Forth Bridge at sunset, South Queensferry
Image Credit: Visitscotland Kenny Lam

Ultimate Edinburgh Experience (5-day tour)

Discovering Edinburgh at a slower pace is a real treat for many, and the opportunity for your customers to experience the city in all its glory. Better value, better customer satisfaction and more sustainable!

Day 1: Explore the city centre

Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage city with an abundance of history, quality attractions and different neighbourhoods to visit for food, drink, culture and shopping.

Hop on hop off bus tours, guided tours, and walking tours make navigating and exploring the city easier.

Start a tour of Edinburgh at The National Museum of Scotland, located across the road from Greyfriar’s Bobby and in walking distance to the Grassmarket and Royal Mile. Through treasured collections, visitors can trace the fascinating story of Scotland from prehistory to present day.

The Real Mary Kings Close on the Royal Mile is a favourite place for visitors to discover hidden stories and closes of the old town. Step back in time on a one-hour tour of the city’s past with a resident from 400 years ago. An enriching experience where Edinburgh’s past is brought back to life. Open in the evening and closes at 9pm.

Explore more of the treasures of the Royal Mile in our Classic Itinerary and Culture and Discovery itinerary

For an outdoor experience, explore Mercat Tours’ themed walking tours featuring some of the city’s most unique places of interest. Guided by captivating storytellers, groups will learn about the city’s ghosts, history and witches, and visit our famous underground vaults.

If transport is not provided within your package, your clients can get around on the Edinburgh Bus Tours, where among the tours there is The Royal Ticket, which provides entrance to Edinburgh Castle, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Royal Yacht Britannia included, with family friendly options available with the City Sightseeing Tour with Horrible Histories narration for kids.

Day 2: Tours and Tastings with local experts

FIT and groups can enjoy a range of walking and chauffeur driven city tours that are guided by local experts. Read on for some ideas of commissions or net rates offered on 60 minutes’ tours.

Themed tours: Cobble Tales provide architect-guided tours for groups of up to 40 people, with a range of themes spanning Housing Projects, Contemporary Gems, The Model City and more, all designed to promote the influences on Edinburgh’s architecture. Auld Reekie Tours run costumed history tours, including The Terror Tour and The Vaults and Graveyard Tour. Edinburgh Expert Tours tailor their tours for your requirements and for those seeking luxury experience Wee Scottish Tours offer private chauffeur driven tours of Edinburgh and beyond – with an Outlander special.

For language tours: check Escocia Tours and Tours et Detours D’Edimbourg, or visit the Scottish Tourist Guide Association for an industry recognised qualified guide, where you can choose either a language or topic expert.

City cycling tours: explore the city on 2 wheels with A wee pedal or Edinburgh Bike Tours or take it easy and conduct your tour on an electric bike with EZ Bikes.

Whisky and Gin tours: Scotland is renowned for its whisky and in Edinburgh you can experience, taste and learn all about our national drink on a distillery tour. Customers can visit the Scotch Whisky Experience for an introduction to whisky through its variety of tours and find the nip for them. Pick a gin distillery visit or learn about the history of Edinburgh via a beer tour with Scotbeer.

Find out more in our blog about Distilleries and Brewery Tours in Edinburgh.

Day 3: Culture, art and striking views

Explore Edinburgh’s thriving art scene with a visit to one of our unique art galleries. Spend the morning visiting the National Gallery of Scotland at the bottom of the mound. Add lunch or a special afternoon tea at the Scottish Café and Restaurant located within the Gallery and overlooking the lusciously green Princes Street Gardens. Tours and the latest exhibitions are available on their website.

Other National Galleries in Edinburgh include The National Gallery of Modern Art One and Two and The National Portrait Gallery, both offering scheduled and bespoke tours of their products and venues.

For more art related visitor products, check out the City Art Centre, where Scottish art is championed with special exhibitions, Ingleby Gallery, and Dovecot Studio.

For more information, visit our dedicated page for Edinburgh Art Galleries

City views: being a small, compact city has many benefits and enjoying stunning panoramic views of the evolving skyline from many different locations in just one.

Some of the best city views can be enjoyed with a short walk-up Calton Hill, at the 1820 rooftop bar inside Johnnie Walker Edinburgh, from the top floors of the City Art Centre, up The Scott Monument or from the famous Edinburgh Castle esplanade. At the Nor’ Loft Bar in the Market St Hotel , guests can sip champagne while enjoying splendid views.

If you’re adding Edinburgh Castle to the programme, allow 1.5 hours to see key attractions  and the royal route: The Honours of Scotland, Mons Meg (1 o’clock gun), The Royal Palace, and The Great Hall. For more informaiton about the Royal Route, please click here.

Day 4: Shopping and tranquillity

Make the most of Edinburgh’s green visitor products. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a joy at any time of year and worthy of adding to the programme. Visitors can enjoy unique city views and relax in one of most famous Botanic Gardens in the world. Customers can enjoy pre-booked lunch or afternoon tea in the café, wander around at their leisure, shop or book a guided tour.

If shopping is on the brief, visitors can explore the city’s local independent retailers in Morningside, Bruntsfield, and Stockbridge or shop luxury brands at Multrees Walk, Harvey Nichols or in the city’s newest shopping destination St James Quarter, comprising everything from high street brands to ultimate luxury.

Tartan shopping and experiences can be found at the Scotland Shop or Gordon Nicolson Kilt makers, with VIP guided shopping experiences provided by Sleighs DMC.

Day 5: Explore Edinburgh’s seaside and coastal gems

Located on the outskirts of Edinburgh, South Queensferry sits below the celebrated Forth Bridges, a UNESCO heritage site on the Firth of Forth. A quaint coastal village that welcomes visitors to enjoy its seasonal menus and tasty cafés, iconic coastal views, and quality gift shops selling handmade goodies.

Boat cruises on the Firth of Forth can be booked with Forth Boat Tours, who run trips to Inchcolm Island and Blackness Castle. Guided commentary and local wildlife can be enjoyed, with private hire available on request. Maid of the Forth includes a 45 minutes’ guided walking tour around Inchcolm Abbey.

A Three Bridges Bus and Boat Tour provides travel from the city centre to the Forth Bridges, and a roundtrip will last around three hours.

Add a visit to a historic mansion house such as Dalmeny House  (closed for refurbishments 2023) and Hopetoun House; one of Scotland’s finest stately homes (included in the Forth Boats package).

Both activities with a meal stop would add up to one full day trip.

Eating and drinking opportunities in the area would include Hopetoun House café and others as listed on our South Queensferry food and drink guide.

ADD ON – There’s still more to explore!

An additional 8 ideas to consider for your consumers; from famous football stadiums to animal antics at Edinburgh Zoo!

  1. Edinburgh Zoo experiences offer exclusive Ranger Tours or Animal Meet and Greets (30 and 60 minute tours)
  2. Scotbeer Tours run regular and private beer and brewery tours.
  3. St Cecilia’s Hall and the Music Museum is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall, a hidden musical instrument gem.
  4. Tour one of the two famous Edinburgh football teams’ grounds. Book a 60-minute tour of Tynecastle Football Stadium, the Hearts team stadium. Available for groups.
  5. Knights Vault is a unique shop on the Royal Mile, with experts in ancient weaponry, sword making, Scottish ancestry and clans. Talks, interactive experiences, and demonstrations are also available.
  6. Summerhall – Pickerings Gin teach customers how craft gin is made in their Gin Jolly experience.
  7. Literary Pub Tour run regular walking tours with private groups by arrangement, which are perfect for FIT bookings. Customers will learn 300 years of Scottish literary history, with some great pub stops along the way. Award winning.
  8. Thunderdice immersive experiences & workshops from Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter- for full days out and exploring through story tellers.