4 Best Things To Do In Kirkwall

Kirkwall – often described as a modern-day Viking town, it is the main town in the Northern Isles and serves as the capital of Orkney, an archipelago located to the North of mainland Scotland. Famous for its 12th-century skyline dominated by the Norse Cathedral of St. Magnus, Kirkwall is visited for its Old English meets Viking culture vibe.

From a seven-century-old Cathedral to a palace down to the shores, Kirkwall is a vibrant town that is perfect for those looking to have a unique experience that is a mix of Norse culture, Old England mashed with modern mores of today’s civilization.

Let’s take a trip around Kirkwall and discover the best things that this small vibrant town as to offer.

Things to Do in Kirkwall

1. Visit the St. Magnus Cathedral

St. Magnus Cathedral
St. Magnus Cathedral

The St. Magnus Cathedral is what Kirkwall is named after. Kirkwall comes from the word, “Kirkjuvagr”, coined by the Norse adventurers who found settlement in the town. It means “church by the bay”, pertaining to the great St. Magnus Cathedral founded by the Viking Earl Rognvald in 1137.

Described as “a place of stillness, inspiration, of warmth and is steeped in the presence of God”, Kirkwall is one of the most historic sites in Orkney best known for it’s serene, quite and relaxing atmosphere – where, you can practice your faith and rediscover your relationship with God.

Aside from tourism, the one thing that draws visitors into the Cathedral is worship and praise as it has long since been a place of worship even during the early ancient times.

Aside from the Cathedral itself, there is also the St. Magnus Centre, which is not just a church hall but is also a meeting place, a hub that caters to visitors, an arts venue, and a place for concentration, contemplation and strengthening your salvation.

There are also tours for the upper levels of the Cathedral that are offered on April to June.

Admission Fee

The St. Magnus Cathedral has its doors open for everyone. However, the tours for the upper levels will cost you depending on your visit.

Operation Hours

For the Year 2019:
Summer opening: From April 1 to September 30
9AM-6PM on Mondays to Saturdays
1PM-6PM on Sundays

Winter opening: From October 1 to March 31

9AM-1PM and 2PM-5PM for Mondays to Saturdays (The Cathedral is closed for lunch on 1PM-2PM.)

Upper level tours (April to June):
11AM and 2PM on Tuesdays
11AM and 2PM on Thursdays
2PM and 3:45PM on Sundays

Contact Information

Address: St. Magnus Cathedral, Broad Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NX

Phone: 01856 874894

Email: cathedral@orkney.gov.uk

2.Dine at The Foveran

Described to be “the place to relax, unwind, and savor the taste of Orkney,” the Foveran is just three miles down Ophir road and is famed for being one of the best restaurants in Orkney. It truly is the best place to dine and taste the uniquely cultural cuisine Orkney has to offer, right in the center of Orkey’s capital, in Kirkwall.

Overlooking the sea across the historic Scapa Floor, it is the restaurant to enjoy fine Scottish dining while enjoying and relaxing away from the stressful hustle and bustle of the cities. The menu features classic Orcadian dishes of steak, haggis (savory pudding made from sheep’s liver, lungs and heart), drizzled over with delicious whiskey sauce made from the best Scottish whiskey and North Ronaldsay lamb that comes in four, delicious tender cuts.

Aside from the stunning views of the sea, this family-run restaurant offers special ‘dining rooms’ – eight comfortable en suite rooms where you can enjoy delicious local food served and prepared by the award-winning chef, Chef Paul Doull, and his team.

The ambiance of the place is a bit modern and trendy, straying away from the “old school” Norse vibes felt in the Ophir road. You are sure to enjoy the food that is being served, while enjoy the overall experience itself.

Admission Fee

Food items from the menu can run anywhere from 35 GBP to 80 GBP.

Best and Breakfast Rates
Single: 65 GBP per night
Double or twin: 125 GBP per night

Operation Hours

Dinner is available seven nights of the week from mid May to mid September. For the rest of the year, they are open; however, nights vary so it is best to contact them to check for the availability of the night you are planning to visit.

Check in times for their rooms are from 4:30 PM onwards every day.

They do not serve lunch while breakfast is only served for those staying in their rooms. The restaurant can get pretty booked heavily for a week ahead, however, last minute cancellations aren’t unheard of. Therefore, it is always best to always contact them to check for the availability of rooms/tables.

Contact Information

Address : A964, Kirkwall KW15 1SF, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1856 872389

Email: info@thefoveran.com

3. Stop Over the Highland Park Distillery

Highland Park Distillery
Highland Park Distillery

There is no trip to Kirkwall completed without a stopover to the Highland Park Distillery – one of the best and most iconic distilleries in Orkney. Despite being rebranded into a dodgy Viking trademark, it is a serious distillery that malts its own barley.

As stated in their website, the history of this distillery is rich and colorful as it is the distillery that it is today due to its unusual location and inhabitants of the islands who were Vikings from 1000 years ago. All of these factors have contributed to the present situation of the Highland Park Distillery today. Learn more about the history of this distillery by participating in one of their tours.

There are five ‘hero’ whiskeys – 10 year old, 12 year old, Valkyrie, Magnus and Dragon Legend. The standard 12 year old is soft, balanced malt and perfect for novices and aficionados alike, while the Dragon Legend is one of the world’s finest whiskeys to have ever been brewed.

Admission Fee

The entrance fee is 10 GBP per person, this is different from the fees to be paid for the specialized tours which can range anywhere from 20 GBP to 75 GBP, depending on the inclusions and specializations. Only 14 year olds and above are allowed to enter inside, while the drams are available only for those over 18 years old.

Operation Hours

April to October: Open every day and every hour from 10AM to 4PM

November to March: Open every Monday to Friday only for every hour from 10AM to 4PM

Contact Information

Address:  Highland Park Holm Rd, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, KW15 1SU

Phone: 01856 874619

Email: tours@highlandparkwhisky.com

4. Stroll through the Earl’s Palace

Earl’s Palace
Earl’s Palace

Known as the finest example of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland, the Earl’s Palace is now the ruins of what once was the fine building of architecture that it used to be. It is located near St. Magnus Cathedral, right in the heart of Kirkwall. It’s largely known to have been built by forced labor but that history is a vast contrast to the ruins being open to everyone today.

Described as having the air of elegant yet a massive structure, a stroll through the Earl’s Palace will give you a good idea of what it was like during the 1600s, as well as provide a glimpse of the dark history that surrounds the construction of this palace. Its owner, who built the palace through forced labor was Patrick, Earl of Orkney, who was beheaded for treason in Edinburgh, leading to the halt of the construction of the palace, leaving it to be unfinished forever.

The admission to the Earl’s Palace also includes admission for the nearby Bishop’s Palace, located opposite of St. Magnus Cathedral and now the ruined palace of the 12th century Bishop the Old. The tower of Bishop’s Palace provides a good view of the Cathedral and nearby sceneries.

Admission Fee

Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: 6 GBP
Concession: 4.80 GBP
Child aged 5-15: 3.80 GBP
Child under 5: FREE

Please take note that children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The concession price only applies if you show proof that you are 60 years and above or unemployed.

Operation Hours

From April 1 to September 30 – 9:30AM to 5:30PM
Last entry: 5PM

Closed from October 1 to March 31

The Palace may be closed for lunch time, and during extreme weather conditions that may lead to unsafe exploration.

Contact Information

Address Watergate, Kirkwall, KW15 1PD, UK

Phone +44 1856 871918

Enjoyed this article guide to Kirkwall? Pin it!


Like It? Pin It!

4 Best Things To Do In Kirkwall

15 Best Things to Do in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow – the most populous city in Scotland and the third in the whole of United Kingdom is a huge metropolis where state of the art architecture from both the past and present clash together to form a beautiful city amidst the 18th century.

As a travel hotspot, this metropolis is perfect for experiencing a beautiful mix of modern culture and technology, along with the iconic Scottish heritage and culture. This proves that there are several things to do in Glasgow, Scotland.

Let’s take a trip around Glasgow and discover what this city has to offer!

Best Things To Do in Glasgow

1.Glasgow Music Mile Tour

Glasgow Music Mile Tour  
Glasgow Music Mile Tour

Join a guided tour and walk along the miles of the city’s hotspots that center on the diver bars, flagship concert halls and the ghosts of the gigs that were long gone. Glasgow is the first city in the United Kingdom to be declared as UNESCO’s City of Music.

This is definitely perfect for those music lovers out there as this guide will take you around a rewind through the history and development of the music and musicians who originated in this metropolis.

Inclusions

This is a two-hour guided tour with an experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guide about the music industry of Glasgow. A refreshment stop in Nice ‘N’ Sleazy is also included in the tour.

Highlights

Starting from the Royal Concert Hall of King Tut, this guided tour will take you around the venues of music both in the past and the present. Listen to the legends of the late famed singer Apollo and check out the home of Celtic Connections.

Along with The Conservatoire and Glasgow School of Arts – which are both schools that played major roles in shaping the current music industry, listen to amazing stories of how your favorite songs were composed, along with taking down a trip to memory lane as you listen to these iconic songs produced in the very same spot where you will be standing.

Music of varying genres will be discussed, along with punk, rock, and urban hip-hop and so on and so forth.

Admission Fee

A fee of 17 GBP per person will be charged in order to join this guided tour.  You can . order your Glasgow Music Mile Tour ticket in advance to secure a slot.

Operation Hours

The tour runs for two hours and is available during the day.

2.Dine at Hard Rock Café

Description

Hard Rock Café was established in 1971 and provides an authentic experience that literally ‘rocks’. This Athanaeum Theatre is historic-inspired and filled with iconic memorabilia related to the rock music industry of Scotland in the 70s.

Feel the vibe, order one of their famous burgers off the venue as you revel on the rock bands that usually play in this café.

Inclusions

This includes a 75-minute trip, along with a two or three-course dinner with drinks included (soft drinks, coffee or tea), priority seating and an opportunity to skip the long lines!

Highlights

Skip the long lines by buying yourself a ticket from Get Your Guide and enjoy as you order a meal from their top-class menu and food offered while you explore the rock shop and memorabilia of hard rock music.

Tour  Price

For only 18.25 GBP, you can skip the lines and enjoy good food in this infamous hard rock café.

Operation Hours

This visit will last for duration of 75 minutes. Check their event calendars to see the various performances that will take place during your visit! The café’s usually open by 7PM.

Contact Information

Address: 179 Buchanan Street, G1 2JZ Glasgow, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 141 353 8790

Email: glasgow_social@hardrock.com

3.Celtic Park Stadium Tour

Celtic Park Stadium Tour 
Celtic Park Stadium Tour

Description

Celtic Park Stadium Tour is the largest football stadium in Scotland, with a staggering capacity of 60, 411! First formed in November of 1887, it is now the annual venue of Scotland Internationals and Cup Finals.

Immerse yourself on the vastness of this stadium and feel the passion for football running through the fields, the stands an even the dressing room, the tunnel, the dugout and more.

Inclusions

This will already cover your stadium tour entrance fee. An well conversant English speaking guide will be provided for you.

Highlights

Enjoy behind the scenes access to the Celtic Football Club. You will definitely seek this if you are a fan of the Celtic Football Club. Take a journey throughout the history of the club and gain access to others prohibited places to civilians such as the tunnels, dressing rooms and the boardroom.

Admission Fee

A fee of 12.50 GBP is charged per person. You can book  your ticket in advance in order to make sure that you won’t miss this opportunity. If you  fancy having a Celtic Tour and dinner afterwards, you can secure your ticket here.

Operation Hours

The tour lasts for a duration of 60 minutes and only takes place during the day.

Contact Information

Address: Glasgow G40 3RE, UK

Phone: +44 871 226 1888

Email: visitorexperience@celticfc.co.uk

4.Explore the

Ayrshire Coast
Ayrshire Coast

Ayrshire Coast is famed for being the birthplace of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. But it is also famous for being the home to the Culzean Castle, the castle overlooking the Firth of Clyde (mouth of River Clyde).

The Culzean Castle, completed in 1792 is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and has been opened to the public in 1972.

The Ayrshire Coast, in general, along with the Culzean Castle has been described and depicted in the poems written by Robert Burns.

Inclusions

This tour includes a deluxe bus transport throughout your whole travel, as well as a local guide who is well-trained and conversational.

 Highlights

Discover Scotland’s charming Ayrshire Coast overlooking the mouth of the River Clyde as well as explore the magnificent Culzean Castle and Gardens. You may even visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and learn more about Scotland’s national poet. A cliff walk on top of the ruined castle of Dunure and an option to visit and stand on the “Brig O’ Doon” are also included in the tour.

 Admission Fee

They charge 35 GBP per person to be included in the Ayshire Coast  tour.

 Operation Hours

The tour lasts for one whole day.

5. City Sightseeing on a Hop-On Bus

Hop-On Bus Glasgow

Lastly, to cap off this list, what is the purpose of going to Glasgow when you are not touring the city itself? The metropolis is the main attraction of the city and houses the impressive modern architecture and old buildings that remain as reminders from the 18th century.

To make it extra special, hop on a bus around the city to be avail to see the best views that are otherwise a mystery for those walking around the city.

Inclusions

A one-day or two-day hop on and hop off bus pass will be provided for you, as well as headphones to aid during your travel.

Highlights

Jump off and see the Gallery of Modern Art. Practice your faith by visiting these religious places: Glasgow Cathedral and St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. Visit the Glasgow markets: former fruit market Merchant Square and shop for bargain at Barras Market. Stroll around the People’s Palace and Winter Garden, and after that, enjoy afternoon tea at the Willow Tearooms.

For the science and technology geeks out there, go to the Glasgow Science Center and the IMAX Cinema at Pacific Quay.

Admission Fee

A fee of 16 GBP is charged per person for this hop-on bus trip.

Operating Hours

The ticket can either be for one day or two days.

Glasgow Whiskey Tours

Whiskey Distillery Tour in Glasgow

1.Glasgow Walking Tour With Beer Tasting

Participate on a tutored tasting of Scotland’s best and finest alcoholic drinks while discovering the beer that has shaped and continues to shape Scotland since 800 years ago.

This particular whiskey tasting tour starts at New Town and focuses on William Harley and the story of how he pioneered the brewing in Glasgow.

Inclusion

This is a fully guided tour with an expert guide as well as tutored tastings. Beer is also provided, however, if you wish to taste something different, they will charge for you for that.

Highlights

You will start off from the stunning Blythswood Square and discover how Harley, as a young laborer used his talents to venture into the world of business and gain fortune.

Along the way, you will stop at some beer bars in Glasgow for tutored tastings of Scotland’s award-winning beers and you will also be introduced to the raw ingredients needed for brewing these beverages.

Admission Fee

This whiskey tour costs 31.80 GBP per person.

Operating Hours

The tour lasts for duration of two hours and takes place during the day.

2.Single Malt Whiskey and Distillery Tour

This tour focuses on single malt whiskey: how it is made and the history that surrounds the development and rich story of this fascinating Scottish drink. Being the national drink of Scotland, a Scottish tour is not complete without single malt whiskey

You will also be taken to a single malt whiskey distillery and experience the drink in two different ways.

Inclusions

This tour will already include five premium malt whiskeys, a three-hour personal whiskey tour and walking tour in Glasgow, a complete walkthrough through the two best whiskey bars in Glasgow’s West End, as well as a complete tour of a brand new malt whiskey distillery – all of these, complete with an experienced and passionate guide.

Highlights

Visit a malt whiskey distillery as well as two of the best whiskey bars in Glasgow and accompanies by five premium whiskeys (one for each bar and three at the distillery), complete with a cultural story telling of the rich history of malt whiskey.

Admission Fee

This malt whiskey tour costs 55 GBP per person.

Operating Hours

The tour lasts for two and a half hours.

3.West-End Whiskey Walking Tour

 Description

This whiskey walking tour focuses on West End, a neighborhood in Glasgow compromised of smaller districts and is the home of distilleries, pubs and bars.

Sample a premium selection of the best whiskeys Scotland has to offer and learn how to taste and classify whiskey like you are a pro.

Inclusion

This walking tour will already include four premium malt whiskey tastings and an experienced English speaking guide who will take you on this three-hour walking tour journey on Glasgow’s West End.

Highlights

Try four premium malt whiskeys while you are immersing yourself in the lively bar life of West End, hearing fun stories about whiskey and some of the best whiskey bars there ever were.

These stories will often include a fusion of music, film, food, entertainment and whiskey as you enjoy the atmosphere unique to Glasgow’s cultural hub of West End.

Admission Fee

Admission fee costs 55 GBP per person to participate on this whiskey tasting walking tour.

Operating Hours

The whole tour will last for three hours.

4.Greenock Shore Excursion

Description

This is a day tour lasting for seven hours that includes a dram of whiskey in one of the most beautiful and picturesque distillery in Glasgow. This excursion is perfect to those who arrived in Glasgow via the port of Greenock.

The journey starts at Armadillo and Scottish Hydro for a photo stop, going to the works of art by famed architect Norman Foster through the riverbanks of River Clyde and to the distillery.

Inclusion

This excursion includes an international driver/guide, live commentary on board, port pickup and drop off and you will be divided into groups of two. It doesn’t include the entrance fee for the distillery which is 10 GBP.

Highlights

This is a Glasgow panoramic tour that mainly focuses on photo sessions to capture the works of art that are included in the stops. You may also enjoy Glasgow through shopping and eating out for lunch. You will also experience a tour to a single malt scotch whiskey distillery and sample the golden spirit.

Admission Fee

The Greenock excursion  tour costs 52 GBP per person, excluding the 10 GBP as entrance fee to the distillery.

Operation Hours

The day tour lasts for seven hours and will take place during the day.

5.Ultimate Whiskey Experience

Live your whiskey dreams in Glasgow through this ultimate whiskey experience. Partake on a full-day tour from Glasgow and visit two iconic distilleries: Deanston and Tullibardine. Other stops will include the Doune Castle and Loch Lamond before enjoying a relaxing stop in Doublane.

Inclusion

This ultimate whiskey experience will include live commentary from your guide but will not include meals and entry to the whiskey distilleries. Tullibardine charges 25 GBP for four whiskeys and chocolate tasting while Deaston Distillery charges 13 GBP for whiskey tastings.

Highlights

Some highlights of this ultimate whiskey trip are: an encounter with the Doune Castle, a tour of the Tullibardine Distillery and the Deanston’s as well as viewing the relaxing views of Dublane and seeing the Loch Lamond.

Admission Fee

This Whiskey Experience  day tour ticket  costs 28 GBP per person.

Operating Hours

The tour will last for a full day.

6. Glasgow Waking Tour with Beer

Description

If  Whiskey is not your poison then Glasgow also has good beers, taste some in this Glasgow Beer Walking tour

Highlights

Some of the highlights are hearing the rollercoaster story of the Development of Glasgow as well as exploring the new part of town, of course, with the help of visit through beer bars.

Admission Fee

You can avail of this Glasgow Walking tour with Beer for only 31,80 GBP per head. Remember to bring an ID

Operating Hours

The Tour will last for 2 hours

Things to do in Glasgow for Free

1.Take a walk along the city central mural

 Description

One of the most iconic and noticeable tourist spot in Glasgow City Centre is the huge arts plastered on the buildings. This is known as the City Centre Mural Trail that features art depicting all different kinds of things – from economic taxis to portraits of Glaswegian comedian Bill Connolly as a commemoration for his death in 2017 to more contemporary art depicting social issues.

Inclusions

By simply walking around the Glasgow City Centre, you are bound to see one of these huge colorful portraits that are marveled at by both local and international tourists.

Highlights

Some portraits are: Charing Cross Birds across the Charing Cross, The Swimmer under the Kingston Bridge, The Gallery – depicting famous paintings re-imagined into more controversial art (Mona Lisa holding a familiar softdrink, Van Gogh’s starry night and Munch’s Scream.

Some other portraits depict St. Enoch and Child, of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and so on and so forth.

Contact Info

Email: citycentrestategy@glasgow.com.uk

2.Visit the Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art, commonly abbreviated online as GoMA is Scotland’s most visit museum – for good reason – it is a grand royal neoclassical building located in the Royal Exchange Square.

The collection of the museum’s contemporary art is always changing with the emergence of new artistic pieces, so there is always something new to see, if ever it is not your first visit.

Highlights

The architecture of the building that holds the art collections itself is already a beauty to marvel at. Exhibitions change according to the holidays or events being celebrated. It is also an autism-friendly museum.

Operating Hours

Monday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Tuesday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Friday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Contact Information

Address: Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH

Phone: 0131 287 3050

Email: museums@glasgowlife.org.uk

3.Visit the Kellingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvin Grove Art Museum
Kelvin Grove Art Museum

The Kellingrove Art Gallery and Museum opened in 1901 and remains as a firm favorite of local visitors and international guests alike. It is home to collections of natural history exhibits with dinosaurs and other animals, objects from Ancient Egypt and other cultres and Scottish historical and archaeological treasures.

Highlights

There are 22 galleries in total that range from Ancient Egypt to Charles Rennie Mackintosh as well as animal exhibits. Organ recitals, free tours during weekends and holidays are schedules accordingly throughout the week – if you ever get lucky, snag one seat!

There is also a changing program for temporary exhibitions and displays so there is something new to see always.

Opening Hours

Monday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Tuesday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Friday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Contact Information

Address: Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG

Phone: 0141 276 9599

Email: museums@glasgowlife.com.uk

Things to Do in Glasgow with Families

1. Visit the Scottish Football Museum

Nothing entices kids more than sports, especially if your kid is a huge fan of football. The Scottish Football Museum in Glasgow is perfect if you are traveling with your kids and need a break from the entire city sightseeing.

This whole museum is dedicated for Scottish football alone as it has been proved time and time again that the Scotts were the ones who invented football.

Highlights

The museum is home to the world’s most impressive national collection of football related objects, memorabilia and paraphernalia. There is also the Hall of Fame in the museum which gives tribute to the best football players in Scottish history

Admission Fee

  1. Museum Admission:
    Adults £8.00
    Under 16/Concessionary Rate £3.00
    Children under 5 Free
  2. Stadium Tour:
    Adults £8.00
    Under 16/Concessionary Rate £3.50
    Children under 5 Free
  3. Stadium Tour & Museum:
    Adults £13.00
    Under 16/Concessionary Rate £5.00
    Children under 5 Free
  4. Family Ticket:
    (2 adults & 2 children)
    Stadium Tour & Museum £30.00
    Museum visit only £20.00
    Stadium Tour only £20.00

Opening Hours

Open Seven Days
Monday –Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 11am-5pm

Contact Information

Address: The Scottish Football Museum Hampden Park, Glasgow, G42 9BA
Phone: +44 (0)141 616 6139
Email: info@scottishfootballmuseum.org.uk

2.Stroll around the Pollok Country Park

Take the kids away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Glasgow though the Pollok Country Park, located in the heart of Glasgow but presents a relaxing paradise.

This country park is only around seven kilometers southwest of the city centre but it feels like you are somewhere in the Firth of Clyde or the mountains of Agryll.

Highlights

It has cultural attractions of the Burrell Collection and the Pollok House. The Burrell Collection houses the remarkable late shipping of magnate Sir William Burrell.

Admission Fee

For only 7.5 GBP, you can get inside the Pollok House Collections.

Opening Hours

It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact Information

Address: 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Glasgow, G42 1AT, UK
Phone: + 44 (0)141 287 5064

Enjoyed this Glasgow guide article? Pin it!

21 Best Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh – the capital city of Scotland described being the “magic land” where the past and present coexist harmoniously. From unicorns to castles dating back to the 15th century, Edinburgh offers a variety of activities for all kinds of travelers alike.

Let’s take a trip around the city and show you the best things to do in Edinburgh.

Activities To Do in Edinburgh

1. Go on an underground ghost tour

Edinburgh Underground Ghost Tour
Photo by Get Your Guide

Learn and be scared at the same time with this 75-minute day trip to Old Town, where a cloaked travel guide will take you underground. This one hour and 15 minute-trip will have you walking in the dark amongst the Edinburgh Vaults – a series of underground chambers that were created in the 18th century that holds a dark and eerie history in its full 300 years of terror.

Admission Fee

For only 17 EUR per person, you can enjoy this activity that lasts for 75-minutes. An English speaking guide will be provided for you.  You can book your Undeground Ghost Tour Ticket online to secure your slots.

Highlights

Your English speaking guide will be responsible for spooking you out and educating you as he recounts the story that makes these 300-year old chambers – including all the crime and gory details.

Prepare for the Activity

Prepare for the activity by dressing appropriately for the weather and wearing comfortable walking shoes with you. For health and safety reasons, children under the age of 5 are not allowed on any underground tours.

2. Visit the Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle Tour
Edinburgh Castle

Visit the Edinburgh Castle, the city’s most iconic monument and perhaps, most infamous tourist attraction, and learn about the crawling history of this castle – all the various wars and sieges fought, along with the royals who lived within its walls. Get the chance to see Scotland’s national treasure of the Crown Jewels and so much more.

Inclusions

For only 20 EUR, you can book a ticket here that is valid for one day and allows you to skip the line instantly. An English speaking guide is provided for free, on a first come first served basis.  If you want to ensure that you have a guided Edinburgh castle tour and skip the lines, you may choose to book this Edinburgh castle tour instead.

Highlights

Learn of the history of all the Scottish monarchs who had lived in this castle as it had served the royal family for hundreds of years. It is also home to the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. Grab the opportunity to hear out the one o’clock gun firing.

3. Participate on a Whiskey Distillery Tour

Whiskey Distillery Tour
Whiskey Distillery Tour

Go to a working whiskey distillery tour and be able to learn about the art that goes into creating whiskey – and while you are at it, get a taste sampling of the best whiskey there is – Scottish whiskey.

This one-day excursion trip will take you to whiskey paradise in Dewar’s and Deanston’s distillery and marvel at the spectacular views across Loch Lubnaig and Loch Leven.

Inclusion

For 45 EUR, enjoy this one-day excursion trip to one of the best whiskey distillery in Edinburgh. It lasts for around 10 hours and you can even experience a luxurious whiskey tasting as well. An English speaking guide will be provided for you, as well as booklets printed in various languages.  You may book your whiskey distillery experience here

Highlights

Enjoy a whiskey and chocolate tasting during your visit to Aberfeldy Distillery. Visit the Deanston Distillery for a whiskey sampling experience. Be able to visit the Doune Castle where the famous television series, Game of Thrones is filmed. You English speaking guides will be sure to keep you entertained by giving their live commentary during the whole trip.

4. Taste Scottish delicacies on a food tour

Scottish Food Tour
Scottish Food

Get your taste buds tingling by booking yourself a ticket to a three-hour food tour around Old Town in Edinburgh. Most food tours will include stops along with the different restaurants/food hubs of Edinburgh that will take you on a culinary history and culture crash course of the whole city.

Food Tour Prices

For 75 EUR, you can get a food tour in Edinburgh and be able to taste various cultural snacks unique to Edinburgh – including Haggis – a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, and various spices. Haggis is usually served with “neeps and tatties” (Swedes and potatoes). This is one of the favorite activities of tourists here so better book your ticket  for the Scottish delicacies food tour  to secure your slot

Highlights

Enjoy as you taste all the various unique flavors that makeup Scotland. And while you are at it, wash down the delicious food with malt whiskey and world-class Edinburgh Gin.

5. Experience magic through a Harry Potter Walking Tour

Bring out the inner wizards inside you by participating on a two-hour guided walking tour along with the city of Edinburgh, where, you can see the spots and various places that inspired J.K. Rowling in the creation of his famous book series.

Harry Potter Walking Tour Price

For only 15 EUR, you can book your Harry Potter Walking tour and experience the more magical side of Edinburgh by seeing the sites that inspired Harry Potter. Live guides who speak English, Spanish and German are available.

Highlights

Learn and see the real-life inspiration of Diagon Alley and the Quidditch. Discover where Lord Voldemort was buried and learn more about the history of Harry Potter and how it eventually became the infamous book series that it is known for today. Have the opportunity to see the real-life school that inspired the Hogwarts in the book series. As well as visiting the cafes where J.K. Rowling had written her best-selling books.

6.Feel like royalty in the Royal Yacht Britannia

Edinburgh Yacht
Royal Yacht Britannia

Shift your attention from the land of Edinburgh by visiting the seas o the city through a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s former royal floating residence.

Admission Fee

Explore the five decks of the ships through an audio guided tour from the States Apartments to the Crew’s Quarter for only 20 EUR. Gain fascinating insights about the private and public lives of the British Royal Family.

Highlights

Explore the five decks that keep the Royal Yacht Britannia for its 40 years of service. Be able to see the State Dining Room, where the Queen had formerly had her state affair meetings and learn more about her life, and all the people who were close to her in fascinating facts and stories.

Best Things To Do in Edinburgh For Free

7. Climb Up Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat
Arthur’s Seat

An extinct volcano, and considered to be the highest peak among the hills of Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat is a popular hiking spot for both local and international tourists alike.

Highlights

Once you get to the peak of Arthur’s Seat, speculated to be named after King Arthur and the location of the mythical legendary kingdom of Camelot, you will be met by a breathtaking 360-degree view of Edinburgh, the port town of Leith and the surrounding area.

The hike is fairly moderate in intensity and people with minimal physical activity can easily walk through this hike like breeze. There are various routes of varying difficulties if you are ever looking for a challenge. However, in general, even kids can get through the easiest and most direct route of the Dunsapie Loch.

8. Walk up Calton Hill and see the city views

Carlton HIll
Carlton HIll Ediburgh

Another hike that you can walk for free on the city of Edinburgh is Calton Hill, a hill home to the central Scottish government and is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights

The hike itself is pretty short, for only about 10 minutes, you can easily get to the top of the hill. It’s well worth the visit as it offers incredible views of the city of Edinburgh and you can clearly see the sun shining against the ancient monuments of the city.

It is also perfect for taking pictures, with the lighting, greeneries and beautiful views on top. Visiting during the sunrise and sunsets is also a good idea as you a perfect view of the sun from the peak of Calton Hill.

9. Learn about the history of the people of Edinburgh from the People Story Museum

People's Story Museum
People’s Story Museum

Aside from hiking, another activity that you can do in Edinburgh for free is to visit the People Story Museum, where you can learn about the history of the various people who lived in Edinburgh and how it led to the present day situation of the city.

Highlights

The museum especially gives a unique insight into the lives of the people belonging to the working class who lived in Edinburgh from the 18th century to the late 20th century. The museum displays tableaux, original objects, images and personal stories that reveal the fascinating history of the people who lived in Edinburgh.

Most of the collections showcased in the museum are of folktales that had originated from word of mouth and reflects the Friendly Society regalia which discusses the diversity there was in Edinburgh.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Contacts

Phone :+44 (0) 131 529 4057

Email: museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

10. Get cultured at the Edinburgh Museum

Edinburgh Museum
Edinburgh Museum

Located just a few blocks away from the People’s Story Museum, the Museum of Edinburgh is also another museum to visit to learn and be cultured about the history that makes this magical land.

Highlights

Located in the Royal Mile, which is a succession of historic streets of Edinburgh, the Museum of Edinburgh features a maze that contains 16th-century buildings and artifacts that tell the fascinating stories and gruesome tales that took place in this land some hundreds of years ago.

There is the National Covenant of 1938 which led to the civil war and the collar and bowl of Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye terrier whose devotion to his owner touched the hearts of many and inspired the themes of various novels and films. Houses that existed 400 years ago are also displayed in this museum.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Contacts

Phone + 44 (0) 131 529 4143

11.Learn more about Scotland in the National Museum of Scotland

Another museum that offers free admission in Edinburgh is the National Museum of Scotland, which displays all the diverse collections of Scotland through the wonders of art, design, fashion and science and technology.

However, if you want to visit the National Museum with a guide, you can also secure your ticket and guide here.

Highlights

While this museum does house and displays all the national treasures of Scotland that contributed to its history in the past, it also hosts regular exhibitions and events celebrating body diversity, racial differences and events to celebrate national holidays.

It also offers tours of its various galleries – like its Ancient Egypt one that displays the mummies imported from Egypt and the South East Asian gallery that showcases the statues found in the ruins of South East Asian countries.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Contacts

Phone: 0300 123 6789

12. Get inspired by writers at the Writers Museum

The fourth museum to be included in this list of free activities to enjoy while in Edinburgh is the Writers Museum – a museum made to present the lives of former Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and Robert Louise Stevenson. It is also located in the Royal Mile near the first two museums on this list.

Highlights

Home to portraits, rare books, personal objects, and even Robert Burns’ writing desk, the printing press on which Scott Waverly’s first novels were produced, and so much more rare and interesting artifacts of the books published in Scotland.

Awaken the writer inside of you, or if you already are, you are bound to find something interesting to inspire you and get you off of your current writer’s block.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Contacts

Phone: +44 (0) 131 529 4901

Email:  museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

13. Be at peace at the St. Giles Cathedral

Positioned at the Heart of Scotland’s capital city, St. Giles Cathedral is a church also known as High Kirk of Edinburgh. It is the principal place of worship in the city and is infamous for its beautiful architecture and solemnity during masses or times of worship.

Highlights

Discover the 900-year old building and explore this iconic building. The entrance fee is a suggested donation of 5 EUR and visitors are welcomed to explore on their own pace. There is also an option to take a guided tour if you wish.

There is also the Thistle Chapel, home to the Order of the Thistle, which is an order of Scottish rivalry. Climbing the tower of the cathedral is also a suggested activity as from up the tower, you will see the spectacular views that Edinburgh has to offer.

But of course, alas, attend a service to complete your cathedral visit.

Opening Hours

Summer Opening Hours (May – September)
Monday – Friday 09.00 – 19.00
Saturday 09.00 – 17.00
Sunday 13.00 – 17.00

Winter Opening Hours (October – April)
Monday – Saturday 09.00 – 17.00
Sunday 13.00-17.00

Gift Shop Opening Hours
Monday – Friday 10.00 – 18.30 (Summer) / 16.30 (Winter)
Saturday 10.00 – 16.30
Sunday 13.00 – 16.30

Contacts

Phone: +44 (0)131 225 4363
Email: sgcminister@gmail.com

Romantic Things to Do in Edinburgh

14. Canal Boat Cruise

Canal Boat Cruise
Canal Boat Cruise

Dine with your loved one as you float adrift of the Edinburgh Canal on a boat cruise. Eat a lovely candlelit dinner and feed each other cake as you enjoy the beautiful night view of the canal.

Inclusion

There are a lot of choices to choose from for your canal boat cruise. There are some that offer a lovely dinner, others offer tea and cake. Others have entertainment like live musicians. The duration usually lasts for two hours and most leave from the Fountain Bridge Canal Basin like the Lochrin Belle. Most cruises charge 25 EUR per person.

Highlights

Juniper Tasting Cruises is actually a cruise that presents gin tasting with a difference through a two-hour cruise on the Union Canal sampling premium Scottish Gins. There is also the Edinburgh Afternoon Tea Cruise that is offered in the Union Canal also if you and your partner prefer a cup of tea.

15.Attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Laugh your heart out with your soul mate as you attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that happens during August. With famous comedians to rising stars of Edinburgh, you are bound to be entertained during your visit.

Inclusion

If you are planning on visiting Edinburgh on August, attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a must. Book your tickets in advance and take advantage of the 2 for 1 ticket days. You may also view the free Fringe shows in between.

However, if your trip is not anywhere near August, you have the choice of attending the all year round Stand Comedy Club. Prices vary according to the stands but it’s generally around 3 EUR to 20 EUR.

16.Create ceramics with your loved one

There are quite a lot of establishments that offer a one-session ceramic making experience for two (perfect for the traveling twin flames out there). You can create a piece of pottery and paint it or cast a handprint and take it with you back home!

Inclusion

The Ceramic Experience in Leith offers a wonderful ceramic experience with their many years of expertise in creating keepsakes like imprints, out prints, and 3D casts.

Opening Hours

Open 7 days a week
Weekdays – 10 am – 5 pm
Weekends – 10 am – 5.30 pm
Late- Night Opening – for pre-booked parties and after-school clubs

Contacts

Phone: 07881 521153

Best Things to do in Edinburgh with Kids

17. See the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a definite must visit if you are traveling to Edinburgh with your kids. It is definitely a fun break as you would get to see six floors filled with optical illusions.

Inclusions

Located down the road of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions will definitely entertain your kids with optical illusions. See live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table via a periscope.

Opening Hours

April through June 9:30 am – 8:00 pm;

July 9:00 am – 10:00 pm;

August 9:00 am – 9:00 pm;

September – October 9:30 am – 8:00 pm;

November – March 9:30 am – 7:00 pm, closed Christmas

Admission Fee

Ticket Prices: Adult £16.00; Child (5 – 15 years) £12.00; Senior £14.00; Students £14.00. Book  your ticket here 

Contacts

Phone: 0131 226 3709

Email: info@camera-obscura.co.uk

18.  Play Stramash

Stramash is a popular Scottish game similar to the board game “Sorry”. It’s definitely a fun bonding experience with your kids and they are bound to enjoy it as a break from the city sightseeing.

Inclusions

Stramash can usually be played in a pub in Edinburgh. Pubs in Edinburgh allows you to bring kids with you during the night. Order some food and you can play this game with your kids!

19.Climb the Scott Monument

One of the highest peaks of Edinburgh, the Scott Monument is a good building to climb with your kids and enjoy the views on top.

Inclusions

For only 8 EUR for adults and 5 EUR for children, you can climb the 287 steps that make up this monument and witness the beautiful Edinburgh views once you get on top.

Opening Hours

October to April: 10 AM – 4 PM

May: 10 AM – 7 PM

June to August: 10 AM – 9 PM

September: 10 AM – 7 PM

Contacts

Phone: +44 (0) 131 529 4068

Email: museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

Unusual Things to Do in Edinburgh

20. Maison de Moggy

Definitely one of the more unusual things in Edinburgh is this cat café where you can cuddle up with cats and enjoy your cat lover dreams.

Inclusions

Cuddle up with the twelve cats raised by the owners of Maison de Moggy along with ordering some cat-themed food and crunchy munchies for the feline friends.

Opening Hours

10.30 am – 11.30 am
11.45 am – 12.45 pm
1.00 pm – 2.00 pm
2.00 pm-3.00 pm CLOSED
3 pm – 4 pm
4.15pm – 5.15pm
5.30pm – 6.30pm
7.00pm – 8 pm (Thursdays only)

Contacts

Phone: 0131 629 5530
Email: info@maisondemoggy.com

21. Surgeon’s Hall Museum

Definitely unusual, the Surgeon’s Hall Museum is a museum where you can learn about lesion ridden kidneys, and physically deformed appendages preserved in formaldehyde-filled jars. This is definitely not for the weak-minded and queasy!

Inclusions

See various deformities of organs preserved in jars along with organs taken over by diseases such as the ovaries and lungs. This is definitely not for the squeamish. There are also other three adjoined museums where you can learn about pathology and dentistry.

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM

Admission Fee

Adults – £7.50

Concessionary Rates – £4

Students with valid ID – £4

NHS staff with valid ID – £4

under 16’s and over 60’s – £4

Under 5s – Free

Contacts

Phone : +44 (0) 131 527 1711/1600

Email: museum@rcsed.ac.uk

Copyright © 2020 Scotland Travel Guides · Theme by 17th Avenue