Edinburgh has a wide variety of attractions and activities to take part in. In fact, our city has such a diverse range of things to see and do that it's safe to say that there is truely something for everybody in Edinburgh. The only problem you may face is not having enough time to visit all the attractions in the city if you're visit to Edinburgh is a short one!
If time is an issue for you we'd like to help. Below we've listed a few of our favourite attractions and activities based on our local knowledge of Edinburgh and recommendations from the EdinburghRentalCar.co.uk team.
Here's some of the most popular attractions and activities in Edinburgh:
The Botanical Gardens
A visit to Edinburgh would not be complete without checking out the Botanical Gardens. Placed just outside the City Centre, The Edinburgh Botanical Garden is the second oldest botanical garden in the UK. It was founded in 1670 as a garden for medicinal plants, but throughout the following years more and more species of plants were added. Now it houses no less than 15,000 species of plants, which adds up to approximately 5% of all known plants. The number of plants is estimated to be 35,000, meaning that you have a lot of things to see. Just make sure you have enough spare time during your trip to Edinburgh.
National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland was founded in 2006 as a result of joining together two of the most popular museums in Edinburgh: the Royal Museum and the Scottish Museum. More than £47million was invested in the museum's restoration, which was officially opened in July 2011. The museum houses a number of impressive exhibits: ancient Egyptian expositions, a large number of artifacts, many archaeological discoveries and many local antiques. The best part about the museum though is that you don't have to pay to enter; access is free for everyone.
Calton Hill is a great place to admire the beauty of the entire city. Placed in the City Centre, the hill offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. On the Southern side of the hill is the Scottish Government Headquarters. Also, on the hill you can find an impressive number of historical monuments such as the Political Martyrs monument, the Robert Burns monument, the Old Royal High School and the City Observatory. All the structures on the hill are built following a gothic or a neoclassic style. If you have enough time, you should definitely pay a visit to this hill that is full of history.
The Nelson Monument
The Nelson Monument is placed on the top of Calton Hill. It is a commemorative tower raised in the honor of the vice-admiral Horatio Nelson. The monument was built on the highest point of the hill, at 171 metres (561 feet). Work began on the monument in 1807 and it was finished the following year. But in 2009 the tower was completely reconditioned due to some structural issues; Edinburgh Council thought that the tower is no longer safe for visitors. Today the monument houses a public art gallery and if you're there at one o' clock you'll get the see the ball on the top of the monument drop.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Whether you're an art enthusiast or not, you should definitely visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It can be found on Queen Street, and it is easy to recognize because it was built in red grit stone. The Gallery is home to some of the most important Scottish masterpieces created by a few of the countries most successful artists like Thomas Gainsborough, Allan Ramsay and Sir Henry Raeburn. Something that is also worthy of a closer look is the William Hole exhibit. These pieces impersonate the Scottish people in the 19th century.