The top 5 things to see in Edinburgh

It goes without saying that Edinburgh Castle needs to be visited at least once in anyone's lifetime
It goes without saying that Edinburgh Castle needs to be visited at least once in anyone's lifetime

Edinburgh is home to lots of fantastic attractions that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Here are the five Edinburgh sights and landmarks that you shouldn't miss, writes Gillian McDonald.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is probably the city’s most famous landmark, and its high vantage point (perched on top of an extinct volcanic rock) makes it easy to spot.

Admire it from the Old Town, or head up to the esplanade to get great views of the city and the castle itself.

It’s well worth getting tickets to explore the inside of the castle, as you’ll be able to see the Crown Jewels, see the one o’clock gun as it's fired, enter the Great Hall, and learn all about the structure's fascinating history.

Visit: Castlehill, EH1 2NG -

READ MORE: How to make the most of Edinburgh in just one day

National Museum of Scotland

Free to enter, the National Museum of Scotland is full of interesting collections covering subjects such as natural history, science and technology, world cultures and Scottish history.

The main part of the museum dates back to the 1860s, with the impressive Grand Gallery at its centre.

One of the most famous exhibits in the museum is Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, who was created at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh.

Visit: Chambers Street, EH1 1JF -

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyrood House is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, and it is also open to the public for tours.

The palace has been used as a royal residence for centuries, and has a rich history, featuring well-known figures such as Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Set in the beautiful surroundings of Holyrood Park, the palace is also home to several collections of art and historical artefacts.

Visit: Canongate, EH8 8DX -

St Giles’ Cathedral

The historic and picturesque Royal Mile is a must-see when visiting Edinburgh, and at the heart of it sits St Giles’ Cathedral.

Dating back to the 14th century, the impressive cathedral (which is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh) is the city’s principal place of worship, but it’s also open to visitors.

Entry is free, and there are plenty of interesting collections and things to see within the cathedral.

Make sure to leave time for a guided rooftop tour if you want to get a unique view of the Old Town from above.

Visit: High Street, EH1 1RE -

READ MORE: Below decks on the Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia has been named Scotland’s best visitor attraction by VisitScotland for several years running, and it remains one of the most popular things to see in Edinburgh.

Visitors can discover what life was like on board the Queen’s floating royal residence, with five decks to explore.

See what life was like below deck in the sick bay and laundry room, or experience the luxury of the state apartments and royal bedrooms, guided by a complimentary audio tour.

Visit: Ocean Drive, EH6 6JJ -