Today I will test a new way of writing, that is, I only play the role of a guide, and the photos will “tell the story”. The story of Edinburgh where I live. It must be said that this is a strange city because not a single friend of mine has set foot in this place without falling in love with it. So what’s so interesting about Edinburgh that fascinates visitors?
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And what to do in Edinburgh for 1 day and how to spend 24 hours in Edinburgh (1 day in Edinburgh, Edinburgh in a day, Edinburgh in one day)? Let’s check out our suggested Edinburgh itinerary 1 day (Edinburgh one day itinerary) with the detailed itinerary for Edinburgh one day trip as follows!
10:00 am (#edinburgh itinerary 1 day)
After breakfast, we’ll start at 10 a.m. at Calton Hill, a small hill located in the center of the city. Calton Hill is an ideal place for visitors to have a panoramic view of the city, see the sea and the surrounding area. Regardless of day or night, dawn or dusk, sun or rain or snow, Edinburgh is always beautiful, very “poetic” from a hilltop perspective.
From Calton Hill, visitors move down to St Andrew’s Square surrounded by branded shopping buildings, luxury restaurants, ornate pubs, central bus station, the headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland… This is the city’s vibrant community hub. If you’re lucky, you can listen to music performances, watch big-screen movies, read books on beach chairs, or enjoy contemporary art works (very difficult to understand) for free.
11:30 am (#edinburgh itinerary 1 day)
From the west corner of the square towards the busy main street Princes you can easily see a very monumental memorial. This is a work to remember the merits of Sir Walter Scott (in the UK, who with many contributions to society are often given the title ‘Sir’). He is a writer, poet, lawyer, politician, but is best known as a writer and poet with many excellent works, including the novel Waverley about history of Scotland. Later the name Waverley was used to name the city center station.
While walking and taking photos in the garden next to the monument, we will head towards Edinburgh Castle. On the way you will meet a block of streets with old buildings with bold Scottish architecture. One of those buildings is the New College of the University of Edinburgh.
12:30 am (#edinburgh one day itinerary)
After walking for a few hours, your legs are already tired. We invite you to stop and enjoy Haggis specialties at a restaurant right next to New College, such as Whiski Rooms (Address: 4-7 N Bank St, Edinburgh EH1 2LP, United Kingdom/Hours: 10 AM–1 AM). Haggis is a lamb stomach stuffed with fat, minced liver, heart, and lungs, plus onions and some spices. After being boiled, people do not eat the stomach but only take the inner part and serve it with mashed potatoes and mashed radish. The dish has a characteristic sheepish smell, but when served with whiskey sauce or a glass of pure whiskey, it will definitely overwhelm the smell and enhance the flavor.
1:30 pm (#1 day in edinburgh)
Walk for about 5 minutes and you will reach Edinburgh Castle. Admission is £16.50. Inside the castle there is nothing really special, so in my opinion this price is not worth it. If you want, you can take some souvenir photos in front of the castle.
2:00 pm (#edinburgh in a day)
From the castle you take a stroll along the Royal Mile, the city’s most popular long street with tourists. The Royal Mile is one mile long, with Edinburgh Castle at one end and Holyrood Castle at the other. In the middle of the ancient stone-paved street Royal Mile is the large church of St. Giles, quite beautiful but not very impressive compared to many churches I have visited. Around the church are two famous statues of Adam Smith, who is considered the father of economics and the prominent philosopher David Hume. If you pay attention, you will see the big toe of David Hume’s shiny statue because visitors constantly touch it with the desire to be intelligent and brilliant like him.
2:30 pm (#edinburgh in one day)
Right in the middle of the old town is a cafe called The Elephant House (Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN, United Kingdom). This is where the former writer J. K. Rowling used to frequent to write the hit Harry Potter series.
About 200m from The Elephant House is the national museum. On the side of the museum, there is a statue of the dog Bobby, which many visitors stop and take photos of. Behind the statue is a story full of humanity. Bobby’s owner previously worked for the Edinburgh Police Department. After his death, Bobby spent the remaining 14 years of his life guarding his grave. Later, Booby was buried in the cemetery near the statue where the statue was placed, on the tombstone the words: “let his loyalty & devotion be a lesson to us all”.
From the Booby statue, go all the way down Chambers Street to the charming and ancient Old College. Currently, the Faculty of Law at the University of Edinburgh is located here.
You ask people the way to the top of Arthur’s Seat. This is the highest place in the city. On the occasion of May and June, gorse flowers are as fragrant as coconut water, blooming brightly on the mountainside. Also, watching the sunset gradually fall on the top of the mountain is extremely wonderful.
Don’t know if you like Korean food? If yes, then Andamiro (Address: 113 Buccleuch St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9NG, United Kingdom/Hours: 11:30 AM–9 PM/Monday, Sunday: Closed) is an extremely delicious, nutritious, cheap, and authentic Korean place (it was said that it was an Italian cafe, later changed owners but the name remains the same).
9:00 pm (#edinburgh in a day)
From Andamiro you walk about 15 minutes to reduce your satiety to The Jazz Bar (Address: 1a Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1HR, United Kingdom) right next to Old College. This is my favorite place, small but full of very good artists. Don’t forget to make a whiskey, because you’re in Scotland!
Return to the hotel, take a shower and have a good night’s sleep.
The above Edinburgh itinerary 1 day has to travel a lot, quickly admire the main tourist attractions in the style of “riding a horse to see flowers”. If you have time, you should spend at least 1-2 more days in Edinburgh. The city has a lot to see.
Have a great time in Edinburgh!
To getting to Edinburgh, visitors can choose one of three common ways: Long-distance bus (National Express, Megabus, Citylink) to the central bus station. Train to Waverley or Haymarket central station. Or fly (Ryanair, EasyJet, Flybe, KLM, BA…) to Edinburgh airport. The airport is about 13km from the city center, so it is very convenient to travel by bus, tram or taxi.
If you’re traveling with elderly people or young children who can’t walk much, you can choose from public buses: single ticket £1.50/£0.70 (adult/child), daily ticket £4.00/£2.00 or family day ticket Family (maximum 2 adults + 3 children) £8.50. Note to prepare enough money to drop into the ticket box because the driver does not accept/cash back.
Many of the great museums and galleries in Edinburgh are open for free. If you don’t have much time, I have two suggestions: the National Museum of Scotland in the old town and the National Galleries of Scotland on Princes main street.
Edinburgh is always packed with visitors and artists every August, when the world’s largest art festival Fringe takes place. Follow Fringe festival such as summer festival, book festival, science festival, etc. are usually held from the beginning of July to the end of mid-September. Thanks to Fringe, I have enjoyed the World-class art performances by the Scottish National Symphony Orchestra, the famous British pianist Paul Lewis or the Flamenco Paco Peña troupe from Spain…
In addition to Harry Potter, the famous detective novel series Sherlock Holmes was also born in Edinburgh. The character Dr. Watson is prototyped from a talented doctor, a teacher of Conan Doyle when he was studying medicine at the prestigious University of Edinburgh.
Where to stay
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Ten Hill Place Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre St Andrew Square (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- The Scotsman Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Novotel Edinburgh Park (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Leonardo Royal Edinburgh Haymarket (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Castle Rock Hostel (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Check out more top and best hotels in Edinburgh on Agoda.com or Booking.com.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Edinburgh you can refer to
- Shared Edinburgh Airport (EDI) Transfers for Edinburgh by Airlink 100
- Edinburgh Airport to City Train Ticket
- Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Edinburgh Castle Tour
- Edinburgh Rail Tour with Edinburgh Castle & Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour (From London)
- Scottish Borders Day Tour from Edinburgh including Rosslyn Chapel
- Whisky and Waterfalls Day Tour from Edinburgh
- Outlander and Three Castles Day Tour from Edinburgh
- Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Scottish Highlands Day Tour from Edinburgh
- Edinburgh City Pass
- Edinburgh Castle Admission Ticket
- Royal Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with Edinburgh Castle Entry
Read more top things to do in Edinburgh here. And the fullest Edinburgh travel guide here.