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!
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.
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.
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! 😉
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.
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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