If you’re looking for an exciting weekend break, Edinburgh is one of the best cities in Europe for a short getaway. The Scottish capital is a hotbed of culture, history, and natural beauty, serving up a perfect blend for a memorable UK city break.
In this Edinburgh weekend guide, we’ll look at some of the best ways to spend a couple of days in the city. These are the best things to do in Edinburgh on a Saturday and Sunday, whatever time of year you visit.
Edinburgh’s iconic castle dominates the skyline, an imposing testament to the city’s rich history. Alongside stunning views from its vantage point on Castle Rock, there are fascinating exhibitions inside to take you through the castle’s heritage.
Visitors can see the oldest crown jewels in Britain, as well as the impressive Stone of Scone - also known as the Stone of Destiny. See the Royal Palace and the Great Hall, and cover your ears for the firing of the One O’Clock Gun!
Choosing a castle-view hotel in Edinburgh
If you’re looking for hotels near Edinburgh Castle, why not book one with a view of the mighty monument?
Some of the rooms in our Novotel Edinburgh Centre offer just that! The hotel is less than half a mile’s walk from the castle, making it an excellent base for any trip to Edinburgh.
If you want to get even higher than the castle, don’t miss the spectacular Arthur’s Seat. This extinct volcano rises 250 metres above Edinburgh’s streets!
To experience the landmark on-foot, begin at Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Edinburgh, and can set off on the famous circular walk. It’s also possible to drive up towards the summit and make a much shorter climb to the top, so there’s no reason to miss out! Once at the peak, the views back down over the city are truly breathtaking.
Ghost tours are hugely popular in Edinburgh. Whether you plunge into Blair Street Underground Vaults or hop aboard The Ghost Bus, don’t miss this memorable experience during your weekend break.
For a shopping experience with a difference, head to Edinburgh’s Princes Street, where you can dip in and out of favourite high-street and designer shops in the shadow of the iconic castle.
Depending on when you visit, you might be able to catch a seasonal market at Princes Street Gardens. Or check out the nearby Castle Terrace for the farmers’ market every Saturday between 9am and 2pm.
One of Edinburgh’s most significant cultural draws is the Fringe Festival, the world’s largest annual arts festival. It takes place in August and brings with tens of thousands of performers to the city. From theatre to dance, comedy, children’s shows, music and spoken word, the Fringe Festival is for everyone.
Suppose you’re planning to visit Edinburgh in August. In that case, it’s something you should be aware of, whether you want to get involved in the festival or avoid the crowds.
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is hard to miss, thanks to its central location and prominence in the city. Visit this succession of streets and wander in and out of shops and cafes. The Royal Mile stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace and is so-called because of its length. You guessed it, it’s one mile!
It’s a cultural playground, with lots of exciting things to see and do along the way. Stop off at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, or the Scotch Whisky Experience for a short visit you’ll always remember.