Sample Itinery – 24 Hours In Edinburgh

Found yourself with a day in Edinburgh and curious how to spend it? Well, don’t despair. The Scottish capital is one of few cities where you can spend the entire day on one street, yes one street, still see the majority of the sights and thoroughly enjoy yourself.

247_castle_+_fireworks_pf1The street you’ll be walking down is the Royal Mile; named so for the “mile” or so that it connects between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, as well as the Scottish Parliament.

Start your day at the top of the city in the castle. The grounds are well preserved and extensive; be sure to admire the views, they are some of the city’s best, even on a cloudy day. This is also a great place to view Princes Street gardens, which was formerly a loch separating the old town from the new town.

Heading down the sloping cobblestone street, you will note the Camera Obscura just outside the castle grounds. A great stop for children, this attraction is full of optical illusions and fun, colourful displays. Down a couple of blocks and the tourist shops start, which sell kilts, shortbread, whisky and other must-have souvenirs from Scotland.

It is now also a good point to mention that the Royal Mile has several great pubs, such as Deacon Brodies Tavern on your left (with a restaurant upstairs). Check out the Edinburgh pub guide and Edinburgh restaurant guide on this site.

Passing George IX Bridge, you will see a very ornate church on the right – this is Saint Giles, home to the Thistle Chapel, a small wooden chapel in the corner of the church, nearly unchanged since it was finished in 1911.

Be sure to note the wonderful stained glass windows in the outer church before heading directly across the street for the Royal Mile’s famed underground attraction: Mary King’s Close. This now-subterranean lane was closed off during the time of the plague; its preserved state is the perfect view of life in medieval Edinburgh.

Back on street level, more pubs, shops and cafes can be found as the Royal Mile crosses the “Bridges” and continues a downhill decline. If you have time, stop into the Scottish Storytelling Centre where this antique art is still practiced.

Another interesting pub further along is the Tolbooth Tavern, which is formerly the tollbooth between Edinburgh and the city of Canongate, now part of Edinburgh itself.  The Royal Mile ends in a picturesque spot below Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in Edinburgh. Here you can find both the Scottish Parliament – open for tours – and Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

With several pubs and restaurants, shops and attractions, there is no better place to spend a day soaking up Edinburgh’s cultural ambience than on the Royal Mile.


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