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Edinburgh Itinerary help

I will be joining a group of photographers for a photography tour next month. We have a set itinerary (that I have no control over). But I will have some small slivers of time and am looking for recommendations. I will arrive in Edinburgh on June 15 at 9:25 am. I have my hotel booked in Edinburgh for that evening. My tour begins at 11:00 am the next day. Any suggestions on what to see or do that first day? Either in Edinburgh or a brief day trip?

During the tour we will be doing the following. Edinburgh: walking New Town, exploring Royal Mile, Scott Monument, Edinburgh Castle
Inverness: Linlithgow Palace on the way if time allows, explore Inverness and Black Isle, Fairy Glen Falls, Portknockie, Loch Ness
Visit Ullapool, Loch Broom, Inverpolly Nature Reserve, Ardvreck Castle, Kylesku Bridge.

On our last day we have breakfast and then head back to Edinburgh where the tour ends around noon. I will have that afternoon and evening in Edinburgh and have a flight at 11 am the next day. Should I try to squeeze something into that last day and if so, what? Thank you in advance!

Posted by
3122 posts

Assuming you love photography and therefore won't be averse to a photo-oriented idea, here's one suggestion. On your first night, you might want to have dinner in the Tower Restaurant above the National Museum. It has a terrific view of the city's skyline and if you time it right you could get sunset shots (weather permitting, of course). There's a rooftop deck where our waiter let me go out to take photos without the window glass reflections. If weather fails on your first try, you could eat there again on your final night in Edinburgh.

During your daytime hours, if you know which end of the Royal Mile your tour will cover, you could go to the other end on your own. It sounds like the tour may begin at Edinburgh Castle and work its way down. If that's the case, you're unlikely to make it all the way to the Palace of Holyrood, so you might want to visit there.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely check that out!

Posted by
238 posts

We very much enjoyed the Royal Botanic Garden which should be lovely this time of year.

Posted by
886 posts

I got some great photos from the top of Calton Hill later in the afternoon.

Posted by
11294 posts

Edinburgh has great vistas from all over - like San Francisco, a great view can pop up anywhere, as you're walking around. This is particularly true on Princes Street, looking south over the Gardens toward the Royal Mile. So, on that first jet-lagged day, keep your cameras handy!

A wonderful sight that's not in the center (since it's the UK, make that centre) is the Royal Yacht Britannia, in Leith. I got some pictures that fascinated those back home - wait till you see the formal dining room on board!

Posted by
12 posts

I would try and get down to Dean Village, it’s not a long walk from New Town (or even Old Town, the city is so walkable) and then do the Leith water way walk. It’s a photographers dream. Carlton Hill (especially at sunset) also offers great, interesting views.

Posted by
3192 posts

" Carlton Hill (especially at sunset)"

I'm just correcting this to "Calton Hill", in case the OP is taking notes .
I agree with going to the Dean Village.
Very lovely, and beside the water too.

Posted by
5678 posts

I too would advise Calton Hill. It will give you great views of the city and help you orient yourself for the rest of the visit. One of my favorite museums is The Georgian House in New Town. It's the Georgian counterpoint to the medieval Royal Mile. If you have an inner geologist, think about visiting Dynamic Earth. I found it fascinating to have basic geologic principles explained with UK/Scottish examples! There are great videos of the northern Glens and the impact of continental glaciation.

If you want to catch some local music sessions check out Sandy Bells.


Posted by
15 posts

Wow! Thanks, Rick Steves community. Lots of great ideas here!