Edinburgh is sometimes described as the "Athens of the North". The ancient city has much to offer such as Greek-style columns, a wide choice of museums, galleries and historical gems. During August the city come alive when Edinburg celebrates the beloved annual Military Tatto, Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Festival. The city is a hub of all best things to do, see and enjoy.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
The castle is Britain’s most visited tourist attraction and Scotland’s most famous landmark. Highlights include the One O'clock Salute from Half Moon Battery, the impressive Scottish National War Memorial; and the stunning collection of Crown Jewels housed in the Royal Palace. The Stone of Destiny famously stolen by Edward I and only returned to Scotland in 1996 is another notable feature.
2.NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND
For some Scottish history visit the museum where more than 20,000 historical artifacts is spread out through numerous, diverse galleries. Tourist will find exhibits dedicated to art and design, the natural world, history, archaeology and world cultures. You can also visit Dolly the sheep display, the first mammal to ever be cloned from an adult cell. In the Natural World galleries children can enjoy the taxidermied animals.
3.THE MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD
The museum display an excellent collection of old toys, including model railroads, dolls and games from around the world. The museum also explores other aspects of growing up, including a fun look at schooldays, trends and fashions. A re-creating of a Victorian streetscape complete with outdoor toys, as well as an opportunity to dress up in period costumes and play the kinds of games our ancestors would have enjoyed is adding to the authenticity of the time.
4.CAMERA OBSURA AND WORLD OF ILLUSIONS
It opened in 1835 and is the city’s oldest attraction and also a must place to see for kids. It is filled with enough colorful puzzles, games and optical illusions to keep the kids entertained for days. There's also a mirror maze and photogenic vortex tunnel in Bewilderworld, Light Fantastic, the U.K.'s only permanent gallery on the science and art of holography and the hands-on Magic Gallery, where visitors can catch their shadows, shake hands with their ghost and even walk on water. At the 3-D Edinburgh Vision exhibit you can learn about the city’s history from the 1850s to present day. Also don’t miss the 175-year-old Camera Obsura show which is led by a tour guide.
5.ST GILES CATHEDRAL
The cathedral is Edinburgh’s principle church and was consecrated in 1243. The 161 ft central tower with its eight arched buttresses forms a huge crown and is a favorite backdrop for photos. Highlights include memorials to the dead of WWI, lovely stained glass windows, and a statue of John Knox, leader of the Protestant Reformation. The Thistle Chapel is well-known for its marvelous oak carvings, heraldic emblems and seals of the "Knights of the Thistle". The chapel was design in 1911 by Sir Robert Lorimer, and it is a superb example of modern Gothic style.
6.ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA
Just north of central Edinburg you'll find the impressive yacht anchored at the Leith Docks. Not only did is serve royal honeymooners, but was residence for the royal family for 44 years. Visitors can tour everything from the crew’s quarters to the State Apartments, which have housed the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan. After strolling through the museum you can enjoy a cup of tea on the Royal Deck Tea Room, the same place where the royals used to dine. Take advantage of the free audio guides as it made the experience much more informative.
7.ART CITY: THE NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND
a.National Portrait Gallery
The gallery is one of Edinburgh’s three major art galleries and exhibit painting of Scotland’s historic figures from the 16th century to the present day. The huge processional frieze showing Scotland’s most famous personalities, including Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Sean Connery, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Stuart and Bonnie Prince Charlie, among others is the highlight of the gallery’s 65,000-plus pieces.
b.Scottish National Gallery
Scotland’s biggest collection of European paintings and sculptures beginning with the Renaissance and including some Post-Impressionists is housed in the second major art collection in this gallery.
c.Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Paintings by Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso, surrealistic works by Rene Magritte, Joan Miró and Max Ernst, contemporary paintings by Bruce McLean, Callum Innes and Gwen Hardie, and sculptures by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and David Hockney are on display in the gallery.
8.CALTON HILL AND THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL MONUMENT
A view not to be missed, to the west lies Princess Street and the Castle, to the south the old town, and in the east and north, the Firth of Forth and the docks at Leith. At the foot of the hill stands the 13th century Royal High School, where Sir Walter Scott was once a pupil. Opposite Calton Hill stands a memorial to Scottish poet Robert Burns and the most important of Edinburgh's many memorials is the impressive National Monument on Calton Hill, erected to remember the dead from the Napoleonic Wars. You can also visit the Nelson's Monument, unveiled in 1816 after Horatio Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
An excellent bus service combined with first class rail links, taxis and trams provides plenty options for getting from A to B. You can also privately hire a taxi, cab or car.
The best time to visit Edinburgh is June through August when the temperatures are balmy.