I'd like to know what is seen on the first day in Edinburgh on the Scotland Tour. We will be in Edinburgh 1 day early, so would probably like to see some things that are not on the tour. Having seen the Rick Steves Edinburgh TV program, I think I have a pretty good idea. David
If you look here: http://tours.ricksteves.com/tours/scotland?year=2013 you will see the day by day itinerary for this tour. It looks like the first day is mainly a get-together and a walking tour. Most likely this would not include actually going into any place along the way.
It looks like Rick's tour concentrates on the Royal Mile, so save that for the tour. Instead you could indeed go up to Arthur's Seat, or if you wanted a shorter climb got up to the top of Calton Hill for great views of the Castle you'll be visiting the next day. Places to think about visiting include: The Georgian House in New Town. The Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith. The Royal Botanic Gardens. If you want to do something very different check out a tour of the new Parliament at Holyrood. If you are interested in understanding the geology/geography of Scotland go to Dynamic Earth. It's very much a science museum for children, but everything in it is about Scotland. I loved it. Pam
Is Mary King's Close included? If not, it is a fascinating place to tour - wear good shoes for walking, it's bumpy down there.....The Museum of Scotland is also very interesting = it is similar to the British Museum, a beautiful newer building, although the displays are not as extensive as the British Museum's.
We did the RS Scotland tour last year. Agree with the advice above about heading out to see Roslyn Chapel and over to see the Britannia, as well as climbing Arthur's Seat if you're up for a major hike. None of that is in the tour. Also not covered is a real tour of the Royal Mile or any time inside the Museum of Scotland. Also, doesn't go inside St.Giles's or down to Holyrood palace or the ruined abbey. There is a walk through the New Town, with some explanation of the planning there, a walk from there to the Castle, through the Grassmarket area. There is a tour inside the Castle walls, with free time up there for visiting the Treasury and so on. We supplemented with a walking tour of the Mile and a highlights tour of the Museum of Scotland, and a visit to Gladstone's Land and to Holyrood. The tour gives you a museum pass good for some of the sites.
David, If you go to the page for the Scotland tour, you'll see a tab for "Pre Tour". If you click that, it provides suggestions for things to see that you won't be covering on the tour. Two places I really enjoyed were the Palace of Holyrood House and the Royal Yacht Brittania (located at Leith but an easy bus ride from Edinburgh - enter through a shopping mall). There's lots to see there. Is there any possibility you could add an extra day prior to the tour. Happy travels!