24 Hours in Edinburgh

Heading to Edinburgh but you’ve only got 24 hours to spare? We spent a day there and have put together the ultimate action packed itinerary for planning your day in Scotland’s capital!

08:00 – Breakfast at Em’s Kitchen

Head to Em’s Kitchen in the Old Town for a Full Scottish breakfast, much needed fuel for a long day ahead. This pretty cafe has wonderful decor, and the staff are equally as impressive as the breakfast. Em’s Kitchen is a small café with a great atmosphere.

08:30 – Summit Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is in close proximity to Em’s Kitchen. It is an ancient volcano, and a famous hill walk in the heart of Edinburgh. The trig point is 251 metres high on a relatively easy ascent, with stunning views from start to finish. The views just keep getting better and better as the walk goes on, and at the top of Arthur’s Seat you will be rewarded with splendid 360° views of everything Edinburgh has to offer. Wear sturdy shoes for the walk up to Arthur’s Seat, as the rocky terrain can be very uneven and slippy in places.

10:30 – Walk the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile runs through Edinburgh’s Old Town, from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse which ideally is located near the walk from Arthur’s Seat. Take your time walking the Royal Mile, taking in some of the shops and the St Giles Cathedral as you make your way to the Castle.

11:00 – Visit Edinburgh Castle

The advantage of visiting the Castle at this time is that you will get to experience the one o’clock gun, a tradition that dates back to 1861. A 105mm field gun is fired from the Castle’s Grounds to a sizeable audience. Before you take the time to witness the firing of the gun, be sure to admire the views of Edinburgh from the castle. You should also take a walk around the castle to admire some of the castles many attractions including Scotland’s Crown Jewels, St Margaret’s Chapel and the National War Museum to name a few. The castle costs £21 to enter – very cost effective for how much you get to see.

13:30 – Lunch in The Elephant House

This lovely café has a collection of 600 elephants dotted around inside, however, it’s not the elephants that made this café famous. The reason you may have heard of this café is due to JK Rowling. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books in the back room of this café, overlooking Edinburgh Castle for inspiration. The café is in a great location not too far away from the Castle, and the lunch menu is fabulous. Treat yourself to a coffee after lunch as your day in Edinburgh has only just begun!

14:30 – National Museum of Scotland

Located just a one minute walk away from The Elephant House is the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is huge and has something for everyone. Exhibits relating to Scottish antiquities, culture and history can be seen at the museum, as well as collections that cover science and technology, natural history, and world cultures. An hour and a half is not enough time to fully take in everything in the museum, but it’s a good amount of time to gain some knowledge before moving on. You’ve only got a spare 24 hours in Edinburgh after all!

16:00 – Princes Street Gardens

An urban park in the heart of Edinburgh, the gardens separate the Old Town and the New Town. The Gardens feature several floral displays and a series of statues relating to Edinburgh’s past. The Princes Street Gardens are a beautiful place to visit in all times of year, but especially in the winter when the area is made into a Winter Wonderland. Don’t forget your camera!

16:30 – Scott Monument

From the Gardens, take a walk to the nearby Scott Monument. Named after Walter Scott, a famous Scottish writer, the Scott Monument is another architectural attraction in Edinburgh. For £8 you can walk the 287 steps to the top of the monument – another way to get a beautiful view of Edinburgh.

18:00 – Dinner at the Dome

After a quick freshen up, head to the Dome for your evening meal. Edinburgh is a foodie’s heaven with all the possible options available for your evening meal, but in our opinion you can’t beat the Dome. Visit the Grill Room when you go to the Dome. The Georgian architecture makes for a restaurant full of character.

20:30 The SCOTCH Whisky Bar

Round off your busy day with a wee dram in the SCOTCH Whisky Bar, you are in Edinburgh after all! The bar is in close proximity to the Dome and has a huge collection of whisky’s ready for you to sample in one of Scotland’s finest cities.

Need somewhere to stay after your busy 24 hours in Edinburgh? The Novotel is a cost effective hotel in a fantastic location. Get yourself booked into the Novotel by clicking here. Don’t forget your swimming costume as the hotel boasts a superb swimming pool.

After our day in Edinburgh we took a Scottish road trip and completed the NC500. Read our ultimate guide for a completing the NC500 in a Week, or if you’d rather read about our trip on a day by day basis, see what we got up to on Day 1 on the NC500. Or if you’re planning on visiting Glasgow when you visit Scotland, find out how to spend 24 hours in Glasgow!

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