as the origin of the Harry Potter books this little café is situated in the heart of Edinburgh. This is an ideal rest-stop to cosy up in on a cold day. JK Rowling also spent much time here writing and looking out over Castle Rock in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The statue of a loyal Skye terrier who became famous in the 19th century after spending 14 years guarding his owner’s grave before his own death in 1872. His nose now appears gold due to it being rubbed by tourists to bring apparent good luck. However, the Edinburgh council are now urging people to only gently touch the statue to preserve it.
National Museum Of Scotland
The last place on this list is fitting if you want to learn more about Scotland, its culture & rich history. The museum is free to enter and has a wide range of exhibitions available to view. Some of the future exhibitions include: The Galloway Hoard: Viking-age Treasure, Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Scotland’s Climate Challenge.