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Things to do in Edinburgh

The cobbled Old Town has landmark sights including dramatic Edinburgh Castle. Have a tipple at The Scotch Whisky Experience before exploring the medieval world of The Real Mary King's Close. The view from Calton Hill takes in the romantic architecture of the New Town, and centuries of fine art are on display at the National Gallery of Scotland. Laugh with Robbie Burns on the Literary Pub Tour.

Literary Pub Tour, Edinburgh

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Scottish National Gallery - Museums and Galleries

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    National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland

    Housed in a grand neo-Classical building on the New Town's Mound, the National Gallery of Scotland boasts one of the world's best collections of European art. Admire the extensive Scottish collection, and look out for Raeburn's famous Skating Minister.Show this on map

    Cost

    Permanent collection free; special exhibitions vary

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm (until 7pm Thu)

    Address

    The Mound, Princess Street, New Town, Edinburgh EH2 2EL

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 624 6200

    Transport

    Buses to Princes Street - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Scottish National Gallery Website

  2. 2. National Museum of Scotland - Museums and Galleries

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    National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Museums of Scotland

    The award-winning National Museum of Scotland building in the Old Town showcases Scotland's history. The imaginative displays bring to life the light and dark sides of Scottish life. Look out for replicas of Scottish burghs and Dolly the Sheep.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free (donations welcomed)

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm

    Address

    Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 225 7534

    Transport

    Bus 35 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    National Museum of Scotland Website

  3. 3. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art - Museums and Galleries

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    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland

    The grand Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art building is located west of the city centre in a spectacular sculpture garden. It houses notable works by Matisse, Picasso, Bacon and Warhol as well as an extensive collection of Scottish works.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free; special exhibitions various

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm

    Address

    75, Belford Rd, Dean Village, Edinburgh EH4 3DR

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 624 6200

    Transport

    Bus 13 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Website

  4. 4. The Scottish Storytelling Centre - Museums and Galleries

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    The Scottish Storytelling Centre and John Knox House, Edinburgh

    The Storytelling Centre in the Old Town preserves the folk tradition of accessible storytelling. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the interactive displays and replicas. The 15th-century John Knox House next door tells the story of old Edinburgh through objects and architecture.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free; John Knox House £3.50; concessions £1-£3

    Opening hours

    Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Jul & Aug Sun 12pm-6pm

    Address

    43-45, High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 556 9579

    Transport

    Bus 35 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Scottish Storytelling Centre Website

Attractions

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  1. 5. The Real Mary King's Close - Attractions

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    Real Mary King's Close, Edinburgh. Courtesy of Real Mary King's Close

    Underneath the Old Town's streets lurks the parallel neighbourhood of The Real Mary King's Close. In this preserved piece of medieval Edinburgh, you'll meet resident ghosts and find out how they lived until the plague exterminated them in the 1600s.Show this on map

    Cost

    £10.50; concessions £9.50; children £6; no under 5s admitted

    Opening hours

    Apr-Oct daily 10am-9pm (Aug from 9am); Nov-Mar Sun-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-9pm

    Address

    2, Warriston's Close, Writers' Court, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1PG

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 845 070 6244

    Transport

    Bus 23, 24, 27, 41, 42, 45 or 67 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    The Real Mary King's Close Website

  2. 6. St Giles' Cathedral - Attractions

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    High Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh. Photo by Michael Wilson

    Gothic St Giles' Cathedral in the Old Town is known as the High Kirk. Here, Reformationist John Knox gave speeches, inciting religious riots. Look out for medieval carvings of bizarre creatures and impressive stained-glass windows. There are concerts on Sunday night.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    May-Sep: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 1pm-5pm; Oct-Apr: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 1pm-5pm

    Address

    High Street, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1RE

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 225 9442

    Transport

    Bus 24 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    St Giles' Cathedral Website

  3. 7. The Palace of Holyroodhouse - Attractions

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    The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Photo by John Freeman, © The Royal Collection 2008, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    The 12th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse in the Old Town is the Queen's official residence in Scotland. When she is absent, the splendid apartments and galleries are open to the public. Audio guides tell of Mary Queen of Scots witnessing a murder here.Show this on map

    Cost

    Palace £10; Palace and Queen's Gallery £14Seniors & Students: Palace £9; Palace & Queen's Gallery £12.50 6-16s: Palace £6; Palace & Queen's Gallery £8; under 5s free

    Opening hours

    Nov-Mar daily 9.30am-4.30pm; Apr-Oct 9.30am-6pm (closed during Royal Visits)

    Address

    Holyrood Road, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DX

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 556 5100

    Transport

    Bus 35 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Palace of Holyroodhouse Website

  4. 8. Our Dynamic Earth - Attractions

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    The imposing entrance to Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. Courtesy of Our Dynamic Earth

    One of the Millennium Commission's success stories, Our Dynamic Earth is a testament to the forces that shape our planet. A fantastic journey takes visitors through the fascinating story of the Earth, with a multi-sensory insight into the past, present and future.Show this on map

    Cost

    £9.50; concessions £7.50; 3-15s £5.95; under 3s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm (last entry 3.50pm)

    Address

    Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 550 7800

    Transport

    Bus 36 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Our Dynamic Earth Website

  5. 9. Edinburgh Castle - Attractions

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    Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova

    Above the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle dominates the city and is at the epicentre of Scottish history. Tour guides tell of former royal residents, showing visitors the crown jewels and Stone of Destiny, as well as the dingy Vaults below.Show this on map

    Cost

    £12; concessions £10; children £6

    Opening hours

    Apr-Sep 9.30am-6pm; Oct-Mar 9.30am-5pm (last admission 45 min before closing time)

    Address

    Castle Hill, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 225 9846

    Transport

    Bus 24 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Edinburgh Castle Website

  6. 10. The Scotch Whisky Experience - Attractions

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    The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh. Courtesy of The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre Ltd

    Take a light-hearted, child-friendly barrel ride through the making, storing and imbibing of Scotland's national drink at The Scotch Whisky Experience in the Old Town. The ticket includes a dram of whisky, and a visit to the well-stocked shop is recommended.Show this on map

    Cost

    £11; concessions £8.50; children over 5 years £5.95

    Opening hours

    Sep-May daily 10am-6pm; Jun-Aug daily 9.30am-6.30pm

    Address

    354, Castle Hill, Royal Mile, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 2NE

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 220 0441

    Transport

    Bus 24 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    The Scotch Whisky Experience Website

Special things to do

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  1. 11. Literary Pub Tour - Special things to do

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    Literary Pub Tour, Edinburgh

    The two actor-guides in the Literary Pub Tour take visitors around old and new Edinburgh with dramatised stories of the city's literary wits. Starting at the Beehive Inn, it takes in historic pubs and quirky landmarks, ending at the Café Royal.Show this on map

    Cost

    £8.50; concessions £7

    Opening hours

    May-Sep daily 7.30pm; Mar, Apr & Oct Thu-Sun 7.30pm; Nov-Feb Fri 7.30pm

    Address

    18-20, Grassmarket, Old Town, Edinburgh EH12JU

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 225 7171

    Transport

    Bus 2 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Edinburgh Literary Tour Website

  2. 12. Dean Village - Special things to do

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    Dean Village and Water of Leith Walk, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova

    The mansions of Dean Village, just north of the New Town, are from the 19th century, but the milling village dates back 700 years. Walk along the Water of Leith to see ivy-covered statues, quaint houses and the 17th-century baxters' building.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily all day

    Address

    North of the New Town, Edinburgh EH3

    Transport

    Bus 13, 19, 36, 37, 47 or X47 - tram works may cause disruption

  3. 13. Calton Hill - Special things to do

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    Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova

    Calton Hill in the New Town offers an easier climb than Arthur's Seat with equally rewarding views of Victorian buildings and chimneys. It's sprinkled with neo-Renaissance structures such as the unfinished replica of the Parthenon and the telescope-shaped Nelson Monument.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily all day

    Address

    New Town, Edinburgh EH7

    Transport

    Bus 1, 5, 7, 14, 15, 25, 34 or 49 - tram works may cause disruption

  4. 14. Arthur's Seat - Special things to do

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    Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova

    Edinburgh has an extinct volcano at its heart. Rising above Holyroodhouse Palace, Arthur's Seat is an easy get-away from the bustle of the centre. Climb the well-trodden paths to take in the panoramic city views.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    24 hours daily

    Address

    Edinburgh

    Transport

    Bus 36 or 69 - tram works may cause disruption

  5. 15. Royal Botanic Garden - Special things to do

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    Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Photo by Andrew Short

    The plants of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Stockbridge live in their own secluded world. Visitors can stroll among ponds, a rock garden and rare flowers, or experience the 10 different climate zones of the glass-houses. Some species are 200 years old.Show this on map

    Cost

    Garden free; glasshouses £3.50; concessions £3; children £1

    Opening hours

    Apr-Sept daily 10am-7pm; Nov-Feb daily 10am-4pm; Mar & Oct daily 10am-6pm

    Address

    20A, Inverleith Row, Stockbridge, New Town, Edinburgh EH3 5LR

    Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 552 7171

    Transport

    Bus 8, 23 or 27 - tram works may cause disruption

    Website

    Royal Botanic Garden Website

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