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What to see in Edinburgh?

With two full days and probably a half day in Edinburgh what is it most important to see/do?
Are there any neat things off the beaten path that would be fun/interesting to see?

Posted by
11996 posts

I really like the Royal Mile from the Castle to the Palace, the art gallery and the park during the day.

In the evening, there are guided walks (they tend to focus on ghosts and ghouls) that are entertaining.

After a walk you could find some local music in one of the many pubs or clubs.

Saint Andrews is a makeable day trip. It's Mecca for golfers and has some good ruins.

Not sure you will have time to see much more. Have fun.

Posted by
61 posts

In addition to the ones that Brad mentioned (Castle, Royal Mile, etc.) Calton Hill has a great view of the city. I haven't been there but the Palace of Holyroodhouse is supposed to be nice too. It has been closed to visitors at least two of the four times I've been there because Prince Charles was there.

Posted by
359 posts

Ginette; if I understand, you have at least two full days in Edinburgh. In that time you can see everything there is to see in this very walkable city. Visit the main Seattle library and pick up 2 or 3 travel books on Edin/Scotland and see what catches your fancy. They'll all have the main, and not so main, sites in this wonderful city; you go from there. There are many 'neat, off the beaten path' things to see/do and, within 2 or 3 books, most will be mentioned. Castle, Royal Mile, Holyrood, Arthur's Seat, G'Friar's Bobby, the Park/Gardens, Princess Street, Royal Yacht Britannia, etc., are the standards, you paint the picture from there. You will enjoy the city and probably return; all first timers to Edinburgh do.

Posted by
5671 posts

I agree that the castle and the Royal Mile are must sees, and the view from Calton Hill is excelletn (go during the day), but in case you have other intersests here are some alternatives to consider. Still near the Royal Mile, if you are interested in politics, see the new Holyrood home of the Scottish Parliement. If it's raining, take in the Museum of Scotland. If it's sunny have lunch in the Grassmarket. Try to get over to the New Town. Have a meal at Fishers on Thistle. Enjoy the different architecture. Check out the Georgian House. Take a stroll through Prince's Garden. If you're really ambitious climb the Sir Walter Scott Monument. Pick up an Ian Rankin mystery at Waterstones on Prince's Street. Go to Sandy's Bells and hear some fiddle music, and drink a whisky or an Ale.

Posted by
16 posts

well, it is right on the royal mile, but totally interesting and enjoyable--MARY KING'S CLOSE. it is a good look at a fascinating bit of edinburgh's history.

another great thing we did was hike up to arthur's seat and around Holyrood park. this was one of the best days we had in edinburgh.

i also liked the view from calton hill. have a great trip. i just got back and completely LOVED the city. see the castle too while you are there.

Posted by
3 posts

I'm also going to be spending two and a half days in Edinburgh. I've done hours of research and here is what I plan to do there:

  1. See the Castle
  2. Hike the Royal Mile
  3. Climb to the top of Arthur's Seat
  4. National Museum of Scotland (It's free)
  5. Half Day Trip to Roslin (It quick bus ride 30mins outside of the city).

There are also many other castle within driving distance (or by bus). For a good site on Edinburgh attractions off the beaten path check out

Posted by
29 posts

Besides the Castle, Palace & Rosllyn Chapel you might also go to St Giles Cahpel on the Royal Mile and view the "Order of the Thistle" room. also, as a day trip you could take the train out to Stirling (about 1hr trip)and see where much of Scotlands ancient history took place.....Don

Posted by
208 posts

My favorite place in Edinburgh is the Castle. I also love the view from Calton Hill at sunset. But be forewarned - it gets really cold up there (even in August) and there is no public bathroom!

Posted by
211 posts

For a nice light lunch or a coffee break, there is the Elephant House Cafe, its where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Its really yummy, and has been voted best cafe in Edinburgh.