We are here to help you build a list of Edinburgh’s Top Attractions so that you can have the best itinerary for your next visit to Edinburgh. Designed to suit all tastes and budgets, whether you are visiting for a short weekend away with friends or perhaps a week with your family our city has something to offer everyone.
From family days out to cultural pursuits, Edinburgh’s top attractions satisfy all tastes, including some of Scotland’s most visited free and paid-for attractions. The city’s backdrop of Arthur’s Seat, the Pentland Hills, and Edinburgh’s Waterfront make the city a remarkable place to visit.
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Here are some of Edinburgh’s Top Attractions
Situated at the top of the Royal Mile on top of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is the number one visitor attraction in Scotland and the most iconic building in the city.
A fantastic day out for all the family, Edinburgh Zoo is only a short bus ride from the city center and home to over 1,000 fabulous animals, including the UK’s only giant pandas. The Zoo is situated in beautiful parkland settings and includes fabulous flamingos, cute koalas, and cheeky chimpanzees.
Uncover Edinburgh’s grisly history at The Edinburgh Dungeon – if you dare! Laugh and scream your way through this fantastic visitor attraction, where you’ll come face to face with Scotland’s ravenous cannibals, discover the secrets of the Green Lady and have a close encounter with Edinburgh’s infamous killer duo Burke and Hare.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions – where seeing is not believing!
Welcome to the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, delighting visitors since 1835. Don’t miss this Aladdin’s cave filled with illusions, tricks, puzzles, hands-on experiences, and unbelievable effects to experience and interact with.
Discover the delights of the natural world, explore world cultures, and enthuse at treasures from around the world. Featuring a diverse range of art and design exhibits, interactive displays, and games, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland will appeal to all ages.
Edinburgh is home to three of the National Galleries of Scotland (website): the National Gallery on the Mound, the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street, and the Gallery of Modern Art on Belford Road. Offering a mixture of permanent art collections and exciting visiting exhibitions, a visit to the galleries is a great day out for art lovers.
The Scottish National Gallery
In the heart of Edinburgh, the Scottish National Gallery boasts some of the world’s finest art by the likes of Rembrandt, Monet, and Raphael.
The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
This beautiful red sandstone building can be found in the New Town and is home to over 3,000 portraits of men, women, and children from Scotland and beyond.
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Just a short taxi ride from the city centre, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art has three main spaces: Modern One hosts the gallery’s permanent collection, Modern Two has ever-changing exhibitions and displays, and an expansive park full of fascinating sculptures. It’s a must for any modern art fan in the city.
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR
The Scott Monument
The largest monument to a writer in the world commemorating the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. Built-in the 19th century, it is one of the most striking landmarks in the Edinburgh city skyline.
East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ (website)
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Every year, around the end of June, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stay here and participate in official engagements in the city and beyond.
Edinburgh’s Old Town is home to Scotland’s thoroughly modern Parliament building. Open to visitors Monday-Saturday, why not take advantage of a free tour and learn about its history, work, and contemporary architecture? You can even visit a debating chamber and if Parliament is in session, view proceedings from the public gallery.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or are interested in learning more about tropical plants from around the world, then the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is the place to go.
Take a barrel ride as you actually become part of the whisky-making process. From the gently swaying fields of barley all the way through the distillery equipment to the steaming and bubbling Pot Still.
Rated Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction for 13 years running, The Royal Yacht Britannia was Her Majesty The Queen’s floating palace for over 40 years. Sailing over 1,000,000 miles around the world, Britannia is now moored permanently beside Ocean Terminal in Leith.
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