Why Visit Edinburgh in Scotland

12 Reasons to Visit Edinburgh

Known as Auld Reekie, the capital of Scotland will fascinate all visitors, whether you like your history or are into culture, or you are fascinated by the supernatural, Edinburgh has something for you.

The gothic nature of the city brings thousands of visitors all over the world, though as seen below Edinburgh does have many features to suit the modern tourist.


1. Edinburgh Castle

Standing on top of an extinct volcano, the great Edinburgh Castle has sections dating back to the 12th century.

You can see out the Witches’ Well, where suspect witches were burned centuries before, and the apartment where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son who would become James IV of Scotland and James I of England.

Entrance gate to Edinburgh Castle
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

2. The Royal Mile

Also known as The Old Town, this is a mile long street between the Castle and Holyrood House.

This cobbled street is so steeped in history, most notably the links to the grave robbers Burke and Hare, but even if you aren’t fans of the macabre you can always check out the tourist shops along this great cobbled thoroughfare.

3. Edinburgh Fringe

August is Edinburgh Fringe month where the place comes alive with street performances and various comic shows. If you prefer drama or literature there are shows here for you too, please obtain one of their brochures or visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.

There will be guaranteed to be some names you recognize, as well as more surreal and original acts. Note that August ends with the Edinburgh Tattoo, where a number of pipers and drummers perform at the top of the Royal Mile every year.

4. Holyrood Palace

Technically called the Palace of Holyroodhouse, this building was converted on the orders of James IV of Scotland from an abbey.

Sadly the building suffered a great amount of damage during the English Civil War but regained its title as Royal Palace during the Restoration. It also has State apartments for you to visit as well as the Mary Queen of Scots chamber.

Holyrood Palace near Edinburgh
Holyrood Palace

5. The New Town

The thing about the New Town part of Edinburgh is that it isn’t that new, it dates back at least 200 years to Georgian times.

Here you can find the main shopping area of the city, as well as a number of museum and galleries (see the reference to the National Gallery of Scotland below).

6. Arthur’s Seat

As with the hill underneath Edinburgh Castle this peak was also an extinct volcano. It provides an interesting view of the city as well as being easy to climb, though it is slightly rocky.

It also has in its favour that it is away from the usual tourist trial. You can however obtain a bus to the bottom of the hill from outside Holyrood Palace.

Cityscape of Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat
Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

7. The Writers’ Museum

Celebrating three great Scots writers – namely Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robbie (or Rabbie) Burns – the collection contains a number of unique items such as a number of Burns’ manuscripts, a number of Stevenson’s photographs and personal effects as well as a rocking horse and printing press owned by Sir Walter Scott.

It is part of the National Museums of Scotland group.

8. Edinburgh Zoo

Located on Corstophine Hill, the nearby zoo is a excellent place to take the family for a day trip. As well as having a Giant Panda exhibit and a large penguin pool called Penguin Rock, they have daily animal talks throughout the park.

It can be reached by bus from the City Centre. You can save money if you chose to book for your tickets online.

9. Edinburgh Ghost Tours

As well as walking tours you can also explore the city through a bus ghost tour. You can take in haunted graveyards as well as going underground to forgotten parts of the city.

You don’t need to wait until Hallowe’en to go on a ghost tour, they are available throughout the year.

Beware of the Ghosts door sign
Ghost Tour

10. Her Majesty’s Yacht, Brittania

Moored at nearby Leith, Brittania was Queen Elizabeth II’s yacht for 40 years.

There is a free audio tour handsets available to guide you around what became known as a floating palace, including the State Apartments and various Royal bedrooms. There is a fantastic tea room onboard.

11. The National Galleries of Scotland

The National Galleries in Edinburgh are split across three venues: the Portrait Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Gallery, the latter one being the most central to Edinburgh, being located next to Princes Street Gardens and featuring exhibitions on Scottish art as well as international names.

There are various tours and workshops available throughout the year.

12. Filmic Links

If you are fan of Trainspotting, you can seek out Princes Street where part of the movie was filmed. The Scott monument as well as some of the Royal Mile featured in Cloud Atlas.

Certain areas such as Fishmarket Close and the George IV Bridge can be seen in the 2010 film Burke and Hare. Most famously, the nearby Rosslyn Chapel was in a key scene in The Da Vinci Code.

Edinburgh Rosslyn Chapel
Rosslyn Chapel
Accommodation Edinburgh