Visiting Edinburgh: Everything You Need To Know

visiting Edinburgh

Thinking about visiting Edinburgh?

Great choice!

Edinburgh has tons of beautiful architecture and scenery. It’s one of the coolest cities you’ll ever visit!

If you’re plan on taking a trip to Edinburgh in the future…

This post will help in telling you what to expect!

This post is going to go over:

  • Getting Around Edinburgh
  • Top Things To Do In Edinburgh
  • Where To Stay When Visiting Edinburgh
  • Best Time Of Year To Visit Edinburgh

You’ll be much more prepared for Edinburgh after reading this post.

Are you excited already?

Us too!

Let’s get started!

Getting Around Edinburgh

Currency

Edinburgh currently uses the Great Britain Pound as its form of currency. The pound often holds a higher value than the Euro and the US dollar. Make sure you know the exchange before you go. It can ruin your trip if you’re not prepared for the extra costs.

Flying Into Edinburgh Airport?

Edinburgh Airport is just 12 km outside of the city center. Once you land, the city center is easily accessible by train, bus, or taxi.

Getting Around Town

Edinburgh has a fantastic bus service that you can rely on to get you around the city. There are many routes that from around 5 in the morning until midnight. Take a look at the different routes offered as you plan your trip. You can probably use the bus system the entire time!

Another great option is the Edinburgh Tram System. The tram system can take you to all the popular parts of town for an affordable price. Check out ticket prices and hours of operation here!

Tops Things to See/Do in Edinburgh

The Natural Museum of Scotland

The Natural Museum of Scotland opened in 2011. It attracts over 2 million visitors yearly.

Within the 16 galleries are exhibits that include:

  • world discoveries
  • fashion and design
  • Scottish history
  • science and technology
  • art
  • East Asia and Egyptian artifacts
  • world cultures

Admission is free and you can eat at three restaurants, and shop at the museum store.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is a road that connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Hollyrood House. You’ll know when you’re there when you see the narrow alleys and tall buildings over 15 feet tall.

Along this road, you’ll find charming shops, historical museums, cafes, and restaurants.

Some of the items the shops on the Royale Mile sell include: cigars, whiskey, clothing, fudge, and crafts.

Some of the most notable places are:

  • Camera Obscura World of Illusions  Museum
  • Gladstone Land’s a six floor merchant house with paintings, furntiture, and antiques.
  • Tour the underground city, haunted spots and graveyards  with Cadies and Witchery Tours and City of the Dead Tours.

Maybe you’ll have time to visit all of them!

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is 70 acres of amazing gardens.

Here are some of the things you’ll find throughout the 70 acres:

  • over 3000 exotic species of plants
  • 10 glasshouses with different climate zones
  • their world famous rhododendron flower collection
  • a giant redwood tree garden
  • a contemporary art gallery

You can also eat at the Dawck Cafe and enjoy exhibits, special events, and tours.

While admission is free to enter the Royal Botanic Garden, they do charge fees to enter the Glasshouse. Many travelers still believe the cost to get in is worth it.

Calton Hill and National Scottish Monument

Calton Hill and National Scottish Monument provides you with a panoramic view of the city of Edinburgh. This is the place to stop at for pictures.

You can see everything!

You’ll have great views of Princess Hill, Royal High School, the castle, the docks, the city and the surrounding areas.

The National Monument is there to honor the fallen troops of the Napoleanic War. It’s designed to resemble the parthenon in Athens.

Arthurs Seat

Arthurs Seat is the highest location in terms of elevation in Hollyrood Park.

And it has an even better view than Calton Hill!

From this spot you can view the entire city of Edinburgh. Bring your cameras here too!

In its past, the 640 acres used to be an active volcano and a well preserved fort.

Some of the highlights include:

  • St. Anthonys – a 15th century medival chapel called
  • Salisbury Craigs –  a 150 foot cliff
  • Duddingston Loch – a loch with diverse and exotic birds species

National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries of Scotland has a large collection of portraits of historical figures in Scotland dating back to the 16th century.

It has over 65,000 pieces of art!

The Scottish National Gallery has a large collection of European art. Some of that art includes sculptures, post Impressionist paintings, and Renaissance paintings.

The National Gallery of Modern Art has paintings by Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miro.

Admission is free to see all of the magnificent artwork the galleries have to offer.

And don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to buy some prints and books!

The Museum of Childhood

The Museum of Childhood has collections of trains, toys dolls, and games from all over the world.

Don’t worry! It’s built for adults and children!

The museum has exhibits on schooldays, fashion, and trends.

Their is a Victorian street scene with outdoor toys that gives visitors a chance to dress in Victorian clothing and play games.

Admission to The Museum of Childhood is free! So bring the kids if you have them!

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most famous sites in Scotland.

You have to check this castle out while you’re in Edinburgh.

Plan on taking tours of these castle features:

  • the royal apartments
  • The Great Hall
  • St. Margaret’s Castle
  • the Prisoner of War Museum

One of the most impressive sights is the One O’clock Salutue performed by the Half Moon Battery.

But if you like important pieces of history…

The castle has a collection of Crown Jewels located in the Royal Palace.

The Honours of Scotland and The Stone of Destiny are some of the most popular artifacts to visit at Edinburgh Castle.

Where to Stay When Visiting Edinburgh?

Edinburgh has several different neighborhoods to stay at when you visit. Research them and choose places near attractions and locations you prefer.

Old Town

Old Town is the heart of the city. We recommend staying here if it’s your first time in Edinburgh.

It still has the medieval charm of Scotland’s past and many parks where you can enjoy walking in the scenic beauty.

This part of town has a large student population because many of the Edinburgh University buildings are in this area.

This area is also near popular tourist spots like the Royal Mile and St. Catherine’s Cathedral.

Here you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants, hotels and accommodations.

New Town

Located near Princess Street, New Town retains the streets, buildings, and squares of the region like from years ago.

Some of the features of New Town include:

  • designer stores
  • bars
  • pubs
  • upscale restaurants
  • an active night life
  • a  bohemian community (called Broughton) on the outskirts

New Town is an expensive area and has five-star hotels for those that don’t have a budget

West End

West End is a little off the beaten path.

It has a little bit of everything:

  • cinemas
  • music
  • theaters
  • strip clubs
  • massage parlors
  • shops
  • restaurants
  • community gardens
  • fast food
  • upscale hotels
  • quaint inns

The West End is actually one of the coolest areas you’ll see in Edinburgh.

And we recommend staying in this area.

If you don’t stay there, you should still plan on checking it out!

Stockbridge

Stockbridge is for young professionals located near the Water of Leath.

It’s home to many specialty food shops and the market held every Sunday.

The Water of Leath is a scenic walk to Dean’s Village.

It’s a good place for families to stay due to the shopping, restaruants, and walking.

Best time of year to visit Edinburgh.

When you want to save on airfare and hotels April and May are good times to visit.

The temperatures are a bit cold, but you will not be competing with the crowds.

June through August is the height of the tourist season.

The days are longer and there are many festivals and special events to enjoy.

Although this is when all of the crowds are in town, the mild temperatures do make it the best time to visit for comfort.

Prices on hotels, restaurants and attractions will be higher.

Plan on booking your hotel months in advance when you come this time of year.

Conclusion

Well there you have it!

Hopefully you know more about visiting Edinburgh now than you did when you first got here.

Looking for more tips for visiting Europe? Check out this post here.

Have you ever visited Edinburgh?

What was your favorite parts of the trip?

Tell us about it in the Comment Section!

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