How to Plan Your Royal Mile Walking Tour to Discover Old Edinburgh

How to Plan Your Royal Mile Walking Tour to Discover Old Edinburgh

Are you planning a visit to the Scottish capital? Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of the most historical and charming areas to explore, and the perfect introduction to the city is through a walking tour along the Royal Mile. The two-hour guided walk takes you from the medieval fortress of Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Here’s what you need to know to plan your Royal Mile Walking Tour and discover the secrets of Old Edinburgh.

Why Take the Royal Mile Walking Tour?

As you walk the famous Royal Mile, your guide will regale you with tales of Edinburgh’s fascinating history, shared through the stories of the landmarks around you. This tour is perfect for first-time visitors looking to learn more about the Scottish capital, as well as for those who want to discover hidden corners and lesser-known gems. The tour also stops at some Harry Potter-related sites, making it a great choice for fans of the series.

What to Expect on the Tour:

The tour starts from the front of the Scottish Whisky Experience, located next to the Edinburgh Castle. Your guide will take you along the Royal Mile, a cobbled street replete with centuries of history, for two hours. Along the way, you’ll see some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks, including:
  • Edinburgh Castle: this fortress, built on top of an extinct volcano, has been a royal residence and military stronghold for centuries.
  • St. Giles’ Cathedral: also called the High Kirk of Edinburgh, this church is the mother church of Presbyterianism and was at the heart of the Scottish Reformation.
  • The Heart of Midlothian: a heart-shaped mosaic on the pavement outside St. Giles’ Cathedral, marking the spot where one of Edinburgh’s former prisons once stood.
  • John Knox House: the home of the Scottish Presbyterian minister who played a key role in the Scottish Reformation.
  • Old Tolbooth: the former administrative centre of Edinburgh that was also used as a prison and execution site.
  • Canongate Kirkyard: a cemetery where many famous Scots, including the poet Robert Ferguson and the philosopher David Hume, are buried.
  • The Palace of Holyroodhouse: the official Scottish residence of the British monarch since the 16th century.
And much more.

What’s Included on the Tour:

The tour is led by an informative and friendly guide who will make history come alive. Admission to all landmarks and buildings visited during the tour is not included in the tour price.

Meeting Point and Pickup:

The meeting point is in front of the entrance to The Scottish Whisky Experience. The address is as follows: The Scotch Whisky Experience 354 Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE UK

End Point:

The tour ends at Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano in the center of Edinburgh that offers breathtaking views over the city. The address is as follows: Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh EH15 3PY UK

How to Book the Tour:

Ready to explore the Royal Mile and discover the secrets of Old Edinburgh? Book the tour here to ensure you don’t miss out on this unmissable experience.

In Summary:

A walking tour along the Royal Mile is the perfect introduction to Edinburgh’s Old Town. With an experienced, knowledgeable guide, you will learn about the people and events that shaped the city’s rich history. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the Royal Mile Walking Tour is an experience you shouldn’t miss when visiting Edinburgh.

Frequently Asked Questions about Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a city steeped in history and culture. Visitors from all over the world flock to see its iconic Gothic and Georgian architecture, visit its famous castle, and stroll along the Royal Mile. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Edinburgh:

1. What are the top attractions in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a city brimming with exciting things to see and do. From world-famous landmarks to hidden gems, here are some of the top attractions in Edinburgh that you won’t want to miss:

1.1 Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a fortress that stands tall at the top of the Royal Mile. With over 1000 years of history, it’s no surprise that this castle is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Visitors can explore the castle’s many buildings and exhibitions, including the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny.

1.2 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is the perfect place to relax and unwind. This beautiful garden is home to over 13,000 different plant species from around the world, as well as several greenhouses and woodlands.

1.3 The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the main thoroughfare in Edinburgh’s Old Town, stretching from Edinburgh Castle at the top to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom. This bustling street is lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings, making it the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.

1.4 Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano and the highest point in Edinburgh, offering stunning panoramic views of the city. Visitors can climb to the top of this peak for an unforgettable experience and breathtaking views.

1.5 National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is Scotland’s most popular museum, attracting millions of visitors each year. Exhibitions cover a wide range of topics, including Scottish history and culture, science and technology, and natural history.

2. When is the best time to visit Edinburgh?

The best time to visit Edinburgh largely depends on personal preferences, as the city has something to offer year-round. However, the most popular time to visit is during the summer months (June-August), when the weather is generally warm and sunny and many festivals take place, including the famous Edinburgh Fringe. If you prefer quieter surroundings and lower room rates, consider visiting in the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November), when the crowds have dispersed but the weather is still mild. Winter in Edinburgh (December-February) can be chilly, but the festive season is a magical time to visit, with Christmas markets and events taking place across the city.

3. What is the best way to get around Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a very walkable city, and many of its attractions are located close to each other. If you prefer not to walk, there are several other options for getting around:

3.1 Public transport

Edinburgh has an extensive public transportation network that includes buses, trams, and trains. A single bus/tram ride costs £1.70, while a day ticket costs £4.00. It’s also possible to purchase multi-day tickets for longer stays.

3.2 Taxis

Taxis are widely available in Edinburgh, and can be flagged down on the street or hired from a taxi rank. Fares vary depending on distance and time of day, but expect to pay around £10-£15 for a journey within the city center.

3.3 Car hire

Car hire is available at both Edinburgh Airport and in the city center. It’s worth noting that driving in Edinburgh can be challenging due to its narrow roads and high traffic volumes, so it’s recommended for experienced drivers only.

4. What are the must-try foods in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is home to some of the best Scottish cuisine, with a range of tasty treats to try during your stay. Here are some of the top foods to sample:

4.1 Haggis

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made from sheep’s offal and spices, served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). It may sound unusual, but it’s a must-try for any visitor to Scotland.

4.2 Whisky

Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and a must-try for any visitor to Edinburgh. There are several distilleries in the city, including the famous Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile.

4.3 Shortbread

Shortbread is a sweet, buttery biscuit that originated in Scotland. It’s a popular snack in Edinburgh and can be found in most cafes and bakeries.

4.4 Cullen skink

Cullen skink is a thick, creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions. It’s a hearty dish that’s perfect for a cold day in Edinburgh.

5. What should I pack for a trip to Edinburgh?

The weather in Edinburgh can be unpredictable, so it’s best to pack for all eventualities. Here’s a list of items you may want to include in your suitcase:

5.1 Warm clothing

Edinburgh can be chilly year-round, so pack plenty of warm layers such as sweaters, scarves, and hats.

5.2 Comfortable shoes

Edinburgh’s cobbled streets can be challenging to navigate in heels or other uncomfortable shoes. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes for walking around the city.

5.3 Rain gear

Rain is common in Edinburgh, so it’s a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket or umbrella.

5.4 Camera

Edinburgh is a stunning city with plenty of photo opportunities, so be sure to pack a camera to capture your memories.

6. What are the best day trips from Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is well-located for day trips to some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks and attractions. Here are some of the best day trips to take from Edinburgh:

6.1 Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a large, deep freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands. It’s famous for allegedly being home to the Loch Ness Monster, and is a popular destination for tourists looking to explore the Scottish countryside.

6.2 Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is a historic fortress located in the city of Stirling, less than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh. It was the site of many important historical events, including the Battle of Stirling Bridge and the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots.

6.3 Glasgow

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and is known for its vibrant arts and music scene. It’s located just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, making it an easy day trip option.

6.4 Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel is a medieval chapel located just outside of Edinburgh. It gained fame after being featured in Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code” and is a must-visit destination for history and mystery buffs.

Final thoughts

Edinburgh is a city that oozes history, culture, and charm. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new to discover in Edinburgh. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to having an unforgettable experience in Scotland’s capital city.

How To Spend Your Time As A Tourist in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. With its fascinating history, enchanting castles, and stunning scenery, there are countless things to see and do in this city. However, with only a limited amount of time, it can be challenging to decide which activities to prioritize. To help you make the most of your stay, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to spend your time as a tourist in Edinburgh.

1. Explore the Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit attraction when in the city. This iconic fortress sits atop Castle Rock and is accessible via the Royal Mile. Inside the castle, visitors can explore the Great Hall, the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the famous One O’Clock Gun. As you walk around the castle, you’ll be captivated by breathtaking views of the city skyline. It’s best to book your tickets for the castle in advance to avoid long queues, especially during peak tourist season.

2. Take a stroll down the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is a famed street in Edinburgh that stretches from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This mile-long stretch is filled with shops, cafés, restaurants, and pubs, making it an ideal place to explore on foot. Be sure to stop at St Giles’ Cathedral, the home of Presbyterian worship in Scotland, and the Signet Library, a picturesque Georgian building, which is now a café.

3. Relax in Princes Street Garden

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Princes Street Garden is a lush green space in front of the Princes Street shopping area. It’s a great place to take a break, relax and soak in the beauty of the Edinburgh Castle that towers above the garden. During summer, it’s a great place to have a picnic and enjoy the Scottish sunshine.

4. Visit the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is a treat for people of all ages. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, from ancient history to modern times. You can explore the diverse exhibits of Scottish history, culture, and natural sciences for free. Anyone can visit the museum, and it’s open every day, making it perfect for rainy days.

5. Take a spooky Ghost Tour

Edinburgh is a city rich in spooky history and stories of ghosts and supernatural beings. There are various ghost tours per night to explore the city’s eerie past. The tours follow various routes that take tourists through the haunted alleyways and backstreets while telling tales of paranormal activity as guides describe historical events that are said to have shaped the city.

6. Hike up Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is the highest peak in Holyrood Park and offers a fantastic view of the city. It’s an ideal spot for hikers and nature lovers who want to explore off the beaten path. There are several different trails to choose from that lead up to the summit, and the hike can take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on your route.

7. Get Lost in the Old Town

The Old Town of Edinburgh is filled with winding, narrow alleys and hidden courtyards that date back centuries. This part of the city is known for its beautiful architecture and rich history. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon exploring the streets and discovering the hidden gems of Old Town. Be sure to check out the Grassmarket, a historic market square that’s now home to eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars.

8. Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. The palace is open to tourists when it is not in use by the royal family. Highlights of the palace include the ornate state apartments, Mary Queen of Scots’ chambers, and the ruins of the nearby Holyrood Abbey. You can take a guided tour to learn more about its rich history.

9. Sample Scottish cuisine

Scotland is known for its unique cuisine, and Edinburgh has a range of foodie hotspots. Try out Haggis, a pudding-like dish made from sheep’s pluck that’s usually served with neeps and tatties. You can also try out other traditional Scottish dishes like cullen skink, Scottish salmon, and cranachan. There are several food tours available that provide guests with the opportunity to sample many of Scotland’s famous dishes.

10. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a haven of tranquillity in the heart of the city. The garden covers over 70 acres and is home to over 13,000 plant species. Visitors can stroll through the different gardens, which include a rock garden, a Chinese Hillside, a Scottish Heath Garden, and much more. It’s an excellent place to take a break from the bustling city and enjoy the scenic beauty of the natural world.

Book Your Tour Now

Edinburgh is an incredible city with an endless amount of things to explore. Our list of things to do should help guide you through your next visit. Remember to prioritize your itinerary according to your interests, time and budget. We hope this guide helped highlight some of the essential attractions, giving you some inspiration to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

How to Plan Your Royal Mile Walking Tour to Discover Old Edinburgh