Sightseeing and tours in Edinburgh: things to know before you go
From the greatest hidden gems to the best things to do with kids and teenagers, we answer all the most popular questions being asked about sightseeing and tours in Edinburgh.
What are the best things to see in Edinburgh?
From national museums to ancient monuments and amazing architectural sites, here are a few great places to drop in at for sightseeing and tours in Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh Castle. Once a military fortress, a royal residence and a prison of war, the 12th-century fortress and palace boasts some amazing views of the city.
- National Museum of Scotland. Get some fascinating insights into the history of Scotland and discover diverse collections of science and technology, fine art and fashion.
- Palace of Holyroodhouse. At the end of the Royal Mile, the Queen’s official Scottish residence, built in the 16th century, is open throughout the year.
What's the best way to explore Edinburgh?
There are several different ways to savour the sights and sounds of the city. If you're feeling energetic, take a sightseeing route around Edinburgh on foot, or board your choice of transport for a more relaxed experience.
- On foot. Visit some of the most notable landmarks in Edinburgh by taking a Mystery Landmark Hunt challenge to discover a treasure hidden at an iconic local watering hole.
- By bus. For a relaxed way to see the sights of Edinburgh, take a City Sightseeing hop-on, hop-off bus tour, with 14 stops and on-board audio commentary to fill in the details.
- By boat. Take a trip on the Forth Belle with Forth Boat Tours and enjoy a tour of the three bridges with views of the Edinburgh skyline, local islands and nature.
- By helicopter. For the ultimate in city sightseeing tours around Edinburgh, take a 25-mile helicopter ride with Adventure 001 for a bird's eye view of the city's legendary landmarks.
What is there to do in Edinburgh for teenagers?
Keeping older children interested on a family day out can often be a challenge, but there is plenty to entertain everyone here. Check out the range of spooky ghost walks and underground tours, for great experiences that will keep them engaged and hold their attention throughout.
- Take an Auld Reekie haunted vaults tour to explore Edinburgh's twisting streets and underground hideaways.
- Embark on a chilling boat ride into the depths of the Edinburgh Dungeon, for a journey into Scotland's most horrible history.
- Play it safe if they’re squeamish with a trip to the city’s many museums and galleries.
Where can I take my younger kids in Edinburgh?
Whether they love history, adventure and exploring, or science, nature and technology, In Edinburgh there are plenty of sights, experiences and kids’ activities near you to keep little ones curious and happy.
- Take a ride with Edinburgh Bus Tours to see famous landmarks such as the Royal Yacht Britannia, Palace of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle.
- Enjoy a guided visit through Edinburgh Castle with Little Fish Tours, where you’ll be able to uncover the history of the monarchs that previously called this grand old place home.
- Little ones and big kids too will love the visual trickery, hands-on exhibits and clever Victorian technology at Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions.