There are so many great things to do in Edinburgh that providing you with my top five recommendations has taken much thought. Royalty, world class views and amazing history all feature.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Where: Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ
When: January to March First Admission 10.00 Last Admission 15.30
April to October First Admission 09.30 Last Admission 16.30
November to December First Admission 10.00 Last Admission 15.30
Price: Adult £17 (age 18+)
Senior £15 (age 60+)
Child £8.75 (age 5 to 17)
Child under age 5 free
Students £15 (valid ID requested)
Family £47 – 2 adults and up to 3 children
The Royal Yacht Britannia was Her Majesty The Queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years and is now berthed in Edinburgh. It is Scotland’s best visitor attraction. No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a visit here.
Learn about the Royal Family’s most famous guests over the years and take a glimpse into the privilege and class structure from the Royal residences down to the crew’s living quarters. See how the other half live why the queen shed a tear at the demise of this jewel in the Royal crown.
My Top Tip:
I recommend that you enjoy refreshments afterwards in the recently refurbished Royal Deck Tea Room to round off this unique and memorable Royal experience. You will also enjoy a private tour through Canongate, the Royal section of the Royal Mile, so often overlooked. I find it mystifying why, not least as it is a fascinating area and you have the awe-inspiring Royal palace of Holyroodhouse at the very bottom of Canongate.
Where: Queens Drive, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh EH8 8HG
When: Any time (weather permitting)
Arthur’s Seat is a now extinct volcano 251 metres above sea level. It offers unparalleled views across the city and dominates the landscape within Holyrood Park and for miles around. If you have climbed Arthur’s Seat, what was your favourite part of the view?
Holyrood Park is a scenic 640 acre park at the bottom of the Royal Mile. It is no secret that Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert’s hearts belonged here. We have one of Queen Victoria’s favourite statues to Prince Albert in Edinburgh. If you have seen it, what did you think of it? Queen’s Drive is aptly named as Prince Albert created this so his wife Queen Victoria could enjoy the views from a gilded carriage.
I highly recommend you take a stroll around Holyrood Park. It will enable you to fully appreciate Prince Albert’s thoughts for his queen for yourself! You can even enjoy the wildlife on St Margaret’s Loch.
My Top Tip:
Wear some sturdy walking shoes, warm clothes and bring some refreshments.
Where: Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA
Calton Hill is literally just a short walk from Princes Street along Waterloo Place, which was created in the same year as the Battle of Waterloo.
Nearby is Old Calton burial ground. It is the home of some interesting memorials including a bronze of Abraham Lincoln. This was created in honour of the Scottish soldiers who fought in the American Civil War (1861 – 1865). Also nearby is New Calton Burial Ground, there you will find the resting place of Abraham Lincoln’s favourite poet, William Knox. The name of Abraham Lincoln is even carved into the stone!
Calton Hill features various monuments including Old Observatory House, the National Monument, Dugald Stuart Monument, Nelson Monument and the Portuguese Cannon.
My Top Tip:
The Nelson Monument was built in 1807 and resembles a telescope. I recommend a climb up its spiral staircase – not too difficult as it is wide and flat – for nominal fee to enjoy some of Edinburgh’s most spectacular views.
Where: 153 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN
When: Between May and September volunteers keep the kirk open as much as possible
The Canongate Kirk – a Scottish word for a church – nestles near the bottom of the Royal Mile and serves the Parish of Canongate in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It is also the parish church of not only Holyroodhouse but Edinburgh Castle. The Queen worships here when residing in Holyroodhouse. Marvel at the interior of the kirk, which comprises of detailed embroidery explaining the origins of the church. If you have ever sinned – haven’t we all! – you will even find your sin listed one of the walls.
My Top Tip:
Take time to walk around the kirkyard – a Scottish word for a graveyard. It contains many Greats of Edinburgh’s past, including the body of a secret lover of Mary Queen of Scots, David Rizzio! If you have visited where he was killed, did you see his bloodstain upon the floor? Amongst the biggest names now resting in Canongate kirk are the economist and philosopher. He has a footpath that will easily lead you to his final home. Wear sturdy shoes and beware of your own health and safety. Like all our historic kirkyards, health and safety was not much considered when many people were laid to rest here.
Experience Canongate on a private tour with me to discover yet more of its wonders.
Where: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG
When: Summer (1st April – 30th September) 9.30 – 18.00 Last Entry 17.00
Winter (1st October – 31st March) 9.30 – 17.00 Last Entry 16.00
Price: Adult (age 16 – 59) £19.50 or £17.50 if booked online
Senior (for adults aged 60+) £16 or £14 if booked online
Child (age 5-15) £11.50 or £10.50 if booked online
I recommend you allow up to 2 hours to fully appreciate the history, highlights and views. I also strongly recommend purchasing a Castle guidebook. It will enable you to name your many photographs when you return home. I always do that whenever I visit an attraction anywhere in the world.
Our Castle was built on an extinct volcano. The little sister as I like to refer to it, of Arthur’s Seat. The former main volcano of Edinburgh. The Castle has changed hands many times between the English and the Scots for centuries. Join me on a private Edinburgh Castle tour to learn of one man with very close Royal connections who took the Castle with just 30 men!
You will also hear about one particular nationality of prisoners we held in the Castle prisoner of war camp in the 1700s. One of them even carved something very special into a door. I’ll tell you where within the Castle that item is on display. You will also hear about the Jacobite Risings and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to capture the Castle.
My Top Tips:
Pre-book on the official Edinburgh Castle website a day or two before your visit. It is cheaper and guarantees entry. Wear sturdy footwear. The uneven landscape of the Old Town does not stop at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle! Also wear warm clothing. You are at one of the highest points in Edinburgh. Make every effort to time your visit so that you are enjoying the Castle at one o’clock, the hour a certain gun fires from within its walls.
Experience one of the best visitor attractions in Scotland with me on a private Edinburgh Castle tour.
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