72 hours in Edinburgh
Romantic cobbled streets, intriguing closes, bespoke boutiques and gorgeous historical attractions – there’s plenty to keep you busy on a short break in Edinburgh.
Spend a fantastic few days in Scotland’s capital with a little help from our guide to the city’s greatest experiences.
As a small and pedestrian friendly city, there’s no better way to explore Edinburgh that by foot – weather permitting. If it’s lashing with rain, you’ll find plenty of buses, taxis and trams to get you from A to B. But no matter how you decide to travel, there’s no better place to start your tour than at the world famous Edinburgh Castle.
Sitting atop a small hill at the heart of the city, this national treasure boasts excellent views as well as a variety of museums and exhibitions. Once you’ve soaked up this wonderful slice of the city’s history, head just a few minutes down the road for a fun visit to Camera Obscura, which also offers some spectacular views as well as lots of inventive activities and light installations.
Next, take a wander along the Royal Mile, treating yourself to a hot chocolate, a few souvenirs and a peek down each of its mysterious closes. This is also a great place to join a walking tour, there are several that start on the Royal Mile, covering topics as diverse as Edinburgh’s literary greats to its ghostly goings on. Check out a few of the options on offer from Mercat Tours and get your walking shoes ready.
If you’d rather make your own way, do be sure to visit a few of the great museums off the Royal Mile, including Museum of Edinburgh in historic Huntly House, Canongate Tolbooth, the Museum of Childhood and the Writer’s Museum. Or, head along to Chamber’s Street to lose yourself in the excellent displays on offer in the National Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh has a handy central hub with information about all of its galleries and exhibitions.
Edinburgh is also a great place to indulge in a little window shopping. Stroll along Princes Street for a great selection of high street shops and you’ll be able to escape the crowds for a slash of green in the gorgeous Princes Street Gardens. Next, check out the mixture of pubs, restaurants and quaint shops on Rose Street before checking out the designer shops on George Street (also a great place to find high quality dining experiences) and in St Andrew’s Square.
Take advantage of a sunny day by taking a walk to the top of Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano that looks over the city, or visit the swans that occupy the pond at its foot. Alternatively, head out of the centre of town for a chance to explore the glasshouses of the Royal Botanic Gardens or head down to the historic port town of Leith for some delicious seafood and a glass of wine on the Shore.
Got a holiday favourite we’ve missed? Share your top Edinburgh tips.