My To-Do List for a Day in Edinburgh

While I was in the United Kingdom, I stayed 5 days in Edinburgh. It was my first visit in this city frozen in the 17th century, and it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed my time and I couldn’t help myself but being in awe by the forever lasting architecture. Everything there had me taking out my camera every step I made.

So I decided to condense my days into one for those of you who would like to have a glimpse of Edinburgh or if you’re on a long layover. If you’re looking for a way to start your Scotland’s roadtrip, Edinburgh is perfect for an introduction to this amazing country.

Travelling on a budget being my jam means that all activities listed below are free.

Well, here is my to-do list for one day spent in Edinburgh.


Good Morning

Start your day at Edinburgh’s Castle. Not to visit it, but to get a gorgeous view of the city from above. It is situated at the top of the famous Royal Mile. The castle was once used as both a royal and a military place. Every day, except on Sundays, you can still hear the One O’Clock Gun at, well, 13:00.

Head down the Royal Mile to The Writer’s Museum. That is if you’re into literature of course. Here you can learn a little bit more about the lives of well known Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.


Touch the nose of Greyfriars Bobby if you’re tall enough – I am not. The l says that when his master died, Bobby came to his grave every day until his own death. Apparently, he would stay until the canon fire of the castle at 13:00 when he would leave to have his lunch.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, pay a visit to Tom Riddle’s grave at Greyfriars Kirkyard. J. K. Rowling said that this cemetery was an inspiration for a few names including Tom Riddle’s and McGonagall’s.


The National Museum of Scotland is next on my list. One hour can easily be spent here, wondering in the history, the antiquities and the customs of Scotland.


In Afternoon

Have your lunch at The Elephant House where J. K. Rowling has spent many hours in her writing process.


Return on the Royal Mile to have a look at St Giles’ Cathedral which dates from the 14th century. Also know as the “High Kirk of Edinburgh”, the cathedral is today consider as the “Mother Church of Presbyterianism”.

Now you can either lose yourself into toys you played with in your youth at the Museum of Chilhood or learn a little bit more about Edinburgh at the Museum of Edinburgh. Both are really interesting. Depending on what you’re planning to do next, you might have time to visit both of them as they take about 30 minutes each to explore.


In Evening

Bring yourself a lunch so you can eat while watching the sun setting down on Edinburgh. Here you have two options depending on your time left in the city.

If you’re not into hiking or if you want something that won’t take too long or if this is a rainy day, you might want to opt for Calton Hill. If you’re looking for the perfect postcard picture, well you’ve come to the right place too.

If hiking is your thing, if you’re wearing a good pair of shoes and if you still have two hours in front of you, climbing Arthur’s seat is a must. At the top, you have a stunning view of Edinburgh. There are multiple paths to follow to find your way at the peak, I suggest starting near the Holyrood Palace: this is the longest route. From up there, you have an amazing view of the Royal Mile that you walked down, the Castle of Edinburgh, Calton Hill and of the neighbourhoods surrounding the center of the city. In the far back, you may have a stint of the Highlands.


So that is a cheap way to enjoy what I consider being the must-do-and-see of Edinburgh in one day. Of course, taking hundreds of photos of the alleys and of the impressive architecture while gaping was too obvious to be written in this post as a to-do because you’ll evidently find yourself doing it soon enough.


Are there any other must that I missed? What would be your perfect day in Edinburgh?


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