48 Hours in Edinburgh, United Kingdom: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that offers a myriad of attractions for visitors to explore. Whether you have only 48 hours to spend or a longer stay, there are numerous cool things to do in this stunning city. From exploring its ancient history and majestic castles to immersing yourself in its renowned festivals and vibrant nightlife, Edinburgh has it all. Here are ten cool things you absolutely must do during your 48-hour adventure in Edinburgh.

1. Take in the panoramic views from Arthur’s Seat

One of the most spectacular natural landmarks in Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat. This ancient volcano, located in Holyrood Park, offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city. Hike up to its summit and be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Edinburgh’s skyline, the iconic Edinburgh Castle, and the expansive greenery below. Whether you choose to climb during the day or at sunrise, the experience is sure to leave you in awe of the city’s beauty.

2. Explore Edinburgh Castle

No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to its magnificent castle. Perched atop Castle Rock, this historic fortress dominates the city’s skyline and offers a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s turbulent past. Inside the castle, you can explore its various structures, including the Grand Hall, the Crown Jewels, and the Stone of Destiny. Don’t miss the chance to witness the iconic One O’Clock Gun firing, a tradition that has been maintained since 1861.

3. Wander through the charming streets of the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, a historic street that stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is a bustling hub of activity and a must-visit during your time in Edinburgh. This ancient thoroughfare is lined with stunning architecture, quaint shops, and cozy pubs. Take your time to explore the hidden closes (alleyways) that wind off the main street, unveiling hidden gems and fascinating history around every corner.

4. Immerse yourself in history at the National Museum of Scotland

For history buffs and those curious about Scotland’s rich heritage, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland is an absolute must. With a vast collection that spans over several floors, the museum offers an insightful journey through Scotland’s past, encompassing everything from ancient artifacts to interactive exhibits on the country’s contribution to science, innovation, and culture. Best of all, admission is free, making it a cool and affordable educational experience.

5. Marvel at the grandeur of the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Steeped in history, this majestic palace is a fascinating place to explore. Discover the beautifully adorned State Apartments, stroll through the tranquil Palace gardens, and learn about the intriguing stories of royalty who once resided here. Keep an eye out for the remnants of the 16th-century Holyrood Abbey adjacent to the palace, a hauntingly beautiful ruin.

6. Soak up the atmosphere on the vibrant Grassmarket

The Grassmarket, nestled at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, is a lively and colorful square bustling with bars, restaurants, and unique shops. Once a site of public executions, it has transformed into a vibrant meeting place where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy lively street performances, indulge in delicious food and drink, and soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

7. Discover the spooky secrets of the Edinburgh Vaults

For those seeking a spine-tingling experience, a tour of the Edinburgh Vaults is an absolute must-do. These underground chambers, located beneath the city’s South Bridge, were once used as storage space but fell into disuse and were eventually forgotten. Rediscovered in the 1980s, they now offer an eerie glimpse into Edinburgh’s murky past. Join a guided tour to hear tales of ghostly apparitions, unsolved mysteries, and the chilling history that lies within these hidden chambers.

8. Experience the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If your visit to Edinburgh aligns with the month of August, you’re in for a treat. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, takes over the city with a vibrant mix of theater, comedy, music, and dance performances. From renowned artists to up-and-coming talents, the festival offers an incredible array of shows to suit all tastes. Embrace the festival’s lively atmosphere, explore the countless venues, and witness the creativity that flows through the streets during this extraordinary event.

9. Indulge in traditional Scottish cuisine

No trip to Scotland is complete without sampling some of its traditional dishes. Edinburgh is teeming with excellent restaurants and charming cafes where you can savor local delicacies such as haggis, neeps, and tatties, hearty stews, or indulgent afternoon teas. Be sure to visit the bustling Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, where you can taste and purchase a wide range of fresh, locally sourced produce, giving you a true taste of Scotland.

10. End your visit with a hauntingly enchanting ghost tour

As night falls over Edinburgh, embark on a spine-chilling ghost tour to uncover the city’s macabre and supernatural tales. Edinburgh is renowned for its haunted history, and these tours offer a thrilling experience as you wander through its dark alleyways and hidden corners. Whether you choose a guided walking tour or venture into the subterranean depths of the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults, prepare to be entranced and captivated by the haunting stories of this captivating city.

Edinburgh encapsulates the essence of Scotland, blending history, natural beauty, and a vibrant cultural scene. With only 48 hours to spare, immerse yourself in ancient castles, climb majestic peaks, indulge in traditional Scottish fare, and explore the city’s atmospheric streets. As you soak up the rich heritage and unique experiences, Edinburgh will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your heart.

Sources:
– Arthur’s Seat: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/holyrood-park-and-arthurs-seat/
– Edinburgh Castle: https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/
– Royal Mile: https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/the-royal-mile-p914901
– National Museum of Scotland: https://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/
– Palace of Holyroodhouse: https://www.rct.uk/visit/palace-of-holyroodhouse
– The Grassmarket: https://www.edinburgh.org/see-do/neighbourhoods/the-grassmarket/
– Edinburgh Vaults: https://www.mercattours.com/
– Edinburgh Festival Fringe: https://www.edfringe.com/
– Edinburgh Farmers’ Market: https://www.edinburghfarmersmarket.co.uk/
– Ghost Tours: https://www.getyourguide.com/edinburgh-l44/ghosts-vampires-tc21/