Far Away Places: Edinburgh: Where to Visit

There’s loads to see and do in the Scottish capital. Here are some of our recommendations…

The_Royal_Mile

Wander the Royal Mile

With Holyrood Palace at one end, Edinburgh castle at the other and a host of other attractions in-between – a stroll down the Royal Mile is a must. Yes, it’s extraordinarily touristy and dotted with tacky souvenir shops. But, hey, you’re a tourist – don’t fight it! Do take a look in some of the more classy looking food and cashmere stores. There are some great Scottish foodie treats and Barbour jackets and accessories just waiting to be discovered!

Find out more here.

Calton_Hill

Climb Calton Hill

A great place to take in views of the Forth Bridge, Arthur’s Seat and both the new and old town of Edinburgh city centre. A gentle climb takes you to the top of the hill, where you will also find some interesting monuments, including the Nelson monument and the Pantheon inspired National Monument.

Find out more here.

One_O_Clock_Gun_Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

If there’s one MUST SEE attraction it has to be Edinburgh Castle. Perched atop its craggy hill, the castle is as imposing as it is beautiful. If you can, book your tickets in advance – the queues are long, even on reasonably quiet days. Also, if you want to do the castle throughly allow an entire day for your visit – there’s lots to see – including the on-site National War Museum (entry to this is included in the price of your ticket for the castle). Must sees are the two castle jails (fascinating), the Scottish crown jewels (beautiful), the Great Hall and the Royal Palace (stunning) and the Scottish National War Memorial (an ornate, yet sobering, tribute to Scotland’s fallen servicemen and women). Pre-lunch head over to see the One O’Clock Gun being fired. It will make you jump, but it’s worth seeing for the pomp and tradition – make sure you get a good viewing spot at about twenty-to-one otherwise you won’t see a thing (rest assured you’ll still hear it!). The area near Mons Meg provides a good vantage point.

Find out more here.

The Real Mary King’s Close

Wander down the Royal Mile and you’ll see passageway after passageway leading off the main stretch. Now imagine one of these passageways underground and filled with people’s homes. In the 1600s Mary King’s Close would have been open to the skies. However, now the local council chambers have been built overhead rendering Mary King’s Close an underground taster of what life was like in Edinburgh centuries ago. The hour-long guided tour is brilliantly narrated by your guide who could be around 400 years old (or they could just be an actor pretending to be from the 1600s – who knows). The tour is brilliantly executed and gives a real, yet humourous, take on what life would have been like for people living on Mary King’s Close. It is fascinating and so well put together. The second MUST SEE if you ask me!

Find out more here.

The_Scotch_Whisky_Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Imagine if someone took Vinopolis and mixed it with Cadbury World and then made it about Whisky instead of wine or chocolate – that’s what the Scotch Whisky experience is like. First you jump aboard a cask and take a gentle and entertaining ride through the whisky distilling process. Jump off and you can find out more about barreling and the processes used to make Scotland’s popular tipple, before you partake in some whisky tasting. With a scratch and sniff card, a fancy Powerpoint presentation and a knowledgable tour guide you are led through the various different regions of Scottish whisky and their associated tastes and flavours. You then choose your preferred area and that’s the whisky you get to taste. But don’t sip just yet. No, the tour guide then leads you into a room filled with bottles upon bottles of Scotch whisky all neatly displayed in glass cabinets. This is the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky and it is vast! They then teach you how to taste your whisky and give you a bit of time to wander about and look at the collection. Find out why a bottle of Highland Park is almost a third empty, despite never being opened, and look out for the oldest bottles in the collection, dating back to 1897. You even get to keep your Whisky tasting glass as a memento. Then it’s onto the Whisky bar where, if you’ve purchased the slightly more expensive tickets, you can try a further four whisky’s from the extensive selection. Well worth a visit.  Oh, and check out the uber expensive whisky in the gift shop on your way out.

Find out more here.

Planning a trip to Edinburgh?

Check out my Edinburgh survival guide here and my where to eat guide here.

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5 thoughts on “Far Away Places: Edinburgh: Where to Visit

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