Voted the UK’s top city for tourists, Scotland’s cultured capital Edinburgh can keep visitors young and old entertained for weeks on end…
From museums and galleries to fine whiskies, gothic architecture, remarkable history, welcoming hospitality and comforting pub-culture, the city has bucket loads to offer both locals and tourists alike.
If you’re just passing through Edinburgh for a day or two, stay close to the bustling Royal Mile (the stretch between historical landmarks Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace) in the centre of the action, and you’ll get to see and do more on your whirlwind visit.
Here are our top to-dos in and around the Royal Mile for any short stint or longer stay in the magical city of Edinburgh…
1. Drink up interesting information and the fine amber elixir at The Scotch Whisky Experience
A worthwhile experience for both whisky lovers and those who can’t stand the stuff, The Scotch Whisky Experience includes a viewing of the world’s largest Scottish whisky collection, a dram of locally produced single malt, a whisky barrel ride through the production process (accompanied by the resident ghost) and more. Come out the other side a true connoisseur…
Book your tour of The Scotch Whisky Experience today.
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2. See the city below the city at Real King Mary’s Close
Discover Edinburgh’s deepest and literally darkest secret; a warren of buried streets frozen in time since the 17th Century. On a one-hour audio-visual tour below the modern day city centre, learn the scandalous history of the most prominent residents and see for yourself how inhabitants lived, worked and fought off the plague – often in vain – before being forced above ground.
A fascinating look at the history of Edinburgh, the Real King Marys Close tour is the perfect any-weather option for holiday-markers.
To reserve your glimpse into Edinburgh’s furtive past, book your tour of the Real King Mary’s Close today!
3. Visit an authentic Scottish pub (or two… or ten…)
The Royal Mile is lined from top to tail with an extensive assortment of pubs – some modern and minimalist, but the majority are authentically cosy and genuinely welcoming. Grab a table on the street outside to enjoy some people-watching if the weather permits, or head inside for Scottish hospitality and comfort food to match. Think fish and chips (with mushy peas of course), steak and ale pie, and signature Scottish haggis for the brave at heart.
Go for the good food and drinks that’ll warm you from the inside out. Leave with new friends, warmed cheeks and a renewed energy to continue your exploration of the area.
There are literally dozens of great establishments to choose from, but some of the most revered pubs along the Royal Mile include Deacon Brodies Tavern, The Royal Mile, The World’s End and The Mitre.
4. Indulge in dinner at The Witchery at the Castle
Pub food is a must in Scotland, but a fine dining experience as spectacular as The Witchery at the Castle simply cannot be ignored. Where incredible meals meet an enchantingly romantic atmosphere, at the gates to the castle is where you’ll find Edinburgh’s most famous and fawned over restaurant.
Declared by Andrew Lloyd Webber to be “the prettiest restaurant ever”, whether you’re seated in the lavish original Witchery or in the fairy-tale Secret Garden, find yourself seduced by the moody lighting, the tall candlesticks, the decadent décor, attentive and charming servers and of course the I’d-lick-my-plate-if-I-could quality food, each dish prepared with the most love and attention, seemingly just for you.
Reserve your table at The Witchery by the Castle in advance to avoid any disappointment.
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5. Marvel at the High Street performers
Got some time to spare between activities? The Royal Mile is lined with talented street performers that will have you baffled at their tricks, thrilled by their bagpipes, laughing at their acts and wondering where the time went. Love an artist’s performance? Don’t forget to show your appreciation with a euro or two!
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6. Take a selfie outside Edinburgh Castle
Perched at the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is an impressive sight to behold. If you’re short on time, a quick selfie outside the castle as proof of your walk up the hill is just as beautiful as any photo you’ll take inside its walls.
7. Shop local goods made with love
Don’t buy your loved ones magnets as mementos of your trip to Scotland. Instead visit the local shops to pick up authentic Scotch Whisky, Edinburgh gin, kilts, cashmere, tartan scarves, tweeds, buttery shortbread or a case of good old Irn-Bru (the iconic Scottish cooldrink).
A few establishments worth popping into include Ragamuffin, The Woollen Mill, Geoffrey Tailor Kilts, Marchbrae and Royal Mile Whiskies.
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