Top things to do

Top Choice Castle in Old Town

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence – King Malcolm Canmore (r 1058–93) and Queen Margaret first made their home here in the 11th century – and as a military stro…
Top Choice Notable Building in Holyrood & Arthur’s Seat

Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament Building, on the site of a former brewery and designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles (1955–2000), was opened by the Queen in October 2004. The ground plan of the complex is said to repr…
Top Choice Ship in Leith

Royal Yacht Britannia

Built on Clydeside, the former Royal Yacht Britannia was the British royal family's floating holiday home during their foreign travels from the time of her launch in 1953 until her decommissioning in 1997, and is no…
Top Choice Palace in Holyrood & Arthur’s Seat

Palace of Holyroodhouse

This palace is the royal family's official residence in Scotland but is more famous as the 16th-century home of the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots. The highlight of the tour is Mary's Bedchamber, home to the unfortu…
Top Choice Gallery in West End & Dean Village

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Edinburgh's gallery of modern art is split between two impressive neoclassical buildings surrounded by landscaped grounds some 500m west of Dean Village. As well as showcasing a stunning collection of paintings by t…
Top Choice Historic Building in Old Town

Real Mary King's Close

Edinburgh's 18th-century City Chambers were built over the sealed-off remains of Mary King's Close, and the lower levels of this medieval Old Town alley have survived almost unchanged amid the foundations for 250 ye…
Top Choice Museum in Old Town

National Museum of Scotland

Elegant Chambers St is dominated by the long facade of the National Museum of Scotland. Its extensive collections are spread between two buildings, one modern, one Victorian – the golden stone and striking architect…
Top Choice Museum in South Edinburgh

Surgeons' Hall Museums

Housed in a grand Ionic temple designed by William Playfair in 1832, these three fascinating museums were originally established as teaching collections. The History of Surgery Museum provides a look at surgery in S…
Top Choice Gardens in Stockbridge

Royal Botanic Garden

Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden is the second oldest institution of its kind in Britain (after Oxford), and one of the most respected in the world. Founded near Holyrood in 1670 and moved to its present location in…
Top Choice Scottish in Holyrood & Arthur’s Seat

Rhubarb

Set in the splendid 17th-century Prestonfield hotel, Rhubarb is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The over-the-top decor of rich reds set off with black and gold and the sensuous surfaces – damask, bro…