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Short visit? Only 24-48 hours in Edinburgh

Your guide to Edinburgh / Only 24-48 hours in Edinburgh

Only 24-48 hours in Edinburgh

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The charming and beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland, offers iconic landmarks, stunning views and a variety of things to do. Although you won't be able to experience everything the capital city has to offer if you only have 24 or 48 hours in Edinburgh, you'll certainly be able to enjoy much of what makes it so amazing. If you only have a short time to explore the city, discover the best things to do in Edinburgh.

Take in a Stunning View at Holyrood Park

Queen's Dr, Edinburgh EH8 8HG, UK 


If you only have 24 hours in Edinburgh, start by traveling about a mile east of the city to Holyrood Park. This city park offers an unforgettable view of Edinburgh's skyline and the opportunity to learn more about the ancient history of the area. While you're here, visit St Anthony's Chapel to tour the picturesque medieval ruins and visit the Holyrood Lodge Information Centre for the free exhibition about the park's archaeology, geology and history. When you're ready to stretch your legs, take the walk up to the top of Arthur's Seat. This extinct volcano reaches 823 feet above the land and offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Edinburgh.

Tour the Infamous Edinburgh Castle

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK 


If you're wondering what to do in one day in Edinburgh, you have to add a stop to Edinburgh Castle on your list. This historic 11th-century fortress dominates the Edinburgh skyline and offers a unique way to learn more about the history of the city. You can sign up for one of the guided tours or take your own self-guided tour through the castle. Outside the castle, stop by the nine illustrated panels to get an overview of its history. For a direct route to the summit, you can walk up all 70 steps that make up the Lang Stairs. Or take the gentler alternative route that winds up the cobbled hill. At the top of the castle, stare down the barrel of the massive Mons Meg. Inside the castle, you can see St Margaret's Chapel, the birth chamber of James VI, and the Honours of Scotland, which are the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles.

Unwind at the Spa at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

38 Charlotte Square


When you need some time to unwind, book a treatment at the Spa at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. This calming oasis uses products that are made with natural and organic ingredients. Treatments include soothing massages, restorative facials and detoxifying body wraps. Beauty services at the spa include eyelash and eyebrow tinting, manicures and pedicures.

Stroll Along Beautiful Victoria Street

Victoria Street


The historical Victoria Street is often considered one of the most beautiful streets in Edinburgh, and it offers an incredible variety of things to do for your one-day Edinburgh itinerary. The gentle curves and colorful buildings on the street are said to be one of the most photographed spots in Edinburgh. If you're looking to do some shopping during your visit, Victoria Street is also known for its excellent collection of independent stores selling everything from local art to artisanal cheeses. 

You can also take a stroll through Grassmarket Square. This old cattle market has the dubious distinction of once being the place for the city's public executions. However, today the lively area is lined with cafes, restaurants and traditional pubs.

Hop on an Edinburgh Bus Tour

Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ, UK 


One great way to see the city is to take a ride with Edinburgh Bus Tours. These fun tours are similar to a London double-decker bus tour. The hop on-hop off bus takes you around to some of the top attractions in the city, which makes them ideal for a two-day Edinburgh itinerary. If you see something you want to explore more, simply get off the bus and check it out. You can then wait for another bus to come through to finish the tour. Along the way, the live guides or recorded commentary will provide even more interesting facts about the sites.

Discover History at the National Museum of Scotland

Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK 


If you're wondering what to do in 48 hours in Edinburgh, the National Museum of Scotland has an incredible variety of artifacts that will take you on a journey through the history of Scotland, let you explore different cultures around the world, show you the wonders of nature and more. Walk through the Natural World galleries to view dinosaur bones, learn how animals live and communicate and see a magnificent collection of minerals. 

In the Scottish History and Archaeology galleries, you'll explore Scotland's fascinating history. You'll start with some of the first plants and animals to survive in the area before moving to the prehistoric people. You'll then have an opportunity to learn more about Scotland's emergence as a nation, as well as view the people who made Scotland what it is today.

See the Queen's Official Residence

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK 


The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence in Edinburgh of the queen and home to some of the most interesting artifacts in Scottish royal history. During your tour of the palace, you can explore 14 stunningly decorated state apartments. You'll also have an opportunity to learn more about some of the palace's most famous residents, including Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Then take a walk over to the romantic ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey and spend some time strolling through the picturesque royal gardens.

Reconnect With Nature at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ, UK 


To make your trip to Edinburgh complete, visit Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which is considered one of the finest botanic gardens in the world. Although it's situated just a mile from the city, this 70-acre oasis offers a tranquil getaway. When you take a tour of the garden, you'll have an opportunity to view its 10 glasshouses, learn about some of the 100,000 plants and see some of the highlights, such as the Woodland Garden and Scottish Native Plants Collection.

No matter how much time you have to spend in Edinburgh, you'll always find something to enjoy. However, if you're wondering what to see with only 24 to 48 hours in Edinburgh, you now know some of the top things to do.