Attractions in Edinburgh
To experience all the attractions of Edinburgh, it is probably an advantage to be good to the bone. With castles at the top of a volcano and a mountain at the end of the tourist trap the Royal Mile, this is often the case. But Edinburgh also offers culture in the form of museum, literature and, not least, world-class whiskey.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
You must have enough stamina to climb a path up a 122 meter high cliff to reach the foremost of Edinburgh’s attractions, Edinburgh Castle. This well-preserved fortress has been in use for over a thousand years, and is located on top of an extinct volcano, with nearly vertical mountain walls on three sides. The castle has had an important role in Scottish history for several centuries. Entrance costs about 135 kroner.
Address: Johnston Terrace
Edinburgh Zoo is Edinburgh’s second most visited attraction and is located in Murrayfield, half a mile west of downtown. There are regular buses from Princes Street. The zoo has polar bears, koala bears, white rhinos, gorillas, dwarf hippos and the world’s largest zoo community of penguins.
Here lives among other royal queen Nils Olav II, who is a mascot and colonel in the royal garden in Norway. The zoo is open from 0930 to 1800. (Until 1630 in winter) Entry price about 100 NOK for adult, children pay about 65 NOK.
Address: Corstorphine Road
Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center
At The Royal Mile, more specifically 354 Castle Hill, is the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center. This center takes care of everything that has to do with Scottish whiskey, with both guided tours, information, restaurant and of course a bar with over 300 types of Scottish whiskey. Open every day from 1000 to 1800, the entrance fee costs NOK 110 for adults. Children half price.
Address: 354 – 358 Castle Hill
The National Museum of Scotland
Scotland’s National Museum is located in Chambers Street, and is actually two museums under one roof. The Royal Museum deals with nature, science, culture and art, while the Museum of Scotland presents Scotland’s history, culture and people. It is open daily from 1000 to 1700 and has free admission. Address: 139, Cowgate
The National Gallery of Scotland
In The Mound, in the middle of Princes Street Gardens, is the National Gallery. Here you will find works of art by international artists such as Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Gogh.
Open daily from 1000 to 1700, to 1900 on Thursdays. Free admission. Address: the Mound
High Kirk of St Giles
Also at The Royal Mile, in Parliament Square, you will find High Kirk of St Giles, or St Giles Cathedral. This is a landmark in Edinburgh, and the most important church, especially for prebyterians. There have been churches here since the 13th century. Open every day from 0900 to 1700, Sundays from 1300. Free admission, but a donation is expected.
Address: 40 Candlemaker Row
The Palace of Holyroodhouse The
Palace of Holyroodhouse is the British Queen’s official home in Edinburgh, and has been a royal residence for over 700 years. The palace was originally built as a monastery in 1128. The palace is open to the public and you can take a guided tour and see the historic royal comforts, galleries, reception rooms and more.
In summer, the beautiful castle park is also open. Entrance about 100 kroner, children about 55 kroner. Holyroodhouse is located in Canongate, at the eastern end of The Royal Mile, and is open from 0930 to 1800. (Until 1630 in winter)
Address: 158 Easter Road
If you’re one of the many millions of readers who was intrigued by Dan Brown’s novel DaVinci Code, you probably remember Rosslyn Chapel from the book’s closing chapters.
This church is very real and is located in the village of Roslin, about a mile south of Edinburgh city center. Built in the 15th century, it has been visited by countless kings and queens throughout history. Open from 0930 to 1700 or 1800 every day except Sundays, the church opens 1200. Entrance 90 NOK.
The Writers Museum
Scotland has fostered several great authors, and these are celebrated at the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum, located in the house where national poet Robert Burns lived, in Lady Stairs Close on Lawnmarket. We may mention Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure of the Pirate Island, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Peter Pan writer JM Barrie, Ole Brumm’s father AAMilne and Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe).
More recently, Alistair MacLean, Ewan McTeagle and Irvine Welsh have made their mark, and Harry Potters creator JKRowling lives in Edinburgh. The museum has free admission and is open daily from 1000 to 1700 Monday to Saturday. Address: Lady Stairs House, Lawnmarket
Tourist in Edinburgh
Edinburgh city center is relatively compact, and most of the sights and attractions are within walking distance of each other for a reasonably diverse person.
If you prefer to take a guided tour around the city, there are plenty of opportunities. An easy and inexpensive alternative to seeing most attractions while getting relevant information and transport is to use the Hop On Hop Off buses. The ticket costs around NOK 100 for adults and 40 for children, and the buses have thirteen fixed stops where you can get off the bus and stay as long as you want.
The buses pass every 30 minutes and you continue at your convenience. The main stop is the Waverley Bridge in front of the train station east of Princes Street Gardens, but you can hop on and pay anywhere.
If you are going to be in Edinburgh for a few days and plan to visit the main sights, consider investing in an Edinburgh Pass. This gives you free access to over 30 attractions, transportation to and from the airport and free use of public transport. The passport costs about NOK 260 for one day, NOK 390 for two days and NOK 520 for three days. This can be purchased at the tourist offices or on the Internet.
Day 1 in Edinburgh
After breakfast, head for Edinburgh’s premier landmark, on the west end of the Royal Mile. Yes, Edinburgh Castle is teeming with tourists, but you may not be familiar with missing the castle during your visit to Scotland’s capital. Edinburgh Castle you notice almost as soon as you arrive in Edinburgh, where it lies majestically on top of a 122 meter high cliff, with vertical mountain walls on three sides.
Inside the castle, we recommend that you join us on a tour together with a knowledgeable guide who can tell you what has happened here and thus give you considerably more benefit from the visit. You can easily spend all day in the castle grounds if you are interested in history, as this place has played a role in almost all the important events in Scotland’s history.
It has been a castle here for over a thousand years, although most of what you see today dates from the 17th century. The exception is the 12th-century St. Margaret’s Chapel. The chapel is named after King Malcolm III’s saintly declared wife, and Malcolm himself will forever be remembered as the inspiration behind Macbeth. Notice the huge cannon that stands outside the chapel. It is called Mons Meg and is from 1449.
Edinburgh Castle was the residence of the Scottish Kings until the Palace of Holyroodhouse was completed at the other end of the Royal Mile, and since then the castle has been used by the military. They guard The Honors, the Scottish crown jewels, stored in The Crown Room.
Here is also the country’s most precious item, The Stone Of Destiny, on which the Scottish kings have been crowned. You can visit Crown Square, which is the fortress at the top of the castle, and the National War Museum that deals with Scottish military history from the last 400 years. Every year in the courtyard is the hugely popular Military Tattoo, which was initially a parade of Scottish bagpipe and drum corps, but which has evolved into an international event in recent decades.
Walking down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
When you finish Edinburgh Castle, you can stroll down Esplanade, the ground that is, in practice, the start of the Royal Mile. Here is the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center. This center takes care of everything that has to do with Scottish whiskey, with both guided tours, information, restaurant and of course a bar with over 300 types of Scottish whiskey.
Maybe this is a convenient place to sit down for lunch? You may find numerous dining options as you continue your mandatory hike through the Royal Mile.
Just below the Whiskey Center, at the bottom of Castlehill, lies St John’s Highland Church, which has Edinburgh’s highest spire of 73 meters and is a landmark in the city. Here are the offices of the Edinburgh Festival. If you continue down Lawnmarket and turn left into Bank Street, you will come to Edinburgh’s Authors Museum, located in the house where Scots national poet Robert Burns once lived.
Scotland has nurtured a remarkable number of writers who have written classics, and here you can get to know some of them, first and foremost Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.
Back on the Royal Mile, you quickly reach Parliament Square, with its sights. Most notable is St.Giles Cathedral named after the city patron saint. This is perhaps the most important church in Edinburgh. There have been churches here since the 13th century, but today’s church dates back to the 16th century. On the ground, on the west side of the cathedral, you can see the Heart of Midlothian, a heart-shaped mosaic in the cobblestone, which marks the centerpiece of the Midlothian region. Many passers-by spit on the mosaic, an ancient tradition that will bring happiness.
On the east side of the cathedral stands Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross, or Market Cross. This is the place where the area’s merchants gathered, and was also the scene of executions and important publications.
The entire south side of Parliament Square is dominated by the neon-class facade of the Parliament building, where the Scottish Parliament met from 1639 to 2004. Today, the Supreme Court resides in this building.
If you continue down the High Street section of the Royal Mile, you will surely notice a strange looking house on your left at # 43-45. This is the John Knox House, dating back to 1470, and must have been the home of the religious reformer John Knox. Dramatic episodes in Scotland’s turbulent history have taken place here. The house is part of the Scottish Storytellers Center. On the other side of the street you will find the slightly more digestible Museum of Childhood, with its vast collection of toys, including puppets, doll houses, model railways, tricycles and teddy bears.
If you’ve actually been to all these museums, you’ve probably got your dose of culture for today and might want to spend the rest of the afternoon at some of High Street’s many small shops or pubs.
After a look back at your hotel, it’s time to think about dinner. Just above John Knox House is the Dubh Prais restaurant, the name is Gaelic for Black Casserole. This is very popular with both locals and tourists, and offers all kinds of Scottish traditional food, from Aberdeen Angus meat, salmon, deer and of course haggis.
If you want to test Edinburgh’s legendary nightlife afterwards, you should move a quarter south, to the Cowgate parallel street, and from here work west in the direction of Grassmarket. On this stretch you will find more than enough lively pubs, clubs and bars to keep you active for far into the night.
Day 2 in Edinburgh
We start the next day where we left yesterday, in the High Street on the Royal Mile, and continue east. You will pass the 16th century Canongate Tollbooth building, a precursor to today’s toll stations, but much more stylish with its towers and clocks. The building today houses a free museum, The Peoples Story.
Across the street is the Museum of Edinburgh in 142 Canongate. Further down in Canongate (on the right) you pass the new Scottish Parliament building, which opened in 2004. This was very controversial, both because of its futuristic appearance and that it was designed by a Spaniard and not a Scotsman.
Next to the Scottish Parliament building is the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This is the British Queen’s official home in Edinburgh, and has been a royal residence for over 700 years.
The palace was built as a monastery in 1128, but the monastery’s church collapsed in the 18th century and still stands as a ruin next door. The palace is open to the public, and you can take a guided tour and see some of the historic royal comforts, galleries, reception rooms and more.
Afterwards you can enter the large Holyrood Park park south of the palace, and if you feel fit to go up to the top, you will be rewarded with an excellent view from Edinburgh’s highest point, called Arthur’s Seat, 251 meters above sea level. not as far as it looks, and the first climb is the heaviest.
City Manager in New Town – Edinburgh
Back on the Royal Mile you can move north and cross the Princes Street Gardens over to New Town. Along the way you will definitely find a pub or cafe where you can have a well-deserved lunch. New Town’s main street Princes Street is Edinburgh’s answer to Karl Johan in Oslo, and there are countless stores, including the world’s oldest department store, Jenners.
For the rest of the day, enjoy strolling around Princes Street or the parallel street of George Street, with lively breaks in some of the area’s pubs. Or, if you’re ready for more culture, the Scottish National Gallery is located at The Mound in Princes Street Gardens. Here you can see works of art by international artists such as Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Gogh. Free admission.
In the evening, you should retire to the Old Town, where you have a lot better selection of both dining and nightlife than New Town, or you can try your hand at one of the many restaurants that are lined up in Edinburgh’s waterfront, Leith.