Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, home of the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy of Scotland. The city’s historical and cultural attractions have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year. Check out our interview with local, James, for suggestions on what to do while in Edinburgh!
THE LOCAL: James
WHY YOU SHOULD TRUST HIM: James is a born and bred Edinburger! Now working abroad, but he still goes back each year for the Edinburgh Festival (which should not be missed) and to see friends and family.
1. Favorite Street to Wander/Stroll?
The Royal Mile (AKA the “high” street), without a doubt. There’s always something going on and you’re drowning in history.
2. Tourist Attraction or Museum Worth Visiting?
Queen Mary’s Close- the hidden warrens underneath the Royal Mile that are often tied to ghost stories and the paranormal. The hidden streets are where people lived, worked and died between the 17th and the 19th centuries.
3. Favorite Bar or Happy Hour Spot?
The Brass Monkey. The List describes it as “Drummond Street’s long-established original branch… popular with a lively student crowd, and it now has a sister venue on Leith Walk with its own big screen, dartboard, Monday quiz, an open-access jam session on Tuesday and some above-average pub meals.”
4. Sunny Day Agenda?
Start by hiking Arthur’s Seat. Then, walk around the old town and grab lunch and some beers so you can chill out in the Meadows. (The Meadows is a large public park just south of downtown, with lots of open space and tree-lined pathways.)
5. Essential Edinburgh Tip? It’s pronounced “Ed-in-brah”
TRIPADVISOR’S TOP FIVE EDINBURGH ATTRACTIONS
1. Arthur’s Seat – Thumbs Up! The highest point of Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is about 250 meters above sea level and provides excellent views of the city. It’s actually a dormant volcano and the site of a large, well preserved fort.
2. Royal Yacht Britannia – Haven’t been! Heard it’s good- gives you an insider view on how The Queen and the royals lived on the yacht. It’s now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal.
3. SANDEMANS New Edinburgh Tour – I haven’t taken this tour. Edinburgh is compact; nearly all of the tourist attractions can be reached by walking. If you want to reach something a little further afield, then the buses are excellent and cheap.
4. Edinburgh Old Town – Thumbs up! Beautiful architecture, old cobblestone streets and narrow passageways; plus lots of restaurants and shopping.
5. National Museum of Scotland – Thumbs up! Lots of permanent displays and special exhibits, so you can spend many hours there- plan accordingly with parking and your schedule!