Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, has been the center of Scottish history for well over 1000 years.
It is entirely possible to spend a month here without ever seeing all that the city has to offer. However if you have a few days to spend there, here are the 12 best places to go:
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is probably the most recognisable landmark in the Scottish Capital.
Perched it the end of a rocky outcrop it’s been the center of Scottish royalty for centuries.
It’s now home to a fascinating museum and the Stone Of Scone on which all Scottish (and now United Kingdom) monarchs are coronated.
2. Royal Mile
The Royal mile refers to gentle sloped street connecting the Castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom.
It’s the oldest part of the city with many buildings well over 400 years old.
Just off the Royal Mile is Grassmarket, the site of a mediaeval market and the site for public executions.
It’s now a haven for tourists and visitors with eclectic shops, bars and restaurants.
4. New Town
In the middle of the 18th century it was decided to build a ‘New’ Town opposite the castle due to chronic overcrowding on the main city centre near the Royal Mile (the ‘Old’ Town).
It is now one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in the world.
5. Scott Monument
Scott Monument | VisitScotland
Sir Walter Scott was one of Scotland’s great literary figures.
This monument to him and his life was built on his death in 1832.
6. Holyrood Palace
The Queen’s official residence in Scotland.
It sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile and is close to the (much newer) Scottish Parliament.
7. Princes Street
The main thoroughfare in the city it splits the Old Town and New Town.
Also the main shopping area of the city, and home to the most raucous celebrations of Hogmanay (New Year) in the city.
8. The Royal Yacht Britannia
The Queen’s beloved Royal Yacht Britannia – used to carry her around the Commonwealth on official tours – was decommissioned in the 1990s.
It now sits in dry dock in Edinburgh and is home to a fascinating exhibition of her service to the United Kingdom.
9. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
More of an event than an actual place, the world famous Edinburgh Tattoo is a show of all the best military marching bands.
Occurring in August every year it takes place on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
10. Arthur’s Seat
A rocky outcome towering over the city, this is a great way to escape the city center.
Once climbed (a stenuous but not difficult climb) you have a brilliant view of the Castle and town.
11. Walkway, Leith
Leith, to the east of the city, has often been seen as the poor cousin of Edinburgh.
Featured in the film Trainspotting it has long been a run down place that would not normally warrant a visit.
However in recent years this port town has seen significant investment and is now a great (and safe) place to visit – especially alongside the waterway, the Water Of Leith.
12. Calton Hill
Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s main hills, set right in the city centre. Initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, it was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, as a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars. Building began in 1822, but funds ran dry and celebrated Edinburgh architect William Playfair only saw a facade of his building completed.