Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city packed full of history and amazing things to do.

From historical landmarks and stunning scenery to fun-filled adventures, you won’t be stuck for things to do in Scotland’s capital. The only problem you might have is deciding which activity you’ll want to enjoy first!

So, whether you’re after a day of sightseeing some historical haunts or just a relaxed stroll for a few hours as you explore the city, there’s plenty of things to choose from.

Below, we take a look at just some of our favourite things to do while in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle

First up, there's no more obvious place to start is there? The city's most famous landmark: the historic Edinburgh Castle.

The castle still dominates the city's skyline as it sits on top of an extinct volcano. St Margaret's Chapel is the oldest surviving part of the castle and dates back to the 12th century.

At the castle, there is often actor-led tours that delve into the historical events that have occurred there over the years. Or, if you'd rather, you can always visit their café to enjoy homemade scones as you overlook the city.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Scotland's oldest purpose-built attraction, this five-floor venue was built back in 1835. If you're in need of a fun day out, this is the place to go with over 100 illusions and unreal rooftop views of Edinburgh to enjoy.

As well as getting a 360-degree view of Edinburgh, you can spend up to two hours making your way through all of the mind-bending illusions on display.

Edinburgh Zoo

Located just three miles from the city centre and sprawling over 82 acres of sloping parkland, Edinburgh Zoo welcomes over half a million visitors every year.

The zoo has over 1,000 rare and beautiful animals from around the world and is home to the UK's only giant pandas and koalas.

It's recommended that you give yourself two hours to get around the zoo and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat

There's nothing quite like taking in the city's stunning views on a beautiful summer's day. We highly recommend you take a leisurely stroll up Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat to get the best vantage points and views out to the sea.

Arthur's Seat is the city's other extinct volcano and climbing to the summit only takes around 45 minutes from its base in Hollyrood Park. Once you reach the top, you'll marvel at the sights, such as The Balmoral hotel, the Nelson Monument and, of course, Edinburgh Castle.

If you manage to time going up to the top of Calton Hill as the sun begins to fall, then you might be lucky enough to see the city covered in some gorgeous colours. The picturesque Old City Observatory on the hill earned the city its title as 'The Athens of the North'.

Royal Mile

No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a wander down the Royal Mile, which is actually one mile and 107 yards long, if you want to be precise.

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, with Edinburgh Castle at the top and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom, the Royal Mile is packed with things to do, from shopping to drinking and eating.

Its name comes from its tradition as a processional route for kings and queens for the last 500 years.

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, which features important artefacts from Scottish History. Scotland's story, from geology to sociology, is told in a fresh and lively style in an iconic new building in the romantic Old Town. A perfect blending of old and new!

The Scotch Whisky Experience

While Edinburgh is famed for its history, the city's links with whisky shouldn't be missed. And there's no better way to enjoy a dram or two than at the five-star visitor attraction at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Whether you like fruity, sweet or smoky flavours, the team of experts will be able to find a whisky to suit.

Fancy exploring all these places and more? Check out our Edinburgh rental branches to find which car hire location would suit you best.

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