10 things to know before visiting Edinburgh

Visiting Edinburgh: things to know before you go

If you’re planning on visiting Edinburgh soon, here are some things you need to know. From how to get here and where to stay, to things to do and understanding the local lingo. We’ve got you covered!

1. How to get here

First thing’s first, you need to plan your journey. As Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh has excellent national and international connections. With its own airport, train stations and bus station, it’s simple to get here. And once, you’re here, you can get around easily on foot, by bus, tram or taxi. Our guide to Edinburgh transport will tell you more about how to get here and how to get around the city.

Passengers reading on a train

2. What to pack

Scotland is well-known for its changeable weather. And while it is true that we may experience, sunshine, snow, wind and rain all in one day, it’s generally a mild climate. Temperatures range from average lows of 1°C in winter to highs of 19°C in summer. Our advice is to pack lots of layers, then you’ll be ready for anything! Also, remember some comfortable shoes for walking on the cobbled streets. Other useful items: raincoat and waterproofs, water bottle, flask, phone, camera, charger, UK power adaptor, map or city guide.

People with umbrellas in the rain in Edinburgh

3. Where to stay

Staying in Edinburgh city centre means you’re close to all the main attractions, as well as great transport links for day trips and tours. Our cosy hotel, nestled at the foot of Calton Hill is right in the heart of the action. Located just minutes from the east end of Princes Street, Waverley Station and plenty off things to see and do, it’s the perfect base for your Edinburgh break. Check out our special offers and book a room today!

A double bed in Parliament House Hotel

4. What to do

There is so much going on in Edinburgh, you’ll have no problem in finding things to do. The trick is fitting it all in! We recommend making a plan in advance, so you don’t run out of time.

Popular attractions include Edinburgh CastleNational Museum of ScotlandRoyal Yacht BritanniaPalace of Holyroodhouse, The Real Mary King’s Close and The Scotch Whisky Experience. But there are so many more. So, take a look at our list here and pick out your must-see attractions.

Don’t forget, there are also plenty of festivals and events planned throughout the year. From the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festival in summer, to Christmas and Hogmanay in winter. Check to see which festivals are on during your stay.

A tourist taking a selfie with Edinburgh Castle behind him

5. Where to visit

If you want to see more of Scotland, Edinburgh is the ideal place to base yourself for day trips and adventures. Hop on a bus or a train, hire a car, or join an organised tour, and explore some of the wonderful cities, towns and villages all around us. For example, Glasgow, East Lothian, West Lothian, Fife, Perthshire and the Scottish Borders are all within travelling distance for a day trip. Find out more with our recommendations for amazing places to visit, small towns and villages and road trips from Edinburgh.

Glasgow Clyde Arc Bridge at night

6. What to eat and drink

There are plenty of Scottish delicates for you to try while visiting Edinburgh. Of course, haggis and whisky are a given. But consider some of these other traditional dishes too. There are also many international restaurants, serving up delicious cuisine from around the world. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat out, see these guides to the best restaurants and pubs and bars near our hotel.

Haggis, neeps, tatties and whisky

7. Local people

Scots are famous for being helpful and friendly. Regularly voted as the friendliest people in the UK. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. As long as you don’t mind a bit of banter – we have a wicked sense of humour too!

View of Edinburgh from Arthurs Seat on a sunny day

8. Local lingo

Get up to speed with the locals by reading our guides to Edinburgh Slang and Scottish Sayings. Before you know it, you’ll be having a barry night, getting cosy in your baffies and sipping a can of fizzy juice!

A couple walking through a narrow close in Edinburgh

9. Local stories

Edinburgh has a rich history and there are some fascinating stories, some are true, while others have been embellished over the years. Learning some of our stories, myths and legends before you arrive will give you a sense of our history and folklore. You may also discover interesting people and places that you want to find out more about during your trip. Read up here on the history of Edinburgh and a few of its great myths and legends, along with these interesting stories and bizarre facts.

Colourful shop fronts in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh

10. Local tips

Just a few more things to know. Scotland is its own country, which is part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Throughout the UK, we drive on the left. Our currency is the Pound Sterling (GBP). When using cash notes, you’ll notice a difference between the Scottish and English ones. However, both are accepted.

Looking down Edinburgh's Princes Street from Calton Hill

So now you know a few things about Edinburgh, which should help you to prepare for your visit. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful city. Take a look around our hotel and book your break today!