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Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland

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Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh is one of the United Kingdom’s more classic cities, with a castle located near the center and a characteristic old town.

While in Edinburgh I visited many different places, learning much about the Scottish capital.

Although Scotland typically doesn’t have the finest weather, Edinburgh is conquerable with the cover of a raincoat, although the sun does shine frequently.

To help you plan your trip, here are some suggestions on how to get around and things to do in Edinburgh.

Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most spectacular castles that I have visited, set on a hilltop overlooking the city, and providing panoramic views.

Back when it was created in the 12th century the castle was a cleverly planned fortress, as the cliffside made the structure hard to lay siege to.

Ticket prices for entry to the castle vary depending on age, although in my case I paid £16 (about $26 USD) because I bought my ticket online (complimentary tour included) and used the fast track ticket pick up.

The ramparts were certainly one of the most spectacular parts of the site, as you can walk around the outside of the castle and get an all-round view of Edinburgh.

The castle may have even been inhabited during the Bronze Age, as some evidence has been found of old homes being built on the rock.

Travel Tip:

Because the castle is built at the top of the old town of Edinburgh it’s recommended to explore both attractions in one day to make the most of your time.

Bonus Tip:

It’s also recommended to take a day trip from Edinburgh to Stirling Castle, a beautiful castle that is just a 10-minute walk from the Stirling Train Station.

Penguins at the Edinburgh Zoo. Photo courtesy of Daveybot.

Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo — which holds 100 years of history — is unique compared to many other zoos in the United Kingdom simply because of some of their animal offerings.

For example, Edinburgh Zoo is the only U.K. zoo with koala bears and is the first to breed penguins in-house.

This interesting attraction is also in the news a lot because of the Giant Panda’s they are keeping there, as they’re currently trying to breed them.

Tickets for this attraction are £16.00 (about $26 USD) for adults, £11.50 (about $11.50 USD) for children 3-15 years, free for children under 3 and £13.50 (about $22 USD) for concession.

Discounts are available for families and groups.

arthurs seat
Arthur’s Seat. Photo courtesy of jcookfisher

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh is the only city in the world with an extinct volcano within its boundaries.

Adventurous travelers can head to Holyrood Park to see Arthur’s Seat, the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills at 250.5 meters (822 feet) high.

Visitors can hike to the top as well as visit the Our Dynamic Earth science center for a fun and educational experience.

Interestingly, the natural attraction is located 1.6 kilometers (about 1 mile) east of Edinburgh Castle.

view from carlton hill
View of the city from Carlton Hill

Getting Around

Getting around Edinburgh is easy, as you can easily get around by bike, on foot or with public transport.

If you want to explore the old town, the best way of getting around is definitely on foot, as you can then simply stroll into the castle at the top of the old town without having to mess about locking bikes up.

Most of the attractions are either in the new or old town and are about a 15-minute walk from one another.

Cycling is not always the best way of getting around due to the hilliness of the city and the cobblestone roads.

If you don’t feel like walking, buses are around £1.50 (about $2.40 USD) per ride.

Keep in mind buses typically get held up in rush hour traffic, so if you want to get somewhere during rush hour walking or cycling is recommended.

Edinburgh Accommodation

After a day of exploring, it’s time to relax. To help, here are some of the top lodges in Scotland with hot tubs. If you’ll be extending your trip, you can also check out these cabins with hot tubs in the UK.

What are your favorite things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland?

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is a New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. Renuka on at 4:12 pm

    Is that a penguin? I have never seen that one before. Edinburgh is one of my dream destinations – it seems to be so literary – straight out of books, novels. 🙂

    • jess2716 on at 4:40 pm

      @Renuka- Yes, it’s a penguin 🙂 The Edinburgh Zoo has some interesting animals (including pandas!).

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