What to Know Before You Visit Edinbrugh

Updated August 15, 2020.

Planning a trip to Scotland? Edinburgh, as the capital city, is most likely on your list of cities to visit, even if you’re just flying in and out of there. I found Edinburgh to be walkable, the people to be friendly, and the castle to be overwhelming! Here are some tips for your own trip to Auld Reekie (Old Smokey)!

How to Say It

While it’s true they speak English, the Scottish brogue is very distinctive! We found ourselves asking how to spell things just so we might know what the words might be! The city’s name itself can give Americans some trouble, so here’s how you say it:

Edinburgh: Pronounced “Ed-in-bruh”; no need to try and put that “g” in there!

Also, you will hear bagpipers!
Read next: 10 Things to Do in Edinburgh

Getting There

Flying into Edinburgh was a no-brainer for us, since there is a non-stop flight from my home airport (IAD) to Edinburgh (EDI). But then you’ve got to get into the city center!

  • Uber from EDI to the H.M.S. Britannia at the waterfront was 23.20 GBP (29.18 USD) and took about 40 minutes.
  • 100 Bus was 4.50 GBP (5.66 USD) one-way; 7.50 GBP (9.43 USD) round-trip and took about 30 minutes, leaving every 10 minutes.
  • T-50 Tram was 6.00 GBP (7.54 USD) one-way; 8.50 GBP (10.69 USD) round-trip and took about 30 minutes.
City Bus 100 by Airlink

Edinburgh Castle

If you only do one thing in Edinburgh, it really should be the Castle! Here are a few things to know before you go:

Bring a Jacket

Even if the only time you use it is on top of Edinburgh Castle, you’ll be glad you brought it! It’s mighty breezy up there, even on a rare hot summer’s day.

That flag is really flapping in the wind!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit the United Kingdom

Buy Tickets Online

You will save both time and money by purchasing your tickets online in advance of your visit. The line for tickets at the Castle can be very long, and no one likes to waste time in line! You can get your tickets and find more information on the Edinburgh Castle website.

You will save 2 GBP (2.51 USD), and as of this posting, adult tickets are 19.50 GBP in person (24.52 USD) or 17.50 GBP online in advance (22.01 USD).

A rare sight! The Castle is guarded by Royal Guards when the Queen is in residence at Edinburgh, though she stays at Hollyrood Castle, not Edinburgh Castle!
More here: Visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia

It’s an Active Military Base

Who knew?! I didn’t. Soldiers still live and work here, so many places in the Castle are restricted. But don’t worry! There are plenty of unrestricted places to visit, and the castle is quite large!

Impressed yet?
More here: How to Plan Long-term Travel in Europe

American Privateers were Imprisoned Here

It’s true! During the American Revolution (known in Britain as the American War of Independence), American privateers were captured and brought back to England, then shipped up to Edinburgh to be kept in Edinburgh Castle.

Keep reading: How to Savor Your Travels

There’s a Really Big Canon

Her name is Mons Meg, and the last time a canon ball came out of her, it went a record two miles away, and she exploded!

Good to Know

Here are a few random facts I thought might be useful to first-timers in Edinburgh and Scotland in general!

The Elephant House

If you’re already a Harry Potter fan, you know that this is the place where J.K. Rowling wrote it! We tried to go for supper after arriving in the city on an early Sunday evening (around 5:00), but the place was packed! So we went for breakfast the next morning around 9:00, and we got seated right away. Apparently the Harry Potter fans are not early risers. Pro tip: go for breakfast!

The Elephant House
More here: What to Eat in Scotland

Driving on the Left

Drive on the left! And speed limits will be in miles per hour (mph). Also, pedestrians should look “Right, Left, Right” when crossing the street.

Driving while you’re there? Tips for Driving on the Left

Money Matters

You will be using the British Pound (GBP). For all my tips on traveling with money, check out my post: The Ultimate Guide to Travel and Your Money!

The Scottish Flag!

Are you ready for your trip to Edinburgh? Tell me below!

Want more on England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales? Check out my United Kingdom Page!

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2 responses to “What to Know Before You Visit Edinbrugh”

  1. Spent a day in Edinburgh several years ago but didn’t have time for the castle. In England now, but Scotland is not on the itinerary. Next time we return, though, I think it will be. I really want to see the castle!

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      You will love the castles when you eventually get there!

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