72 Hours in Edinburgh
Staying slighlty longer? Why not try this suggested 72 hour itinerary.
It’s a good idea to start your day at Edinburgh Castle when it opens at 9.30am to get ahead of the crowds. You can then either follow the ‘Royal Mile’ down on foot to explore its narrow ‘closes’ and boxful of attractions or, if you want to get some idea of what you are seeing as you go, jump aboard one of the open-top tour buses. Choose a multi-language tour or get a more personal view from an onboard guide. The buses follow the same route all day so you can jump off and on as you please to visit other attractions like the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament or the National Galleries of Scotland.
There are plenty of cafés and eating places scattered around the city centre for a quick lunch. Most pubs offer hearty food at reasonable prices and many have strong historical connections themselves. If you’ve spent the morning in the Old Town area (and you could easily spend several days there and not visit everything), cross the North Bridge to Edinburgh’s other World Heritage site, the Georgian New Town. The elegant street layout and neo-classical architecture is among the best of its kind anywhere.
Head back to the Royal Mile for a walking ghost tour either before or after dinner, depending on how brave you feel, followed by dinner in the romantic and historic setting of a candlelit restaurant like The Witchery By The Castle or the Vintners’ Rooms in Leith.
From Princes Street it’s a short No.22 bus ride to another regally-named attraction. The Royal Yacht Britannia is now permanently docked at Ocean Terminal in Leith. After the tour, stay on to explore the port of Leith, now one of the most fashionable areas to live in Edinburgh. It’s easy to forget when in the city centre just how close you are to the sea.
If you’re feeling energetic, join the Edinburgh tradition of climbing Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. It’s an extinct volcano (last active over 300 million years ago) and is one of the best vantage points over the city to the countryside beyond.
If you dined ‘Old Town’ last night, go for something different around George Street tonight. There’s something of everything in one of the city’s main eating areas.
If Edinburgh marks your first visit to Scotland, you may like to get out of the city today to see the Highlands or other parts.
There are day trips year-round which whisk you in little more than half an hour to the majestic splendour of the Highlands and the still expanses of lochs and glens. Tours take in forest walks amongst spectacular waterfalls, standing stone circles and the tallest trees in the country. The scenery may change as you travel but the sheer beauty of the land remains constant. Whether by luxury coach or intimate minicoach, your driver will have you back to Edinburgh in time for dinner or even a traditional fish supper!
Round off your trip with a night of live music in a pub. Just remember you have to get home tomorrow!
Edinburgh City Pass
Enjoy free access to over 25 of Edinburgh’s top attractions and a number of exclusive offers at restaurants and shops throughout the city with an Edinburgh city pass. Choose from a 1, 2 or 3 day pass. Buy online or at any Tourist Information Centre