View of Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is a lively, vibrant city, with lots to do. Fortunately, it’s also a compact place that’s easy to get around on foot, and there’s excellent public transport and plenty of parking.

It’s difficult to narrow down the pleasures of this beautiful city, so below, we’re going to tell you our favourite things to do. We’re sure you’ll discover your own highlights too! All of these tie in perfectly with a Haven stay at Seton Sands.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a tour of the castle. Visible on its scenic rocky hillside from all over the city, the best exterior view is probably from Prince’s Street Garden. Walk from the gardens up to the top of the Royal Mile, and you’ll find the Castle Esplanade, a wide area which hosts the Military Tattoo every year during the Edinburgh International Festival. 

You can tour the castle interior, parts of which date back to the 11th century, and there’s lots to see. Highlights include St Margaret’s Chapel, the vaulted Great Hall, and the Stone of Destiny upon which Scottish (and British) Kings and Queens were crowned. Watch out for the One o'clock Gun, a cannon blast which marks the hour of 1pm each day!

Spooky tour of the Old Town

For more old Edinburgh history, a ghost tour is a must. Several operators run spooky walks among Edinburgh’s scariest places, including the Blair Street underground vaults and Mary King’s Close, a buried medieval street in the Old Town. You’ll hear tales of murder, grave robbing, plagues, hauntings, hangings, and witch hunts.  

If you want to construct your own tour, seek out the closes and lanes which lead off the Royal Mile. From Milnes Court to Fleshmarket Close, there are plenty of picturesque, cobbled alleyways to explore. Stop off for a hot toddy in the Jolly Judge (James Court) or pop into the Writer’s Museum on Lady Stair’s Close, where you can learn about Scottish luminaries like Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace

At the opposite end of The Royal Mile from the Castle, you’ll find another legendary royal home, Holyrood Palace. This is the King’s official residence when in Edinburgh and contains an impressive collection of artworks and artefacts including works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Holbein, and others.  

What you’re probably visiting for, of course, is the opportunity to gawp at the opulent interiors of the royal chambers, including a beautiful suite created in the 16th century for Mary, Queen of Scots. As well as public access, you can book a private tour, walk the ornate grounds, and check out the remains of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey.

National Galleries

Just off Prince’s Street, at The Mound, you’ll find two large, classically styled galleries. The northernmost is home to the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) and features contemporary art from some of Scotland’s most celebrated artists. Behind it is the National Gallery, which houses a large selection of old masters including Italian Renaissance legends and Scottish masterpieces. 

The galleries are linked by a modern, glass-fronted under croft overlooking the gardens, which includes an excellent restaurant and shop. On the square adjacent to the galleries, you’ll often find a marketplace or, during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, street performers and entertainers. 

If you still have an appetite for great art after visiting these two, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street is only 10 minutes away. It holds a varied collection of portraiture, both historic and contemporary and is housed in a stunning, neo-gothic building of red sandstone.

New Town Shopping

New Town Shopping

The Georgian “New Town” dates to the 18th century, where a grand town planning scheme laid out a grid of wide avenues and ornate circuses. It’s now where many of the big brands, boutiques and fashionable bars can be found. From art supplies to designer watches, there’s plenty to keep your magpie tendencies occupied. 

Rose Street is a must-see, containing small restaurants, pubs, and specialist shops. There’s a relatively new enclave of designer brands east of St Andrews Square too, including whisky shops, fine art, and clothing. For art and antiques, Dundas Street is worth a wander (you’ll get great views over the Firth of Forth from this high vantage point too).

Discover breaks in Scotland

Craig Tara self catering holidays

Craig Tara, Scotland

4 nights from £49
Seton Sands self catering holidays

Seton Sands, Scotland

4 nights from £65

Dean Village and Stockbridge

One of the prettiest spots in the city can be found to the northeast of the New Town, by walking down Howe Street and either passing through Royal Circus or, better still, taking the tiny, steep, and picturesque Circus Lane. Turn right at its end and you’re in Stockbridge, a well-to-do area with cobbled streets, famous pubs (such as the Bailie Bar) and restaurants.  

Continue your wander along the Water of Leith walkway past the Grecian-styled St Bernard’s Well, where Georgians and Victorians once took health-giving mineral waters. You’ll soon reach the Dean Bridge, and the surrounding streets comprising the Dean Village, once the sight of several mills and mill workers cottages.

The Grassmarket and Victoria Street

The Grassmarket and Victoria Street

The Grassmarket is one of Edinburgh’s best-known landmarks. As well as famous pubs like The Last Drop, you’ll find cute second-hand bookshops, markets, boutiques, cafes, and Victoria Street, one of the city’s loveliest cobbled lanes. 

The area has a sinister past too; The Last Drop’s name doesn’t just refer to alcohol – it’s adjacent to where the city’s scaffold for public hangings was once situated. The Grassmarket was a cattle, horse, and corn market as far back as the 14th century, and is still a hub of commerce, although retailers rule the roost now. 

Famous local stores include Armstrong’s vintage clothes emporium and Mr Wood’s fossils, where you’ll find ammonites and prehistoric shark’s teeth.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens is free to visit, although there’s a small fee to enter the ornate, temperate and humidity-controlled glasshouses. Situated on 70 hilly acres north of Stockbridge, the gardens are exquisitely laid-out and offer a range of different environments and facilities including a woodland garden, Chinese hillside, arboretum, ornate pond, and streams. 

There’s a gallery at Inverleith House which specialises in botanic-themed art and photography and a wonderful café and restaurant on Arboretum Place. Because it’s built on a hillside, the gardens, which date back over 350 years, offer fantastic vistas of the city, and a wide range of formal and more relaxed garden styles.   

The Gardens do important and fascinating conservation work, and holds regular events, talks, and exhibits.

Pentland Hills

Pentland Hills

If you fancy getting out into the countryside to enjoy a stroll, Edinburgh boasts a gorgeous country park on its doorstep. The Pentland Hills can be reached from Flotterstone on the A702, or Bonaly Park, not far from Edinburgh’s bypass at Dreghorn. 

Park up and explore beautiful trails, reservoirs, woodland, and hills, which can often contain more sheep than fellow hikers. You can even swim in some of the reservoirs here, and the hills are quite accessible and manageable for any reasonably able-bodied walker.  

The Pentland Hills and Bonaly Country Park is a real hidden gem, known mostly to locals. Breathe fresh air and enjoy spectacular 360° views over the whole city.

Edinburgh Festivals

Edinburgh’s annual Fringe Festival in August is the world’s largest arts festival, so it’s well worth a visit during a time when Edinburgh is buzzing with thousands of comedy, theatre, dance, music and arts events.  

However, there isn’t just one summer festival in Edinburgh. In July, there’s a 10-day Jazz and Blues Festival. August also boasts the long-running Edinburgh Book Festival, one of the UK’s premiere literary events, which features hundreds of visiting authors and speakers. 

The official Edinburgh Festival features “high art” events such as opera, classical music, and theatre from all over the globe and runs concurrently with the Fringe, which specialises in smaller shows and gigs in hundreds of pop-up venues ranging from church halls to double decker buses. 

Finally, if you’re visiting at Christmas or New Year, you’ve chosen another great time to see Edinburgh. Fireworks, street parties, ceilidhs, torchlit processions and German markets make Edinburgh’s Yuletide and Hogmanay one of the most spectacular seasonal celebrations in the UK.

Start planning your Great British break

Important information

New holiday homes from £33,995

Holiday home price is for a new 3-bedroom Willerby Ellerton Extra holiday and includes siting, connections and standard accessories. 

From 12 July 2024 the holiday home price is reduced from £37,995 to £33,995 and will remain at this price until all available stock is sold. 

The holiday home price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale. Subject to status and availability.    

As at 12 July 2024 this price is available at Berwick, Burnham-on-Sea, Devon Cliffs, Doniford Bay, Hafan y Mor, Kent Coast, Lakeland, Marton Mere, Presthaven, Primrose Valley, Reighton Sands, Seton Sands and Weymouth Bay. 

Haven reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time. Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.   

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven).  Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.   

Pre-owned holiday homes from £14,995 Holiday home price is based on a pre-owned holiday home and includes siting, connections and standard accessories.  

Price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale. Subject to status and availability.  

As at 12 July 2024, price is available at Blue Dolphin, Combe Haven, Caister, Cleethorpes Beach, Craig Tara, Golden Sands, Greenacres, Haggerston Castle, Skegness, The Orchards, Quay West and Wild Duck only until the stock has been sold. Haven reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven). Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them. 

New holiday homes from £29,995 – reduced from £33,995 

Holiday home price is for a new 3-bedroom Willerby Ellerton Extra holiday and includes siting, connections and standard accessories. 

From 12 July 2024 the holiday home price is reduced from £37,995 to £29,995 until 31 August 2024 at which point it will revert to £33,995. At Far Grange the holiday home price point is reduced from £33,995 and will revert to this price on 31 August 2024. 

The holiday home price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale. Subject to status and availability.    

As at 12 July 2024 this price is available at – Blue Dolphin, Caister-on-Sea, Cleethorpes Beach, Come Haven, Craig Tara, Far Grange, Greenacres, Haggerston Castle, The Orchards, Quay West, and Wild Duck 

Haven reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time. Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.   

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven).  Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.   

Pre-owned holiday homes from £19,995

Holiday home price is based on a Bronze Grade pre-owned holiday home 6 years or older and includes siting, connections and standard accessories.   

Price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale.  Subject to status and availability.   

As at 12 July 2024, price is available at all parks, excluding Cala Gran, Church Farm, Cardigan View, Cleethorpes Beach, Craig Tara, Far Grange, Golden Sands, Haggerston Castle, Kiln Park, Littlesea, Lydstep Beach, Orchards, Penally Court, Perran Sands, Rockley Park, Riviere Sands, Seashore, Seaview, Skegness and Thornwick Bay.   

Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times. Park cannot be used as a permanent residence.  

Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven).  Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office:  One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL.  We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.  

Free 2024 site fees when you buy a Haven holiday home

Offer is applicable to new customer purchases made through Haven from 19 April 2024, completing by 31 December 2024.

Offer excludes part-exchanges or private sales. Available on new & pre-owned holiday homes at the following selected parks only: Kent Coast, Burnham-on-Sea, Cleethorpes Beach, Craig Tara, Far Grange, Golden Sands, Haggerston Castle, Hopton, Orchards, Skegness and Wild Duck.

A credit equivalent to the value of your site fees due during the 2024 season will be applied to your account balance on completion of your purchase for use against your running costs e.g. utilities, after-sale add-ons e.g storage boxes or site fees. It cannot be applied to your purchase or refunded in cash.

Subject to availability and status. Deposit required. Access to your holiday home is subject to park opening times.

Offer cannot be combined with any other offer, discount, or promotion. Offer may be withdrawn or changed at any time without notice. Full site fees will be payable for subsequent years.

Images are shown for representational purposes.

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven). Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.

Let2offset - make no site fee payments until 2031

Let2offset is a contractual lettings product that offers eligible owners a guaranteed letting income at a preferential rate (calculated each year) in exchange for a stipulated number of letting breaks. It also allows eligible owners to pay their site fees and receive their letting income in 12 equal monthly instalments; the monthly site fee amount charged by Haven will be after deduction of the letting income.

‘Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031’ is available at 33 Haven parks excluding Burnham, Cardigan View, Far Grange, Garreg Wen, Lydstep Beach, Riviere Sands and Seaview.  The letting income received will vary by make, model and location. The monthly site fee payment does not include running costs e.g. utilities, rates & insurance.

“Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031” is applicable to new and existing customer purchases of new Atlas Sahara 3 Bed or equivalent or superior grade holiday home purchases made through Haven where customers have also signed up to Haven’s Let2offset contract. It is not applicable to private sales and cannot be used in conjunction with our free Site Fee promotion.  It is available across 40% of eligible Parks and applies when letting a new Atlas Sahara 3 Bed holiday home (or equivalent or superior grade for 15 weeks.

An example of how “Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031” operates under Let2offset is the purchase of an Atlas Sahara 3 Bed holiday home at Primrose Valley with a monthly site fee of £585.00 (includes purchasing discount of £45) and monthly letting income of £803.67. The monthly difference equates to £218.67, which will be credited to the owner's account. Both letting income and site fees are subject to yearly pricing reviews and the monthly site fee costs and letting income shown in the example are based on 2024 figures.

Modelled assumptions on expected annual site fee and letting income charges over the 7-year lettable life of the Atlas Sahara 3 Bed indicate that under Let2offset it is anticipated that these customers will continue to receive a monthly credit during this period, however, this is not guaranteed. The modelled assumptions are based on the historical performance of Haven over the past 5 years of trading.

Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven). Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.

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