From galleries, gardens to castles, Edinburgh is a breathtaking classic.
Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Home to United Kingdom’s historical literature and art, the city boasts numerous must-see’s that are just as classical as they are inspiring. From galleries, gardens to castles, here are five quintessential sites you can’t miss out on.
1. Walk up Royal Mile to explore Edinburgh Castle.
Every city has a main tourist street that travelers (even the least touristic of us) have to wander through. In Edinburgh, Royal Mile is filled with shops, markets displaying souvenirs you can’t resist to bring home. Continue onto Royal Mile, and you’ll reach Edinburgh Castle – one of the main attractions in the city. The ancient fortress sits atop Castle Rock and it has been there since 2nd century AD’s Iron Age. Since David I during the 12th century, it has been the royal residence until 1633. After the 17th century, it was mainly used as military barracks. The castle has lived through Scotland’s most significant events, including: Wars of Scottish Independence and Jacobite Rising.
2. From Princess Street, hike up to Calton Hill for the best city view.
One of the main roads, Princess Street, makes a great walk toward Calton Hill and Holyrood Palace. From Waverly Station or the Balmoral Hotel, Calton Hill takes about 10 minutes of promenade on the east end of Princess Street. For the best view of Edinburgh, Calton Hill – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is also home to National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Steward Monument and a City Observatory. During James II’s reign in 1456, this area was meant for performing tournaments, sports and theater.
3. Check out both Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park.
After your Instagram session at Calton Hill, head further up the street below the hill toward Holyrood Palace. The official residence of the British monarch in Scotland has been the royal’s home away from home since the 16th century. At the beginning of every summer, Queen Elizabeth always spends one week here. The estate is open to the public throughout the year, except for when the Royal Family is visiting. Rumor has it that Bald Agnes’ (Agnes Sampson) naked ghost haunts the palace after she was stripped and tortured due to accusations of witchcraft in 1592.
A 10-minute walk from the Palace is Holyrood Park, which makes beautiful photos and a gorgeous walk. The park was a 12th century hunting estate for the royals. In the middle of the park is the famous Arthur’s Seat, which is the highest point in Edinburgh. There are exquisite ridges, cliffs, lochs and hills that make the royal park a definitely must-see.
4. Take advantage of free admission at Scottish National Gallery.
For any art fanatic, the best part about visiting any city in Scotland is the free admission at Scottish museums and galleries. Located right next to Waverly Park is the Scottish National Gallery, filled with Scottish collection of international and domestic fine art. Opened in 1859, the pieces start from the Renaissance period all the way to the beginning of the 20th century. Each room is elegantly displayed with massive paintings and sculptures, making the gallery a perfect escape from the constant rain in the city.
5. Plan an entire day for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Similar to Singapore’s Botanic Garden, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will take all day to explore. As one of the most popular sites among travelers, it houses more than 13,302 plant species and 3 million preserved specimens. The garden’s most beautiful building is the Palm House, which is a greenhouse that grows palms and many tropical plants. Today, continuous research and studies are done at the botanic garden, where you can also indulge in a complete Edinburgh skyline.