This is my second visit to the small and hilly Scottish capital. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful UK cities – the combination of medieval architecture and stunning scenery makes it is a must visit city if you are heading to the Scotland. Here are 7 things not to be missed in Edinburgh:
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle on Castle Rock dominates the Edinburgh Skyline and is key attraction for visitors to the Scottish Capital. The historic fortress was built in 12th Century (under David I) and it went on to later become military barracks and then a tourist attraction. Edinburgh Castle has historically been the home of many Kings and Queens. Queen Margaret died there in 1093 and Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566 (https://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/discover/about-the-castle). As a visitor to the castle today, some of the highlights that you will experience include The Great Hall, The Royal Palace, The Crown Jewels and the National War Memorial.
If you would like to buy tickets online and skip the queue, click here.
2. St Giles Cathedral
St Giles’ Cathedral (Church of Scotland) is stunning inside and out. If you would like to photograph the interior of the Church, you need a permit for just £2 at the visitors desk. I also recommend that you pay the £3 entry to the Knights room, well worth it.
3. Scotch Whiskey Experience
Learn about how Scotch Whiskey is made and enjoy an afternoon of Whiskey Tasting at The Scotch Whiskey Experience. You even get a mini train ride in a giant barrel! Just don’t do what we did and spend the evening in a Sauna – it’s easy to underestimate the power of the Whiskey!
4. Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo, approximately 20 minutes from the city centre, is the only UK Zoo that is home to a Giant Panda. Other highlights include Rhinos, Penguins and Koalas. If you would like to stay near Edinburgh Zoo, I recommend the Holiday Inn – right next door!
Seeing the #GiantPanda #TianTian at #EdinburghZoo! This is the second time in my life I’ve seen a #panda, the first was in #Chengdu, #China. We thought that she wasn’t coming out after 4 visits to her enclosure and no success, but 5th time lucky! #iphonevideo #iphonevideography #pandanjaya #pandatime #panda
5. Greyfriars Bobby
The story of the dog who wouldn’t leave his owners grave stole the hearts of the people of Edinburgh in 1872. Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who guarded his owners grave for 14 years until he himself died in 1872. A statue has been built in the lovely little dogs honour. Visitors to Greyfriars Church often leave sticks at Bobby’s grave. Every day they are cleared, and every day they reappear!
6. Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is a short hike (30-40 minutes) to the peak of the largest hill in Edinburgh, located in Holyrood Park. Arthur’s Seat itself is one of four hill forts, dating back around 2000 years ago. No one really knows where it got it’s name, but there is talk of it being the site of the legendary Camelot, King Arthur and his Knights.
7. The Scott Monument
The Scott monument is the largest monument to a writer in the whole world, commemorating Sir Walter Scott. It’s near Waverley Station and Princes Street Gardens, also worth a quick look.
Further reading on Edinburgh
If you are visiting this city, you might also want to read about what you can do in 48 hours in Edinburgh and the best Edinburgh Coffee shops. The weather in Scotland can be rather cold and wet, so if you want advice on what to take, check out this guide on What to pack for Scotland.