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9 Top Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland
- Jonathan Chum
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and home to a wide range of things to do. From museums and castles to distilleries and shopping districts, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy while in the city. Here are some of the best:
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress that dominates the skyline of Scotland's capital city. The castle has been home to Scottish monarchs since at least the 15th century and is open to visitors during the summer months. It also houses the Scottish regalia, including an ancient crown that was once worn by Robert The Bruce and a sword that belonged to William Wallace (Braveheart).
The castle is split into four parts: St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle Royal Palace and Artillery Garden, Crown Square, and the National War Museum of Scotland. There are plenty of things to see on your tour including the Great Hall; Chapel Royal; Stone Of Destiny; Royal Palace Gardens; Nelson Monument & Statue Of Lord Nelson; National War Museum Of Scotland - Home Of Our Armed Forces History In Scotland!
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
One of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh, Camera Obscura is an early 19th-century building that contains a camera obscura. A camera obscura is a device that projects images of the outside onto a screen inside; it's an old-timey precursor to today's cameras and smartphones. The building itself has been beautifully restored and features other optical illusions, so you can see what it would be like to have a giant eye in your face!
If you're interested in exploring more about how technology has changed over time (and/or just want some tips for where to go next), check out this video from How To Do It In The UK:
The Scotch Whisky Experience
If you're in Edinburgh and want to learn more about the history of Scotch whisky, the Scotch Whisky Experience is the best place to do so. The museum has a range of interactive experiences that let visitors test their senses and find out how they differ from those of a professional taster. It also has an impressive collection of historical artifacts, including one of the world's oldest bottles of Scotch (it was made in 1789).
The museum is located close to Edinburgh Castle on Leith Walk, which is easy to reach by foot or public transport. Open year-round except for Christmas Day, it offers tours throughout the day that last between 45 minutes and two hours depending on your choice of experience. The tour ticket includes free entry into The Vaults below street level where you can try many different kinds of whisky samples before buying some from their gift shop or restaurant called The Vaults Bar & Kitchen.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Address: Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh
Phone: 0131 524 5033
The Royal Yacht Britannia was the British royal family's floating residence for over 40 years, between 1954 and 1997. It's now a museum, with exhibits on its history as a royal yacht and of the Queen's travels around the world during her time aboard it (and since). The ship has been restored to its original appearance in 1962---it can be hard to believe that this glamorous piece of history is docked just steps away from heavily trafficked roads and train tracks! The guided tour takes about 45 minutes but allows extra time if you want to explore more than one room or sit down for tea at the cafe on board (which also sells souvenirs). If you're planning, there are free entry tickets available online here; otherwise, they cost £18 per adult (children under 16 years old go free). There are also other options available including a ticket which includes lunch at nearby Leith Dockside Market---you'll need to book this in advance by calling 0131 524 5033 or emailing [email protected]
National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland is one of the most visited museums in Scotland. It is located in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital city. The museum was first built as a royal residence and country retreat for King James VI in 1571. After being damaged by fire, it was rebuilt and reopened as a museum in 1889.
The National Museum of Scotland has more than 15 million objects on display at any given time. Most of these objects relate to Scottish history and culture but some also include material from around the world including Egypt, China, Japan, and South America!
The Royal Mile
While you're in Edinburgh, make sure to stop by the Royal Mile. It's a street that connects Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle and stretches for about 1.5 miles (2.4 km), making it the heart of Old Town. Along the way, you'll find lots of shops, cafes and pubs---and even some museums if you have time to spend on your visit.
Like other parts of Scotland, this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times; archaeologists have found evidence of both Roman and Pictish settlements here. The modern city was founded in 1093 by King Duncan I after he moved his throne from Scone Abbey south-westward along the river Forth until he reached what was then called Inverleith (meaning "meeting place").
Calton Hill is a historical site that's worth exploring on your trip to Edinburgh. It is located in the west of the city and offers plenty to see, including views of Holyrood Palace, Arthur's Seat, and Salisbury Crags. The hill also has monuments like Nelson's Monument (a column dedicated to Horatio Nelson), William Henry Playfair's National Monument (a monument that commemorates Scottish soldiers who fought in several wars), and Sir Walter Scott Monument (an obelisk erected in honor of one of Scotland's most famous writers).
To get there: Take tram line 1 or 2 from Princes Street to the stop called Calton Road East. The journey takes about 15 minutes.
Palace of Holyrood House
If you want to see the seat of power in Scotland, then this is your opportunity. The Palace of Holyrood House is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth II spends a week there during her summer holidays and it's where she holds audiences with Scottish ministers and members of the public.
If you get tired from all this history, there are plenty of restaurants and pubs nearby for refreshment as well as an ice rink at nearby St James Centre if you're looking for something fun for everyone!
If you are looking for things to do in Edinburgh and want to educate yourself on the city's history, then Edinburgh Dungeon is a great place to start. The dungeon is an indoor attraction that recreates many of the most gruesome historical events that took place in Edinburgh.
The dungeon is located on the Royal Mile and has been open since 1991. It has been visited by over 8 million people from around the world!
As you walk through this dark tunnel into another time, you'll see actors dressed as actors would have dressed back in those days. You will be immersed in a realistic experience as they tell stories of witch trials, plague outbreaks, and torture techniques used during Queen Mary's reign (1542-1567).
As you can see, Edinburgh is a great place to visit with many things to do. It's also a good idea to take advantage of the free tours offered by the city's tourist office as well as guided walks around some of Edinburgh's most famous sites such as the Royal Mile and Calton Hill.
You may also want to consider taking part in one of their ghost tours where they'll take you around town while telling stories about its past inhabitants who haunt the streets today!