If you love plaid, castles and beautiful old cities, Edinburgh is the place for you this fall season. Scotland’s capital is brimming with old-world charm and enough scotch to satisfy the thirstiest of visitors!
There are so many things to see and do in Edinburgh, you will never be bored! Of course, you have to start at Edinburgh Castle in Old Town. It is perched high on Castle Rock overlooking the magnificent city. Home to Scottish artifacts, such as the crown jewels, you’ll see the Portcullis Gate, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Lange Stairs, Argyle Battery, Military Prison and more. Learn about what it took to fight to save the bastion during the Wars of Independence and imagine what life was like.
Once you’ve finished at the castle, the Royal Mile is the main drag through Old Town and will lead you to the next big stop. This stretch of road runs from the castle to Holyrood Palace, and is the busiest tourist street in Old Town. Pop into St. Giles’ Cathedral or any one of the restaurants and pubs along your route to the next big attraction. Be sure to stop at the Scotch Whiskey Experience while on the Royal Mile. Choose the length of tour you want to go on and get ready to taste some of Scotland’s finest whisky! This is a must-do while in the area.
At the end of the Royal Mile you’ll reach the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This is the official residence of the Queen when she visits Scotland, so you know it’s going to be extra fancy! On your tour, learn about previous rulers like Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Stare in awe at the state apartments, Throne Room, Holyrood Abbey and the beautiful palace gardens. Elegance is in no short supply here.
Adjacent to the palace is Holyrood Park. It was created in 1541 and encompasses a whopping 640 acres. You can climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, for incredible panoramic views of the city. This is the highest point in the park at 823 feet. The park is also the perfect place to feed the birds at Duddingston Loch. Plenty of paths and trails in the park are family-friendly, including St. Margaret’s Loch which is wheelchair-friendly. You can also visit the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, a 15th-century medieval sanctuary located just above St. Margaret’s Loch.
If the weather takes a turn for the worse and the clouds roll in, hide from the rain at the National Museum of Scotland. Entry is free and there are more than 20,000 artifacts. Learn about the Catacombs of Egypt, fashions through time and various art pieces. There are also science and technology galleries featuring inventions which have changed our lives.
If you are looking for some peace and quiet, visit Lauriston Castle and Gardens. This 16th-century tower house is a great place to see Scottish history come to life. The castle is located on the Firth of Forth and represents a typical wealthy, middle-class home from the beginning of the 20th century. The Edwardian interior has a beautiful furniture collection with pieces from Scotland, England and across Europe. A lovely woodland walk surrounds the castle and is the perfect place to wander around and relax while you take in the amber, crimson and burnt orange leaves. There is also a Japanese garden.
If you have kids in tow, the Edinburgh Zoo might be more their speed. The zoo features a giant panda exhibit, penguins rock, koala territory, wallaby outback and much more. How many different animals can you find? Be sure to stop at the gardens for a look at the diverse tree collection with 120 species.
If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary to do while in the area, the Edinburgh Dungeon is perfect. Learn about the city’s gruesome past by taking a trip back in time to the streets of 1645, when the plague raged and murderers Burke and Hare were at large. Live actors, special effects and underground rides make this tour something you’re sure to remember.
Get your boots, travel buddy and Instagram filters ready for a fall trip of a lifetime! From the astounding castles to crazy dungeon tours, you’re sure to have a blast exploring Scotland’s second-largest city.
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