• Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh

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

▲▲▲ Royal Mile Historic road — good for walking — stretching from the castle down to the palace, lined with museums, pubs, and shops.

▲▲▲ Edinburgh Castle Iconic hilltop fort and royal residence complete with crown jewels, Romanesque chapel, memorial, and fine military museum.

▲▲▲ National Museum of Scotland Intriguing, well-displayed artifacts from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

▲▲ Gladstone's Land Seventeenth-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.

▲▲ Palace of Holyroodhouse The Queen's splendid home away from home, with lavish rooms, 12th-century abbey, and gallery with rotating exhibits.

▲▲ Scottish National Gallery Choice sampling of European masters and Scotland's finest.

▲▲ Scottish National Portrait Gallery Beautifully displayed who's who of Scottish history.

▲▲ Georgian House Intimate peek at upper-crust life in the late 1700s.

▲▲ Royal Yacht Britannia Ship for the royal family with a history of distinguished passengers, a 15-minute trip out of town.

▲ Camera Obscura Five floors of illusions, holograms, and gags, topped with the best view of the Royal Mile.

▲ Scotch Whisky Experience Gimmicky but fun and educational introduction to Scotland's most famous beverage.

▲ Writers' Museum at Lady Stair's House Aristocrat's house, built in 1622, filled with artifacts from Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott.

The Real Mary King's Close Underground street and houses last occupied in the 17th century, viewable by guided tour.

▲ Museum of Childhood Five stories of nostalgic fun.

▲ John Knox House Medieval home with exhibits on the life of Scotland's great Protestant reformer.

▲ People's Story Museum Everyday life from the 18th to 20th century.

▲ Museum of Edinburgh Historic mementos, from the original National Covenant inscribed on animal skin to early golf balls.

▲ Queen's Gallery Intimate museum with treasures from the royal art collection.

▲ Rosslyn Chapel Small 15th-century church chock-full of intriguing carvings a short drive outside of Edinburgh.

Scott Monument Climbable tribute to the famed novelist Sir Walter Scott.

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