Backpacking in Scotland: Top 10 Sights in Edinburgh

Backpacking in Scotland - exploring Edinburgh, the capital city.

Backpacking in Scotland – exploring Edinburgh, the capital city.

I had been to Scotland around 20 times in my life – but mostly to Glasgow, Irvine or Stranraer. Growing up in Northern Ireland made that an easy option as a child and teenager. However i had never once been to Edinburgh until I turned 34.

A great view of Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city.

A great view of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.

After checking into the cool boutique hostel The Baxter, I decided to hit up the top 10 things to see and do in the city, in my opinion, so here they are.

1. Scottish Parliament
Back in the late 1990s Scotland finally got their own parliament and while the 2014 referendum was a chance for Scots to get complete freedom, most of the country are happy with the own parliament, banknotes, country and legislation.

Inside the Scottish Parliament.

Inside the Scottish Parliament.

You can go inside the Scottish Parliament for free, get a tour, meet MPs etc. It’s a fantastic building and given the recent referendum vote on independence, there’s a lot of history already in this place!

Welcome to the Scottish Parliament.

Welcome to the Scottish Parliament.

2. Edinburgh Museum
This is a free museum with a load of cool relics and memorabilia down the years on everything related to the city itself. Edinburgh Museum makes an easy stop off museum on route to the Parliament while walking the Royal Mile.

The Edinburgh Museum.

The Edinburgh Museum.

3. The People’s Museum
Opposite the Edinburgh Museum is the People’s Museum. Again this is a cool and quirky look at the people of Edinburgh down the generations. Even better it’s free entry!

The People's Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The People’s Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland.

4. National Gallery
This Art Gallery is also free and it has a massive range of modern and old school art. You can’t take photos inside. It’s a fantastic building in central Edinburgh.

The National Gallery.

The National Gallery.

5. Edinburgh Castle
This is a masterpiece and needs no introduction – tourists all over the world flock here to explore the famous Edinburgh Castle. Inside there are tons of different parts – museums, displays, memorials etc. I spent about 2 hours inside. Great views of the city too.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

Touring the famous Edinburgh Castle.

Touring the famous Edinburgh Castle.

6. Easter Road Stadium
Easter Road is the home of Hibernian FC – Hibs. They are one of the biggest two clubs in the city and their green and white Easter Road stadium is worth a trip. I watched Hibs beat Alloa Athletic 2-0.

Watching Hibs.

Watching Hibs.

Hibernian 2-0 Alloa.

Hibernian 2-0 Alloa.

7. Tynecastle Stadium
It only felt right for me to visit both of the big football clubs in the city. While I went to watch Hibernian, I also went to visit Tynecastle Stadium, home of their city rivals, Heart of Midlothian, most commonly known as Hearts.

Tynecastle Stadium, home of Hearts.

Tynecastle Stadium, home of Hearts.

As a secret bonus – head to the Dicken’s Pub and ask for Callum – he will take you to a secret Hearts Museum for a full tour.

Tour of the Secret Hearts Museum with Callum.

Tour of the Secret Hearts Museum with Callum.

8. Royal Mile
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a hive of activity. From the many diverse bars, cafes and restaurants to the bagpipers, the Scottish shops and the Churches. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy this famous street.

Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

9. Haggis, Tatties and Neeps
No visit to Edinburgh should be complete without trying the national dish of Scotland – haggis. Personally I loved it!! It’s become one of my favourite meals now. Ask for Haggis, Tatties and Neeps with a whiskey cream sauce and you can’t go wrong. I first tried Haggis in the Black Rose Tavern.

Food of Scotland - Haggis, Tatties and Neeps!

Food of Scotland – Haggis, Tatties and Neeps!

10. Scottish Music
You’ll hear bagpipes wherever you go, it’s one of my favourite types of music.

Scottish Bagpipes.

Scottish Bagpipes.

Edinburgh is well connected by train to other parts of Scotland and England and by air to many international destinations – for places to stay you can find the exact details on Venere . After my stint in Edinburgh, I headed south back into England again but I hope to have some more articles on Scotland to come!

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About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Edinburgh, Europe, Lists, My Top 5s, Scotland. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Backpacking in Scotland: Top 10 Sights in Edinburgh

  1. Pingback: Friday's Featured Food: Haggis, Tatties and Neeps in Edinburgh, Scotland

  2. Pingback: Staying in The Baxter, A Cool Boutique Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland - Don't Stop Living

  3. Paul says:

    Great list Jonny, I like you have been to Scotland a few times but never visited the capital. I didn’t even know about the two football clubs there!!

  4. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Paul, Yes I was so surprised when I started looking at countries I have been to and missed the capital (Canada, USA, Belgium, Italy, Iraq, Brazil…the list goes on) so pretty glad to finally see Edinburgh, There are about 4 teams in Edinburgh – these two have the biggest stadiums and are in the second tier (Championship). Currently Edinburgh has ZERO teams in the top flight – which is surely a rarity for any European Country (Cardiff local teams are in top division in Wales and Belfast has 4 teams in the top Northern Irish division). Safe travels, Jonny

  5. Pingback: Backpacking in England: Exploring the City of Sunderland

  6. Pingback: Friday's Featured Food: Deep Fried Mars Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland - Don't Stop Living

  7. Pingback: My Top 5 Photographs from Edinburgh, Scotland - Don't Stop Living

  8. Pingback: Kissing the Blarney Stone in County Cork, Republic of Ireland - Don't Stop Living

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