Lantern-Led tours, Real Mary Kings Close

Edinburgh culture and discovery itinerary

Delve deeper into the heart of the Scottish capital city with this 2-day itinerary. The list of places to visit in Edinburgh is very extensive, so options are given but also check our holiday add-on recommendations at the end of this page to build in extra elements.

Day 1

Discover the old town and choose two attractions such as the beautifully peaceful St Giles Cathedral at the heart of The Royal Mile or a tour of The Scotch Whisky Experience located beside Edinburgh Castle. Then enjoy one of Edinburgh’s range of tours from city walking tours, ghost tours, or choice of hop on hop off bus tour. (Allow half a day)

Other visits on the Royal Mile may include Gladstone’s Land; Real Mary King’s Close; John Knox House; The Writer’s Museum, The Museum of Childhood, and local history museums the People’s Story and the Museum of Edinburgh. Customers can discover stories, intrigues, and Edinburgh’s connections with the world, or explore places based on their own unique interests.

Best done on foot where feasible, and the above museums are better for FIT and small groups.

Or step off the Royal Mile, and explore the small shops and bars in the Grassmarket area, one of the oldest parts of the city before a visit to the National Museum of Scotland or the delightful tapestry and contemporary art space Dovecot Studios on Infirmary Street.

Day 2

Step into Edinburgh’s 250-year old new town for The Georgian House, a unique historic property owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) where visitors will learn how people lived in the 18th and early 19th century. Nearby, the state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker Princes Street (Diageo) provides a guided whisky experience with most-sought after, one-off tastings in the maker’s cellar. A bookable Bothy Bar and rooftop bar serving exceptional cocktails and innovative cuisine, in front of a stunning historic backdrop.

Gin tours and gin and chocolate tours are growing in popularity and consequently, in availability across Edinburgh too. Edinburgh Gin will be moving to a new multimillion pound distillery and visitor centre in Edinburgh’s Old Town in summer 2024.

Wander along the New Town to Queen Street for a look inside the National Portrait Gallery, a hidden gem in the heart of the city. Clients can immerse themselves in an eclectic collection of famous portraits & stories through the ages from celebrated pop culture to Mary Queen of Scots, all in a beautiful neo gothic setting. Tours available.

A step in a different direction or rather onto the tram or tour transport and travel to the trendy neighbourhood of Leith. Go aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia and then visit the new Port of Leith Whisky Distillery, the world’s first vertical distillery or the alternative gin tour at Lind and Lime, also located in Leith.

Add on: bespoke experiences

  1. Eat Walk Edinburgh will tell the story of the city through food and drink, from the past right up to today. Tours last around 3 to 3.5 hours, with 45 minutes’ spent walking between venues. Accessible routes and bespoke options are available.
  2. Mercat Tours run interesting history walking tours, specialising in the city’s history and ghostly past. Private experiences are available and delivered by skilled storytellers. The  Craft a Memory Tour add on is also bookable.
  3. Islander Bags run interactive workshops in unique old town shop setting, and make customised handbags with Harris Tweed.
  4. Scotland Shop design your own tartan experience, tailored to the brief ( 1 hour) with the choice of a central Edinburgh or own location.
  5. Tolbooth Tavern is one of Edinburgh’s oldest historic pubs offering tourism experiences including a Scottish Tasting Platter.