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Culture Lover’s Guide Edinburgh

Culture Lover’s Guide Edinburgh

The Scottish capital is home to one of the world’s biggest and most renowned arts festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe. The city is a hub for Scottish cultural tradition and a magnet for innovative young creators during the August fest and year-round. From bagpipe performances to museum visits, here are the city’s top cultural activities.

Learn about Edinburgh’s literary connections.

Edinburgh has been an inspiration for many a famous writer, from Sherlock Holmes-creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to 18th-century poet Robert Burns. Join a literary tour to discover sites connected with well-known wordsmiths, such as the cafe where J.K. Rowling penned part of her first Harry Potter novel, and the Writers’ Museum, which celebrates the work of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Browse the National Galleries of Scotland.

Edinburgh is home to all three branches of the National Galleries of Scotland, which possess significant collections of national and international art. Inspect works by European greats and classic Scottish masterpieces from the likes of Sir Henry Raeburn at the National Gallery, then stare down famous faces from Scotland’s past at the National Portrait Gallery. The third branch, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, is spread out across two venues, and focuses on art of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Catch a bagpipes performance.

The bagpipes are a national symbol in Scotland. While it's unusual to hear them outside the country, expect to encounter the woodwind instrument's distinctive droning sound in Edinburgh. Take a walking tour down the Royal Mile, where busking bagpipers are frequently stationed, or catch them on stage at traditional Scottish shows including at Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade in August for the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Sample a Scotch or two.

Whisky is as essential to Scottish identity as tartan and bagpipes, and imbibing a dram is part of experiencing the local culture. To appreciate the nuances of regional styles and variations, it’s best to sip your Scotch on a guided tasting session, where you not only get to savor them but you also learn about whisky production and Scotch-sipping etiquette.

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5 Tours and Activities | All Edinburgh Tours

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Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh

Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh

star-5
Explore the stunning Scottish Highlands on a full-day excursion that includes Glencoe and Loch Ness. Set own from Edinburgh aboard a comfortable coach bus to experience some of the area's top sights and attractions. Tour Deanston Distillery and sample its whisky, learn the fascinating history of Glencoe—a village made modernly famous as a setting for 'James Bond' and 'Harry Potter' films—and opt to take a boat cruise upon iconic Loch Ness, keeping an eye out for the famous 'Nessie' as you go.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$65.11
From
$65.11
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at several strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and many more. Buses depart regularly and tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.70
From
$21.70
Taking safety measures

Spirit of Scotland Show

Spirit of Scotland Show

star-3.5
Enjoy a classic Scottish outing—both cultural and culinary—during this dinner and show. Conveniently held in the heart of Edinburgh, this evening performance features a professional bagpipe player in full Highland dress, as well as accompanying musicians and dancers. A multi-course meal of traditional Scottish dishes, a drink, and a haggis tasting are also included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$95.34
From
$95.34

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-5
Explore famous landmarks and hidden secrets in Edinburgh on this walking tour. Explore Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile with a guide, and gain insight into famous writers and inventors who have called the city home. Hear tales of Scotland's national bard—Robert Burns—and discover top landmarks such as St. Giles’ Cathedral and the National Galleries of Scotland. Capture Edinburgh through the eye of your camera as you go, and find out what makes this ancient city tick.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$33.01
From
$33.01
Taking safety measures

JK Rowling's Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter

JK Rowling's Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter

star-5
Learn about J.K. Rowling and the origins of the 'Harry Potter' books during a walking tour of Edinburgh. See places that inspired Rowling such as the Balmoral Hotel and University of Edinburgh's Old College; locales that shaped the Dementors and Ministry of Magic; and cafes where Rowling liked to write. Your guide is a 'Harry Potter' fan who shares fascinating details about the wizarding world in Edinburgh.
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  • 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$20.35
From
$20.35
Taking safety measures