6 Activities to Do During a Weekend in Edinburgh

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6 Activities to Do During a Weekend in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, has much to offer to both novice and seasoned travellers. Located in the Scottish region known as Lothian, the site of modern Edinburgh has prehistoric roots dating back to the Bronze Age and has been continuously inhabited since its first development. Although it escaped much of the influence of the Roman rule evident in other parts of the British Isles, modern Edinburgh includes historical evidence of Celtic and Germanic traditions as well as those native to Scotland. A tourist-friendly city, Edinburgh is a great weekend break for travellers who know how to manage their vacation time well.

To plan a weekend break in Edinburgh, tourists can utilise their local travel agents or check out eBay for travel deals. Before arriving in Edinburgh, travellers should prioritise which points of interest are the most appealing so that they are not overwhelmed by the vast options available once they arrive in the city. Outdoor enthusiasts, for example, have many ways to experience the natural beauty of Scotland within Edinburgh and its surrounding area, while art and archaeology lovers may be more drawn to Edinburgh's extensive museums and historical buildings. When visiting Edinburgh, there are six essential activities travellers can engage in that are convenient and allow travellers on short schedules a true taste of Scottish life and history in Edinburgh.

1. Take a Bus Tour of Edinburgh

When first arriving in Edinburgh, a convenient way to see everything the city has to offer is to take a bus tour. Bus tours typically include both covered and open-air seating areas, so travellers can manage whichever weather conditions they may find when touring the city. To help visitors understand what they are seeing, bus tours often include taped narratives that travellers can listen to during the tour or tour guides who can explain significant aspects of an area. Travellers can choose to customise their experience by choosing bus tours that allow them to hop on and off the bus at set points on the bus tour's path. To get a real sense of Edinburgh's place in history, travellers should make sure they choose bus tours that include both the Old Town and New Town sections of Edinburgh.

 Old Town Edinburgh

The Old Town section of Edinburgh features a medieval network of stone-paved alleyways that have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Cobbled streets line the area which is home to Edinburgh's Royal Mile, a main thoroughfare flanked on each side by Edinburgh Castle at the top of Castle Rock and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other end of the mile.

 New Town Edinburgh

While Old Town Edinburgh is marked by meandering pathways, the New Town section of Edinburgh has spacious streets lined with buildings designed in neoclassical architecture styles. Mainly built in the 18th century, New Town Edinburgh allows visitors to experience what life was like for Edinburgh residents during the Georgian era. The New Town section of Edinburgh is also home to museums like the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and trendy eateries and pubs.

 2. Visit Edinburgh's Historic Castles and Royal Homes

Edinburgh is home to a number of significant historic castles and royal homes. Edinburgh travellers who appreciate history, art, and architecture may find visiting these buildings well worth the time on their weekend break to the city.

Historic Castles and Royal Homes in Edinburgh


 Edinburgh Castle

A fortress compound located at the top of Castle Rock overlooking the city of Edinburgh; contains the Royal Palace of James IV, St. Margaret's Chapel, the Scottish National War Memorial, and other structures

One O'Clock Gun salute is fired here each day and the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place at the castle every August

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Official Scottish residence of the British monarch; includes Holyrood Abbey, the Queen's Gallery, and the Northwest Tower

Open to the public when the British Royal Family are not in residence

Craigmillar Castle

Favourite residence of Mary Queen of Scots; exquisitely preserved medieval castle located in the southeast section of Edinburgh

Complex contains former royal houses, gardens, and panoramic views of Edinburgh and its surrounding countryside

Lauriston Castle

In the northwestern section of Edinburgh; built between the 14th and 17th centuries; includes noteworthy interiors and a historic Japanese Garden that overlooks the Firth of Forth

Travellers can usually tour these historic buildings and grounds throughout the year, but should remember that the open hours change depending on the season. Typically, castle and palace compounds are opened the longest during summer months and may only be opened a few hours a week during winter. Travellers to Edinburgh should also note that touring a historic building and garden can take a couple of hours, particularly if there are crowds of fellow tourists. Because of this, weekend travellers to Edinburgh may need to limit the number of castle visits they make.

 3. Tour the St. Giles' Cathedral

Edinburgh is home to many small, quaint churches and two impressive cathedrals: St. Giles's Cathedral and St. Mary's Cathedral. Although St. Mary's Cathedral is well worth a tour, St. Giles' Cathedral is centrally located on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Because it is situated close to many of Edinburgh's main attractions, it is easy for weekend visitors to incorporate a trip to this cathedral into their limited travel itineraries.

St. Giles' Cathedral was originally begun in the 12th century and has almost 200 memorials honouring notable Scottish figures. The Thistle Chapel, dedicated to Scotland's Order of Chivalry, was added to the southeast corner of the cathedral in 1911 and features intricate Gothic-style stonework and stained glass windows. If travellers would like an in-depth tour of the cathedral, they can join a guided tour, which is provided by volunteers every day the cathedral is open.

 4. Take the Scotch Whiskey Experience Tour

Scotch whiskey is a famous Scottish product that Edinburgh visitors can see being made. The Scotch Whiskey Experience Tour provides participants with an overview of the process of creating the amber-coloured spirits and how to discern between single malt, grain, and blended Scotch whisky. When touring the facility, visitors enjoy a barrel ride and whisky tasting. The tour takes about 1.5 hours and weekend visitors should make a reservation for the tour to minimise any waiting time.

 5. Visit Mary King's Close

For an eerie experience when in Edinburgh, travellers can visit Mary King's Close. The close is a network of underground streets, alleyways, and rooms which were used by Edinburgh residents in the 1600s and were rediscovered during archaeological excavations in Edinburgh's Old Town. Reportedly haunted, Mary King's Close can be accessed by joining a guided tour which leads participants throughout the close's labyrinth-like passageways.

 6. Browse in Edinburgh's Shopping Districts

When in Edinburgh, visitors can find a unique blend of luxury, trendy, and locally-produced items in close proximity to both the Old Town and New Town areas. St. Andrews Square and Multrees Walk are well-known for international designer shops. Princes Street and George Street, located in Old Town close to the Royal Mile, have shops dedicated to high fashion clothing and specialty shops for jewellery, home accessories, fine foods, and beauty products. Additionally, the Old Town retail streets have shopping options for tourists interested in buying traditional Scottish items like kilts, cashmere items, tartans, and bagpipes.

 Shopping for Edinburgh Travel Items on eBay

eBay provides travellers interested in visiting Scotland with a wide range of essential purchasing options that can make an Edinburgh trip an experience to remember. Because an Edinburgh visit can be simply a stand-alone weekend trip or part of a larger Scottish travelling adventure, buyers can use eBay to find accommodations and transportation choices that match their specific needs. For a short stay in Edinburgh, for example, some travellers may prefer the homey comforts of a bed and breakfast or keep their accommodations more independent by renting a caravan or cottage. Depending on a traveller's original location, visiting Edinburgh may entail a flight, train, or bus reservation.

Even though a weekend trip to Edinburgh does not require a lot of packing, the few items that travellers bring are essential. To keep personal items organised and secure, tourists can shop on eBay for luggage that provides ease when transporting it from place to place. Travellers can prepare themselves for their trips by purchasing Edinburgh maps and GPS navigation devices so orientating themselves to new surroundings is easier. Lastly, tourists can use eBay to purchase digital cameras and camcorders so they can remember their travels in Edinburgh after they return home.


To prepare for an Edinburgh trip, tourists can search on eBay for travel deals as well as travel-related items that make their stay both productive and enjoyable. A weekend trip to Edinburgh can provide travellers with a taste of Scottish life if they manage their time well. Although the options of what to do in Edinburgh are virtually limitless, tourists can focus on a few activities to engage in that are conveniently placed within a small area of Edinburgh, thereby maximising the short time they have available. Since it is a good idea to get an overview of everything Edinburgh has to offer, travellers can start their trips by taking a guided bus tour of the city. This allows travellers to see as much as possible without having to navigate unfamiliar streets and public transportation options themselves.

Edinburgh is home to a number of exemplary castles, palaces, cathedrals, and hidden chambers which visitors can tour if they appreciate the art or history contained within the structures' stone walls. Some historical buildings in Edinburgh may have limited hours or long waiting lines, however, so weekend travellers must determine how many tours they can take depending on the season in which they travel. Tourists can also learn about the distilling of Scottish whisky or indulge in a little shopping while in Edinburgh for a weekend so they can sample some of the fine products native to Scotland.

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