Old Town Edinburgh

National Museum of Scotland which includes interior views
Wander the narrow alleys of Edinburgh's historic center to discover the hidden delights of an area that also encompasses some of the city's top attractions.

Edinburgh's Old Town features the greatest sites of the country’s capital, among them the mighty Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland and The Scotch Whisky Experience. However, the maze of narrow closes and streets that sit on top of each other are also home to several smaller, quirkier attractions. Explore this part of the city on foot. Follow routes that lead you past medieval tenements, down hidden “wynds” (alleys) and into pedestrianized squares.

Climb to Edinburgh Castle on a hill overlooking the rest of the city, with the Old Town spreading down the slope below it. The historic core is separated from the Georgian houses of New Town by Edinburgh Waverley Station.

Walk up and down the Royal Mile, one of the most important thoroughfares in the Old Town. The cobbled street leads from Holyrood Abbey and Palace in the east to the top of Edinburgh Castle’s hill. Spend a long time exploring the vast castle, which houses an extensive museum.

The Royal Mile is also home to St. Giles' Cathedral, the ecclesiastical center of the Church of Scotland, and the Camera Obscura. Trick your mind in the museum of optical illusions, which is built beneath a 150-year-old lens that uses natural light.

Step into one of the smaller museums occupying some of Old Town's most picturesque historic buildings. The John Knox House is dedicated to the Presbyterian reformer and the Writers’ Museum focuses on Scotland's famous authors. Get in touch with your younger self at the Museum of Childhood and discover the city's past at the Museum of Edinburgh.

Wander along George IV Bridge, which leads to the National Library of Scotland Greyfriars Kirkyard, where a loyal Skye terrier guarded his master's grave for 14 years and the National Museum of Scotland. End your day on the Grassmarket, an open square set beneath the shadow of the castle and lined with traditional pubs and modern eateries.

To get to the Old Town, ride the train to Edinburgh Waverley station. Trains serving this station run regularly and serve destinations all around the United Kingdom.

Popular places to visit