The Best Edinburgh Travel Tips From Our Readers


The view from Edinburgh Castle
Photo: Dun.can

The travel tips for Edinburgh, Scotland got real sweary, in a good way. Here are the highlights of this week’s Hack Your City. Most of the tips below are from longer comments, so go read the full comments under the Staff tab in our Monday post. Read them in your best worst Scottish accent.

Each Monday on Hack Your City, we ask readers for your best tips on a city: driving tips, restaurant recs, things to do, and any other advice for visitors and locals. Then on Thursday, we present the best comments. We’re working our way around the U.S. and around the globe.

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Balloon sculpture “Event Horizon” at the National Museum
Photo: Jim Barton

What to try

  • “The National Museum of Scotland is fantastic (also free!) and provides a nice alternative if it is raining outside. A lot of Scottish history, a bit of world history, and a some sweet natural history elements,” says Northern_Owlbear. “Fucking awesome! It’s like 5 floors of shit, because apparently the Scottish invented like…fucking everything,” says FreeCharlie.
  • “Not too far from the museum: Grassmarket! Good restaurants and bars, quirky little shops, narrow—very narrow—stairways, and excellent people watching.”—Bluefido
  • “Hiking Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags was a great way to get outside and see the city from a great viewpoint.”—PaulHMA
  • “Drink Irn Bru, thank me later.”—Mr.John
  • “If the coffee at the Elephant House makes you have to urgently shit a half-hour later, the library has public toilets.”—wtfwth
  • “Sheep Heid: a 600-year old pub next to a loch in Duddingston, which is right next to Arthur’s Seat. When most people think of Edinburgh they think ancient buildings, incredible history, and alcohol. This pub is the manifestation of those thoughts, and although the food isn’t outstanding the experience is what most visitors want.”—FormerScot
  • Panda & Sons is a must.”—Tracer Bullet

Where else to go

  • “Although technically not Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel is an unusual and very beautiful church. It gained popularity as it had an important role in The Da Vinci Code, although I’m not sure whether that was a blessing or a curse.”—TheLaughinKipper
  • “If you’re willing to leave the city for a bit, Lauriston Castle is extremely beautiful. It doesn’t have as many tourists, and the grounds behind the castle give you a good view of the river.”—sidewalk

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Sheep Heid Inn, allegedly the oldest pub in Scotland
Photo: Kim Traynor

What to know

  • “The Scots are fucking SUPER NICE people. In 7 or 8 days I bet I got into 40 or 50 random conversations with people on the street.”—FreeCharlie
  • “Edinburgh buses do not give you change, so you have to have the exact money ready. You cannot pay with your contactless bank card or smartphone.”—Embra lad
  • “I did the whole ‘no cell data smartphone’ thing, so I operated off wifi exclusively. I was able to find enough public access that I was able to stay in touch with home.”—Xman2001and71
  • “Jump down the side streets and alleys (most are named) and keep your eyes open for hidden gems. We came across a little shortbread shop this way.”—Northern_Owlbear
  • “If you like whisky, make sure you leave space to bring some home.”—Gmartin
  • “If you are venturing to the rest of the UK from Scotland, spend your Scottish notes as they can sometimes be difficult to use in the rest of the kingdom (i.e., the South).”—@qi
  • “Edinburgh is crazy busy during the two marquee events, the festival (most of August) and Hogmanay (New Year’s), but much less busy during the (very cold, wet, and dark) winter. My favorite months were always May and September when it’s relatively warm and it stays light until 10 pm and every outdoor space is packed with people enjoying a good time.”—FormerScot

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What to skip

  • “Skip the stupid tunnels tours. You get to see like 4 or 5 brick rooms. It’s bullshit.”—FreeCharlie
  • “The Scotch Whisky Experience is a total tourist trap and not worth visiting, even if you are a scotch addict like me.”—PaulHMA
  • “Tourists should probably veer away from Edinburgh Castle because there’s just masses of tourists, school kids, just everyone. Holyrood Palace offers a more scenic walk down the Royal Mile (along with handful of closes/alleyways) and a chance to spend more time in all of the rooms.”—sidewalk
  • “Don’t eat or buy anything near the castle, it’s expensive and generally appeals to tourists/the lowest common denominator.”—the forlorn pope

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Our last tip has pictures:

That’s all for Edinburgh! If you have tips of your own, leave them below. For more, read the comments on Monday’s post. And come back next week when we do an American -burgh. YOU’LL NEVER GUESS.

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