Princes Street is the Oxford Street of Edinburgh. You can’t miss it. It has all the high street shops and brands you’d expect. What I seem to have missed on my first few visits to Edinburgh for some bizarre reason is Princes Street Gardens.
Now that I work close by to Princes Street I absolutely can’t get enough its like a peaceful little safe haven in the middle of a busy city. (It actually used to be a big lake where people would throw their chamber pot contents and drown witches but now its a gorgeous park.) You also get such a fab view of Edinburgh castle from below.
George Street just parallel to Princes Street. A more upscale shopping and dining street. Laura Ashley, L.K. Bennett, Jo Malone, Mint Velvet and many more brands alike can be found here.
Edinburgh Castle. The most obvious place to go when in Edinburgh. If you’re in the city centre of Edinburgh you literally cannot miss it. If you’re a fan of history or Mary Queen of Scots or both, go here. The architecture is also very cool and Edinburgh Castle holds a collection of the crown jewels which are available for public viewing. Edinburgh Castle is very much a tourist location which is well worth a visit you get amazing views of the cityscape from inside the castle walls.
Holyrood Palace is where the current Queen Elizabeth II resides when she visits Edinburgh. It is at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle. Mary Queen of Scotts also lived here and her bedroom is well preserved. I preferred the tour of Holyrood palace more from a historical point of view as everything was well preserved and there were more artefacts to see. I also loved seeing the interior decor in the palace contrast from Mary Queen of Scots time to present day Queen Elizabeth II. Mary Queen of Scots had fab wallpaper and a bed fit for a QUEEN that’s for sure.
The Witchery is a restaurant at the foot of Edinburgh Castle which has such cosy interiors and fantastic fine dining. It’s definitely recommended to reserve a table in advance. I honestly cannot write words to justify how amazing this place is if you like high quality dining experiences. Leonardo DiCaprio went there so naturally I went there also. The food is so decadent I loved it.
Camera Obscura is a world of illusions. It’s a fun thing to do for a day out and you’re sure to get some cool photos from it. It would be ideal to go with your friends or family. My friends have been I however have not as any time I pass the queue is far too long and if you know me I absolutely HATE waiting in lines.
A walk in The Meadows. I live quite close to The Meadows currently and when I do go towards Prince’s Street or more central places on my day off I would walk through it unless I’m getting the bus. In the summer when the weather is nice, its always fun to meet a few people and chill out with a speaker and a few cans. Or in my case go alone to The Meadows on my day off because no one else is around so I sit there reading for 45 minutes and leave because I can’t handle the heat.
Go visit the legendary Greyfriars Bobby. (I had no idea what this was until I saw it and my friend explained it to me, so I took a photo. I have since forgotten the legend of Greyfriars Bobby but I still have photos.)
The Royal Mile runs through Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, perched high on a base of volcanic rock, with the splendorous Palace of Holyrood house, resting in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat.
Marys Kings Close is an underground tour that takes you through old streets and homes of Edinburgh. I went on the tour with my dad and we both really enjoyed it as we saw how people used to live in the Mary Queen of Scots era.
Take a Scottish Whisky Tour! You get to learn about Scottish whiskey and drink some too! There is one right next to Edinburgh Castle, I went to a different one which I’m sure was similar.
Take a tour of the Highlands, Glencoe, Loch Ness and Fort William. On my first trip to Edinburgh my mom and I went on a day tour with Hairy Coo Highland Tours. It was January and everything was so picturesque with the snow falling and covering the Highland hills. The tour also included a stop at Deanston Whiskey Distillery where we learned how whisky is made and stored and then got a few drams on the way out.
St. Giles Cathedral a nice place to look at some old architecture. Also Rosslyn Chapel which featured in The Da Vinci Code movie.
National Museum of Scotland. A very large collection of the most random objects. I enjoyed the fashion throughout the ages section.
National Art Gallery is one of my favourite places to wander into especially if I’m alone and have time to kill. There are so many beautiful paintings but my favourite is Rembrandts self portrait.
Dean Village is a tiny little village by the city centre and is very cute and instagram worthy.
Armchair bookstore is just a really crammed bookstore that makes me feel like Belle from beauty and the beast tbh. Smells like old books which is nice if you’re into that.
Hive. Where do I begin. Hive is a nightclub in Edinburgh frequently visited by students but welcome all sorts of humans. I have been here many times. I have never had a bad time. I’ve almost gotten kicked out for mistaking one of the rooms as an indoor smoking area once (but still a good time). You can get drinks for as low as 1 pound. They play all the cheesy hits from ABBA to Scouting for Girls. I somehow recall “Under The Sea” by Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid playing at 3am it was magical. After Hive closes and people pile onto the street you’re sure to make new friends with strangers just striking up a drunken conversation or simply saying “Hi my name is…”. The best friends are made on nights out.
Arthurs Seat. Scenes on toast. Amazing views from the top of this extinct volcano.
Calton Hill. Another scenic view point in Edinburgh.
Water of Leith walkway if you have a few hours to spare. Take a scenic walk from Edinburgh City Centre by Dean Village to Leith Docks.
There’s so many more amazing things to do in Edinburgh. If you’re around in August it’s the busiest time of the year with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival going on which attracts flocks of tourists. I personally enjoy going places off peak tourist season to avoid waiting in long lines at tourist attractions. Hope this gives you some ideas for what to do with your time in Edinburgh 🙌❤️