Find a Hotel

Edinburgh Attractions

Edinburgh has more attractions on City Centre square foot than any other European capital, which is what makes it easy to visit. Sightseeing the centre of Edinburgh in detail, however, can take a 2-3 days at least which is why many visitors go away saying 'there is too much to do and see in Edinburgh and too little time'. Edinburgh City Centre's is an attractions goodie bag. There are so many sights, monuments and things to see at its heart that you don't know where to look and go first. This guide to Edinburgh attractions I've prepared might help relieve some of the confusion.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

A majestic landmark which dominates the capital city's skyline just as it has dominated Scotland's long and colourful history. Edinburgh Castle is the best known and most visited of Historic Scotland's buildings. Perched on an extinct volcano and offering stunning views, this instantly recognisable fortress is a powerful national symbol, and part of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site. A rich mix of architectural styles reflects the castle's complex history and role as both stronghold and seat of Kings. The tiny St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building, dates from the 1100s. Crown Square, the principal courtyard, was developed in the 15th century, the Great Hall with its impressive hammerbeam roof was built by James IV in 1511. The Half Moon Battery was created in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War memorial was added after the First World War. Castle stewards provide guided tours and there is also an audio tour in six languages. As well as gift and book shops, the Crown Jewel shop offers exclusive, specially designed jewellery for sale. Visitors can take a break in the castle café. A courtesy vehicle for visitors with a disability (sponsored by the Bank of Scotland) is available from the esplanade.

Hotels near Edinburgh Castle
Apex Grassmarket Hotel (formerly Apex International Hotel)4 starfrom £74.25
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel4 starfrom £80.75
Grassmarket Hotel3 starfrom £68.00
Royal Overseas League Hotel3 starfrom £100.00
GandV Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh5 starfrom £98.70
The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is Edinburgh's historic highway and synonymous with the Old Town. At 1 mile and 107 yards it connects two of Edinburgh's most important attractions -- Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House. Along the way there are countless specialized shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels and many places of historical and cultural interest.

Hotels near The Royal Mile
Brodies Hostels3 starfrom £7.00
Jurys Inn Edinburgh3 starfrom £49.00
Auld Reekie Apartments from £99.00
Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh – Royal Mile3 starfrom £56.00
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh4 starfrom £90.00
Palace of Holyrood

Palace of Holyrood

Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse is the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh. It sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile, the mile long street that links it to the other royal establishment -- Edinburgh Castle. It's no surprise then that the new Scottish Parliament was built in such distinguished company.

Founded in 1498 by James IV, Holyrood Palace has witnessed some of the most dramatic episodes in Scottish History. One famous face linked to Holyrood Palace is that of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary Queen of Scots married the Dauphin of France (heir to the throne) at 15 and became a widow at 19. She returned to Scotland and was crowned at Holyrood Palace as the Queen of Scots. Dramatic events unfolded within the walls of Holyrood including the stabbing of her Italian secretary David Rizzio. The apartments of Mary Queen of Scots at Holyrood including the spot where Rizzio was stabbed 57 times are open to visitors. The Palace at Holyrood is of elegant design. In the main court there is a copy of the ornamental stone fountain in Linlithgow Palace. Holyrood Palace has known some distressful times after the Union of England and Scotland. Reconstruction had to be carried out several times and court hadn't been held at the Palace by a monarch for some 170 years before George IV had finally done so.

Hotels near Palace of Holyrood
Dreamhouse Apartments Edinburgh Holyrood Park4 starfrom £104.00
Macdonald Holyrood Hotel4 starfrom £79.00
Holyrood Aparthotel4 starfrom £60.00
Royal Mile Accommodation4 starfrom £77.00
Ailsa Craig Hotel3 starfrom £27.00

Other Attraction near Edinburgh

  • National Gallery of Scotland - The Museum houses an outstanding collection of paintings, drawings and prints by the greatest artists from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism.
  • Scott Monument - The Scott Monument is 200 ft. 6in high and 55ft square at the base; the highest gallery is reached by climbing a total of 287 steps. It is constructed of Binnie stone, taken from shale workings near Linlithgow.
  • The Writers' Museum - The Writers' Museum is dedicated to the lives and work of scotland's great literary figures.