6 Edinburgh Attraction Must-Do's in 2 Days or Less
Updated: Mar 27, 2021
This tiny-town packs a major punch for things to do! You can spend as little as 1-2 days in Edinburgh or stay as long as you want. This city has a wide variety of places to visit to satisfy all interests, budgets and itineraries. From single travelers to large groups, there are many great experiences awaiting its visitors.
Now, I am not much of a whiskey drinker, so if you are looking for a list that incorporates my best finds for whiskey tasting experiences, you will need to keep on looking. But, what I can tell you is that you can easily swap out or add onto the list below with a trip to the Scottish Whiskey Experience which is a main attraction here in Edinburgh. Like the Guinness factory in Dublin, this attraction pulls in just as much interest in Edinburgh.
Above all, I highly recommend just doing a nice walk of the whole city along your journey from experience to experience, or taking the City Sightseeing bus to get a full view and tour of the entire city. It's affordable, helps preserve your energy for getting through these attractions on a short timeline, and offers some great views of the city along with a guide sharing interesting facts and stories of what you are seeing.
The city of Edinburgh is petite and easy to walk around - coming from someone who has a bad back & knee and a fat bodied frame. Because there is so much to see, I was able to take many breaks along my walking routes. And when I just didn't have enough boost left, I was able to hop back onto the City Sightseeing bus to get me to my next stop - or to just catch a breather while relaxing on the bus and taking in the sights.
In any place I visited, I never felt that my size was a limitation. I was fully welcomed warmly by anyone I interacted with - on the bus, the general public, shop owners, waiters, docents at museums, etc.
If you only spend a couple days in this beautiful capitol of Scotland, here is a list of my top 6 attractions to experience.
National Museum of Scotland
Approximate time to visit: 1.5-2 hours
Any country you go to where there is a national museum, make it a priority to visit it. Most of the time, the national museums are free of charge and offer a perfect introduction to the country's story covering various aspects from natural history and archaeology to cultural and social history and from ancient to modern times.
Admission to the National Museum of Scotland is free of charge. During my last visit, a balloon artist completed an art installation for the museum that was very cool to see. The museum itself is a beauty to look at with its large open multi-level gallery with a glass ceiling. If you've been to the museum before, make a trip back to it again! They do a phenomenal job at consistently rotating exhibits bringing fresh new perspectives and new interactive learning opportunities to its visitors.
Approximate time to visit: 1.5-2 hours
My favorite place to stay in Edinburgh is in the Grassmarket as it is not only the oldest part of town, but it also sits just under the castle. Waking up to the sights of this towering fortress against the hillside is powerful, majestic, haunting and beautiful. The castle is perched at the top of Castle Rock with phenomenal views of the entire city.
Edinburgh Castle sits at the top of the Royal Mile which is the main road connecting between the castle and the Palace at Holyrood (the two royal residences). The one o'clock gun salute makes a booming sound over the city every day.
The large vast open space just outside the castle walls is the stage for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place in August during the Fringe Festival. I watch on YouTube recaps each year. Inside the castle are the Royal Palace, the Honors of Scotland (crown), the Stone of Destiny, the Great Hall, National War Museum, the tiny St Margaret's Chapel, and much more. There is also a cafe onsite where I had a perfect scone with cream and jam, and tea, of course.