Edinburgh Sights

Edinburgh's Old Town, which bears a great measure of symbolic weight as the "heart of Scotland's capital," is a boon for lovers of atmosphere and history. In contrast, if you appreciate the unique architectural heritage of the city's Enlightenment, then the New Town's for you. If you belong to both categories, don't worry—the Old and New towns are only yards apart. Princes Street runs east–west

along the north edge of the Princes Street Gardens. Explore the main thoroughfares but don't forget to get lost among the tiny wynds and closes: old medieval alleys that connect the winding streets.

Like most cities, Edinburgh incorporates small communities within its boundaries, and many of these are as rewarding to explore as Old Town and New Town. Dean Village, for instance, even though it's close to the New Town, has a character all of its own. Duddingston, just southeast of Arthur's Seat, has all the feel of a country village. Then there's Corstorphine, to the west of the city center, famous for being the site of Murrayfield, Scotland's international rugby stadium. Edinburgh's port, Leith, sits on the shore of the Firth of Forth, and throbs with smart bars and restaurants.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Old Town 29

Side Trips from Edinburgh 28

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Borthwick Castle 1

Crichton Castle 2

Culross 1

Dunbar 1

Dunfermline 3

Haddington 1

Jupiter Artland 1

Linlithgow Palace 1

Newhailes 1

North Berwick 4

Ochil Hills 4

Roslin 1

Scottish Mining Museum 1

South Queensferry 6

New Town 16

Leith 1

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Arts/ Performance Venue 1

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Castle/ Palace/ Chateau 10

Garden/ Arboretum 1

Ghost Town 1

Government Building 2

House/ Mansion/ Villa 7

Library/ Archive 2

Memorial/ Monument/ Tomb 1

Museum/ Gallery 16

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 1

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 1

Neighborhood/ Street 5

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 4

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 3

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 8

Store/ Shop/ Mall 1

Town/ Village 2

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 3

Zoo/ Aquarium 2

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Family 11

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Edinburgh Sights

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Calton Hill

  • Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

Robert Louis Stevenson's favorite view of his beloved city was from the top of this hill. The architectural styles represented by the...

Charlotte Square

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

At the west end of George Street is the New Town's centerpiece—an 18th-century square with one of the proudest achievements of Robert...

Edinburgh Zoo

  • Zoo/Aquarium

Children love to visit the some 1,000 animals that live in Edinburgh Zoo, especially the two giant pandas—Tian Tian and Yang Gaung—that...

George Street

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

With its upscale shops and handsome Georgian frontages, this is a more pleasant, less crowded street for wandering than Princes Street.

Georgian House

  • House/Mansion/Villa

The National Trust for Scotland has furnished this house in period style to show the elegant domestic arrangements of an affluent family...

Moray Place

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

With its "pendants" of Ainslie Place and Randolph Crescent, Moray Place was laid out in 1822 by the Earl of Moray. From the start the...

National Gallery of Scotland

  • Museum/Gallery

Opened to the public in 1859, the National Gallery presents a wide selection of paintings from the Renaissance to the postimpressionist...

Princes Street

  • Neighborhood/Street

The south side of this well-planned street is occupied by the well-kept Princes Street Gardens, which act as a wide green moat to the...

Register House

  • Library/Archive

Scotland's first custom-built archives depository, Register House, designed by the great Robert Adam, was partly funded by the sale of...

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

  • Garden/Arboretum

Britain's largest rhododendron and azalea gardens are part of this 70-acre garden just north of the city center. An impressive Chinese...

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