11 Best Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

11 Best Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, situated on the Firth of Forth on the east coast, is Scotland’s capital city and grabs the attention of travelers and tourists alike.  With the famous castle perched on its basalt shelf at the heart of the town, peering over the New Town to the north and the Old Town to the south, Edinburgh is one of the world’s most visually stunning cities.  It was the epicenter of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century and has a rich literary and philosophical history.  Edinburgh remains one of Europe’s cultural and artistic centers, described perfectly by the author Alexander McCall Smith as; “A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.”

11. Victoria Street, The Grassmarket and The Cowgate

Tucked away behind the Royal Mile is Victoria Street.  A beautiful collection of colorful craft shops, galleries and restaurant fronts, sat on a cobbled slope which gives way to the expanse of The Grassmarket.  In this area, it’s not easy to choose where to eat or drink as the choice is pretty comprehensive.  Once you’ve made your decision, many of the pubs offer live music indoors, or a view of the Castle towering overhead outdoors.  If you’re on a tighter budget, go along the Cowgate to check out the backpacker hostels.  The bars don’t stop either, Dropkick Murphys on Merchant Street just behind the Cowgate is ideal for a drink or 2 (or 3 or 4…).

10. Explore Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Gardens

Stockbridge is an easy 15 minute walk from the city center, as it’s at the bottom of a big hill at the northern end of the New Town.  Treat yourself to a delicious cupcake from Cuckoos Bakery at the bottom of Dundas Street, and head along Henderson Row and Hamilton place, perhaps stopping at one of the gastro-pubs on the way.  A further 10 minute walk takes you to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which contains one of the world’s largest collections of living plants.   If you happen to be there in spring, try and catch the famous rhododendrons coming into bloom, and if the weather turns nasty nip indoors to one of the many  glasshouse displays, the Gateway Restaurant or the Terrace Café.  Admission to the glasshouse is £5 or about $8 USD, seasonal opening hours apply.

Royal Botanic Garden Edniburgh
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