Edinburgh is the historical, cultural, and political capital of Scotland. For nearly a thousand years, Scotland's kings, parliaments, writers, thinkers, and bankers have called Edinburgh home. Today, it remains Scotland's most sophisticated and entertaining city. It's a place of stunning vistas — nestled among craggy bluffs and studded with a prickly skyline of spires, towers, domes, and steeples. The city hums with life. Historic, monumental, fun, and well organized, Edinburgh is a tourist's delight.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Edinburgh Castle Iconic 11th-century hilltop fort and royal residence complete with crown jewels, Romanesque chapel, memorial, and fine military museum.
▲▲▲ Royal Mile Historic road — good for walking — stretching from the castle down to the palace, lined with museums, pubs, and shops.
▲▲▲ National Museum of Scotland Intriguing, well-displayed artifacts from prehistoric times to the 20th century.
▲▲ Gladstone's Land Sixteenth-century Royal Mile merchant's residence.
▲▲ St. Giles' Cathedral Preaching grounds of Calvinist John Knox, with spectacular organ, Neo-Gothic chapel, and distinctive crown spire.
▲▲ Scottish Parliament Building Striking headquarters for Parliament, which returned to Scotland in 1999.
▲▲ Georgian New Town Elegant 1776 subdivision spiced with trendy shops, bars, and eateries.
▲▲ Georgian House Intimate peek at upper-crust life in the late 1700s.
▲▲ National Gallery of Scotland Choice sampling of European masters and Scotland's finest.
▲▲ Britannia The royal yacht with a history of distinguished passengers, a 15-minute trip out of town.
▲ Writers' Museum at Lady Stair's House Tribute to Scottish literary triumvirate: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
▲ Mary King's Close Underground street and houses last occupied in the 17th century, viewable by guided tour.
▲ Museum of Childhood Five stories of historic fun.
▲ John Knox House Reputed 16th-century digs of the great reformer.
▲ Cadenhead's Whisky Shop Untouristy store for sampling and buying whisky straight from the distilleries.
▲ People's Story Proletarian life from the 18th to 20th centuries.
▲ Museum of Edinburgh Historic mementos, from the original National Covenant inscribed on animal skin to early golf balls.
▲ Palace of Holyroodhouse The Queen's splendid home away from home, with lavish rooms, 12th-century abbey, and gallery with rotating exhibits.
▲ Sir Walter Scott Monument Climbable tribute to the famed novelist.