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Edinburgh skyline © Kenny Lam


One day in Edinburgh

So you've got one day in Scotland's capital - but there are just so many possibilities! However, there's no need to panic. We've identified a few must-do things to fill your day, so you don't need to waste a minute planning; instead you can dive straight into taking in the best of Edinburgh.


Bus Walk






Around the city centre, from Edinburgh Castle to Arthur's Seat and back to the Royal Mile.


Top Edinburgh attractions, take a bus tour, stroll along the famous Royal Mile

Areas Covered


Day 1


Explore Edinburgh

Cameras at the ready! Explore Edinburgh city centre and uncover a truly unique and beautiful city with more history than you could shake a stick at.
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  • Transport

    Bus Walk

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Make Edinburgh Castle your first port of call. It sits at the top of the historic Royal Mile on a volcanic plug, and is perhaps the most famous landmark on the Edinburgh skyline. Beat the crowds and get there for opening at 9.30am. The views over the city are pretty spectacular, and there is so much to take in, including the National Museum of War, the National War Monument and the Honours of Scotland, the county's Crown Jewels.

Bus tour

If you're only visiting for the day but want to see a lot of the sights, then the open top City Sightseeing bus tour is ideal for you! From the Castle Esplanade, walk down Ramsay Lane to the bottom of the Mound, then cut through Princes Street Gardens to the bus tours departure point on Waverley Bridge.

Taking in the highlights of Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, the tour takes an hour in its entirety. It's a hop-on, hop-off service, so if you do see anything which really takes your fancy along the way, you can get off at one of the stops! Why not hop off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and hike up Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano, in Holyood Park for rewarding 360° views across the city?

The Real Mary King's Close

After you've tackled Arthur's Seat, head back up the Royal Mile on foot via Holyrood and the Canongate area. You'll pass great shops selling luxury Scottish items, including cashmere, wool and whisky, as well as some wonderful traditional pubs. When you reach High Street and Lawnmarket, you might want to pop into the exquisite St Giles' Cathedral. Or, at this point you could take an early evening tour. Explore lost medieval underground streets as you visit the Real Mary King's Close, or take a walking tour through the Old Town with a knowledgeable guide.

The Royal Mile

Finish off your evening with dinner or a dram of good Scotch malt whisky somewhere close to the Royal Mile. On George IV Bridge, there's a superb selection of eateries serving all kinds of food, from traditional Scottish to modern contemporary dining, as well as sophisticated bars, or follow charming Victoria Street down to the historic Grassmarket area, which has got more than its fair share of great pubs and retains a unique character and bustling atmosphere. If you've got any energy (and time!) left, find a ceilidh or a pub playing live Scottish music and get a good dose of real Scottish culture.