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24 Hours In Edinburgh: The Ultimate 24 Hour Itinerary

24 Hours In Edinburgh: The Ultimate 24 Hour Itinerary

With one day in Edinburgh, you might be wondering how to best spend your time in the city. 24 hours may not seem like long when exploring one of the most vibrant and historic cities in the UK, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can fit in. 

Edinburgh is home to an incredible yet turbulent history, peaceful green landscapes, folklore, great art museums and atmospheric live music. Edinburgh is a very strange city in many ways. It’s strongly historical, with incredible festivals and a nice down to earth attitude. With a variety of things to do in Edinburgh, your 1 day in Edinburgh itinerary will be packed with the best of the city. From visiting the majestic Castle to tasting your way through the best of traditional Scottish cuisine to soaking up the vibe of a cozy pub, enjoy the best of Edinburgh during your time exploring the capital.


Start your 24 hours in Edinburgh by beginning with a morning walk to get you in the mood. Ascend the path over Salisbury Crags onto Arthur's Seat. Edinburgh is one such place with a volcano, albeit dormant, slap bang in the middle of it. There can't be many cities with a volcano in the center. 

Arthur's Seat

Enjoy the peaceful Holyrood Park; the perfect antidote to the rush-hour streets of Edinburgh. From the compact, rocky summit you can see great views of the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the only building within the park; St Anthony's Chapel. Very little is known about it, but it is thought to have been built in the 1300s on land that belonged to the monks of Kelso Abbey. Wondering what to do in Edinburgh in one day? Wake up with a hilly hike on Arthur’s Seat.

St Anthony's Chapel

Lunch Time

From here, go down and head to the Royal Mile. Grab lunch at Canon’s Gait; a great pub serving traditional dishes with modern twists. Edinburgh in one day would not be complete without trying some local grub; some questionable, others heavenly. Choose from beer battered fish with chips and garden peas, mature Orkney cheddar mac 'n' cheese or haggis, neeps and tatties with whiskey cream sauce. Veggie haggis is also available for those who are non-carnivorous. 

Royal Mile

Walk off your lunch around Calton Hill. The architecture is cool to look at and the area provides lots of fun things to do in Edinburgh. Check out Calton Burial Ground by Calton Hill for an eerie break on your travels; the final resting place of philosopher David Hume, among others. Skulls and macabre symbolism are carved in stone, and silent alleys invite visitors to wander. If you’re a fan of the slightly sinister, don’t miss the beautiful Calton Burial Ground.

Calton Burial Ground


Walk down Princes Street and round into New Town for shopping and sightseeing, then down to Dean village; an Edinburgh must see in one day attraction. Just five minutes away from Princes Street, visitors can find Dean Village, a beautiful residential oasis right by the Water of Leith. Historically, the area is where water milling took place. Tucked inside the village, you will come across a variety of millstones and stone plaques decorated with baked bread and pies. 

Dean Village

Just a short walk away you can find an abundance of bakeries where the bread and pies are happily of the more edible variety. A great place to explore, the bucolic village is home to a tranquil stream, quite unlike other areas of Edinburgh, with gardens, 19th-century buildings and a museum. Soak up the peace and quiet of the local neighborhood and enjoy the natural, colorful and historical vibe of the place. Add Dean Village to your one day in Edinburgh itinerary.


Then head on to The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art. Grab a snack at Spoon on Nicholson Street. The spot has a nice variety of food which changes a lot based on the seasonal produce available. If you want to sit down and have a small plate or satisfying snack like a warm soup, Spoon is the place to go. J K Rowling wrote huge parts of the first Harry Potter book here, so it’s perfect for Potterheads like me. 

The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art

Alternatively, head to the must-see Edinburgh Castle, but be sure to book your tickets in advance. From its position on Castle Rock, where archaeologists have established human occupation since at least the Iron Age, the historic fortress dominates the skyline and is one of the top places to visit in Edinburgh in one day.

Edinburgh Castle


With an eclectic and memorable menu, The Outsider in the Old Town is a great place to eat in Edinburgh after a busy day exploring. The laidback eating spot uses fresh, seasonal produce in split-level space with great Castle views. 

The Outsider

Seeking things to do in Edinburgh at night? Scotland’s capital really comes alive at night. Head onto Monkey Bar Old Comedy where you can enjoy a great whiskey selection while having a good laugh. I recommend the weekdays as opposed to a weekend. On Tuesdays, join Monkey Barrel in welcoming the weird, the wacky and the downright hilarious at Tuesday Project X. 

Monkey Barrel

On Thursdays, enjoy the funny improvisations of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter. For indie and rock music, enjoy the Wee Red Bar. since the 80s the spot has been one of the best, lively and intimate Edinburgh venues for both up and coming and established bands and DJs.

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