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What to do in Edinburgh, Scotland for 1 1/2 days?

We only have 1 1/2 days in Edinburgh in mid-March. What are your recommendations for priority spots for such a short time period?

Posted by
505 posts


It partially depends on your interests, but the two big sites are Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. That's probably a day right there.

Other high points are the National Museum of Scotland (free!), a hike up or around Arthur's Seat and the Britannia down at Leith.

You can also take the hop on/off tour buses around or save money and get a day ticket for the regular buses.


Posted by
208 posts

If you're up to climbing the 180 steps, the Walter Scott Monument offers absolutely amazing views of the city.
I second the recommendation on Edinburgh Castle. It has the oldest building in the city (St. Margaret's Chapel), houses the War Memorial, and hides the Honours of Scotland (known in England as the Crown Jewels) and the Stone of Scone.
The view from Calton Hill at sunset is pretty cool as well!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hi Vicki. First go up to the Edinburgh castle. Try to be up there not longer than 90 minutes. Waiting to get into the room to see the Kings' crowns and big sword takes 20 minutes on a Saturday. Do see that, first. A big room, in an other building, that has the medieval weapons can be a quick walk through. And walk fast through the old royal family's apartments. Then, go off of the castle hill, and visit a museum of your choosing.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks Kate, Bonne & Ron for your suggestions in Edinburgh. They will help to make my trip an efficient experience! I'm definitely planning on the Edinburgh & Holyrood Castle. It's supposed to rain all day so unfortunately, I'll miss the sunset views.

Posted by
2349 posts

If you've ever heard the story of Greyfriar's Bobby, about the little dog who faithfully stayed by his master's grave, then go to Greyfriar's Kirk and see the statue of the dog in the kirkyard. I don't remember where it is exactly, but it was centrally located in the old part of town, and should be easy to find in tourist info.

Just wondering around the old town is wonderful. Make sure to explore some of the closes. They're little alleyways that open up into courtyards.

Ian Rankin writes mysteries set in Edinburgh if you want some atmosphere before you go.

Posted by
314 posts

Start off at Edinburgh Castle then walk the Royal Mile down to Holyrood. There will be plenty to see. If you can't cover it all in one day, pick up where you left off and finish up. I saw most of Edinburgh in two days including a hop on/off bus tour but the Castle, the Royal Mile and Holyrood can be done in your time frame.

Posted by
12074 posts

Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood palace with the royal mile in between for some shopping. The Art museum is worth visiting. At night take a guided walk.

Posted by
194 posts

There's a great pub, if you like that kinda thing, next to Grey Friar's Bobby (same name). Also, if the weather is nice and you like hiking/walking, try walking up Arthur's Seat to get a great view of Edinburgh. I'm sure someone at your hotel can point you in the right direction.

Posted by
359 posts

Vicki,for a feeling of time/distance in Edin, my 1st visit was on a 6hr layover @ the airport.

Took bus from the airp't to Edin; walked up to the castle from the bridge by the rlwy station (through the narrow alleyways, a bit spooky but neat); briefly visited the castle, but no 'tour'; headed down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood; took a detour to the right a few blocks & saw the G'Friars Bobby statue & church/graveyard (interesting part of town with the narrow lanes, etc.); lunch & pint on the R.Mile; saw Holyrood (only the grounds/exterior); back up to the rlwy station area; walked through the lovely park/gardens below the castle/rlwy station; bought a 'hoody' at a discount store (was cold/wet that day); on to the Princess St. shopping area, wandered through a few of the old Victorian type stores (my partner 'had to buy' a plaid scharf); back to the bus stop, on to the airport w/time to spare. Did no tours but you'll see Edin's a very walkable city; you'll have a wonderful time.