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The Whisky capital of the world? Maybe, and that should be enough to draw the tourists in. If not, there’s a lot more to boot! Though the essence of the cosmopolitan world has started looming large in the city it is still retaining its traditionalism in all its former glory. This is where the city’s distinctive factor lies. The Old as well as the New Towns of Edinburgh have been incorporated in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1995. Hence, its popularity as one of the top tourist destination in UK is comprehensible. The city is flanked by a number of tourist destinations however; some of them deserve special importance. If you are there for a short span of time make sure you do not miss the top five tourist attractions in Edinburgh.


The five sites not to be missed in Edinburgh are:

1) Edinburgh Castle: A majestic fortress that dates back to as long as the 12th century is a site to behold. The massive castle is now home to an array of galleries and preserves an immense variety of exquisite collections. It has a number of other attractions too like the Scottish War Museum and historical re-enactors. In the precincts of the Edinburgh Castle are held the festival of traditional pipes and drums in the month of August.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

2) Royal Mile: It is said that a stroll down the Royal Mile is a must for all tourists visiting Edinburgh. Along the street of the Royal Mile you will come across a large variety of traditional pubs and restaurants, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, Parliament Square, St. Giles Cathedral, the Museum of Childhood, the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth, Palace of the Holyrood House and a host of other attractions. It is truly the historic heart of the city.

The Royal Mile Edinburgh
The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

3) Royal Botanical Garden: Located on the north of the city center, the Royal Botanical Garden is the second oldest botanical garden in the British Isles. It is incorporated in an area of 70-acres. The garden houses an herbarium, a tropical house with exotic orchids, an alpine house, a heather garden, Great Britain’s biggest palm house, a collection of cacti and succulents, an extensive arboretum, a woodland garden, a terraced moorland garden, an aquatic house and a rock garden. There is also an Exhibition Hall where various exhibitions are held. Gardens aren’t my thing, but this is pretty cool!

Royal Botanical Garden
Royal Botanical Garden

4) Arthur’s Seat: A hike to the top towards the east of the city will bring you to a now dormant volcano where Arthur’s Seat rests. The place also has the remnants of an iron-age fort. And from its vicinity one can get a picturesque view of Edinburgh.   It’s found in the centre of Holyrood park. Holyrood Park is a beautiful incorporation of a plethora of attractions. There is a remnant of an ancient volcano, the dramatic Salisbury Crags, three lakes, a bird sanctuary etc

Arthur's seat in Holyrood Park
Arthur’s seat in Holyrood Park

5) The Scott Monument: A Victorian gothic monument in tribute to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. You’ll find this 60m sight in the Princes Gardens in the city.  You can get inside and climb most of it, which offers awesome sights of the city.

Scott Monument Edinburgh
Sir Walter Scott Monument Edinburgh

These are my top 5 but there are a lot more (Port o’Leith, National of Gallery etc.) however if you only have a couple of days – these are your 5 must-sees. 2 or 3 days should be enough to tick off the main sites.

I love this city, one of the few places in the UK I reckon I could actually live. The people are friendly, the city is beautiful but make sure to dress up warm, oh and you should probably bring a rain coat too. Scotland isn’t blessed with the best weather in the world, but look on the bright side, if it gets a little chilly – it’s a perfect excuse to sample some of Scotland’s finest export – Scotch whisky. Happy travels!


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11 thoughts on “5 sites not to miss in Edinburgh

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  3. Hi Johnny,
    you’ve finally hit my old town, I used to, as a kid, race my grannie up Walter Scott monument all xxx steps up the spiral staircase. Nice view from the top. You could see Arthur’s Seat and Craigmillar Castle from our house. It was so pictureque we once had an artist in our front garden doing an oil painting of the view. Aye fond memories of Auld Reekie!

  4. Hey Johnny – thanks for the tips…we will be in Edinburgh in less than a week so this is super helpful!! But yes, with all this talk of whiskey…do you know of any affordable scotch tours in the area? 🙂

    1. hey skott,

      cool blog name! I’m afraid i dont know of any tours in the area, sorry to disappoint BUT i did see a couple of flyers in the tourist information in the city centre, which pick u up from your hostel – so that would be a good bet 🙂

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