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30 Things You Can Strike Off Your Bucket List By Visiting Edinburgh (Part 3 of a 6 Part Series)

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

“There’s no leaving Edinburgh, No shifting it around: it stays with you, always.” – Alan Bold

Part THREE of our Edinburgh bucket list series! Stay tuned for more in the 6 part series.

If you haven't figured it out yet, we LOVE Edinburgh. We are like little kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought every time we visit so it's hard to break down Edinburgh in a 6 part series

We get the side-eye glances from people when we say we are going back to Edinburgh and usually asked the same question, "You've already been there many times, go somewhere new!" Or.. "What's so great about Edinburgh?"

Ummm... have you ever been to Edinburgh? There's something "new" around every corner. We can't get enough of the mystery of this once-walled city. The stories, the food, music... the ghosts!

How do you put in words the emotions that Edinburgh awakens? We want to laugh, cry, squeal! Standing on Princes Street, looking up to Old Town seriously takes our breath away. The feeling like you are looking back in history hearing the clompety-clomp of horse's hooves on the cobblestoned streets and seeing the chimney smoke that has since turned the buildings to their tell-tale smoky black.

There is something magical about the city of Edinburgh that pulls us back each year. It's time you experience it. #getinspired

We've strolled the Royal Mile, Old and New Town, been through the castle many times, stood up on Calton Hill for the best panoramic views and are amazed each time when the sun rises or sets, when it snows or rains, the beauty and mysticism of Edinburgh.

Below are the next in our bucket list. We are planning more trips to Edinburgh to unlock more sites, restaurants, and events that we have yet to experience. Stay tuned...

We have compiled our top 30 MUST SEE, DO, and EXPERIENCE in Edinburgh in a six part series.

Missed the first part of the series? Check it out here!

How about the 2nd part! Click here!


20. Edinburgh Dungeons

Ready for a tongue and cheek, jump out of the dark corners “creepy” tour. Fun for the whole family.

Entertaining, scary, and laugh-out-loud good fun. Spend 80 minutes with Edinburgh’s dark past led by live actors.

There are two short underground rides, strobe lights (warning if you suffer from epilepsy), scare tactics, and lots of special effects.

It is a fun and popular tour!


  • We couldn't stop laughing. You know the giggling teenagers? Yep, that was us!

  • Fun for the family

  • Not too scary, definitely entertaining

  • The sets were well done

  • The fun "roller coaster" at the end of the tour

  • It is listed in the Edinburgh Pass


  • There were some strobe light effects so be aware if you are sensitive

  • It was a bit pricey (but since it was on the Pass, that didn't bother us)

19. Calton Hill

At the east end of Princes Street, stands monuments on Calton Hill with the best views of Edinburgh. Look across the Firth of Forth, stand nose to nose with Arthur’s Seat, observe the magnificent rooftops on the Royal Mile, and see why Edinburgh Castle reigns high over Edinburgh.

The views are spectacular whether you stand on the Hill or climb up the monument. There are many stories about Calton Hill, such as, the Acropolis-like structure known as Edinburgh’s Disgrace (during construction, money needed was not raised by the citizens and construction stopped) aka the National Monument. Though the designer may have been laughed out of Edinburgh, this structure is amazing and a great backdrop for pictures. Disgrace? Nope. It’s a sublime piece of Edinburgh’s puzzle.


  • Panoramic views

  • It's free on the hill but there is a fee to walk to to the top of the Monument (see the Nelson Monument

  • Peaceful break from the bustling Royal Mile and Princes Street


  • If you have bad knees, you may want to take it slow.

Address to Calton Hill: Edinburgh EH7 5AA, United Kingdom


18. Nelson Monument

Only a 6 pound entry fee, it is worth the windy 143 steps to the top for some of the great panoramic views of Edinburgh, Holyrood, Arthur's Seat, and the Firth.

Standing on Calton Hill, looking up at the telescopic museum, can be a bit frightening. Your mind is cheering, "Yes"! while your legs are screaming "No!".

If you decide to go up the Nelson Monument, like the Scott Monument, be ready to climb the windy stone stairs to the top. We got a kick out of the messages on the walls along the way to the top, i.e. “You’re Almost There”.. Or.. “Halfway There”. #thanksfortheencouragement

Be prepared to be winded with legs-a-burning when you reach the top, but it is worth it!

If the queen is in residence in Holyrood Palace, wave to her! I’m sure she’s watching! Bring the selfie stick and take the most amazing pictures of Edinburgh.

If the day goes your way, climb on a cloudless day for the great views. Lucky for us, we had the most beautiful, blue sky day. And... we know the queen waved back to us!


  • Panoramic views

  • Daily dose of leg exercises.

  • The cheeky "tongue in cheek" messages to encourage you to the top!

  • The price included in the Edinburgh Pass

  • Museum at the base of the monument


  • Being out of breath to reach the top

  • Stairs are narrow and windy - can feel a bit claustrophobic


17. The Witchery

Want ambiance, leather, tuxedoed waiters, and eloquent delicious food? Yeah, us too!

We really do try to travel within a budget, the quick street food or the local butcher's meat pies but there are times when we want to splurge a bit. We have no shame: we like being pampered.

The Witchery, dripping in opulence, has two main dining areas: the baroque 16th Century original oak paneled dining room or the cozy candle-lit Secret Garden.

“Dine on red leather seats, surrounded by ancient oak paneling hung with tapestries. Heraldic painted ceilings recalling the Auld Alliance and Edinburgh's Royal past are reflected in the candlelight of dozens of antique candlesticks, whilst historic stone walls remind of the building's four hundred years of history.” ~


  • Ambiance (Felt like royalty)

  • The staff: very accommodating for working with food restrictions

  • The food and wine: top notch

  • Great list of food options

  • Food cooked to perfection


  • Fills up fast, make sure you have your reservation


16. Museum of Edinburgh

Near the bottom of the Royal Mile, and less touristy section is this great museum.

Get a glimpse of the history of Edinburgh here, experience Scottish craftsmanship through art, pottery, and beautifully cut glass collections, and artifacts.

Find Greyfriar's Bobby's collar and food bowl!

"Centuries of Edinburgh’s history are waiting to be discovered from the Old and New towns. Highlights including the National Covenant of 1638, which led to civil war and the collar and bowl of Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye terrier whose dogged devotion to his dead master touched the hearts of many and inspired numerous books and film adaptations. Also on display, from 12.00 to 2.00 are designer of the New Town James Craig’s iconic plans. First World War commander Earl Haig’s extensive collections are also on display.

The Museum also houses spectacular collections of decorative art which reveal a rich history of Scottish craftsmanship, from beautifully cut and engraved glass and intricately made silver from Edinburgh and Canongate, costume, longcase clocks, along with Scottish pottery and Scottish porcelain dating from the 1760s." ~


  • Free!

  • Lovely relics of Edinburgh's past

  • Not crowded


  • Can't think of any!


Stay tuned for the next 3 blogs in the series! Ready to go to Edinburgh? Subscribe to our blog/website for more updates and email announcements. Find us on Facebook and join our travel community: Thistles and Coos Travel Community

Thank you again for all your support! We appreciate you!

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