Old Town, located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, is a historic and enchanting neighbourhood that offers a rich tapestry of cultural heritage, medieval architecture, and fascinating landmarks. Steeped in history and charm, Old Town is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Edinburgh. In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Old Town, ensuring you have a memorable experience in this captivating part of the city.
Visit Edinburgh Castle
Perched atop Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Explore the castle’s storied past as you wander through its grand halls, visit the Crown Jewels, and witness the firing of the famous One O’Clock Gun. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the rich history and stunning architecture of this iconic landmark.
Explore the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile, a historic street that runs through the heart of Old Town, is brimming with character and charm. Stroll along this atmospheric thoroughfare, lined with shops, cafes, and landmarks. Discover hidden closes (alleyways), visit the stunning St Giles’ Cathedral, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling street.
Discover the Real Mary King’s Close
Beneath the streets of Old Town lies a hidden world of history and mystery. Explore the Real Mary King’s Close, a series of underground streets and dwellings that provide a fascinating glimpse into Edinburgh’s past. Take a guided tour to learn about the people who once lived here and hear captivating stories of life in the close.
Wander through the Grassmarket
The Grassmarket, a vibrant square in Old Town, offers a blend of history, entertainment, and dining. Explore the independent shops, visit the lively pubs, and enjoy the outdoor seating areas that provide a perfect spot for people-watching. The Grassmarket is also home to regular markets and events that showcase local artisans and performers.
Climb Arthur’s Seat
For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, a hike up Arthur’s Seat is a must. This ancient volcano, located in Holyrood Park, offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. Choose from various walking routes and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquillity of this iconic landmark.
Visit the Museum of Edinburgh
Located on the Royal Mile, the Museum of Edinburgh offers a captivating journey through the city’s past. Explore the diverse exhibits that showcase the history, culture, and people of Edinburgh. From archaeological finds to displays on Scottish traditions, this museum provides a fascinating insight into the city’s rich heritage.
Experience the Scotch Whisky Experience
Immerse yourself in Scotland’s national drink by visiting the Scotch Whisky Experience, located near the Royal Mile. Take a sensory journey through the world of whisky, learn about its production process, and enjoy a guided tasting of different varieties. Expand your knowledge and appreciation of this beloved spirit.
Attend a Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
If you happen to visit during the summer, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This world-renowned performing arts festival takes place in various venues throughout Old Town. Enjoy a wide range of shows, from comedy and theatre to music and dance, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this cultural extravaganza.
Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse
At the eastern end of the Royal Mile, you’ll find the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Explore the grand State Apartments, stroll through the beautiful gardens, and learn about the palace’s fascinating history. Don’t forget to visit the adjacent ruins of Holyrood Abbey, a majestic medieval structure.
Discover the National Museum of Scotland
Located nearby, the National Museum of Scotland is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural wonders. Explore the vast collection of artifacts, ranging from ancient relics to scientific discoveries. Learn about Scotland’s past, marvel at the diverse exhibits, and engage with interactive displays that cater to visitors of all ages.
Old Town is a captivating neighbourhood that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, wandering through atmospheric streets, or immersing yourself in the vibrant festival atmosphere, Old Town has something to captivate every visitor. Plan your visit to this enchanting part of Edinburgh and experience the best things to do in Old Town.