Fun Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland
There are a lot of fun things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland! See why we absolutely fell in love with this city and can’t wait to go back!
Fun Things To Do In Edinburgh
We absolutely fell in love with Edinburgh the second we stepped foot in the city. To be completely honest, we had been a bit nervous prior to our visit because everyone had hyped it up so much. We thought it might not live up to the expectations. But it was everything we had imagined, plus more!
We loved everything about Edinburgh, from the cobble stone streets to the massive monuments. There’s a ton of history to learn but at no point did the city feel stuffy or old. Just… magical. Below are a few of our favorite fun things to do in Edinburgh.
Visit The Edinburgh Castle
Exploring the castle is pretty cool. There are a few museums inside, including the Scottish National War museum. If you’re there at one o’clock you can hear the One O’Clock Gun get fired. It’s been fired every day since 1861 except for Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day. You can see where prisoners of war were kept, and even a cemetery for soldiers’ dogs. And of course you can’t miss seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels!
And you have to go both during the day and at night. Sure you can’t walk inside the grounds at night, but just walk up to it. It’s gorgeous!
This impressive monument is in the Princess Street Gardens and was made to honor Sir Walter Scott. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world! You can climb the 287 steps to the top to see some amazing views of the city. Luckily, it’s broken up by four levels, so you don’t have to do all 287 steps at once. On the first level there is a room with information and pictures of Scott.
When we went we were privileged enough to see the poppy display commemorating the Soldiers who lost their lives in the first World War. It was a moving display.
I freely admit that I am a big wuss. But I thought this might be fun. It turns out I was right. There are 11 actors that take you through 1000 years of Scottish history in approximately 80 minutes. The actors and the sets were really great and there were two underground rides. Besides almost peeing my pants, I also learned quite a bit. So I highly recommend it.
If you want to see some more impressive views of the city, head over to Calton Hill. This was another great place to just walk around and explore. There’s the Nelson Monument that was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson who died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. You can climb to the top (yes, more stairs) and get some great panoramic shots of the city.
Pro Tip: Check out this post for more stairs that were worth the climb.
There’s also the National Monument which was dubbed “Edinburgh’s Shame” because it was never finished. We didn’t think it was a shame at all though, and locals have come to love it just the way it is. It was originally meant to be a recreation of the Parthenon in Athens, but they ran out of money. We had fun climbing up and around it and definitely enjoyed the views.
Eat Walkers Shortbread Cookies
Oh my gosh! The cookies! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I think they must put crack in these cookies because ever since I had some, I’ve been addicted. Luckily, I’ve been able to find Walker’s shortbread cookies in US. Not always, but sometimes. Actually, you know what? Don’t eat them. More for me! 😉
Day Trip To Loch Ness
If you’re looking for day trips from Edinburgh, you can take a trip up north to Loch Ness and look for the infamous Loch Ness Monster. There are several companies that offer Scottish Highland tours so it isn’t difficult to do. The drive up is pretty impressive just on its own. The Scottish highlands are beautiful and made up of many mountain ranges and lakes (lochs).
Loch Ness, the largest loch in Scotland in terms of volume, was actually the reason we decided to add Scotland to our European vacation. We knew it was a long shot, but we wanted to be able to say that we looked for Nessie! We took the cruise that travels over the loch for about an hour and were able to get an explanation on the high tech sonar equipment they use to see live images of what’s underneath the water. Although, sadly, we didn’t get to see Nessie, the trip was still a lot of fun.
Final Thoughts On Edinburgh
Like we said earlier, Edinburgh is a magical place and a city that we would go back to in a heartbeat. We hope that this post has inspired you to visit and given you some ideas for fun things to do both in and out of the city. 🙂
Have you been to Edinburgh? What other fun things would you recommend to do in the city?
Click below to see the items we recommend for your visit to Scotland
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Love this post! Makes me want to go even more now!
Thank you Jenny-May! I’m so glad you liked it!
Thank you for sharing your visit to Edinburgh – i have not been to Scotland yet but it is definitely on my list of places I want to visit! I always love climbing tall towers so I will have to climb the Scott Monument when I visit!
I think you’ll really like it Anne, the views are amazing!
Edinburgh has been on our list forever as we have a friend who lives there, and she has been begging us to visit. This post has made our decision it easier.
I’m glad I could help! 😉
I feel the same way! It is such a magical place. I can’t wait to return with my kids and see them soak up the love too.
It really is! I hope they love it as much as we do!
This is amazing! I would have definitely fallen in love with this place myself (though I have to be there physically first to really confirm it 100% that it’s something I love!) Haha! And hopefully by this year or the next, I can land to the UK! *fingers crossed*
I’ll cross my fingers for you too Aileen! You’ll definitely love it 🙂
yes yes yes love Edinburgh! so beautiful & clean (!!), one of my favs
Hi Paula! Yes, it was one of the cleaner cities in Europe I’ve been to. Glad I’m not the only one that noticed that lol
The castle at night is absolutely gorgeous! I haven’t been just yet but will be visiting this September and also latching on a friend’s wedding at the same time. I think the zoo is a must, especially seeing those pandas!
Yes Laurie, the castle is beautiful at night! I’m glad you’re gonna get to go! 🙂
Oooo I particularly enjoy those gorgeous photos of Loch Ness.. So beautiful! I can’t believe I haven’t been to Scotland 🙁 I’m half Scottish!
Oh you should definitely go!
I’ve never been to Scotland, but this post makes me wanna go soon! Your adventure sounds fun! I’m going to list these down when visiting Scotland in the future (:
I’m glad you enjoyed it Stacey 🙂
Too bad you didn’t see Nessie! 😉 It looks like you still had a great time anyway! It was probably for the better – you wouldn’t want her to eat your adorable little plushie friend 😛 Great post!
Haha! That’s true! 😉
Visiting Scotland is near the top of my list. Saving this list for when I go!
Awesome! Thanks Lara! 🙂
Wow Edinburgh looks like such a beautiful city. Personally I love historic places and this city is fascinating. About Scott Monument.. is that for real? OMG incredible…
It certainly is! lol
I haven’t been to Edinburgh yet, but would really love to! Your pictures are wonderful and I love the suggestions on what to do there! Scott Monument looks awesome; I had no idea it is the largest monument to a writer in the world! Great post!
Thank you Kim! 😀
Yes I have and I absolutely loved the Castle. The view, the crown jewels and the cannon being fired ( nearly wet my pants 🙂 ). I also really loved the Royal Yacht Brittania and the Royal Mile (found an awesome chocolate fudge store there). I’ve not been to Loch Ness – looks great!
Royal Mile was such a great place to people watch too!
I haven’t been to Scotland yet, but the castles and history are really captivating. I always feel instantly transported back in time. I’d love to check out Edinburgh, too, especially during the Fringe Festival. With a monument like that for an author, how a could a visit not be an amazing cultural experience.
Oh, I hadn’t heard of the Fringe Festival! I’ll have to look it up. Thanks Jackie! 🙂
Oh I can see why you fell in love with it! I could wander around amongst all that history and architecture for days but the temptation of Lock Ness would be high, shame Nessie didn’t make an appearance for you 🙂
I know!! I was so disappointed! lol
I really want to get to Scotland one of these days. Good to know that Loch Ness is only a day trip from Edinburgh since I’d love to have that on my itinerary.
Oh you should definitely do it Megan!! The trip up is gorgeous as well! I think you’d really like it. 🙂
Never been to Edinburgh but its always been on the list. It’s a shame the last time we were in the UK it was too cold to travel around and fully enjoy. Your photos are great and so are your suggestions for things to do! Thanks for sharing this.
It’s too bad the weather didn’t cooperate for you. That just means a return trip! 😉
I love seeing photos with buddy sitting happily in a corner, he’s so cute! I haven’t been to Edinburgh, but I really should now! The Edinburgh Dungeon sounds like a ton of fun, and Loch Ness looks beautiful!
Thanks so much!! 😀
I love Scotland! We can’t wait to get back. Loch Ness was a crazy experience. I kept thinking I might just see a monsters head pop out of the water . . . Thanks for a great post now I want to go back ASAP!
I kept thinking the same thing Bryanna! lol
Wow! Thanks for this really insightful article on Edinburgh. I’ve never been but I certainly feel like I have been after reading this and seeing your beautiful photos. Well done!
I’m saving this for later! We’ve been talking about going to Scotland next summer or fall.