Things to do in Edinburgh
What not to miss when you visit Scotland’s capital.
Edinburgh is a city full of cultural institutions, gorgeous architecture, and a fascinating
history. In fact, Time Out magazine rated Edinburgh as the best city in the world in
2022! Here’s what not to miss when you visit the city.
The National Museum of Scotland
This museum, just a 15-minute walk from the conference centre, truly has something
for everyone. The impressive collections include Dolly the sheep, items owned by
Mary Queen of Scots, and even a perfect replica of the museum made out of lego. This
December they are also running an immersive exhibit, ‘Dr Who Worlds of Wonder’, on
the science of the hit TV show with tickets starting from £12.
Open daily 10:00-17:00 (all times are in GMT) | Free Entry to the museum, some
exhibits are ticketed
Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Every year Edinburgh transforms into a winter wonderland, the crown jewel of which
is the Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens. Enjoy traditional handmade
produce and festive food as well as some not so traditional mulled Irn Bru and vegan
pigs in blankets.
Open daily 10:00-22:00 | Free Entry, rides and ice-skating are ticketed
If the 250m climb to the summit of Edinburgh’s tallest hill, Arthur’s seat, doesn’t
appeal, Calton hill is a great alternative. It is much easier to access whilst still
providing beautiful views, including of Arthur’s seat itself! Walking to the top takes
less than ten minutes, or alternatively you can get a taxi to the summit. Once there
you can visit the Collective contemporary art gallery and the Nelson Monument. Paths
around these sites are wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible and there is parking
available for blue badge holders.
Open 24 hours a day | Free Entry
The Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh contains a living collection of plants from around
the world dating back to the 17th century. Set in over 70 acres just 1 mile north of the
city centre it offers a peaceful setting for anyone who wants a break from the hustle
and bustle of central Edinburgh. Entry during the day is free but tickets are available
for ‘Christmas at the Botanics’, an illuminated trail of millions of lights with festive
food and drink stalls.
The gardens are open 10:00-16:15 Daily |Free Entry
Christmas at the Botanics is open 16:15-20:00 | Ticketed, advance booking
The Real Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is one of the alleyways situated under the Old Town
buildings, on the Royal Mile. Although it was closed to the public for many years, it
has recently reopened to visitors. Booking a tour you’ll discover tales of the plague
victims, murderers, and royalty who are thought to reside on Edinburgh’s most
Tours run from 9:30-17:00 daily | Ticketed, advance booking recommended
Topping & Company Bookshop
There are many beautiful independent bookstores in Edinburgh, but Topping &
Company is one of the most impressive. Set over 4000 square meters the store
contains over 70,000 books and hosts author events throughout the year. They also
serve free tea and coffee making it the perfect place for any booklover to spend an
Free tea and coffee whilst you browse
Harry Potter Walking Tour
Every café you visit in Edinburgh will claim to be where the Harry Potter series was
written, however, you can be sure to find the best spots on a free walking tour. On
‘The Potter Trail’ your robed guide will show you all the best sites including the
graves that gave Professor McGonnagall and Tom Riddle their names and the real life
Tours run at 12pm every day from the statue of Greyfriars Bobby | Free with an
optional tip at the end
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
This attraction includes five floors of interactive hands-on optical illusions, tricks and
fun things to do including a vortex tunnel, mirror maze and a shrinking room. You can
also enjoy the rooftop terrace, which offers spectacular 360-degree views of Edinburgh
and experience the Camera Obscura that Victorians used to study the stars.
Open daily from 9:00-20:30 | Ticketed, advance booking recommended
Edinburgh zoo is a gateway to the natural world where people can experience nature,
learn about the challenges facing wildlife and discover the work the Royal Zoological
Society of Scotland are doing to save animals from extinction. Don’t miss the UKs only
giant pandas, the daily penguin parade, and if you’re visiting Edinburgh with children,
you can even have breakfast with Santa and Mrs Claus.
Open daily from 10:00-16:00| Ticketed
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