What to see in Edinburgh in a weekend

In the previous post I talked about the Edinburgh Castle, the most famous place to visit in the Scottish capital city. However, if there is something that characterizes Edinburgh is that you can find historic and emblematic monuments and green parks in almost every corner. Even though it is the second most populous city in Scotland, everything is within a walking distance so it is easy to visit it in a weekend. Take note of the best-known places you can not miss in Edinburgh!

The Royal Mile

This avenue is the main attraction in the Old Town area and connects the Edinburgh Castle with the Holyrood Palace. With almost 2km long (or 1 Scottish mile), this avenue is totally oriented to tourism, as it has plenty of souvenirs and traditional Scottish shops. Here you can find the Sheriff Court with a piper playing some traditional music, and the David Hume Statue where tourists take pictures touching his big toe (I’m not sure why).

The Edinburgh Castle

This is the most visited place in Scotland! Find out about the top places in the fortress and the curious stories behind them in my previous post here. 🙂

St Giles Cathedral

Also known as the “High Kirk of Edinburgh”, it is the most important church in the city and is situated almost opposite the Sheriff Court. The admission is free and it is opened everyday from Monday to Sunday until 17 pm in winter months and until 19 pm in summer months. You can find more details about opening hours in their website.

St Giles Cathedral

Princes Street Gardens

It is the best known park in Edinburgh. This was one of the places that first caught my attention when I arrived in the city, as it is perfectly maintained and all you can see is green! Both residents and tourists use this park to relax and have lunch when the weather allows it.

Scott Monument

This gothic Victorian monument rises in the Princes Street Gardens. You can go to the top of the building and enjoy the views of the city from there. The only thing is that you must climb almost 300 steps first!

Scott Monument

North Bridge

It connects the Old Town with the New Town and it is known not because of its architecture or its history, but because of the amount of suicides that take place there. (Creepy, right?)

Greyfriars Bobby

The reason of this statue is similar to Hachiko’s one in Tokyo (Japan). Bobby was a dog that stayed at his owner’s tomb for 14 years until his death. He was buried in the Greyfriars Cemetery, just next to the Greyfriars Kirk, which is in front of the statue. It is small and I actually didn’t notice about it until I saw a group of tourists taking pictures…

Greyfriars Bobby

National Museum of Scotland

This is one of the most varied museums I have ever seen. It shows Scotland in terms of history, science, technology, nature and society and how other world cultures influenced in its development. The admission is free and it is opened every day from 10 am to 17 pm. Take some time to observe the Millennium Clock Tower! It is a timepiece that contains references to disasters and tragedies of the past centuries but also human, scientific and artistic accomplishments.

University of Edinburgh

It is one of the oldest English-speaking universities and celebrities like J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter), J.M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan) or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) studied here.

University of Edinburgh

Holyrood Palace

It is the official summer residence of Queen Elizabeth of Scotland and official engagements and ceremonies take place there. It is situated in the end of the Royal Mile and is opened every day from 9:30 am until 18 pm (with last admission at 16:30) in summer months, and until 16:30 (last admission at 15:15) in winter months. Entry costs £12.00 (15€) but there are many discounts.

Holyrood Palace

Calton Hill

This hill is located in central Edinburgh and is included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage. Apart from the views of all the city, you can also see these monuments:

  • National Monument. It was built as a dedicatory to Scottish soldiers who died in war. It was supposed to be like the Parthenon in Athens but the budget was not enough to continue with the construction, so it stayed unfinished and was baptized with the nickname of “Edinburgh’s disgrace” or “Scotland’s disgrace”.

National Monument

  • Governor’s House. It was one of the largest prisons in Scotland and it is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the prisoners… That’s not strange, as it is located just beside the Old Calton Burial Ground!
  • Nelson Monument. This tower has a time ball on the top that marked the time many years ago. Nowadays it is activated manually in order to continue with the tradition.

Nelson Monument

  • Monument to Dugald Stewart. This is one of the most emblematic places in Edinburgh and it is a perfect place to take pictures of all the city and the Edinburgh Castle!

Dugald Monument

 Enjoy your trip! 🙂

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