Updated August 15, 2020.
Bagpipes, sweeping landscapes, castles, haggis… a trip to Scotland is like a trip to Heaven, right?! If ever you’ve wondered whether a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, is worth your while, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Give this post a read and then start planning your trip. Here are 10 reasons to put Edinburgh on your “must go” list, and quickly!
10. The Writers’ Museum
This is truly a hidden gem! I had no idea Scotland boasted so many famous writers, but here they are. The Writers’ Museum just off the Royal Mile is primarily dedicated to three Scottish writers: Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Burns. You can see some of their personal possessions, read about their lives and where they got their inspiration, and my favorite: buy some of their famous books for yourself! I picked up a copy of Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which you could possibly consider the beginning of modern travel writing! And what’s more, the museum is absolutely FREE!
9. The Food
Between the haggis, the sticky toffee pudding, and the story of the Greyfriar’s Bobby Pub, I could never go hungry in Edinburgh! The haggis tasted like meatloaf to me, so just don’t think about what’s in it if you’re not sure you’ll like it, and the sticky toffee pudding has every element of the dessert of dreams: moist cake, gooey sauce, and sweet, warm custard.
Read on: What to Eat in Scotland
8. Harry Potter
Full disclosure: I’m not a Harry Potter fanatic. Don’t hate me! I can, however, appreciate that the Elephant House Cafe is the birthplace of this intensely popular series! We ate there for breakfast one morning, and it really was charming. So if you’re a Harry Potter fan, definitely eat at the Elephant House, take one of the many Harry Potter-themed tours, and visit Edinburgh Castle, which helped inspire J.K. Rowling for the series!
7. Royal Yacht Britannia
Admittedly, I’m also not much of a boat fan, but I was in Edinburgh with my brother Joel, who is the ultimate boat-ship-shipwreck-seafaring vessel fan! As such, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Queen’s own “country house at sea”. The Royal Yacht Britannia was well worth taking a tour, and in fact it’s the number one visitor attraction in Scotland! You can read my whole review for the inside scoop!
Read on: Visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia
Okay, so bagpipes aren’t for everyone, but when in Scotland, you better get in the bagpiping mood! I loved seeing all the bagpiping buskers out in their full tartan and kilt uniforms (outfits?), and I even enjoyed the music itself. The instrument fascinates me how it can still be making music while the player takes a breath. I can’t wait to go back to hear more bagpipes!
Related: How to Surprise Someone with Travel
5. The Accent!
Speaking of sounds, the Scottish accent is one of the world’s best, in my humble, language loving opinion! I could listen to the Scots talk all day long and never get tired of it. Lots of people say the Scottish accent is one of the most difficult English accents to understand, and maybe that’s true farther out in the countryside, but in Edinburgh, I think I got the message pretty well every time. Just listen closely!
Helpful info: Words to Learn in the Local Language
4. Lovely Gardens
The main sites around Edinburgh rightfully steal the show (I mean, the Castle literally looms above the city!), but on my last morning in Edinburgh, I took a run that changed my perspective! Edinburgh has absolutely beautiful, vast, relaxing gardens all around town, and I recommend taking the time to walk through one or more of them!
3. Long Days in Summer
This is one of those things I just love about heading north for the summer: long days! We were in Edinburgh in early July, and the sun stayed up from 4:30am-10:30pm. It was awesome! The blackout curtains helped me sleep when it was time to sleep, but when I needed a burst of sunshine to help me wake up, it was there for me! I ran outside at 5:00am and got beautiful photos without people in them, then stayed up until a respectable bedtime and fell asleep without any trouble. I love a good, long day!
Keep reading: Tips for Traveling in Summer
Edinburgh’s history goes back thousands of years, and they are very proud of their heritage! I enjoyed learning about Edinburgh’s (and Scotland’s) history at the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle. Did you know American privateers were held at the Castle during the American Revolution?! There is so much to learn that it’s a bit overwhelming, but never fear! Just take in what you can and let the pieces click into place where they may.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is truly the “crowning” glory! There is more history here than you can cover in a single day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Don’t miss the Castle gates, the birthing room, the huge cannon, the coronation chair (the Stone of Scone!), the crown jewels, the War Memorial, and the prison. Oh, and it’s still an active military garrison. Oh, and it’s the most seiged sites in British history. Fun facts! If you only have time for one thing in Edinburgh, definitely make it a tour of Edinburgh Castle!
Want more? Check out What to Know Before You Visit Edinburgh and my United Kingdom Page!
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2 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Visit Edinburgh”
Nice post! We were there for about a day many, many years ago as we were traveling from Fort William back down to the English Midlands. Not nearly enough time there – didn’t even have a chance to tour the castle. Next time we go to the UK, though, I think we’re going to fly in and out of Edinburgh and make more time to see the city before heading out on a road trip through parts of Scotland and England.
I think that’s an excellent plan! Edinburgh was an unexpected favorite, and I can’t wait to go back, too!