Two Go Ahead staffers hopped across the pond to the U.K. this spring to take in the sights, tastes, and welcoming local culture on our tour to London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. Their favorite spot? Edinburgh! Katie and Sarah think the charming Scottish capital should be on everyone’s travel wish list. Read on for five tips for what to do in Edinburgh during your free time on tour.
Located right on the Royal Mile next to St. Giles’ Cathedral, the elegant Georgian architecture of the Signet Library is the perfect setting for a proper afternoon tea at Colonnades in the Lower Library. Tea starts with an amuse-bouche, and then you’ll be served a Savory Tower with a variety of sandwiches, quiches, and savory pies. Tea ends with a Sweet Tower of pastries and traditional scones served with clotted cream and jam. The staff was absolutely wonderful and let us try as many different types of tea as we liked.
Travel tip: Booking in advance is advisable. Here’s the reservation info.
One of the best things to do in Edinburgh is visit the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II, this palace is located at the end of the Royal Mile. They offer an excellent audio guide so you can explore the State Apartments on your own, including the chamber of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Travel tip: Make sure to head outside and visit the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, and enjoy a walk through the stunning gardens.
If you’re someone who likes to get your steps in, Edinburgh has lots of opportunities! It’s a very walkable city, plus there are spots for more rigorous hikes in and around the city, which give you a different vantage point and a good lay of the land. Here are three great walks that showcase amazing views and one of the top things to do in Edinburgh.
It turns out that Edinburgh has some serious ghost stories! For those looking to learn more about the darker side of the city’s history, there are many different tours to choose from that take place later in the evening, making for a great after-dinner activity. A few of the tours will take you into the underground city and Greyfriars Kirkyard, which has been dubbed the most haunted cemetery in the world.
Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers an ode to Scotch. There are plenty of opportunities to taste-test the regional whisky while you’re traveling through Scotland, but this is a great way to learn about it if you don’t have enough time to visit a distillery. They offer a few different tour options depending on your interest, which all take place in their modern facilities and restaurant/bar. During the tours, you learn about the specific regions of Scotland that are known for Scotch production and what makes each of them unique.
Travel tip: If you don’t want to do the whole tour, you can visit their bar for a flight of Scotch from four of the five different regions. It comes with a written guide to take you through each sample.
Have you been to Scotland? We’d love to hear your suggestions for the top things to do in Edinburgh on Facebook!