Book Now ☎ +44 (0) 131 556 5565

Attractions in Edinburgh

From the Historic to Contemporary, Informative and Enjoyable, the Capital has it All

Edinburgh is a sightseer’s dream city, full of endless iconic buildings, historic monuments and picturesque open spaces. While there’s no shortage of things to see or do, it means you’ll have to choose carefully what to visit. Our selection of attractions isn’t a bad place to start. The list includes some of the city’s most popular and best-rated attractions.

On one hand, there’s the classic Edinburgh landmarks. Edinburgh Castle is probably the most famous building in Edinburgh, and arguably the whole of Scotland. It’s perched atop the imposing Castle Rock at the very centre of the city and will be most tourists’ first port of call. Keeping with historic pieces of architecture, there’s also the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Hopetoun House, both of which are examples of magnificent mansions. The Palace was once an important royal residence for the Scottish monarchy, and is now the Queen’s official residence when visiting the country.

At the other end of the scale, is the Scottish Parliament Building, an ultra-modern complex built in 2004, which polarises opinions. Other popular attractions include Edinburgh Zoo, with its giant pandas and koalas, and The Scotch Whisky Experience, which is an excellent way to get your first taste of Scotland’s most famous export. 

In a city of such historical and cultural significance, this is just a selection of the dozens of major attractions in Edinburgh. From the historic to the alternative, there will be something that catches your eye, then captures your imagination. 

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena
Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

Amazing Climbing Centre set in a Disused Quarry

In the nearby town of Ratho, the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena is found within a huge disused quarry. The centre contains dozens of climbing walls, bouldering apparatus and much more.

International Climbing Arena
Palace of Holyroodhouse Courtesy of Pixabay
Palace of Holyroodhouse Courtesy of Pixabay

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Official Scottish Residence of The Queen

With origins dating back to the 12th Century, the Palace of Holyrood House has been the residence of many Kings and Queens through the years. The Palace is now the Queen's official residence in Scotland.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Edinburgh Castle with Fountain Courtesy of Pixabay
Edinburgh Castle with Fountain Courtesy of Pixabay

Edinburgh Castle

Dominating the Edinburgh Skyline for a Millenium

Standing imposingly atop Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is an absolute must see for anyone visiting Edinburgh. Complete with prisons of war, ancient crown jewels, magnificent architecture and the famous One O’clock Gun, the castle can easily become a full day trip if you’re not careful.

Edinburgh Castle
Image of Tian Tian at Edinburgh Zoo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland Via Flickr
Image of Tian Tian at Edinburgh Zoo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland Via Flickr

Edinburgh Zoo

The Wonders of the Animal Kingdom

The famous zoo, opened in 1909, has become one of Europe’s most popular zoos, and is one of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions. The Penguin Parade, which runs daily, is one of the highlights at the zoo.

Edinburgh Zoo
Scottish Parliament Courtesy of Pixabay
Scottish Parliament Courtesy of Pixabay

Scottish Parliament

A Modern Parliament Building for the Modern Age

Built in 2004 at a final cost of over £400 million, the Scottish Parliament Building has split public opinion. Take a tour of the building and decide for yourself.

Scottish Parliament
Image of Scotch Whisky Experience Courtesy of Ben Smith Via Flickr
Image of Scotch Whisky Experience Courtesy of Ben Smith Via Flickr

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Discover the Legacy of Scotland's Most Famous Export

Discover the history of Scotch Whisky, and learn all about how it's made. From an interactive distillery tour, to a tasting session with a seasoned professional, The Scotch Whisky Experience is a worthwhile attraction for anyone with even a passing interest in whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Experience
Hopetoun House
Hopetoun House

Hopetoun House

17th Century Grandeur on the Banks of the Forth

Open to the public during the summer months, Hopetoun House is an elegant mansion that dates back to the late 17th century. It also has 150 acres of manicured lawns to explore.

Hopetoun House

The Scotsman (Edinburgh) Company Limited is currently in liquidation. The date of appointment was 9th June 2016.


20 North Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1TR, Tel: +44 (0) 131 556 5565, Fax: +44 (0) 131 652 3652 , reservations@thescotsmanhotel.co.uk