Edinburgh, Scotland is emerging as one of the most adventurous cities in Europe. It is packed with cultural attractions, shopping destinations and local activities. Also, it does not lack in historical significance. If you are thinking about a vacation in Edinburgh, you should know about all the things that make this city so unique.
The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh has a magical charm. As a matter of fact, it has been ranked as one of the top cities to visit in Europe by Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for the two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014 making it a must-visit destination for tourists and holiday makers.
There is a buzzing city, in one of the most scenic sites in the world – Edinburgh. This vibrant city has something to offer everyone and when you visit, you are bound to fall in love with it. Security is a concern for every individual and making sure that the place you visit is safe for your family. It’s always recommended to do some research about a place before visiting it. There may be several tourist attractions but not all of them are worth your time. Before you make your vacation plans, make sure to read this article as we present to you ” Top 10 Places For Families To Visit In Edinburgh “.
Vacation In Edinburgh
If you’re looking for a place to have a great time with your family and have a vacation of a lifetime, Edinburgh Scotland may be the perfect choice. Edinburgh is a big city located in the middle of Scotland. This means that it has easy access to all major attractions in the country as well as having many family friendly activities that can be enjoyed by everyone.
I’ve been using Yotel for my last three trips to Edinburgh. I like the simplicity and efficiency of the hotel, the great design work and the complimentary broadband, but I could do without the single beds when I have a partner.
Other Things to See and Do in Edinburgh
1. Take a free walking tour
The best way to get the lay of the land is to take a walking tour. You get a feel for the city and get to see the main sights while also having a local expert on hand to answer your questions. I always take a free walking tour when I arrive at a new destination. It’s the best way to get situated. New Europe has a great free tour that lasts a couple of hours — just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
2. Hang out in Calton Hill
Calton Hill is a quiet place to escape the noise of the city and admire the view. Take a hike to the top of the hill where you can sit and relax in a peaceful park-like setting. The National Monument of Scotland (a memorial to the soldiers who fought in the Napoleonic Wars between 1803-1815) and the Nelson Monument, dedicated to Horatio Nelson (a famous 18th-century British Admiral) are located here.
3. Explore Princes Street Gardens
For another free outing, spend an afternoon at Princes Street Gardens, which boasts a beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle. The garden is composed of two main parks and dates to the 1770s, when Edinburgh’s largest lake, Nor Loch, was drained to create the park. Today, the park is beloved by tourists and visitors alike, with vendors selling food and souvenirs here. At Christmas, the Garden turns into a German-style winter fair, full of stalls selling food, mulled wine, toys, and rides (the Christmas markets usually open mid-November).
4. Tour the Museum of Edinburgh
This museum is in the 16th-century Huntly House (one of the historic buildings on the Royal Mile) and offers insight into the city and its past. The museum is home to the National Covenant (an important Scottish Presbyterian document from 1638) as well as some original city plans and a miniature of the Old Town. There are also works of art, silverware, weapons, and more. The museum is free.
5. Visit the National Gallery of Scotland
This impressive gallery is home to works by Monet, Rembrandt, Degas, Vermeer, and Van Gogh, as well as works by famous Scottish painters like Allan Ramsay, David Wilkie, and William McTaggart. Opened in 1859, the gallery was designed in the Neoclassical style to look like an ancient Greek temple. Works span the centuries from the Renaissance to the 20th century and the gallery is free to enter (some temporary exhibits have a fee).
6. Attend a summer festival
During the summer, Edinburgh is home to several huge festivals. The most popular is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Held in August, this festival brings in performers and entertainers of all kinds — actors, musicians, buskers, and more. The festival lasts three weeks and is the biggest festival of its kind in the world. Keep in mind that during this time, accommodation prices skyrocket and the city floods with people. If you plan to attend, make sure you book your accommodation in advance. The Edinburgh International Film Festival in June and the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in July are two other big festivals worth attending in the summer.
7. Take a ghost tour
Edinburgh has a spooky history and there are many tours that illuminate the city’s eerie past by taking you around to graveyards and through underground tunnels. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the tours take you to some old and interesting parts of Edinburgh. Don’t miss the Ghost Bus tour as well as a tour of the Vaults (the underground tunnels below the city) — both of which you do at night!
8. Drink some scotch
Learn how scotch is made by touring the Scotch Whisky Experience. It’s part museum, part interactive attraction (there’s even a barrel ride where you sit in a fake barrel and learn about the whisky-making process). There are also exhibits to show you the history of Scotland’s famous drink and how it came to hold such a revered place in the culture. Prices vary depending on what type of tour you want but begin at 17 GBP.
9. Celebrate Hogmanay
Hogmanay is one of the world’s biggest and most famous New Year’s Eve celebrations. Tens of thousands of people gather in the city streets to celebrate with torchlight processions, concerts, and fireworks. Prepare yourself for lots of drinking, holiday festivities, live music, and huge crowds. Book your accommodation far in advance as tens of thousands of people attend the festival.
10. Have fun at Camera Obscura
Founded in 1835, Camera Obscura is a fun and educational interactive museum. It’s home to over 100 exhibits that use light, mirrors, and technology to create stunning optical illusions. It’s located right in the heart of the Old Town making it easily accessible for anyone traveling with kids (or anyone who wants to indulge their inner child). It’s part science, part illusion, and all fun. Admission is 18 GBP.
11. Take a Harry Potter tour
If you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling’s epic fantasy series, be sure to book a spot on The Potter Trail, Edinburgh’s original Harry Potter tour. Tours are held daily and cover all the main sites in the city that relate to the books. The tour lasts 90 minutes and is accessible for both casual enthusiasts as well as die-hard fans. The tour is free, though make sure to tip your guides as well.
12. Visit St. Giles’ Cathedral
Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, St. Giles’ Cathedral is located on the Royal Mile and was originally built in the 12th century. The current building dates to the 14th century and was formerly a Roman Catholic Cathedral (St. Giles is now part of the Church of Scotland). In addition to the beautiful and austere interior, the cathedral is home to some noteworthy monuments, including one to famed Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Admission is free. Remember that this is a place of worship, so dress respectfully.