Edinburgh city is in Scotland located in the United Kingdom. While planning our travels to Ireland, we saw we had some time to visit some other areas. As most people know, it’s easy to get cheap flights with Ryanair for shorter flights like these. We decided between visiting London or Scotland. Although I have never been to London, it was lower on my list of places to visit. I am glad I was able to spend one day in Edinburgh and move on to visit one day in Glasgow. Our day trip to Edinburgh will get you a feel of what this beautiful town has to offer.
There are so many reasons to visit Scotland from the beautiful rolling green hills to the beautiful cathedrals and palaces to their rich culture and history. Scotland is the land known for the Vikings and has a long history with the Irish. Many people who are of Irish descent may have a bit of Viking blood in them as well.
If you still aren’t convinced, be sure to read about 12 Reasons Why You Should Visit Scotland.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Support my blog here.
One Day in Edinburgh Itinerary
Edinburgh is a smaller city in comparison to many of the bigger cities in Europe like London, Dublin, etc. There are fewer places to visit in Edinburgh making it doable to do in one day. A day Edinburgh Itinerary can be jam-packed or as relaxed as you may want it. Most of the things you can do are in a small block of each other.
What I loved the most about our day trip in Edinburgh was its quaint style and beauty. This city has a lot of small details and you can truly understand where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Harry Potter. If you are a big Harry Potter nerd like myself, you will notice right away when you take a stroll down Victoria Street that it reminds you a lot of the movie sets from Harry Potter.
If you have more time in Scotland, take a day trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow.
RELATED: Edinburgh Day Trips
What to do in Edinburgh in one day Itinerary
Are you looking for the perfect itinerary for Edinburgh in one day? Well, you came to the right place. There are a lot of options on how to spend 24 hours in Edinburgh. I provide all of the best places to visit in Edinburgh in one day.
There are 2 areas to Edinburgh and it’s made up of two districts, the old town, and the new town. The old town dates back to medieval times and the new town is well new and modern compared to the rest.
Edinburgh Castle – A must-do during your Edinburgh One Day Itinerary
The first and most important thing to do when visiting Edinburgh is to visit the Castle. The Castle is completely worth the stop and we were able to buy tickets when we arrived. I think since we were traveling at a less frequent time, it was quick to get our tickets. Be sure to take advantage of the free tour given, be sure to ask (if they haven’t already told you) at the front counters when purchasing your tickets.
Edinburgh Castle has the best view of the entire city which makes it absolutely breathtaking. We spent quite a bit of time here and enjoyed the beautiful views. It’s worth visiting during sunset where you can get a gorgeous sunset view of the entire city.
RELATED: Backpacking Edinburgh
Purchase Souvenirs near the Entrance of Edinburgh Castle
This was one of the biggest souvenir shops that I have seen. They had an entire lower level floor with some of the coolest and best things to check out. From plaid scarfs, kilts, Harry Potter memorabilia, bagpipes, and more. This was the place to hit up for all of the souvenirs in Edinburgh. You will find everything you need in this one shop.
The Whiskey Experience – A favorite for a 1 Day in Edinburgh Itinerary
After your tour and visit of Edinburgh Castle, you can walk a short distance down the street and take the time to do the Whiskey Experience. Scotch Whiskey has a completely different flavor and taste in comparison to Irish Whiskey. I’ve always been a Jameson girl and now I know the reason why I prefer Irish whiskey of Scotch Whiskey.
I am not a big fan of the smoky peaty flavors that are used on the barrels that Scotch Whiskey is store in, but I can much appreciate it. Whiskey takes a long process before it becomes something worth drinking. On this tour, you will learn all about the process of how Whiskey is made. Even though this isn’t my favorite type of Whiskey, it was one of the highlights during our Edinburgh itinerary.
RELATED: Ireland and Scotland Itinerary
Stop and Listen to the Bagpipers
On your way down to the Royal Mile, be sure to check out some of the street performers. There are a lot of bagpipers in Scottish Kilts playing beautiful music. They will play for money and take photos as well. Their outfits are beautifully crafted and their music plays throughout the streets of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile Victoria Street
Furthermore, if you are a huge Harry Potter fan you will notice immediately where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration just walking along this road. There are a lot of cute and quaint shops to visit. There is a gothic style appeal to these buildings yet a lot of them are painted in bright colors. This is a must for your Edinburgh itinerary because of the beautifully crafted shops and buildings.
Looking to book a room on this street? Book your hotel at Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile.
The Boy who Lived Store – A popular place to visit for One Day in Edinburgh
While you stroll around the Royal Mile, be sure to stop by the Harry Potter-themed store called the Boy who Lived. This is a cute store perfect to nerd out in. You can get your favorite character’s wand, Hogwarts sweater and gear, necklaces, books and so much more. This store is filled with magic and imagination. The staff there love their job and are willing to help. Don’t forget to try out the sorting hat! Are you team Gryffindor? If you are a Harry Potter fan, this is a must for your Edinburgh itinerary.
If you love Harry Potter, be sure to check out some of the Harry Potter sites and things to do in York.
Greyfriar Bobby’s Bar
After your fun tour of the Royal Mile, be sure to visit this nifty little bar called Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar. At this bar, they will have a lot of traditional Scottish food like Haggis. They have a great selection of comfort foods and delicious drinks to enjoy. You must also have some more Scottish Whiskey while you relax and enjoy your time here.
National Museum of Scotland
If you have more time, be sure to check out the National Museum of Scotland. There are plenty of things to see and do, but if you were like us, you may have been tired of checking out different museums and galleries. Additionally, at this museum, you can learn more about the history of Scotland through nature, art, design, fashion, and technology.
Edinburgh Underground Tour with the Real Mary King’s Close
Although we didn’t get a chance to do this, we were fairly tired from our long day of traveling this is something everyone raves about. I am totally into these kinds of interesting tours. They also do an underground pub crawl which we thought was something cool to check out. If you are into things spooky like this, be sure to add it to your list of things to do.
RELATED: Best Ghost Tour in Edinburgh
Visit Calton Hill at Sunset
This is one of Edinburgh’s landmarks and is a great place to get one of the best views. You can enjoy a gorgeous view of the entire city. Some people enjoy visiting this place at sunrise as well, so if you happened to be jet-lagged and want to do something, this would be one of the places to visit!
While here, take the opportunity to see the National Monument of Scotland and the Nelson Monument.
This is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. It is associated with Scotland’s most popular historical figures including the Queen of Scot’s. At this Palace, you can see some of the most important art collections of the royal collection.
Add to your Edinburgh Itinerary | More Edinburgh Tourist Attractions and things to do in Edinburgh
If you have more time or plan to do 2 days in Edinburgh, these are some of the locations I suggest you add to your list of things to do in Edinburgh.
- Museum of Edinburgh
- Princess Street Gardens
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
- Scottish National Gallery
- Edinburgh Dungeon
- Scott Monument in Edinburgh’s New Town
Best Pubs and Bars in Scotland
There are a lot of great pubs and bars in Scotland that are worth checking out. If you are looking to grab some great food and drinks, check out some of the popular spots below.
- The Sir Walter Scott
- Bennets Bar
- The Sheep Heid Inn
- The Bow Bar
- Salt Horse
- Malt & Hops
- The Royal Dick
Best time to visit Edinburgh in One Day
The best time to visit Edinburgh is from March to May or September to November. These months typically have cooler and more comfortable weather. However, you will need to worry more about rainy weather during these times of the year. Additionally, you will find smaller crowds which will help make your experiences a little bit better.
Currency in Edinburgh
The form of currency in Scotland is the British Pound since technically it is located in the United Kingdom.
How to get around in Edinburgh for one day
We found the best way to get around Edinburgh was to take the bus and purchase a daily bus pass.
Can you tour Edinburgh in a Day?
Of course, however, is one day in Edinburgh enough? I think you need at least 2 days. One day is doable, but it depends on what kind of things you enjoy doing. I feel we were a bit short on time, but still managed to see as much as we could in the time we had.
Where to stay in Edinburgh
I suggest you stay somewhere near Edinburgh Castle since most of the places to visit are around that area. Although, it will be okay to stay outside of the city as long as you are close to a bus stop. The buses are easy to catch and will take you fairly close to where you need to go within the city.
These are all of the popular and best-reviewed Edinburgh hotels that are centrally located:
- Ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile
- The Knight Residence by Mansley
- Kimpton – Charlotte Square, an IHG Hotel
- The Balmoral Hotel
Map of Edinburgh, Scotland
There you have it, my one day in Edinburgh itinerary. Is there something you would add to this list? Leave your comments below.
Did you like this article? Support this blog by donating to the button below.
Like, pin and share it!
DISCLAIMER: Oftentimes you will find that I’ve included links to certain hotels/tours/products/services. If you purchase anything through these links, I’ll receive a commission. It won’t cost you anything extra, but it will help keep this blog up and running.