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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.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova
The Scottish Storytelling Centre and John Knox House, Edinburgh. Photo by Simon Jones, courtesy of The Scottish Storytelling Centre
1

The Scottish Storytelling Centre

Scottish folk tales

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.



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

The Scottish Storytelling Centre Website

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
2

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Post-war artworks

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.



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

National Galleries of Scotland Website

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Museums of Scotland
3

National Museum of Scotland

History comes to life

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.



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 Museums of Scotland Website

National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. Courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland
4

National Gallery of Scotland

Scottish and European art

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.



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

National Galleries of Scotland Website

The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh. Courtesy of The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre Ltd
5

The Scotch Whisky Experience

How whisky is made

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.



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

Real Mary King's Close, Edinburgh. Courtesy of Real Mary King's Close
6

The Real Mary King's Close

Under the city

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.



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

The imposing entrance to Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. Courtesy of Our Dynamic Earth
7

Our Dynamic Earth

Ancient history

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.



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

High Kirk of St Giles, Edinburgh. Photo by Michael Wilson
8

St Giles' Cathedral

Reformation landmark

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.



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

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova
9

Edinburgh Castle

Symbol of the city

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.



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

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Photo by John Freeman, © The Royal Collection 2008, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
10

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Royal residence

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.



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

Official British Monarchy Website

Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova
11

Calton Hill

Romantic lookout

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.



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

Literary Pub Tour, Edinburgh. Courtesy of The Scottish Literary Tour Trust Ltd
12

Literary Pub Tour

Beer and poetry

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.



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

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Photo by Andrew Short
13

Royal Botanic Garden

Floral paradise

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.



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

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova
14

Arthur's Seat

Scenic getaway

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.



Cost

Free

Opening Hours

24 hours daily

Address

Edinburgh

Transport

Bus 36 or 69 - tram works may cause disruption

Dean Village and Water of Leith Walk, Edinburgh. Photo by Kapka Kassabova
15

Dean Village

Where the millers lived

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.



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

Website

Dean Village (Edinburgh World Heritage)

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