Six historic places to visit in Edinburgh
From the medieval Old Town to the Georgian New Town, ‘Auld Reekie’ is a city steeped in history. We wanted to give you a heads up on the best six historic spots in Edinburgh. These places should give you a good insight into what it was like to live in the city through the ages and how it became the amazing city it is today. And what’s more, they are all easily accessible from our Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro and KM Central Hotel.
Perching on top of an extinct volcano overlooking the Scottish capital, is the world famous Edinburgh Castle. The most photographed sight in Edinburgh, it really has to be seen to be believed. With an impressive 1,100 year history, this is one of the most fascinating historic sites in Edinburgh.
On the Castle tour you will see the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the Great Hall and St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building. Make sure you take some time to soak up the amazing views across the city from the Castle esplanade before or after your visit.
Running from the Castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mile cuts through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Take some time to explore the closes (the narrow side streets), the stunning St Giles Cathedral and the shops selling anything from cashmere to kilts and Scottish cheese to whisky. With plenty of pubs and restaurants to break up the walk, no trip to Edinburgh is complete without a walk down the street the city was built around.
Mary King’s Close
Half way down the Royal Mile you can become a time traveller with a visit to Mary King’s Close. Your guide will take you back to the 17th century through a perfectly preserved underground warren of streets, homes and passageways buried deep beneath the Royal Mile. A great fun and fascinating glimpse into life in old Edinburgh, just make sure you dart for cover if you hear a shout of ‘Gardyloo!’ We would recommend booking your tour in advance as it can get busy.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Down at the end of the Royal Mile stands the very grand Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s residence when she visits Edinburgh. A wander about this royal home and you will see the throne room and great gallery which are still used to this day by the Queen when she hosts reception events. Up a winding staircase you will get to Mary, Queen of Scots’ chambers where she lived from 1561-1567. Be sure to visit the atmospheric ruins of Holyrood Abbey to finish off your visit.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Continuing the Royal theme, we would thoroughly recommend a trip down to Ocean Terminal in Leith for a tour around the Royal Yacht Britannia. The famous ship first set sail in 1954 and spent over 40 years touring the world. This palace on the sea was a home away from home for the Royal family. The Royal Apartments on board hosted world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi. A tour of the five decks gives a great insight into how the Royals lived on the sea.
The Sheep Heid Inn
After a day of visiting some of the City’s historic hotspots, what better way to refuel and recharge than at Edinburgh’s (and possibly Scotland’s) oldest pub. Nestled in the shadows of Arthur’s Seat, this family friendly watering hole has been around since 1360. With phenomenal food and a comprehensive drinks list, this ancient hideaway is highly recommended, the Queen even stopped by for a casual dinner in 2016. The Sheep Heid is also home to a 150-year old (usable) skittles alley, how many pubs do you know that can offer that?
After sampling the delights of the Sheep Heid Inn, it’s a gentle one mile stroll through Holyrood Park back to the recently refurbished Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro. Within walking distance of the Royal Mile, our hotel and bistro is also well connected by bus (allowing you to get across the city easily, including direct to Royal Yacht Britannia). And since part of the hotel dates back to the 18th century, you can continue your historic visit in traditional splendour.
Or, if you’d prefer to stay nearer the hustle and bustle of the city centre, quirky KM Central boasts fresh, modern and comfortable rooms in the centre of town. The perfect place to recharge and refresh before heading out to explore more of what Edinburgh has to offer.
For a city with so much history, the list of places to visit really could be endless. If you have come across places you think should be on the list please leave us a comment below and let us know.