Top Visitor Attractions
From family days out to cultural pursuits, Edinburgh has a wealth of top tourist attractions to satisfy the most discerning visitor, including some of Scotland’s most visited free and paid-for attractions.
The city’s backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh’s Waterfront make the city a unique visitor destination. In just one day you can explore the city’s exciting new waterfront development, wander through the cosmopolitan streets of the Port of Leith, take a cruise on the River Forth and explore the rugged terrain of the volcanic Arthur’s Seat.
Depending on how long you have, why not visit some of these top Edinburgh tourist attractions, perfect for family days out?
The Royal Yacht Britannia
The Scotch Whisky Experience
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Scottish Parliament
The Queen’s Gallery
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Scott Monument
The Museum of Childhood
National Galleries of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
Our Dynamic Earth
The Real Mary King's Close
Blair Street Underground Vaults - Mercat Tours
RUGBY WEEKENDSRugby Six Nations Europe’s Number One Rugby Competition which takes place in the depths of the winter months and involves the top six teams in Europe namely, England, Scotland, France, Wales, Ireland and Italy. Experience the thrill of attending World Class Rugby matches at Edinburgh’s Murray field Stadium. To enquire about ‘Rugby Weekends’ in Edinburgh Please call: +44(0)131 226 9381
HOGMANAYThe Edinburgh Street Party is perhaps the best-known event in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival calendar. The New Year street party is a ticketed event that takes place the length of Princes Street, with live bands, dancing in the street, and street theatre troupes mingling with crowds. The street party climaxes with the bells of Big Ben at midnight, and a dramatic fireworks display above Edinburgh Castle to herald in the New Year. This is followed by a joining of hands as the crowd sings Auld Lang Syne, a kissathon, and more partying into the wee wee hours both on the street and around the city. To enquire about ‘The Hogmanay’ in Edinburgh Please call: +44(0)131 226 9381
The Royal Yacht BritanniaThe Royal Yacht Britannia was the seabound home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years, sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world. Take the audio tour and follow in the footsteps of royalty to discover the heart and soul of this most special of royal residences.
The Scotch Whisky ExperienceTake a barrel ride as you actually become part of the whisky making process. From the gently swaying fields of barley all the way through the distillery equipment to the steaming and bubbling Pot Still. Experience for yourself the varying aromas of our regional whiskies and whether you like fruity, sweet or smoky flavours our experts will help you select your perfect dram. Enter the vault containing the world's largest collection of Scotch Whiskies and enjoy a special tutored nosing and tasting of your dram.
Royal Botanic Garden EdinburghEnjoy a gentle stroll through Edinburgh’s stunning botanic gardens and enjoy the sights, sounds and scents throughout the changing seasons. Journey through a warmer climate and discover exotic plants in the Glasshouse. Visitors can enjoy a light bite in the gardens restaurant, cafeteria or coffee shop and purchase plants and gifts in the modern gift shop. A top tourist attraction for all ages.
The Scottish ParliamentEdinburgh’s Old Town is home to Scotland’s thoroughly modern Parliament building. Open to visitors Monday-Saturday, why not take advantage of a free tour and learn about its history, work and contemporary architecture. You can even visit a debating chamber and if Parliament is in session, view proceedings from the public gallery. Keep an eye on their website and look out for the regular Art Tours where you can discover selected pieces of the Scottish Parliament’s Art Collection. This popular guided tour lasts an hour, so be sure to book your place to avoid disappointment. For literary fans their Literary Tour explores their links with famous Scottish writers over the years. With so much to see and do, you might like to recharge your batteries with a coffee or light bite in their bright cafe and no visit would be complete without a browse around their attractive gift shop.
The Queen’s GalleryThe Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 29 November 2002, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.
Palace of HolyroodhouseVisit the official residence in Scotland of The Queen and trace our historical links through time as we learn about the palace’s legendary former inhabitants. Visit the Royal Apartments and Throne Room as well as Mary Queen of Scot’s Chambers.
The Scott MonumentThe largest monument to a writer in the world commemorating the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. Climb the 287 steps to the top and enjoy breath-taking views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside.
The Museum of ChildhoodThe Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantastic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane. And you can see the Subbuteo set in our adverts! Hands-on activities, including a puppet theatre and dressing up area, together with our fantastic museum shop, help to make your visit a memorable one.
National Galleries of ScotlandEdinburgh is home to three of the National Galleries of Scotland: the National Gallery on the Mound, the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street and the Gallery of Modern Art on Belford Road, a short taxi ride from the city centre. Offering a mixture of permanent art collections and exciting visiting exhibitions, a visit to the galleries is a great day out for art lovers.
National Museum of ScotlandDiscover the delights of the natural world, explore world cultures and enthuse at treasures from around the world. Featuring a diverse range of art and design exhibits, interactive displays and games, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland will appeal to all ages.
Camera ObscuraCamera Obscura and World of Illusions - where seeing is not believing! Welcome to the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, delighting visitors since 1835. Don't miss this Aladdin's cave filled with illusions, tricks, puzzles, hands-on experiences and unbelievable effects to experience and interact with. Get involved, play, touch everything! Will you find your way out of the magical mirror maze? Will you manage to stay on your feet in the Vortex Tunnel? Great fun for all the family.
Our Dynamic EarthIt starts with a bang – a big bang! Learn about the creation of our planet and travel through time as we explore the past, present and future. Interactive exhibits and fascinating technology will enthral young and old as you experience evolution through the ages.
The Real Mary King's CloseThe Real Mary King’s Close is buried deep beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The city’s deepest secret; a warren of hidden streets that has remained frozen in time since the 17th Century. For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with blood curdling tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die, come and hear these fascinating stories.
Edinburgh CastleScotland’s No1 visitor attraction is situated at the top of the Royal Mile on top of Castle Rock, an extinct volcano and has unparalleled views of the city. Marvel at Scotland’s Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. Visit the world’s oldest cannon but be sure to cover your ears as it booms across the city at 1pm.
Blair Street Underground Vaults - Mercat ToursThe only 5 Star walking tour company in Scotland, Mercat Tours thrill and entertain visitors with their tales of ghastly ghouls, hauntings and mysteries of Edinburgh of old. They also offer exclusive access to the renowned Blair Street Underground Vaults. Since 1985, Mercat Tours have also operated historical tours of the Old Town which are designed to both entertain and educate. Bespoke tours are available to private groups.
Edinburgh ZooA fantastic day out for all the family, Edinburgh Zoo is home to the UK’s only giant pandas. A superb wildlife visitor attraction, there out over 1,000 fabulous animals to see, situated in a parkland settling a short bus ride from the city centre. Open 365 days, you can talk to the animals all year round.