Here are our best of Edinburgh tips, together with our recommendations for what to do in Edinburgh to help you plan your visit to the Scottish capital.
Walk Along Portobello Beach
On a sunny day head to the golden sands of Portobello Beach, three miles east of the city centre. It’s unlikely it’ll be warm enough to go for a swim, but you can stroll along the prom or the beach.
Climb the Scott Monument
Built in memory of the Scottish author and poet Sir Walter Scott, the imposing 200 foot high Scott Monument can be scaled for a fee of £3. The Monument is just off Princes Street.
The Scott Monument, Edinburgh
Follow the Water of Leith Walkway
The Water of Leith Walkway winds it way through the city centre into the Forth Estuary at Leith. One of my favourite sections of the walk is between Belford Bridge (close to the Gallery of Modern Art) through Dean Village to Stockbridge (close to the Botanic Garden).
The Water of Leith at Stockbridge
Cross Over to Cramond Island
There is a tidal causeway for pedestrians over to Cramond Island in the Forth Estuary, but do check the tide timetables before attempting this. If it’s high tide you can still walk along the prom toward Silverknowes, or take the path up the River Almond.
Walkway over to Cramond Island
Visit the Scottish Parliament
You can walk around parts of the Scottish Parliament building and take a guided tour on certain days of the week. Even if you can’t get access, it’s still worth combining seeing the exterior of the building with a walk up to the Royal Mile or on your way to ascending Arthur’s Seat.
The Scottish Parliament
Admire the Landfrom Sculpture
The Landform sculpture is in front of the National Gallery of Modern Art One. Most days when I’ve been there, the gate into the sculpure has been locked due to adverse weather conditions, but sometimes it’s possible to walk around it.
Landform on a wintry day
Learn About the Environment at the Royal Botanic Garden
There are interactive activities about biodiversity at the John Hope Gateway at the Edinburgh Botanic Garden. There’s free WiFi in the building. It’s free to get into the Botanic Gardens except for the Glass Houses. There are usually art exhibitions at Inverleith House in the Garden.
The John Hope Gateway at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Admire the Works at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery re-opened to the public in December 2011 after a major renovation. When I visited there was a photo exhibition on the theme of Romantic Scotland. You can learn a lot about Scottish history here from the many portraits of the rich and powerful.
The entrance to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Walk Up Arthur’s Seat
Walking up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, will give you some of the best views of Edinburgh.
View to Duddingston Loch and village from Arthur’s Seat
Have Fun at the Camera Obscura
I visited the Camera Obscura in Edinburgh with our son Gary. We really enjoyed the interactive hands on exhibits, such as heat-cam featured in my video below.