Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland with 24 hours

Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland with 24 hours

This article first appeared on Skyscanner’s Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland with 24 hours

We know that feeling of being short on time and lost on where to start, so we've scoped out the ultimate things to do and see in Edinburgh if you've only got 24 hours.

From historical museums to amazing views, to foodie haunts and exciting nightlife, let Skyscanner show you the best the capital of Scotland has to offer, even if you only have a day to spare.


1. Start the day right in Edinburgh

1a. Calton Hill

We can't think of a better way to get acquainted with Edinburgh than with a climb up Calton Hill to soak in some of the best views of the city. On one side of the hill, feast your eyes on New Town, and on the other, enjoy enchanting panoramas of medieval Old Town and a spectacular view of Arthur's Seat, a park that used to be a volcano. Be prepared to fall in love with this gorgeous city!

The sweeping view from the top of Calton Hill. Photo credit: Thinkstock

On your way down, do check out the Omni Centre. If you're too early to catch a screening, stop by anyway and say a friendly hello to the giraffes that live outside the venue.

Omni Centre Address: Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 524 7770 Opening Hours: 6AM - 1AM

Prices: SGD 19 (£9.29) for Adults, SGD 16 (£7.99) for Students and SGD 14 (£7.29) for Senior Citizens

Visit their website here

Time for some breakfast, you reckon? Head on over to an Edinburgh institution, the luxurious Balmoral Hotel which has been around since 1902. Tuck into a full Scottish breakfast at their bar, which will provide you with all the energy you need to explore this beautiful city.

Balmoral Hotel Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 556 2414

Prices: Rooms start at SGD 390 (£195) a night

Visit their website here

Pamper yourself with a full breakfast at the Balmoral Hotel; maybe even stay the night? Image credit: Jeremy Keith/Flickr

1b. National Museum of Scotland

After descending Calton Hill, make your way to the Royal Mile and Old Town. Whether you're a history buff or not, the National Museum of Scotland will fascinate you with its interactive displays on a large variety of subjects, from Dolly the sheep to ancient Roman ruins to Sir Jackie Stewart's F1 car.

We especially love the beautiful Victorian atrium located in the oldest part of the museum. With so much to see and do, you're in danger of spending the whole day there, as the museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily. The best part? It's 100 per cent free!

Address: Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 300 123 6789

Opening Hours: 10AM - 5PM

Prices: Admission is free

Visit their website here

Marvel at the impressive halls in the National Museum of Scotland. Image Credit: Wikimedia

1c. Edinburgh Old Town

After that encounter with Scotland's fascinating past and present, immerse yourself further in its heritage with a stroll through Old Town. Dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Mile is a very long street (which is, in fact, longer than a mile) that spans from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood place. Take your time and marvel at the quaint medieval buildings along the route.

Take in a view of Old Town. Image credit: Vanessa/Flickr

1d. Summerhall

If you're enthusiastic about art, or simply don't want to mix with the crowds of Royal Mile, we recommend you check out Summerhall. Previously the Royal School of Veterinary Science, it has since been transformed into a creative hub comprising of studio and workshop spaces, art exhibitions, as well as a nice, relaxing cafe and bar with its very own micro-brewery called Barney's Beer. Go ahead, have a pint!

Address: Summerhall Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1PL, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 560 1580

Opening Hours: 11AM - 6PM

Prices: Ticket prices vary

Visit their website here

Hang out with quirky art installations outside Summerhall. Image credit: Magnus Hagdorn/Flickr

1e. Old Western Set

This may come as a surprise, but you can find a little bit of the old Wild West in Edinburgh! Hidden in the trendy neighbourhood of Morningside, the Old Western Set was built in the mid-90's for a furniture business that specialised in the Southwestern style. It has since been abandoned, and dilapidated or not, still retains its charm. It's not on your typical tourist trail, that's for sure!

Address: Springvalley Gardens, Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland

Strike a pose with the Wild West set in Edinburgh's trendy neighbourhood, Morningside. Image credit: Edinburgh Spotlight

1f. Maison de Moggy, Cat Cafe

Feline fans will love this adorable little cat cafe near Grassmarket. Sip a warm cuppa as you enjoy the company of the teahouse's 10 furry residents. We recommend that you book a spot before heading down, as only a limited amount of customers are allowed in the cafe at the same time, to make sure the cats don't get stressed out.

Address: 17 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2JA, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 629 5530

Opening Hours: Daily, 10:45AM - 6:30PM

Prices: A one-hour booking is SGD 14 (£7), a pot of tea starts at SGD 4 (£2)

Visit their website here

Make a furry friend at Maison de Moggy. Image credit: Maison de Moggy

2. Afternoon delights and discoveries in Edinburgh

2a. Indulge in a lovely lunchtime in Edinburgh

If by now you're hankering for your mid-day grub, head on down to the trendy Timberyard. Housed in an authentic brick warehouse with a charming south facing yard, the establishment is committed to only using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. For the gastronomically adventurous, try their scrumptious eight-course tasting menu (SGD 140 (£70) a head, SGD 240 (£120) with paired wines), but if you prefer to keep it simple, we reckon any of their dishes would delight your taste buds.

Timberyard Address: 10 Lady Lawson St, Edinburgh, Midlothain EH3 9DS, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 221 1222

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12PM - 2PM, 5:30PM - 9:30PM

Prices: Mains start at SGD 28++ (£14)

Visit their website here

Grab a bite at the trendy Timberyard bar and restaurant. Image credit: Timberyard

Nestled in the shadow of Calton Hill, The Gardener's Cottage is another lovely spot for your mid-afternoon meal. Chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray are maestros in the kitchen, serving up the most excellent fare made strictly with the best local and seasonal produce. Looking at their menu, you will definitely be spoilt for choice!

The Gardener's Cottage Address: The Gardeners Cottage, 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5DX, UK

Phone: +44 131 558 1221

Opening Hours: 12PM - 2:30PM, 5PM - 10PM. Closed on Tuesdays.

Prices: Mains start at SGD 52++ (£26)

Visit their website here

Enjoy the pastoral views at the Royal Terrace Gardens while having your lunch. Image Credit: The Gardener's Cottage

2b. Harvey Nichols

Ready for some retail therapy? Harvey Nichols is the place for you. This fabulously high-end department store stocks a wide range of designer apparel and everything else you could desire to spruce up your closet. If a shopping spree is not for you, it's still worth popping inside for a quick tipple at their rooftop Window Bar. Sip a cocktail as you enjoy the amazing view of Edinburgh!

Address: 30-34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 524 8388

Opening Hours: Sunday - Wednesday, 10AM - 6PM. Thursday, 10AM - 8PM. Friday & Saturday, 10AM - 7PM.

Prices: Prices vary

Visit their website here

"I have enough shoes," said no one ever. Image credit:
Lateral City

2c. Jupiter Artland

Located just outside Edinburgh, Jupiter Artland is a haven for lovers of art and nature. Simply hop on bus 27 or X27 and be blown away by this massive sculpture park, where man's creativity and the natural environment come together to create impressively beautiful masterpieces. Get inspired as you wander amongst the exhibitions. We also think they make a great backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot!

Address: Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BB, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 150 688 9900

Opening Season: May through September

Prices: SGD 17 (£8.50) for Adults, SGD 9 (£4.50) for Children, SGD 9 (£4.50) for Students, family discounts available

Visit their website here

Nature meets art at the delightfully picturesque Jupiter Artlands. Image credit: Rosa Menkman

2d. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Both the young and the young at heart will be delighted by a quick trip to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, where you can spend an entertaining hour amongst fascinating optical illusions, tricks and mind-boggling effects. Try to stay on your feet in the Vortex Tunnel, or see how long it takes you to find a way out of the mirror maze!

Address: 549 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 226 3709

Opening Hours: 10AM - 6PM. Hours extend according to season.

Prices: SGD 29 (£14.50) for Adults, SGD 21 (£10.50) for Children, group and student discounts available.

Visit their website here

Boggle your mind with these illusions at the Camera Obscura. Image credit: Jarle Refsnes

3. Spend an enchanting evening in Edinburgh

3a. Cameo Cinema

Edinburgh is infamous for its drizzles, but fret not, here's your chance to discover the city's interior life. Catch a film at The Cameo cinema, one of the oldest movie theatres in Scotland still operating today - and allegedly one of Quentin Tarantino's favourites in the world! Whether you prefer chart-topping blockbusters or foreign films, there's bound to be something to suit your tastes. If the rain is still pouring after the screening, chill out at the cinema's Cameo Bar amongst a collection of cool vintage film posters.

Address: 38 Home St, Edinburgh EH3 9LZ, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 871 902 5723 Opening Hours: 15 minutes before the start of the first film

Prices: SGD 19 (£9.50) for Adults, SGD 12 (£6.00) for Children, price varies according to time. Family and student discounts available.

Visit their website here

The coolest place to catch a film in Scotland, and Tarantino's fave! Image credit: Lateral City

3b. The Canny Man's Pub

Not too far from the Wild West film set in Morningside resides an iconic Edinburgh watering hole, The Canny Man's pub, which has been in operation since 1871. We love the pub's unusual decor of antiques and paintings adorning the walls and ceiling. Settle into one of their old armchairs and sample their huge selection of whisky, or sip on their infamous Bloody Mary. We hear celebrity Chef Rick Stein dubbed it the best pub in the world!

Address: 237 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh EH10 4QU, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 447 1484

Opening Hours: Sunday - Wednesday, 11AM - 11PM. Thursday & Saturday, 11AM - 12PM. Friday, 11AM - 1AM.

Prices: Mains start at SGD 15 (£7.45)

Visit their website here

3c. The Scran & Scallie

There's a gastropub on every corner in the city, but we reckon the best one has got to be The Scran & Scallie, run by Michelin star chefs Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack. The dynamic duo serves up traditional Scottish home-cooked dishes with only the highest quality seasonal and local produce - guaranteed to satisfy and warm you right up! We recommend Scottish classics like Sheep's Heid Scotch Broth, Cottage Pie, or the seasonal crumble of the day to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Address: 1 Comely Bank Rd, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH4 1DT, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 332 6281

Opening Hours: 12PM - 10PM

Prices: Mains start at SGD 19 (£9.50) on the Lunch menu Visit their website here

Fill up with hearty Scottish fare in Edinburgh's Stockbridge area. Image credit: here

4. Living it up at night in Edinburgh

4a. Hidden Door Festival

Edinburgh is much loved for its festivals, the most famous one being the Fringe. That aside, there are many smaller festivals all year round, held in different venues.

One of the finest festivals, we reckon, is Hidden Door, an annual non-profit arts festival organised in abandoned or obscure locations around Edinburgh. Prepare to be whisked away to another world when you cross the threshold of the Hidden Door: a world of twinkling fairy lights, great local music, awe-inspiring contemporary artworks and the tantalizing aroma wafting over from food trucks! Visit their website for more details, as dates and venues vary.

Visit their website here

The Hidden Door festival will transport you to another world. Image credit: Hidden Door

4b. Tigerlily

Treat yourself to a tipple or two (accompanied with a light bite maybe) at Tigerlily. This boutique hotel is the epitome of cool and is much loved for its afternoon tea and classy cocktails. Get dressed in your best and head down to George Street, located in the heart of New Town, for an incredibly chic night out on the town.

Address: 125 George St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 4JN, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 225 5005

Opening Hours: Bar & Restaurant opens 11AM - 1AM

Prices: Mains start at SGD 19 (£9.50) on the Lunch menu. Cocktails start at SGD 9 (£4.60)

Visit their website here

Sip on classy cocktails with Edinburgh's beautiful set at Tigerlily. Image credit: Tigerlily

4c. Lulu Bar and Nightclub

You've scoped out incredible views, seen some amazing art and history, and sampled the city's finest food and beverage options - but the night is still young! If you're still pumped with energy, Lulu's nightclub awaits you underneath Tigerlily, the perfect place to let your hair down and party it up. Bust a move on the dancefloor, taste more mouth-watering cocktails, or simply soak up the club's super-hip vibe.

You could also try to spot some celebrities. We hear the club's famous patrons include the likes of Emeli Sande, Dizzee Rascal, Russell Brand and Girls Aloud!

Address: 125b George St, Edinburgh EH2 4JN, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 131 225 5005

Opening Hours: 1030PM - 3AM

Prices: Cocktails start at SGD 14 (£7)

Visit their website here

Tear up the dancefloor in Edinburgh's most popular nightclub. Image credit: Lulu

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