1. Visit Edinburgh Castle
If you’ve never seen it, Edinburgh Castle is one of the finest castles in the world, and is truly one of the best things to do in Edinburgh. Sitting at the highest point in the old town Edinburgh castle has lorded it over the city for hundreds of years. Walk up the Royal Mile (High St) to soak up the feeling of history as you approach the castle. The views from all round the castle across Edinburgh are spectacular. The Scottish Crown Jewels are displayed in Edinburgh Castle, and there is a massive war memorial inside that can be very moving when you see all the names of men who have lost their life fighting for their country.
[flv:/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/5-things-to-do-in-edinburgh.flv 400 300]
2. Take an Edinburgh ghost tour
In the streets of Edinburgh’s old town there have been dark and mysterious happenings for years and years. Tightly packed ancient buildings, tiny closes and narrow streets add to the sense that bits of the old town can be scary when the sun goes down. A ghosts and ghouls tour or witches tour is one of the great things to do in Edinburgh and will take you into the old underbelly of Edinburgh and hopefully scare the pants off you. Just hope you can sleep afterwards. A number of historical tours of Edinburgh’s old town start at different positions along the Royal Mile and are a must-do thing for new visitors to Edinburgh, notable by the Witchery at the top and by St Giles Cathedral about half-way down the hill.
3. Take the road round Arthur’s seat ( and climb it if you feel so inclined) – a mountainous thing to do in Edinburgh
Right in the middle of Edinburgh lies Arthur’s Seat. If you are looking for something active to do in Edinburgh there are a number of paths across that will take you to the top of Arthur’s Seat in a little less than an hour. But for those who are car-bound or don’t feel quite like climbing to the top of this Edinburgh landmark, there is a wonderful drive around it. (not open on sundays). Start in Holyrood Park beside the Palace and Scottish Parliament and follow the road round the hill in a clockwise direction. Over the first mile you will climb steeply and be afforded some fantastic views to Leith and over to the East of Edinburgh and over to East Lothian. Carry on round and the view to the south of Edinburgh open up. Many visitors never venture to this side of the city, but the views let you see how far the city has grown. Continuing on further round the view to the castle and over the old town opens up and is absolutely spectacular. Stop and get a picture of this before you start to drop down into Holyrood Park once again and back to where you started.
4. Visit the National Museum of Scotland
On Chambers Street, Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland is a masterpiece and one of the World’s finest museums. The museum reopened in summer 2011 after extensive refurbishment and is rated by many people as the best thing to do in Edinburgh. If you have a wet, rainy day in Edinburgh, visiting this museum will keep you busy all day. Lots of interactive stuff for the kids. The National Museum of Scotland is now integrated onto it so there is twice as much to see. Even without the wonderful exhibits, this museum is a work of art in itself. Stand in the central atrium and look up at the marvelous victorian architecture. Walk to the join between the old and new museums and look up at the array of different angles, shapes and light bouncing around. Fantastic.
5. Walk the length of Princes Street
Starting at the east end of Princes Street (Edinburgh’s main shopping street) by Waverley station, walk west along the entire mile of street. Don’t be sucked in immediately by the plethora of shops on your right hand side, but instead focus your attention on the vista appearing on your left. This is the skyline of Edinburgh’s Old Town and you could easily shoot a whole roll of film trying to capture it. The park on your left is Princes Street Gardens and it can be a perfect place to while away an hour or so with a picnic lunch, or sandwich from one of Princes Streets shops. As you continue along Princes Street, the skyline on your left gets higher and higher until at the top of it lies Edinburgh Castle in all it’s glory, protected by high cliffs.
There are loads more things to do in Edinburgh, some free and some charge an entrance fee.