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How to Spend 1 Day in Edinburgh

How to Spend 1 Day in Edinburgh

With its atmospheric medieval streets, elegant Georgian townhouses, and hilltop castle, Edinburgh is one of Europe’s prettiest cities. It’s also blessed with a fascinating history, rich arts and literary scene, and great nightlife. With only one day in town, you’ll want to experience as much as possible, so here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Edinburgh.

Morning: See the Sights

The cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards, and winding alleys of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town make it a pleasure to explore on foot. To catch all of the area’s top sights and learn about its literary—and often dark—history, join a private or group walking tour that leads you along and around the Royal Mile. Alternatively, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is ideal for travelers who want more flexibility: you can get off at any point of interest along the route—including Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland—and spend as long as you like there.

Afternoon: Explore Edinburgh Castle

Some walking tours and bus tours include entrance to Edinburgh Castle, the historic fortress perched atop an extinct volcano that dominates the city’s skyline. Even if your morning tour does not include entrance, the castle deserves a focused visit; book a tour that includes skip-the-line entry to ensure you don’t waste time lining up for tickets. Private and group guided tours provide historical and cultural insights into the castle and its grounds and take you to see such sights as the Crown Jewels of Scotland, including the Stone of Destiny, which was used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs.

Night: Enjoy the Nightlife

Edinburgh is a city of cozy traditional pubs filled with talkative characters, good drinks and comforting food, and, often, live music and storytelling. Get a taste of the local nightlife on a pub crawl through the Old Town, which includes free drinks at several different spots, or by booking an evening excursion that includes a traditional dinner accompanied by Scottish songs, bagpipes, and poetry. Another option is a whisky-focused evening excursion, which includes sampling single malts while immersing yourself in the deep-rooted Scottish tradition of storytelling for a more rounded experience of Scottish culture.

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8 Tours and Activities | All Edinburgh Tours

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Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour

Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour

star-5
Save valuable vacation time with skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle on this walking tour. Avoid hours of waiting in line and breeze right inside with your priority admission ticket. Then, listen to your guide's commentary about the Scottish landmark's history as you walk through one of Scotland's most famous landmarks.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$45.54
From
US$45.54
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$21.23
From
US$21.23
Taking safety measures

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

star-4.5
See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh on this walking tour with optional skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence (if option selected), and pass iconic locations like St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$21.52
From
US$21.52
Taking safety measures

Whisky and Folklore in Edinburgh Including Four Single Malt Scotch Whiskies

Whisky and Folklore in Edinburgh Including Four Single Malt Scotch Whiskies

star-5
The Waverley Pub is one of Edinburgh’s most popular drinking establishments and stocks a huge variety of Scotch whisky. On this tasting tour, sample four single malt whiskies from four different whisky-producing regions of Scotland, uncover the secrets of Scotch whisky-making, and experience the Scottish tradition of storytelling.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$41.12
From
US$41.12
Taking safety measures

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-5
Explore famous landmarks and hidden secrets in Edinburgh on this walking tour. Explore Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile with a guide, and gain insight into famous writers and inventors who have called the city home. Hear tales of Scotland's national bard—Robert Burns—and discover top landmarks such as St. Giles’ Cathedral and the National Galleries of Scotland. Capture Edinburgh through the eye of your camera as you go, and find out what makes this ancient city tick.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$32.28
From
US$32.28
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Old Town Pub Crawl

Edinburgh Old Town Pub Crawl

star-5
Experience the nightlife of Edinburgh Old Town, and discover the backstreet pubs, cocktail lounges, and underground nightclubs that are loved by the locals. On this tour of the city’s hot spots, meet other travelers, enjoy well-priced drinks, and even some free shots. The experience is for anyone aged 18 years old or older with valid photo ID.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$17.01
From
US$17.01
Taking safety measures

3-Hour Private Edinburgh Castle Tour

3-Hour Private Edinburgh Castle Tour

If you’re a history buff, no visit to Edinburgh is complete without a tour of Edinburgh Castle. Receive personalized attention on a private 3-hour tour, during which you’ll delve deep into the history of the Edinburgh icon and avoid long lines often in excess of two hours with a pre-booked entrance ticket. Plus, you’re guide collects you from your hotel to prevent you getting lost in Edinburgh’s winding streets.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$286.83
From
US$286.83
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

star-5
Learn about Edinburgh past and present on a private walking tour with an insider guide, who shares information about the city’s royal history and colorful characters, some of whom have inspired books and well-known stories. Get tips on where to eat and drink around the city, and see sights on and off the Royal Mile and near Greyfriars Kirk. You’ll enjoy one-on-one attention from a private guide on this tour that caters to couples, families and small groups looking for a more personal experience.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$43.03
From
US$43.03
Taking safety measures


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