History Attractions in Edinburgh

If you love vacation destinations with history bursting at the seams, then Edinburgh will prove your Mecca. Home to a breathtaking ancient castle, historic monuments, cobbled streets, and a dark and spooky past, Scotland's capital offers an entertaining history lesson at every turn.

Start at Edinburgh Castle, a 12th century fortress that sits on top of an extinct volcano and is the most breathtaking part of the city's skyline. Explore the various rooms, chapels and compartments of the fortress and through interactive displays discover what living and working there might have been like during the medieval era. Of course, the highlight of any tour of the castle is the Honours of Scotland (the crown jewels), on display in the Crown Room of the castle's Royal Palace (built in 1617).

From the castle walk down the cobbled Royal Mile, the definitive route to seeing the historic closes and buildings of Edinburgh's Old Town. Stop at St. Giles' Cathedral, the mother church of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Its interior central pillars date back to 1124, and the church boasts some of the most exquisite stained glass windows in the United Kingdom created during the Victorian era.

For a breath of fresh air, climb Calton Hill, which is made unmistakable by the unfinished Athenian acropolis monument that stands proudly at its peak. Historic buildings and statues are located on Calton Hill but the most popular feature is the two Observatories, the first built in 1792 the second in 1818. Both hold regular exhibitions, Open Days and the opportunity to see stars in the night sky.

Craigmillar is one of Scotland's most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore. Of equal importance were the surrounding gardens and parkland, and the present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle's days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland's capital city.

The Real Mary King's Close is an incredible tour of the long-forgotten underground streets of Edinburgh dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which were paved over as the city grew. Guides dressed in period costumes walk you through these long-forgotten closes, buildings and streets while describing what life may have been like for the residents, particularly during the plague.

Edinburgh Castle

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Castlehill
Castlehill

Historic fortress with breathtaking views and opulent riches inside... read more

Royal Mile

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Royal Mile

Civilians welcome... read more

St. Giles' Cathedral

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High Street
High St

The mother church of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland... read more

The Real Mary King's Close

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2 Warriston's Close
High St

An incredible tour of the long-forgotten underground streets of Edinburgh dating from the 16th and 17th centuries... read more

Holyroodhouse Palace

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Holyrood Road
Canongate, at the eastern end of the Royal Mile

Royal intrigue and beauty... read more

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Scott Monument

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Princes Street
East Princes St. Gardens, near Waverley Station

Gothic spire dedicated to The Wizard of the North...
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Greyfriars Kirk

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Greyfriars Place
Greyfriars Place

Where Greyfriar's Bobby kept his vigil and the spookiest graveyard in Britain... read more

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Calton Hill

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Regent Road

The folly on the hill... read more

Craigmillar Castle

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Craigmillar Castle Road

Imposing ruins and royal intrigues... read more

Rosslyn Chapel

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Rosslyn Chapel Trust

Ancient mystical church... read more
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