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Top Attractions To Visit During Your Stay In Edinburgh

So you’ve got your car hire at Edinburgh Airport, but where should you go? Edinburgh has lots to offer from cultural pursuits to fun for the whole family. Not only this, but some are even free to visit!

Here we’ve compiled a list of the top attractions we recommend you go to, as well as how long it takes to drive and parking options for each.

Edinburgh Zoo

Open since 1913, Edinburgh Zoo’s mission has always been to connect people with nature and safeguard species from extinction. They’ve managed to save close to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals, and is one of the UK’s only zoo’s to have giant pandas!

Edinburgh Zoo offers a great day out for people of all ages and is great for families. With daily talks about the animals, gardens featuring diverse tree collections and penguin parades, you’re sure to find the perfect day here.

This excellent zoo is located just 10-15 minutes away from Edinburgh Airport in the car and parking is free.

Edinburgh Castle

Standing on Castle Rock, this world heritage site offers a wealth of history and knowledge to explore. With suggested itineraries, you can go along at your own pace around the castle with help on where to look depending on your timescale. For example, if you were wanting to learn more about the military history of the castle, you could follow a list on their site that would take you around all the key military parts of the castle in roughly 2 hours.

This historical landmark is located just 30-35 mins away from Edinburgh Airport by car. The nearest car park is at the Castle Terrace, and for on-street parking, you can go to Castle or Johnston Terrace.

National Museum of Scotland

This museum offers the perfect balance between a great learning experience and a fun day out. From the Grand Gallery featuring a giant deer skeleton to unusual twists on classic tartan clothing in the fashion & style gallery, there’s sure to be something for everyone. There’s even a mini-museum constructed out of Lego!

You can wander around the museum yourself, or you can make use of their self–guided tours – from winter to wellbeing trails and even an LGBTQIA+ hidden histories trail.

The National Museum of Scotland is a 30-minute journey away from the Edinburgh Airport, and you can follow signs to the city centre to park at nearby NCP sites. There are also ‘Park and Ride’ options by tram or bus in the city centre.

O2 Academy Edinburgh

Visit the O2 Academy Edinburgh for a wealth of concerts and comedy nights. Formerly known as The Corn Exchange, this venue was renovated from an agricultural hall into a modern place to hold concerts, conferences and functions. The building was originally built as a trading room for farmers.

The O2 Academy Edinburgh is a 15-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport and there is limited parking nearby on streets.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

Scotland’s best visitor attraction is the Royal Yacht Britannia according to Which? Magazine for 13 years consecutively, and this floating palace belonged to no other than Her Majesty The Queen for over four decades and sailed over a million nautical miles in its former glory days. There is now a visitor centre for the statue next to the Ocean Terminal in Leith.

Listen to the freely available audio guide, translated in 30 different languages, to discover the true heart and soul of the royal residence.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is a 20-30 minute drive from Edinburgh Airport and parking is available for free at the Ocean Terminal car park. Park on Level E of the blue car park to come out on the same level as the Britannia Visitor Centre.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading our post, and we hope you find something truly exciting for you and your family/friends to enjoy during your time in Edinburgh. Depending on the time of year you’re looking to visit, it may also be worth looking at what festivals are on, as Edinburgh is well known for being a centre for culture and arts – from the Edinburgh Fringe to Christmas markets.

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