Perched atop an extinct volcanic crag, Edinburgh Castle is the city's most iconic landmark and Scotland's most visited attraction. A symbol of Scottish resilience, the castle has witnessed many of the defining events of the nation's history. Visitors can explore the ancient halls, chambers, and dungeons, as well as view the Honours of Scotland – the Scottish crown jewels. The Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers, is also here. The castle offers panoramic views over the city, making it a perfect spot for photos.
The Royal Mile:
Stretching from Edinburgh Castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, this historic thoroughfare is the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. Flanked by cobbled closes and narrow stairways, it brims with shops, eateries, and historical sites. Notable stops include St. Giles' Cathedral with its famed crown spire, the impressive Scottish Parliament Building, and the dynamic storytelling center, The Real Mary King's Close, which offers a glimpse into the city's past.
Palace of Holyroodhouse:
Serving as the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, this palace is situated at the end of the Royal Mile. It boasts 16th-century apartments once inhabited by Mary, Queen of Scots, and the historic Holyrood Abbey. The State Apartments, adorned with tapestries and ornate plasterwork, are used for state ceremonies and official entertaining.
Rising high above the city, Arthur’s Seat is the main peak in the group of hills that form most of Holyrood Park. This ancient volcano offers an excellent vantage point for sweeping views of the city and beyond. Hiking to the summit is a popular activity that rewards with breathtaking scenery.
The National Museum of Scotland:
A treasure trove of ancient artefacts and interactive exhibits, the museum covers Scottish antiquities, culture, and history, as well as science and technology, natural history, and world cultures. Noteworthy exhibits include Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, and a rich display of Celtic and medieval artefacts.
The Royal Yacht Britannia:
Berthed in Leith, Edinburgh's maritime heart, this former royal yacht served the British Royal Family for over 40 years, traveling over a million nautical miles around the globe. Now a five-star visitor attraction, the yacht offers insight into the personal lives of the royals, showcasing the State Apartments, the Crew's Quarters, and the Engine Room. The onboard audio guide, included in the admission price, provides a rich narrative of the yacht's history and its place in royal service.