The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is a magnificent city, magically combining both ancient and modern in a unique Scottish atmosphere. Medieval palaces, gothic churches, amazing modern architecture, great museums and galleries will definitely make your vacation here unforgettable.
For those who prefer to do a lot of sightseeing, purchasing the Edinburgh Pass is a good investment. The pass allows you to visit for free 27 top attractions, use the public transport for free and receive a guidebook. Discounts at restaurants and shops are also available when using the pass. A one-day pass costs £24 (£36 for 2 days pass and £48 for 3 days pass). The passes can be purchased at Tourist Information Centers or online.
>> Read more about the Edinburgh Pass, including a list of the attractions covered and a link to buy online, and check out our tips for having an indie travel experience in Edinburgh.
The Royal Mile is the colloquial name given to a succession of streets which form the main road in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Being approximately one Scottish mile long, the road runs between Edinburgh Castle, on top of Castle Rock, and Holyrood Abbey.
The streets which make up the Royal Mile are:
- Castle Esplanade
- High Street
- Abbey Strand.
Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in Old Town, rivaled only by Princes Street in the New Town.
Watching over the city, Edinburgh Castle is undoubtedly the symbol of Scotland’s capital. Perched on the top of Castle Rock, the castle is an ancient stronghold and the country’s second most visited attraction.
Edinburgh Castle is among the few ancient fortresses that still has a military garrison, although it only has administrative and ceremonial purposes.
As it stands today, only few of the structures pre-date the Large Siege (16th century). The oldest surviving building is St Margaret’s Chapel, which dates from the early 12th century.
Currently, the structure comprises the following buildings:
- Esplanade: at the top of Royal Mile, just in front of the castle, it was constructed originally as a parade ground.
- Gatehouse: is the entrance to the castle flanked by the statues of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace
- David’s Tower and the Lang Siege: the tower was initially the entrance to the castle but the tower was expended to include more rooms and hence the original main entrance became boxed off by a guest room.
- Half Moon Battery is a magnificent set of defenses. Several rooms are accessible to the public but ground floor is closed
- Crown Square is the citadel at the top of the castle and was the main courtyard of the castle.
- Royal Palace is the former location of the royal apartments. The Crown Room, located at the first floor of the palace, contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and Regalia.
- The Great Hall
- Queen Anne Building
- Scottish National War Memorial
- National War Museum of Scotland
- St. Margaret’s Chapel: is the oldest building in the castle and in Edinburgh.
- A Garrison Fortress
The Castle can be visited between April and October, daily, from 9:30 AM to 6 PM and between November and March, daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM.
Holyrood Palace (Palace of Holyroodhouse)
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, informally known as Holyrood Palace, was the main residence of Kings and Queens of Scotland since the 15th century. The palace is located at the bottom of Royal Mile.
Particularly known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots, the palace is home to Queen’s Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection. The grounds comprise the palace and the ruins of the abbey.
The palace can be visited between April and October from 9:30 AM to 6 PM. During the rest of the year the palace closes at 4:30 PM.
Edinburgh Playhouse is a famous theatre, home to numerous touring musicals and touring bands. Being able to house 3056 people, the theatre is the largest in UK in terms of capacity.