Over the past year I've visited Edinburgh a fair few times and have yet to get sick of it. I love going back and exploring new areas, there's so much to do and see, so much history to learn.

Edinburgh is a perfect example of old and new, though I am more partial to the old. I love the cobblestone streets, the old Victorian architecture just brimming with history, the beautiful walking trails and, of course, the free museums.

It seems everywhere you turn in Edinburgh, there’s a story, even some Ghost Stories.

Being from Scotland and living so close I forget that it’s such a popular tourist destination, it's second in the UK only to London! So to help you plan the perfect trip I've compiled a list of sights to show you the must-sees in our capital.

1. Arthur’s Seat

Situated at the bottom of the Royal Mile, down by the Scottish Parliament Building, Arthur’s Seat is a nice wee hike that has absolutely spectacular views of the city.

Obviously it's best to do on a nice sunny day, but since this is Scotland, beggars can’t be choosers. It was quite overcast when I went up but it didn’t affect the views at all.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Captial

2. Calton Hill

Another lovely walk with incredible views, it’s a nice escape from the busy city where you can enjoy a picnic looking out over the North Sea.

Interesting fact: The location of “The National Monument” was intended to be a Parthenon to commemorate Scottish Soldiers killed in the Napoleonic Wars. I say intended because they ran out of money half way through construction and just gave up! Apparently it used to be known as “Scotland’s Disgrace”.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

3. Scott Monument

I personally just think this is a really cool looking structure. In memory of Sir Walter Scott, you can climb up the 287 steps to the top for £5 admission fee.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

4. The Elephant House

If you, like me, are a massive Potterhead and love anything to do with Harry Potter, then it's essential you go to The Elephant House. This is the famous birthplace of the stories as it's where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the early Harry Potter books, not to mention the food is delicious.

it's an obvious tourist trap and can get quite busy with queues out into the street, but well worth the wait.

Have a wee peek in the public toilets (sounds weird I know) to see the thousands of messages for J.K left by fans over the years.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

5. Ghost Tours

Edinburgh is known for being extremely haunted, so naturally there are MANY ghost tours you can choose from: daytime,  nighttime, graveyard, underground vaults etc.

Wrap up warm as most tours are at night and it can get quite chilly. Even if you’re not into ghosts, the tours take you around cool parts of the city and it’s a chance to learn more about its history. Most tours are around the £15 mark.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel
Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

6. Royal Botanic Gardens

I’m a sucker for Botanic Gardens. I don’t know why but I just love them. It’s a lovely walk around the actual gardens, but there are also the 28 glasshouses to explore, Inverleith House (which hosts art exhibitions) and a little café for some refreshments.

Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

7. Explore the Old Town

Wander around and take in the city. It has a great atmosphere and the architecture is so amazing you could easily spend all day exploring it.

Bring a guide book with you so you can also read about the history of what you are seeing.

8. The Royal Mile

It's the most famous street in Edinburgh, full of pubs, restaurants and shops and leads from the castle down to Holyrood House. Though very touristy, it's worthwhile seeing as there's a lot of history there. You could then go on to climb Arthur’s Seat as it's right there.

Edinburgh: What To Do and See in Scotland's Capital #traveltips vis @YUndecided

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A few other travel tips:


Edinburgh center can be quite pricey. To save money you could walk instead of catching public transport and/or taxis. It’s such a beautiful city so walking around is lovely, and this way you can also take advantage of all the free museums, parks and gardens. You will certainly not be disappointed.

Good Grub

Las Iguanas is a Latin American restaurant in George Street. Delicious food, good vibes and lovely staff.

The Elephant House (mentioned above) has lovely food. It’s more of a café vibe but offers anything from jacket potatoes and nachos to burgers and pizzas.


The unmissable spectacle of Hogmanay is one of the biggest New Years Eve celebrations in the world. I’ve never experienced it myself but I hear it’s everything you expect it to be. If you're interested, I would book well in advance as tens of thousands descend onto the streets for the party.

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Edinburgh- What to Do and See in Scotland’s Capital - Breathe Travel

Is Edinburgh on your travel list for a future trip? Which of these places are you excited to see first?

This post first appeared on Young and Undecided and has been republished with permission.