Top Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. During the summer, there are plenty of festivals.  From the largest Fringe Festival, the International Book Festival, and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival, there’s always something going on.

If you’re planning on visiting Edinburgh during the summer months, make sure to book your hotel in advance. Here are some of the top things to do in Edinburgh.

Climb Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat

Calton Hill is also known as Scotland’s disgrace due to the unfinished copy of the Parthenon. Money ran out during construction of the monument, and it now sits unfinished. Calton Hill is free to climb and only takes about five minutes. Arthur’s Seat is a slightly larger hill at about 250m. It’s close to Holyrood Palace, and the climb is also pretty easy.

Edinburgh Dungeon

Learn about Edinburgh’s dark and interesting past as demonstrated by live actors. The dungeons take you through 11 different stages, lasting just over an hour.

The stories include Burke and Hare, the duo who murdered innocent people, or the Bean family, who killed people and ate their bodies.

National Museum of Scotland

A large museum with five floors and thousands of artifacts, you can spend hours here and still not see everything. Attendance is free, and you can even arrange for a guided tour. If museums aren’t your thing, head there anyway for the rooftop garden overlooking the city.

Street Performers

While August is the busiest and best time to catch the street performers in Edinburgh, you’ll be able to see them year-round.

Walk along the Royal Mile or Princes Street, and you’re certain to catch a juggler, fire breather, or another performer.

Firebreather at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

Craigmillar Castle

This castle is often overlooked by people wanting to go to the Edinburgh Castle instead. The Craigmillar Castle is roughly 40 minutes from the city centre by bus. Because visitors often miss the castle, you can avoid large crowds. Also, tickets are much cheaper compared to the Edinburgh Castle. Once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, most of this this 14th century ruin is still intact for you to explore.

Edinburgh Castle

A well-preserved castle dating back to the 12th century, it’s hard to miss since it sits on an extinct volcano in the centre of the city. While there, you can visit St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh.

Take a Ghost Tour

Edinburgh is known as one of the most haunted cities in the world. There are a number of companies offering different types of ghost tours that even include visits to haunted graveyards.

You can also arrange for a tour of the underground vaults in Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s poor once resided here and are now said to linger as ghosts.

Good Eats

The Scottish aren’t exactly known for their great cuisine, but while you’re there, you need to try some of their national dishes. Don’t miss out on haggis with neeps and tatties, and there’s even a veggie option available that tastes like the real thing. Make sure you also try a deep-fried Mars bar and some chips with salt and sauce. It’s an Edinburgh speciality.


This is part of the #HipmunkCityLove project


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