Edinburgh, the historic capital of Scotland, is a city famous for its Scottish warriors, enchanting castles, scotch whiskey and the vibrant nightlife. Prior to our visit to Edinburgh, we had this distinct picture of dark grey clouds covering the sky with medieval buildings and narrow alleyways. However, as we started exploring the city we were happy to learn it has much more to offer than we initially anticipated. After spending a delightful weekend in Edinburgh, we have listed down the 10 perfect reasons to visit Edinburgh city.
1. The Edinburgh Castle
One cannot go to Edinburgh and not visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. The castle stands majestically on top of the Castle Rock, which is technically an inactive volcano. We took the guided tour of the castle, spending couple of hours in this magnificent place and learning the best-kept historic secrets. While in the castle do not forget to enjoy the panoramic view of the city from vantage points and also take a peek into the famous Crown Jewels. Entry ticket to the castle costs £16.50.
If you are feeling a bit adventurous, hike up to the top of Arthur’s seat to enjoy the stunning view of the Edinburgh. Although we did not exactly do all the walking, as we had decided to drive around the Holyrood Park, we must say that the peaceful and calm atmosphere is worth all the strenuous hike. The Lochs in the park also provide as the perfect picnic spots watching the geese and swans gliding around the lake.
Royal Mile is one of the oldest streets in Edinburgh stretching from the Castle to the Holyrood Park. Being the focal point of the city, it boasts of the old town’s history and the Scottish culture. Take a leisurely walk along the street exploring the souvenir shops, vintage pubs and restaurants and the famous monuments.
Take a barrel ride into the world of Scotland’s favorite spirit “Single Malt Scotch” at the Scotch Whisky Experience and learn all about its history and making process. You can treat yourself with the different varieties of whisky during the tasting session and also take a peek into the world largest collection of scotch whiskies. Ticket price for the tour starts at £14.
5. Kilt Shopping
The kilted tartan skirts had been on top of our must buy lists during our visit to Edinburgh and we have to admit its one of our best souvenirs to take back home.There are several kilt stores like the Kinloch Anderson and Hector Russel that are specialized kilt makers selling some amazing tartan products.
6. Scott Monument
Built in the memory of famous author Sir Walter Scott, the Scott monument is a Gothic structure standing tall in the Princes Street. This impressive structure has viewing points at the top that can be climbed through a series of narrow spiral stairs. The tickets to top costs £4 and if you are not up for the task, you can always admire the beautiful details on the exteriors.
7. St. Giles Cathedral
The St. Giles Cathedral is another important and beautiful building located at the Royal mile. Visit to this cathedral gave us a detailed insight into the city’s history as it was an integral part of Scottish Reformation. The stained glass windows, ornate stone carvings and the Thistle Chapel are some of the highlights of the Cathedral.
8. The mystery of the Rosslyn Chapel
If one is familiar with Knights Templar from Dan Brown’s famous book Da Vinci Code, they can surely find an interesting link to the Rosslyn Chapel. Located at about 7 miles away from Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel is a small church said to be built around 13th century. The chapel has some very beautiful and intricate masonry carvings and ton loads of interesting facts worth knowing. The legends like the presence of Holy Grail, mummified head of Jesus or the secret treasures of Knights Templar in the secret crypt adds an aura of mystery to this place. The only downside of our visit was photography was prohibited inside the chapel.
Edinburgh is also famously known as “The Athens of the North” as major part of the city’s architectural plan was influenced from the ancient Greek architecture. We loved wandering through the Old town’s narrow streets and alleyways admiring the beauty of the medieval architecture and also came across new unexplored spots.
This one is a must visit place if you are interested in the lives of the Royal Family of England. The HMY Britannia is the former yacht of Queen Elizabeth II and has plenty of details regarding the Royal family. The tour easily takes about 2-3 hours and has an exquisite display of period furnitures and rich and detailed interiors. Ticket to yacht costs £14 per person with audio guide included.