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The Best Way to Explore Edinburgh: Day Two

We hope you slept well and had a hearty breakfast, as we’ve got day two of your Edinburgh itinerary for your three-day trip to Edinburgh. Today we’ll be showing you the best things to do in Edinburgh’s Old Town, come rain or shine!

Day 2: Edinburgh Itinerary of the Old Town

Tea with the Queen

 Exterior shot of the Palace of Holyrood House in EdinburghWhile you won’t literally be having tea with the Queen on your trip to Edinburgh, the closest you’ll come is a trip to the Palace of Holyrood House, the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, once home to Mary, Queen of Scots. Located at the foot of the Royal Mile, the palace was built in the late 17th century. It’s one of Edinburgh’s most popular visitor attractions.

You’ll see the royal gardens, 14 historic apartments and the stunning ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey. We recommend booking tickets online in advance and turning up early to skip the queues.

See the Castle

Edinburgh Castle in autumnIf you’re pushed for time and it’s your first visit, you simply have to see Edinburgh Castle. Towering over Princes Street from the top of Castle Rock, this historic fortress opens early. And we recommend booking your tickets online to save a few pounds and skip the inevitable queues!

The Castle is not only the most iconic building on the Edinburgh skyline, it’s also home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. It’s here the One O’ Clock Gun is located too – if you’re walking along Princes Street at 1 pm on a weekday, you’ll hear it being fired.

Explore the Royal Apartments, stroll through the Great Hall, see the Scottish National War Memorial and St Margaret’s Chapel and snap a photo or two next to ‘Mon’s Meg’ cannon.

A magical lunch

sausage and mash with gravy on a white plateSightseeing is hungry work! So after your busy morning, why not stop off for some cosy, rib-sticking food at Mum’s Comfort Food on Forest Road? Served in a British diner-style setting, this is the place to head for sausage and mash. For something a little different you could have lunch at The Elephant House on George IV Bridge – it’s where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book!

The Real Mary King’s Close

Edinburgh Close at NightAfter lunch, check out Mary King’s Close, a 17th-century close located underneath the Royal Mile. It’s a fascinating glimpse into life in the past, with its old town alleyways and resident ghost. Tenements here were once up to eight storeys high but when the Royal Exchange was built in the 18th century, the close was partially demolished and buried. The atmospheric underground tour isn’t suitable for very young children, but for everyone else it’s a truly unique experience.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

Tourist on rooftop of Camera Obscura in EdinburghIf you’re on a three-day trip to Edinburgh with the kids, don’t miss Camera Obscura. Located on Castlehill, it’s a fantastic interactive Aladdin’s Cave of puzzles, illusions and tricks. With its magical mirror maze, vortex tunnel, puzzling zone and holography gallery. Climb to the rooftop for an amazing 360-degree panorama of Edinburgh. Or use the live city viewcams to see Edinburgh as you’ve never seen it before! The all-day tickets mean you can come and go as you please.

Royal Mile Edinburgh after dark

Black sign with gold writing for Royal Mile in EdinburghAs darkness falls, the Royal Mile takes on a new, spookier feel. So it’s the perfect time for a ghost tour. But first, grab a casual bite to eat and some craft beers at Salt Horse on Blackfriars Street or a sophisticated candlelit dinner at Angels with Bagpipes on the Royal Mile.

Mercat Tours run two of the city’s best tours. The Haunted Graveyard tour takes you into the Covenanter’s Prison in Greyfriars Kirkyard and to the ‘Black Mausoleum’, home of the Mackenzie Poltergeist. Or try the Underground City of the Dead tour. Here you’ll head under the city into the creepy Edinburgh vaults and see Damnation Alley. Both tours leave regularly from the Royal Mile (near St Giles Cathedral) but it’s best to check online for times and ticket prices.

It’s just a short stroll back to Parliament House Hotel from the Old Town, and our historic hotel’s rooms are all unique, brimming with Edinburgh charm and period features. They’re packed with modern amenities too like flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, so why not book your stay today? We’ve a busy Edinburgh itinerary for you tomorrow when we head for Leith and South Queensferry!

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