Arthurs Seat

10 places to visit in Edinburgh this festival

In recent years, Edinburgh has received nearly 4 million visitors annually; second only to London in the UK.

Approximately 38% of these visitors are from outside the UK, so if you’re one of those people coming to visit Scotland’s capital then here are 10 things you should do while here – especially if you’re here for the city’s various festivals.

Scottish Field’s Adelaide Walker suggests a few places worth visiting in her home city.

  1. Edinburgh Castle

For those visiting the capital, Edinburgh castle is the obvious tourist attraction. Its prominent place on the city skyline is in no way subtle, and it towers over every surrounding building for miles. Edinburgh has a long, rich history, of which the castle is central: the guided tours will walk you through each ancient room, giving all the background information needed for you to grasp the importance of the historic site. Whether for an all-day trip, or just a couple hours looking around, Edinburgh Castle is a perfect place to start in getting to know Edinburgh.

2. The Edinburgh Dungeon

The underground venue of the Edinburgh dungeons is the right place for any thrill-seekers. With real life theatrical performances and interactive rides, you are able to walk through the darker side of Edinburgh’s history and experience just how gruesome some of the punishments people faced really were. From witches to cannibals, the dungeon covers a span of 500 years of Edinburgh’s grisly history, and is suitable for anyone over the age of 8 to enjoy. This is the one place you can uncover the shocking history of Edinburgh that the city would rather forget.

3. W. Armstrong & Son

This is an Edinburgh favourite for anyone looking to shop for vintage; there are three stores located around Edinburgh, all selling unique and classic clothing and accessories in charming boutique style shops. As the UK’s oldest and most loved vintage store, going since 1840, it’s not one to miss in a visit to Edinburgh. W. Armstrong & Son is the perfect time machine to transport you into vintage heaven from all eras, whether you want to purchase something or just have a look, it’s perfect for you.

4. Arthur’s Seat

For those looking for a quick walk with a brilliant view of the city, Arthur’s Seat is for you. The iconic ancient volcano sits centrally in Edinburgh, accommodating hikes suitable for all abilities, from expert rock climbers to those just wanting a wee stroll. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags also hold huge historical significance; they are where James Hutton was able to form theories that have shaped modern day ideas about geology. So, whether you are looking for a breath of fresh air, or to find out more about the volcano’s part to play in the Enlightenment, Arthur’s Seat is the one for you.

5. The Water of Leith

Another, more relaxing, walk; the Water of Leith is the main river that flows through Edinburgh. From Stockbridge to Leith, the river will take you for a pleasant stroll while also giving a good idea as to what Edinburgh is like away from all the tours and bustling main streets. The river passes many charming bridges and features lots of wildlife from herrings to ducklings. A walk along the river is very peaceful as you are taken away from roads, so are able to take in the natural surroundings and be separated from the fast-moving world around. 

6. Stockbridge Farmers’ Market

The Stockbridge Market, only open on Sundays, is the perfect place to grab great artisanal produce ranging from handmade marshmallows to hand painted highland cows. The market is perfect for any time of the day, and has countless delicious stores to grab freshly made meals. It gives the opportunity for you to try small, unique and independent traders’ produce that you won’t find in any supermarket, while also getting a taste of the local’s favourite Sunday event. Whether you are in the mood for Haggis or Thai food, the Stockbridge Market has it all.

7. The Grassmarket

The Grassmarket

The Grassmarket can be found at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old town, overlooked by the Castle. Well-renowned for being a centre of good food, clothes and culture, you haven’t visited Edinburgh until you have visited the Grassmarket. A magnet for independent boutiques and stylish cafes, it really does have it all. As well as all that, there is a charming historical touch to be discovered from the Grassmarket with Grey Friars Bobby being a significant and lucky landmark to visit.

8. Royal Yacht Britannia

If you fancy a taste of how British Royalty traveled, the Royal Yacht Britannia is for you. With five decks to explore, the luxury yacht offers an experience to find out just how the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill were wined and dined during their voyages. The Yacht also boasts a Royal deck tea room, where there are plenty of delicacies on offer that would have been served to many celebrities. So if you feel like exploring the lives of the monarchs, Royal Yacht Britannia is for you.

9. Jupiter Artland

While the contemporary sculpture garden, Jupiter Artland, is located just outside of Edinburgh – it is still close by and well worth a visit. Its award-winning exhibitions are enough to leave anyone in awe, and the displays are constantly changing to show various different artists and their fantastic pieces of artwork. The picturesque grounds of Bonnington House provide the ideal space for the exhibitions and create a unique style of presenting art that you will find hard to forget. 

10. Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth

One for the whole family, Dynamic Earth makes for an exciting, interactive day out, bringing to life the ancient history of how the Earth was formed, and the path it has followed since. From volcanoes to real life ice burgs, Dynamic Earth is full of surprises that will make you feel a new sense of awe for the pure scale of the planet and the wonders it holds. With 4D features, the walkthrough timeline will make you believe you are experiencing firsthand the evolution of our planet. Dynamic Earth makes for an educational and immensely fun day out.