Edinburgh is a beautiful and historic city full of exciting nooks and crannies to explore and spectacular annual events to enjoy. The city is also well connected to the rest of the UK, making day trips to other parts of scenic Scotland, England and Wales eminently accessible. Here are some of Edinburgh's best offerings of things to see and do.
Recommended attractions in Edinburgh
This old and magnificent fortress was once home to kings and queens and was involved in numerous historic conflicts. A centre point of the city, the castle deserves an afternoon for a full tour – and expats shouldn't forget to take a moment to admire the magnificent view of Edinburgh from outside the castle.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland, this stunning property is situated at the foot of Arthur’s Seat in the midst of Holyrood Park. Tours are available all year round, except when the Royal Family is in residence, usually one week per year. Highlights include the Throne Room, the Great Gallery, the Royal Dining Room and the personal chambers of Mary Queen of Scots.
Running from Edinburgh Castle through to Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile is a favourite tourist spot. Lining the streets of the Royal Mile is an eclectic mix of tourist shops, pubs and historical attractions.
John Knox House
Traditionally assumed to have been the one-time home of the Protestant reformer, tours of this house allow the visitor a chance to explore a well-preserved 15th-century home while learning about the historic conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants.
After the infamous castle, Edinburgh’s second most notable landmark is Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that forms the main peak of the group of hills forming Holyrood Park. The climb to the top is relatively quick, and the effort is richly rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city and beyond.
Royal Botanic Garden
Set in the beautiful Inverleith area, the Royal Botanic Garden offers visitors the chance to stroll through beautifully manicured gardens, explore contemporary art exhibits, and to learn about the research taking place within.
Mary King’s Close
The subject of many spine-tingling myths and legends, these underground alleyways are well worth visiting. Embark on a tour led by an in-character guide for a fascinating look into the lives of the residents over the Close's several hundred years of history.