Things To Do In Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

A trip to Scotland just wouldn’t be the same without visiting the iconic city of Edinburgh. Here is our guide to ten of the best things to do in Edinburgh.

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Walk a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Edinburgh’s Atmospheric Old Town And Beautiful New Town

Holyrood Palace | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Edinburgh city centre divides neatly into two. Both the Old and New Towns are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites and are incredibly well preserved.

You are bound to spend time wandering down Edinburgh’s fascinating medieval Royal Mile steeped in history complete with atmospheric closes, and discover a huge array of historical and cultural attractions.

It’s an interesting walk of one mile from Edinburgh Castle all the way to Holyrood Palace (hence The Royal Mile), the Queens Official Residence, and the striking but controversial architecture of the Scottish parliament.

There are excellent tours of the Scottish Parliament and, from here; you are right next to the Queens Park and Arthurs Seat. Why not enjoy a picnic on a pleasant summer’s day here.

Various city walking tours are available, and under the city ghost tours, including Mercat Tours, New Edinburgh Tours and Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, amongst others.

The New Town is equally as interesting to explore, why not have a pint in Rebuses local, the 19c Oxford Bar, a real pub for real people according to the Oxford Bar website.

The Georgian House in Charlotte Square is certainly worth a visit with stunning period architecture and furniture. It is also right next door to The First Minister’s Official Residence, Bute House.

A drink or dinner at imposing The Dome is compulsory on your visit to Edinburgh, although deep pockets are required.

The Museum of Scotland and Other National Exhibitions

National Portrait Gallery | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

All of our Scottish National Exhibitions in Edinburgh are entirely free unless they are hosting a travelling exhibition.

The Scottish National Museum of Scotland is housed in a beautiful building and is a huge exhibition, you can visit for an hour or half a day. One of Edinburgh’s finest restaurants is to be found here, called The Tower. Enjoy a white wine on the roof terrace, with one of the finest views of the city, to Edinburgh Castle and the skyline of the Royal Mile. Wow, just wow!

Other National Exhibitions worth going to are the Scottish National Art Gallery, Princes St; National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street, and the Modern Art Gallery in the West End, where you’ll find a great café.

For information on the Scottish National Art Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, use
this link.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

The jewel in the crown of all things Edinburgh, the castle is perched on top of the volcanic castle hill with stunning views to the Kingdom Of Fife.

This enduring local icon dominates the skyline of central Edinburgh. Enquire about a guided tour, often led by an actor posing as a historical character, it makes a big difference when William Wallace is showing you around!

Don’t miss the Scottish Crown Jewels or the Stone of Destiny, and the 12thC St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in the city!

Last year, Edinburgh Castle welcomed around one and a half million visitors. Tiny Tartan Tours recommend that you go early, get there as they open, at 9-9:30am depending on the time of year.

Edinburgh Festival and The Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

Street Performers at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Visit the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival and The Fringe.

Dating from 1947 and a gesture of reconciliation after the second world war had unfolded, Edinburgh council invited as many different acts from around the world to perform shows and performances. A brave move at the time but the Festival proved to be hugely successful and much loved.

The very first festival it was possible to see 8 different shows, but in 2015 this number was closer to 3000. Something for everyone, lots of great street performers and a real buzz around the city.

Make sure you have accommodation before you come as it is an extremely busy time in Edinburgh.

Roslyn Chapel

Although strictly just out of the city limits to the south, an LRT bus will take you to Rosslyn Chapel from the city centre, so easy to access at just 7 miles away. It looks magnificent after the 16 year, multi-million pound restoration and construction of a new visitor centre.

After taking in the exhibits and the historical over view in the visitor centre, enjoy a guided tour around the chapel. But is Christ’s skull buried under the flagstones? Tiny Tartan Tours doubt it, but it sure is a great place to visit.

Scenic walks in Roslin Glen to the rear of the chapel although can be muddy.

Victoria Street and The Grassmarket

One of Edinburgh’s most picturesque streets, with its majestic curve and colourful shopfronts, Victoria Street houses many interesting shops and restaurants.

Lively nightlife can be found in this area with the live venue, the Liquid Rooms and a plethora of bars and restaurants in the Grassmarket. Try a drink in the ever popular Last Drop, go for dinner in the Muscle Inn or maybe enjoy some live music at Finnegan’s Wake, yes, an Irish pub!

Great photos of Edinburgh Castle can be had from the Grassmarket as well.

South Queensferry and The Forth Bridges

Forth Railway Bridge | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

Forth Railway Bridge, Edinburgh

Again, like Roslyn, Queensferry is technically just outside of Edinburgh, but it’s so close by at 8 miles from the centre allowing easy access via public transport.

Great views to the Forth Bridges, currently two and a half of them, at the time of writing. The Forth Railway Bridge has just become Scotland’s sixth UNESCO World Heritage site and is a much loved Scottish Icon.

Why not take a boat trip from here to the island of Inch Malcolm, which is sure to blow your mind. Great eateries in Queensferry including The Hawes Inn, which featured in Sir Walter Scott’s Kidnapped. Sufficiently convenient and different to Edinburgh itself, just go and enjoy.

Take an Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour!

One of the more leftfield things to do in Edinburgh this, but what a laugh, don’t knock it until you have tried it!

A brilliant and witty dramatic romp through the wynds, courtyards and pubs of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town. Great fun, a few drinks and laughs, and pubs that you would never have found, what a hidden gem this Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour is! Make friends along the way hic…

Leith, Edinburgh’s Historic Port

Leith at Sunset | Things to do in Edinburgh | Tiny Tartan Tours of Scotland

Leith at Sunset

The historic port district just 2 miles to the north of the City Centre. The area to head for is definitely The Shore. Many fine restaurants and bars are to be found here, including no less than three Michelin stared restaurants. Favourites include The Ship on the Shore and The Shore Bar & Restaurant.

Experience a different style of architecture to that of Edinburgh reflecting the many centuries of importing and exporting.

From here, the Royal Yacht Britannia is a short walk. How much Great British influencing and business has been conducted on this ship? A wide selection of shops, restaurants and a cinema is to be found at the Ocean Terminal, adjacent to the Royal Yacht.

Come on a Saturday and you can also enjoy local arts and crafts being sold at the Leith Market, Dock Place. Just jump on a LRT 22 bus, Ocean Terminal, and hop off when you see water and Pizza Express, or stay on all the way to the Ocean Terminal.

It’s magic in Leith and Tiny Tartan Tours just love it here. If you’re looking for things to do in Edinburgh and only have one day, this would be our favourite.

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