Brimming full of history, culture & some of the most beautiful architecture we have seen, Edinburgh is must on anyone’s Scotland itinerary. We just could not resist stopping for 24 hours in Edinburgh before starting our North Coast 500 road trip, even if it was just for a short while.
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We packed a lot in for our 24 hours in Edinburgh & were pretty darn chuffed with what we managed to see in such a short space of time. Here’s our awesome itinerary which we personally think is pretty spot on for anyone spending time in Scotland’s magical capital as it can always be added to if you so wish. In fact, if you are looking for more tips our friend Hannah from HH Lifestyle Travel has written her very own Local’s Guide To Edinburgh.
Edinburgh In 24 Hours
The Palace At HolyroodHouse
The Queen’s official royal residence in Edinburgh, the Royal Collection Trust’s Palace of Holyroodhouse is not to be missed. You can feel the grandeur as soon as you walk through the entrance gates & into the palace courtyard, an area to stop & take a minute or two to really soak up the history that is all around you.
The audio tour, included in the £14.00 adult entry price is just fantastic. Talking you through the decor & detail within each area you enter as well as telling the history of the palace & its residents. We really enjoyed how each room was set up as it would be when the Queen herself arrives & found the attendants on site very helpful for asking any additional questions about the rooms.
With thanks to Royal Collection Trust – Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.
After spending a good amount of time in the palace we wandered out into 12th century Holyrood Abbey & the Royal Gardens (where the Queen hosts her annual garden party), for our own picture taking opportunities (they are not allowed inside the palace) & to take in even more of the magnificent atmosphere. If you love your history then Holyroodhouse is a must on your 24 hours in Edinburgh itinerary, taking around 3 hours to visit in total.
When you think of Scotland you probably think of Castle’s & Edinburgh’s is certainly worth a visit. Situated right at the top of the Royal Mile the impressive location makes for spectacular views over the entire city. If views are your thing then it’s worth coming here for these alone, for us personally we just love the feeling that you get when viewing a city from above, it really puts a place into perspective.
As well as the awesome views within the adult ticket price of £17.00 per person you can take a walk through Scottish history, view the Scottish crown jewels, visit the prisoners of war exhibition & even see a gun fired at 1pm every day (except Sundays) from the same spot it has been fired from since 1861!! Expect to spend about 2 hours here to really take it all in.
The Royal Mile
Busy, touristy & bustling but famous for good reason, the Royal Mile really does capture true Scot spirit within one street. This is where most of the main sights are congregated around so if spending just 24 hours in Edinburgh this is the place to be. We spent some time just wondering up & down, soaking up the atmosphere & we absolutely loved it.
Edinburgh’s beautiful architecture is really showcased here with the ornate St Giles cathedral dominating its surroundings. We also really enjoyed hearing the bag pipes from the many street performers, whether they are your thing or not there is no denying that a guy dressed in full tartan attire is just well & truly Scottish. Hard to put a time on how long to spend here, as most of the main sights are off it anyway, chances are that’ll you’ll be using it as your walkway between places. Aye, not a bad route at all!
After visiting the Palace at Holyroodhouse in the morning we took a walk from the palace to Holyrood Park & up to its highest point Arthur’s Seat. The feeling of wandering around such a lush green area so close to the city was very surreal & really gave us the feeling that Edinburgh is a city that has a lot to offer. It took around 45 mins round trip & was a great angle from which to take in more spectacular views. Again for us an absolute Edinburgh must!
The Scot Monument
The largest monument to a writer in the world, you can pay to go in but we just stopped by to admire its beauty. In Victorian Gothic style & surrounded by pretty gardens this was a nice place to sit for a wee while & have a break from the hustle & bustle of the city. As this was just a quick stop & is so close to all of the other main sights we would definitely recommend stopping by on your 24 hours in Edinburgh.
A hill in central Edinburgh, we got up here for sunset & boy was it worth it. Remember this is Scotland people, so temps are pretty chilly, we’d always recommend having warm layers so you can focus on enjoying yourselves rather than listening to the chatter of your own teeth.
Taking some snacks & a couple of drinks up with us we took some time to hang out at the Athenian acropolis which is the most unexpected sight (& quite impressive) in the city of Edinburgh. For the sunset itself we took in the views with the National Monument, Scot Monument, Castle & much more of the city to stand in awe of. This really was the perfect end to our 24 hours in Edinburgh & could be visited in just 1/2 an hour or a little more if you like us would like to sit for a while & chill.
Located just outside of the city centre area, Dean Village was recommended to us when chatting with other travellers on Twitter. We decided to stop by when driving into the city for a quick wander around. Dean Village is where milling of water mills took place since the 1800’s & is just a lovely place to take a stroll around & soak up even more history. This was just a whistle-stop for us, we spent just 20 minutes having a quick wander around.
Where To Stay
We opted for Edinburgh Backpackers hostel which was in the most fabulous location just off the Royal Mile & was perfect with us only having 24 hours in Edinburgh as it meant we could walk to everything from there. The rooms were basic but clean & the staff super friendly & very knowledgeable on the local area. They also have a cafe next door, Southern Cross which serves yummy breakfast & cakes amongst other things, with the added bonus of getting 15% off if you are staying at the Edinburgh Backpackers hostel.
Other really great hostels in Edinburgh include –
Ok, so if you are ready after all of that to have a bite to eat, maybe try some haggis, have a pint or even a whiskey there really are TONS of places to choose from. Our advice here, it’s a compact city so wander around & see what takes your fancy. Most of all just enjoy the atmosphere because Edinburgh certainly has a truly magical one come day or night!
We hope you have enjoyed reading all about our 24 hours in Edinburgh, we certainly enjoyed seeing all of the sights! If you have any questions or anything to add please let us know in the comments.
Also checkout our NC500 – An Epic Itinerary For Scotland’s North Coast an unforgettable road trip in Scotland!
Kelly & Adam 🙂 x