10 essential things to do in Edinburgh

You're guaranteed a good time in Edinburgh if you tick all of these must-dos off your list
You're guaranteed a good time in Edinburgh if you tick all of these must-dos off your list

Don’t leave Edinburgh without giving these a try.

There are countless thrilling ways to pass your time in Scotland’s capital city, but here are the must-do activities to tick off your list.

Pay Greyfriars Bobby a visit

Patiently waiting for his master forevermore on George IV Bridge, the statue of unofficial Edinburgh mascot and Skye Terrier Greyfriars Bobby is probably Edinburgh’s smallest key landmark, and a must-see sight.

Sunbathe in the Meadows

If you’re treated to a sunny day in Edinburgh, you would be remiss not to spend some time in the lush Meadows park, soaking up the rays alongside students, visitors and locals.

Climb Arthur’s Seat

Scale the 250 metre high summit of the Arthur’s Seat that has stat at the heart of Edinburgh for millions of years, and enjoy the incomparable view of the city and beyond.

Visit a panda

There are many reasons to visit Edinburgh Zoo, but a major one is the fact that it’s the only zoo in Britain to house giant pandas.

Swing by to pay Tian Tian and Yang Guang a visit and keep your fingers crossed that the notoriously sleepy pair will come out to play.

Walk the Flodden Wall

Visit Greyfriars Kirkyard in central Edinburgh to see the remains of the Flodden Wall, which was completed in 1560.

The wall was around 1.2 metres thick and 7.3 metres high, enclosed an area of just under 140 acres, and cut the bulk of the city off from the rest of the world.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

One of Scotland’s most iconic sights, Edinburgh Castle watches over the city from its volcanic vantage point.

Admire it from afar, then visit to explore the decadent Great Hall and dank dungeons, see the One O’Clock Gun go off and even admire the Crown Jewels.

Spit on the Heart of Midlothian

Paved into the cobblestones outside St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, the Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic that sits where the 15th century Old Tolbooth once stood.

The Tolbooth was once used as both a prison and a public execution site. It is tradition to spit on the heart for good luck as you pass by, something which may have originally been started by locals showing disdain for the former prison.

Celebrate Hogmanay

Throwing perhaps the most famous New Year celebration in the world, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party is a totally unique experience.

See famous acts perform live in Princes Street Gardens, try your hand at traditional ceilidh dancing, and watch stunning fireworks fired from Edinburgh Castle at midnight.

Drink a pint at the oldest pub in Scotland

The site of the Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh is said to have been home to a watering hole since around 1360, and is widely considered to be the oldest pub in the country.

Stop in for a bite to eat, a drink and, of course, a game or two in the bar’s unique Victorian skittles lane.

Walk to Cramond Island at low tide

At high tide, Cramond Island near Edinburgh is cut off from the mainland, but when the tide is out, it is possible and safe to walk along the raised causeway to the island.