Edinburgh Tourist Attractions

Edinburgh tourist attractions include Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, Princes Street, Royal Mile, and Scottish National Art Gallery.

Edinburgh Castle (edinburghcastle.gov.uk) is a historic fortress that dominates the Edinburgh city skyline, from its position on top of a large rock formation, the Castle Rock.

The building’s position within the history of Scotland has also been very significant, with the fortress having been inhabited in turn by independent rulers of Scotland, such as Robert the Bruce, and by English troops.

Highlights during a tour to the castle include the Crown Room, which contains the Scottish Crown Jewels, Scottish crown & scepter, and the sword of the state.

Also, within the castles various departments, such as the Great Hall, you can often find actors dressed in period costumes, whose job is to make the history of the castle come to life.

Of the Edinburgh tourist attractions, Arthur’s Seat, meanwhile, is the highest peak on a hill formation about 1.6 km (1 mile) east of the Edinburgh Castle.

The hill rises above the city to the height of 251 meters (274 ft), and enjoys fantastic panoramic views over the city of Edinburgh.

The term “panorama“, in fact, was originally invented by Irish painter Robert Barker, who used the word to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh city.

Although you can walk to the top of the hill from almost any direction, the easiest and fastest route is from the east, where the grassy slope rises above the Dunsapie Loch.

Princes Street is the most famous street in Edinburgh, and the city’s main shopping street.

It is the southernmost street within Edinburgh’s New Town district, extending about 1.6 km (1 mile) all the way from the Lothian Road to Leith street.

Princes Street is also popular for reasons other than shopping, one of which is that it is mostly closed to vehicles, with priority given to public transportation.

There are virtually no buildings on the southern side of the street, which means that you’ll have excellent views to the Edinburgh Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, and to the valley in-between.

Well-known shops within the shopping street include department stores…

  • Bhs,
  • Debenhams,
  • House of Fraser, and
  • Marks & Spencer.

Royal Mile (theroyalmile.org.uk), in turn, is the common name for a series of streets that make up the Edinburgh old town’s 1.8 km (1.1 mile) long main thoroughfare.

VIDEO: European travel journalist Rick Steves’ tour of the Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile, which runs between two major Edinburgh tourist attractions, the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Abbey, is the city’s busiest tourist route, and within the city, only Princes Street is more significant overall.

During the annual, world-famous Edinburgh Festival, a section of the Royal Mile, High Street, is the center of the festivities, being filled with tourists, entertainers, and merchants.

Edinburgh tourist attractions also include the Scottish National Art Gallery (nationalgalleries.org), which is located just off Princes Street, and contains a large collection of European and Scottish art.

Within the Scottish National Art Gallery collection, there are many masterpieces, including artworks from such artists as Jacopo Bassano, Van Dyck, and Giambattista Tiepolo.

The best-known individual works of art on display include…

  • Paul Cézanne’s “Montagne Sainte-Victoire”,
  • “Diego Martelli’s portrait” by Edgar Degas, and
  • El Greco’s “Fábula”.