8 Sightseeing Sites in Edinburgh Old Town
The city of Edinburgh is a treasure trove of history, culture, and outdoor attractions. Nestled in the heart of Scotland’s capital, the Old Town is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic neighborhoods. It was also one of UNESCO’s first designated World Heritage Sites in 1995. The cobbled streets are full of medieval buildings that date back to the 15th century and beyond, making it a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. In this blog post, we will explore eight must-see attractions in Edinburgh’s Old Town so you can plan your next visit!’
1. Enjoy a guided walking tour
Edinburgh’s Old Town is an amazing city, but it’s even more beautiful once you discover its history. There are plenty of guided walking tours available at affordable rates. In Edinburgh, the guides will take you around the best attractions of the Old Town and tell you stories about the past that have helped shape Scotland’s capital.
2. Visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Housed in a 17th-century building, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions offer great views over Edinburgh as well as fascinating optical illusions. The Camera Obscura itself is one of the oldest cameras globally; you can see projections on its concave wall from around 30 feet away. The World of Illusions features state-of-the-art special effects such as holograms and 3D art. It’s an interactive experience, so you get to play around with the illusions here.
3. Visit Royal Mile
Edinburgh is a city full of history and culture – for this reason, it even has its own calendar during the month of September! The Royal Mile is an EDINBURGH FESTIVAL. It’s home to many historical landmarks, most notably the Castle and Holyrood Palace. Whether you want to go shopping at Victoria Street or Traverse, visit St Giles Cathedral or Greyfriar’s Church, there is something for everyone at Edinburgh’s Old Town.
4. Browse Edinburgh’s Bookshops
There are so many wonderful bookshops in Old Town, and it would be a shame not to browse them. A few places you can’t miss are Waterstones on South Bridge; the sign says “Established in 1797” and is one of the city’s oldest bookstores. Another one is Waverly Bookshop, a true book lover’s paradise. Wander in and you’ll find the Special Collections section- this part features books published more than 50 years ago! You can also grab a coffee here or lunch at the cafe before browsing some of their amazing deals.
5. Visit Edinburgh Castle
The iconic Edinburgh’s Old Town Castle is a must-see for tourists and locals alike. It’s steeped in history and has been a military fortress, royal residence, and jail at different times throughout its 900-year existence. There are guided tours available throughout the day so you can explore the dungeons, ramparts, Great Hall, and more. You can even climb up to the National War Museum for a spectacular view of Edinburgh!
6. Marvel at the Scottish Parliament
The Scotland Parliament building is an iconic sight in all of Edinburgh. It was designed by Enric Miralles, who also created the award-winning Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. This building won several awards because it’s not your typical parliament structure- instead, it’s a stunning blend of glass, steel, and aluminum. You can watch parliament in session throughout the year, or you can explore its interior on guided tours available every day.
7. Visit Edinburgh Zoo
The world-famous Edinburgh Zoo is located on the west side of the city. It’s home to hundreds of exotic animals, including penguins, polar bears, and elephants! There are daily animal feedings at various enclosures throughout the day so that you can get close up to some of your favorite creatures. The zoo at Edinburgh’s Old Town also has an adventure park that features child-friendly activities such as a treehouse, spider web, and more.
8. Discover Greyfriars Kirkyard
Greyfriars Kirkyard was once the site of one of Edinburgh’s graveyards until 1823, when it was converted into a park. It’s the burial site of Greyfriars Bobby, a loyal dog who stayed by his master’s grave every day for 14 years. If you’re feeling brave, take a stroll through it anytime- there are over 1000 gravestones to look at! However, it may be best to go during the daytime so you can get some peace.
Edinburgh is one of the United Kingdom’s most picturesque and historic cities. It’s a thriving metropolis that never sleeps and has something for everyone to enjoy- from stunning architecture and historical landmarks to nightlife and entertainment, there is no better place to learn about Scotland fascinating history!
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