The majority of Edinburgh's tourist attractions are concentrated in Old Town, the city's historic core and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Town is a maze of cobblestone alleys and barely illuminated closes, dominated by a majestic castle. The Royal Mile is the city's main thoroughfare, linking the Castle with Holyrood Palace and encircling such famous landmarks as St. Giles' Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, and the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.
How to explore Edinburgh Old Town?
- Stroll up and down Edinburgh Castle's rocky walkways. During her coronation, Mary, Queen of Scots, wore some of the earliest crown jewels in Britain, which are now housed there. St. Margaret's Chapel, built in the 11th century, is Edinburgh's oldest standing structure and may be seen within the castle. At one o'clock, when the gun is fired from the ramparts, you may take in the breathtaking vista in every direction.
- Explore Edinburgh's history at the Camera Obscura exhibition. Because of some ingenious virtual reality technologies developed in the Victorian era, it now houses a gallery of optical illusions.
- Know how royally the King or Queen lived by touring the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the royal residence when the monarch is in town. The gardens are a bucolic joy, and the stately halls are filled with valuable pictures, tapestries, and antiques. Explore Mary, Queen of Scots's chamber in the palace.
- Visit the top of Calton Hill to get a bird's eye view of the city. This place is where sat the trials of accused witches and where pagans held their ceremonies.
- Read about body snatching, vampires, and more in the Old Calton Burial Site.
- Join a guided walk through Edinburgh and visit some of the locations that served as inspiration for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. You can visit the cafes and hotels where the author wrote her book series and key sites that inspired places like Diagon Alley.
- Leave the beaten path and discover Edinburgh's subterranean on a guided walking tour. It is a network of underground vaults dating back centuries. You will find out why the vaults were built, what happened to the unfortunate individuals who took refuge down below, and maybe even stumble upon a secret witches' temple as you make your way down the tunnels.
- Visit Victoria Street and shop 'til you drop at the many unique establishments that line the street, from millinery and jewelry stores to home decor boutiques.
- Exploring the stalls and eateries of the Grassmarket is a must.
- Check out Canongate Kirk, a beautiful church at the end of the main drag. When in town, the Queen attends services here. Several notable citizens of Edinburgh are buried in this building, which features a peculiar Dutch-style end gable.