History & heritage

History all around!

History all around!

Edinburgh is steeped in history – it's in the very fabric of the city.

Abbotsford

Abbotsford

Abbotsford is the extraordinary home of Sir Walter Scott, the 19th century novelist and ‘Great Scott’ who popularised tartan and rediscovered Scotland’s Crown Jewels. It is one of the most famous houses in the world.

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat

Holyrood Park’s highest point is Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano, and sits 251m above sea level giving excellent view of the city; it is also the site of a large and well preserved fort. This is one of four 2000 year-old hill forts.

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle was a handsome and comfortable noble seat. It was close to the political cauldron of Edinburgh, but separate from it. It was a favoured royal retreat, famously used as a safe haven by Mary Queen of Scots.

Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle stands tucked away out of sight, on a terrace overlooking the River Tyne in Midlothian. It was a noble residence for some 200 years, from the late 14th century through to the close of the 16th century.

Dirleton Castle

Dirleton-Castle

For 400 years, Dirleton Castle stood as a magnificent fortress-residence for three successive noble families. The graceful ruins of Dirleton Castle are an eye-catching feature in their new designed landscape.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

A trip to Scotland’s capital isn’t complete without a visit to Edinburgh Castle. Part of The Old and New Town and standing majestically on top of a 340 million year-old extinct volcanic rock, the castle is a powerful national symbol.

Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh Dungeon

The Edinburgh Dungeon brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides in a truly unique and exciting walkthrough experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel.

Gladstone’s Land

Gladstone's Land

Inside these walls you’ll discover the indignities of living in cramped conditions, the embarrassing consequences of sitting too close to the fire and the gruesome punishment for cheating your customers.

Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars Kirk is a worshipping congregation of the Church of Scotland in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town where a church has stood since 1620. It’s a welcoming, inclusive community which responds to local needs.

Inchcolm Abbey

Inchcolm Abbey

Inchcolm Abbey was established on this island originally as a priory by David I in 1235. It is the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. The island is also famed for its seals, wildlife and old coastal defences.

John Muir Birthplace Trust

John Muir Birthplace Trust

This fully accessible, family friendly, hands on interpretation centre will take you on the journey of John Muir’s life from his boyhood in Dunbar to his work as a pioneering conservationist, explorer, writer, geologist and inventor.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace

Built and developed over two centuries by successive Stewart kings of Scotland, Linlithgow Palace was a comfortable and attractive retreat from affairs of state, conveniently placed between Stirling and Edinburgh.

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

The Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantastic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Museum on the Mound

Museum on the Mound

The fascinating Museum on the Mound takes a fresh look at money – and much, much more. Art and design, technology, crime, trade and security all feature in the story of money. Admission is free and it is open all year round.

National Mining Museum

National Mining Museum

Visitors to the museum will marvel at the sheer size of the place, be astounded by the engineering brilliance behind all the machinery and retrace the footsteps and struggles of the thousands of miners and their families.

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

Follow the story of Scotland from prehistory to the present day, marvel at a spectacular array of over 800 objects and meet the Scots whose ideas, innovations and leadership took them across the world in the Discoveries gallery.

National War Museum

National War Museum

National War Museum depicts the story of Scotland at war. Within the walls of Edinburgh Castle the National War Museum tells the story of battles lost and won, through military artefacts and personal treasures.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyrood

The Queen is in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during Holyrood week, which usually takes place from the end of June to the beginning of July. Today, the Palace is the setting for State ceremonies and official entertaining.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel has been a popular destination for visitors for generations. By the late 18th-century, it was starting to appear on itineraries and its profile greatly increased after the publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

St Giles’ Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles’ Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its famed crown spire it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism.

The Georgian House

The Georgian House

The Georgian House was built in 1796 for John Lamont, and he lived here with his family until 1815. The house has been magnificently restored to show a typical Edinburgh New Town House of the late 18th to early 19th century.

The Real Mary King’s Close

Real Mary King's Close

Uncover the true story of how a network of Old Town streets found itself buried forever beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. This attraction is a warren of hidden streets frozen in time since the 17th century.