Edinburgh is about as iconic as it gets when it comes to UK tourism cities. Whether you’re a massive fan of the film Trainspotting and want to see where it was set and filmed or have always been a major history buff and want to check out one of the best-preserved historic castles in the world, it’s a city with so much to offer. It’s also comfortably the easiest city in Scotland to reach, with trains from Newcastle to Edinburgh departing every hour.
If you’re looking to visit Scotland's breathtaking capital in the near future there are plenty of exciting things to do. But here, we’ll focus on the absolute necessities!
Check out Edinburgh Castle
It’s one of the UK’s most iconic tourist attractions and Edinburgh Castle is worthy of all that attention and more. Sitting boldly atop an extinct volcano, the castle has been occupied since at least the Iron Age and has seen hundreds of years of history. It came to greatest prominence in the Middle Ages and today, sat at the top of the Royal Mile in the western end of Old Town, it still cuts an imposing figure.
Get lost in the Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation, as well as a popular tourist attraction. Accessible from the edge of New Town, it contains plants and trees from all over the world (over 13,000 species) and is set over 70 luxurious acres of land with some exceptional panoramic city views.
Climb Arthur’s seat
Arthur’s Seat is the ‘other’ extinct volcano in the city and is visible from much of the centre since it rises out of the wide grasslands of Holyrood Park. It’s surprisingly easy to reach given its exceptional views and it’s probably the best place in Scotland for a picnic. Just remember to wrap up warm if you’re going on a windy day!
Immerse yourself in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Every August, Edinburgh becomes the cultural hub of Europe as it throws open its doors (basically all of them) to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is a celebration of the arts – everything from comedy to music and all that fall in between. Many of the greatest entertainers in the world got their first big breaks here so you’ll never know what kind of next-generation talent you’ll stumble across. Just be prepared to pay through the nose for hotels while the festival is on!
Go for an epic night out
If you like a good night out, then the Royal Mile might just be the king of all-night spots (pardon the pun). Once you’ve spent the day shopping in Victoria Street you could quite comfortably do a dozen pub crawls and never see everything. And it wouldn’t be a night out in Edinburgh if you didn’t finish off the evening with a deep-fried Mars bar!