Book activities & Things to do in Edinburgh

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Up until the 17th century, Edinburgh’s walled defences confined the city to just 140 acres (57 hectares). With threats lurking beyond the walls, the city’s growing population had only one option; build up. The result was a city choc-a-bloc with fickle housing and narrow alleyways. The walls may be long gone, but the city’s higgledy-piggeldy roots are still evident today, giving Edinburgh a unique charm that’s all it’s own. Divided in two, Edinburgh’s Old Town and the Georgian-era New Town are symbolic of this city’s dual personality, a history-laden site that enjoys the trims and trappings of modern life too. It may have a dark and brooding appearance, but Edinburgh’s luxury hotels, bars and award-winning restaurants ensures this party town is as vibrant as they come. Huddled atop the city’s Old Town, Edinburgh Castle overlooks it all, serving as a potent reminder that Scottish heritage is never too far away in this city.

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Things to do in Edinburgh

  • Our tips for Edinburgh

    Our tips for Edinburgh
    • Stock up on whiskey and shortbread. Perhaps one of the most important things to do in Edinburgh, trying these tantalising treats in Scotland is a must.
    • Try haggis. No visit to the Scottish capital is complete without tasting the national dish. Haggis may be an acquired taste - the meal’s main ingredients are sheep’s lungs, hearts and liver - but it is better than it sounds, we promise.
    • Explore Edinburgh’s underground city. Used in the 18th century as workshops for local businesses and later housing the poorest and most disreputable sections of Scottish society, the underground vaults of the city’s South Bridge hold a host of scary secrets. One of the top Edinburgh attractions, the ghost tours offered here are well worth it.
  • Good to know

    Good to know
    Best Time To Visit Old-school architecture and a thriving cultural scene gives Edinburgh year-round appeal. Edinburgh sightseeing reaches its peak in July and August, when travellers from the world over flood to the capital for the annual Edinburgh Festival. Ringing in the New Year in this city is another popular pastime for locals and tourists, with Edinburgh’s epic New Year’s celebration, the Hogmany Festival, famous across the world. Don’t take too long to decide what to do in Edinburgh though, accommodation for these stellar celebrations book out fast.
    Getting Around From Edinburgh’s Old Town to New, here’s our travel breakdown of the best ways to navigate Scotland’s capital.
    • Travelling in and around this city is easiest by bus, simply pick up a free copy of the route map from one of the Lothian Buses Travel shops dotted throughout the city.
    • Trams operate on just one single tramline, running from the airport to the city centre and back again, ideal for those seeking to organise some Edinburgh day trips.
    • Dedicated bike lanes and cycle tracks make this city ideal for cyclists on Edinburgh tours. A city of hills, cycling the peaks and troughs of these city streets promise a great workout, too.
    Stay Safe Although a relatively safe city, be sure to keep these precautions in tow so your Edinburgh trip goes off without a hitch…
    • On Edinburgh day tours, keep your valuables close on public transport and in crowded areas, pickpockets target tourists in the city’s popular sites.
    • In the evenings, be sure to stay in well-lit areas and be cautious of strangers, especially if you’re travelling alone.
    • Dial 999 for help in an emergency.

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