We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
95%
Found this guide helpful

With just three days to explore this historic Scottish capital, follow my recommendations for the most fantastic sights a first timer (or repeat visitor) must not miss!

Good for
  • Outdoors explorer
  • Food lover
  • Hidden gem seeker

12 Places

4 City Tips

Save All
Print
Map

12 Places

Day 1

Edinburgh Castle

Castles

Scottish National Gallery

Art Museums

Cafe Royal Circle Bar

Bar/ Clubs

Princes Street Gardens

Gardens, Parks

Day 2

Royal Yacht Britannia

Ships

Ocean Terminal

Museums, Cinemas, Shopping centres

Nobles Cafe Bar & Venue

Restaurants

Water of Leith Walkway

Mimi's Bakehouse

Restaurants

Day 3

Arthur's Seat

Geologic Formations, Mountains

The Sheep Heid Inn

Restaurants

National Museum of Scotland

Museums

Paul P's City Tips

  • An adult day ticket gives you unlimited travel on buses and trams. A family ticket, for 2 adults and up to 3 children, is also amazing value.
  • It is customary to tip 10% for food. In pubs or cafes, a tip jar is usually placed near the till for you to leave a tip in if you wish.
  • When riding in taxis, round up the fare to the nearest pound.
  • It is not customary to tip bar staff for serving drinks, and this is certainly not expected.
    Day 1
  • Save
    Edinburgh Castle
    Castles
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Located in the heart of the city and built on a high volcanic rock, the Edinburgh Castle provides you not only with spectacular views of Edinburgh and beyond, but also with a deep sense of history. Plus, it's the home of the Scottish Crown jewels.

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Art and design lover
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • Book fast-track tickets online to avoid waiting in queues at the entrance.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Definitely Put it on the To Do List 18/12/2014
    • Awesome place 18/12/2014
    • Edinburgh Castle
    Address:
    Castlehill
    EH12NG
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    +44 131 225 9846
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:30 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Scottish National Gallery
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Just a few minutes walk from Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish National Gallery hosts examples of Edinburgh's past and present in the form of paintings, sculptures and photographs.

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • The cafe downstairs serves great coffee, tea and home-baked scones, cakes and lunches.
    • Admission is free.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • art lovers 17/12/2014
    • Very Interesting 16/12/2014
    • Scottish National Gallery
    Address:
    The Mound
    EH2 2EL
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 624 6200
    Hours:
    Thu
    10:00 - 19:00
    Fri - Wed
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Cafe Royal Circle Bar
    Bar/ Clubs
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    At Cafe Royal Circle Bar, you can enjoy tasty seafood, steaks, wines and local beers in a beautifully grand setting. The mussels, cooked in two or three different ways, are a particular favourite of the regulars.

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Luxury traveller
    • Local favourite
    • Everyone
    Tips
    • Be prepared to wait for a table on the weekends, as it gets very busy.
    • The moules frites are superb.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 191 nightlife in Edinburgh
    • Whisky not Whiskey and So Much More 31/10/2014
    • Horrible ! :( 30/09/2014
    • Cafe Royal Circle Bar
    Address:
    17 W. Register Street
    EH2 2AA
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 556 1884
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:30 - 23:00
    Mon - Wed
    11:00 - 23:00
    Thu
    11:00 - 0:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 1:00
  • Save
    Princes Street Gardens
    Gardens, Parks
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    The beautiful Princes Street Gardens are always full of colourful flowers and plants. Situated directly under the castle, they provide a different yet beautiful perspective of this historic city landmark.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Must see
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • There is a very nice seated area, should it rain and you need to take cover.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • It was amazing 17/12/2014
    • Christmas 17/12/2014
    • Princes Street Gardens
    Address:
    Princes Street
    EH2 2HG
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 529 7921
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 - 19:15
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Royal Yacht Britannia
    Ships
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    The Royal Yacht Britannia offers a unique chance to visit the Royal Family's spectacular floating palace! This yacht was used extensively by the royal family, and Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, took it out for their honeymoon. There are lots of rooms and decks to discover, and many surprising facts to learn about this ship and its decadent history.

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Luxury traveller
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • There is free wifi onboard, and the staff actively encourage guests to post to social media.
    • Audio guides are included in the ticket price and are very useful.
    • Buy your tickets online and arrange to collect them at the visitor centre. There can be very long queues!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Finally got inboard! 17/12/2014
    • Better than expected. 17/12/2014
    • Royal Yacht Britannia
    Address:
    2nd Floor, Ocean Terminal
    Leith
    EH6 6JJ
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    +44 131 555 5566
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 15:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Ocean Terminal
    Museums, Cinemas, Shopping centres
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    For a huge choice of shopping under one roof – in a beautiful, spacious building with spectacular sea views – you can't beat Ocean Terminal! There are a number of well-known chain stores here, plus more local stores selling traditional Scottish produce and handicrafts.

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Everyone
    • Trendy traveller
    • Shopping enthusiast
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • Lots of cafes and restaurants can be found inside Ocean Terminal – great for when you need to rest your legs or refuel for more shopping.
    • The Britannia Visitor centre is located inside the Ocean Terminal.
    • Regular bus services run to Ocean Terminal from all over town.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #95 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    • Good selection of restaurants 10/12/2014
    • Lovely shopping centre 09/12/2014
    • Ocean Terminal
    Address:
    Ocean Drive
    Leith
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131-555-8888
  • Save
    Nobles Cafe Bar & Venue
    Restaurants (Seafood, Scottish, Bistro, Gastropub)
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Nobles is situated in an area of Edinburgh called 'The Shore', which is truly one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas of the city – and the pub itself is a true hidden gem. Not only is the building beautiful inside, with interesting artwork and stained glass, but it also has super-friendly staff, the most fantastic food and an excellent selection of drinks and real ales. You couldn't really ask for more!

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Hidden gem
    • Local favourite
    • Everyone
    • Trendy traveller
    Tips
    • Nobles is an ideal pit-stop after a shopping trip to the Ocean Terminal – a 5 minute walk or one stop on the #22 bus.
    • The moules frites and the rabbit burger are very popular and both cooked to perfection.
    • Nobles offers free wifi – ask for the code.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #137 of 1,592 restaurants in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quality wee boozer with nice food, good tunes and sound folk. 17/12/2014
    • Eat, drink and be merry 17/12/2014
    • Nobles Cafe Bar & Venue
    Address:
    44a Constitution Street
    Leith
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 629 7215
    Price range:
    $7 - $20
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    12:00 - 1:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 1:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Water of Leith Walkway
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Water of Leith Walkway is a fantastic network of walking and cycling paths that connect you to all different parts of the city. It's well worth exploring on foot or by bike.

    Good for
    • Hidden gem
    • Everyone
    • Adventure seeker
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • Join the walkway round the corner from Nobles Cafe bar. This is also very close to Mimi's Bakehouse, if you are looking for a nice coffee and tasty treat prior to your walk.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    • Perfect place for a run! 02/11/2014
    • A Very Pleasant Diversion in the Busy City 19/10/2014
    • Water of Leith Walkway
    Address:
    24 Lanark Road
    EH14 1TQ
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 455 7367
    Other:
  • Save
    Mimi's Bakehouse
    Restaurants (Bakery, Café, Scottish, British)
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Where better to have a well-deserved coffee and cake after a long walk along the water of Leith? Mimi's has previously won the coveted 'Scottish Baker of the Year' award, and you only have to try any one of the cakes or superb scones here to see why.

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Hidden gem
    • Local favourite
    • Everyone
    • Trendy traveller
    Tips
    • Mimi's also does a great breakfast and lunch.
    • The flat white is one of the best in Edinburgh, and the award-winning scones with clotted cream and fruit jam are superb.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #173 of 1,592 restaurants in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great food 15/12/2014
    • Whoever says something bad about this place is either a competitor or they're a liar 14/12/2014
    • Mimi's Bakehouse
    Address:
    63 The Shore
    EH6 6RA
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    0131 555 5908
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    9:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Arthur's Seat
    Geologic Formations, Mountains
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Featuring beautiful hills and volcanic geology that can be approached from all directions, the journey to Arthur's Seat also rewards visitors with truly spectacular views of Edinburgh. Trails vary in difficulty – from gentle strolls to climbs for the more adventurous. After only 10-15 minutes of hiking you'll be blessed with stunning views, though to explore the area fully and get immersed in the history and beauty of the place, you can quite easily spend half a day here!

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Hidden gem
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • There are no cafes, restaurants or toilets on Arthur's seat, so bring some water and snacks with you.
    • Make sure that you wear sensible outdoor shoes, as there are a few rocky areas to negotiate.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best views of the city 17/12/2014
    • Stunning views, moderate climb to the top 17/12/2014
    • Arthur's Seat
    Address:
    Holyrood Park
    United Kingdom
    Other:
  • Save
    The Sheep Heid Inn
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    Serving since 1360, the Sheep Heid Inn is Scotland's oldest pub, and its patrons have included the likes of Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie – to name but a few! The pub has a nice beer garden, plus Scotland's oldest surviving bowling alley, in case you fancy a game with your pint of local ale.

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Must see
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    Tips
    • Pair a fine local ale with a traditional Scottish dish from the delicious menu.
    • The staff are very knowledgeable when it comes to choosing a fine ale or whisky.
    • In Duddingston, just on the south side of Arthur's seat, The Sheep Heid is a welcome pit stop after a long walk or climb to the landmark.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #743 of 1,592 restaurants in Edinburgh
    • Fun and historic 15/12/2014
    • xmas lunch - fab 13/12/2014
    • The Sheep Heid Inn
    Address:
    43 - 45 The Causeway
    Duddingston
    EH15 3QA
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    +44 131 661 7974
    Price range:
    $13 - $41
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 23:00
    Mon - Thu
    11:00 - 23:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 0:00
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Scotland
    Museums
    See more photos
    Paul P Says:

    The perfect place to spend an afternoon (or a whole rainy day), the National Museum of Scotland features artifacts from Scottish history, plus interesting exhibits on history around the world.

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • There are plenty of areas to keep the kids interested. Look out for Dolly the sheep!
    • Entrance is free.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 155 attractions in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Day out 17/12/2014
    • A highlight on a rainy day! 17/12/2014
    • National Museum of Scotland
    Address:
    Chambers Street
    EH1 1JF
    United Kingdom
    Phone:
    +44(0)300 1236789
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo