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Edinburgh Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended Edinburgh Castle & palace tours

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows (depending on the time of year) and a cup of coffee. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness. Choose to visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Skip-the-Line Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle

2. Edinburgh: Skip-the-Line Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle

Discover the home of Mary Queen of Scots on this guided walking tour of Edinburgh Castle. Admire the 16th-century Great Hall where parties and feast took place. Learn about the bloody history of the kings and queens who lived in this castle.  Meet your guide and walk to Edinburgh Castle which dominates the city skyline from its seat on the extinct volcano of Castle Rock. Stroll on the castle's promenade and hear about the the origins and sieges of the castle. View where the Royal Military Tattoo is performed. Enter the castle and make your way to the three museums and two prisons. Go to the National Monument to the fallen of Scotland and a canine cemetery. See the oldest building in the city at the Chapel of Saint Margaret. Be captivated by the grandeur of the Great Hall and a Royal Palace. After the tour you will have time to explore all of the buildings inside the castle until its closure.

Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

3. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

Begin your tour by the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile. Walk towards Edinburgh Castle as your guide sets the scene, explaining the significance of the Castle and mentioning some of the key characters who have helped shape it. Once inside, let your guide walk you through the Castle complex. Hear their in-depth knowledge of the Castle's main buildings and attractions, including the Argyle Battery and One O'clock Gun, the Hospital Square and Western Panorama. See the Castle dungeons and military prison, the Black Banquet and Thomas Randolph's daring castle raid. Encounter St Margret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the Crown Square, and The Honors of Scotland. After the tour, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore the castle museums (not accessible during the tour).

From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

4. From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

Departing Edinburgh at 08:45 AM, go on a journey to some of the most famous locations from the hit series such as Doune Castle, the seat of Clan MacKenzie and the historic Linlithgow Palace.  Your guide will give you an insight into the history of each location, making this the perfect trip for those looking for a quick Outlander fix. Leave the capital behind and drive west, view Linlithgow Palace before stopping at Doune Castle, also known as Castle Leoch.  Have time to explore the grounds of this historic castle (please note Doune Castle is currently closed due to structural inspections), which was also featured as Winterfell in Game of Thrones and in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Next, go to the Kingdom of Fife, an area of great historical importance. Make a stop in Culross, where Claire was accused of witchcraft in the village of Cranesmuir. This is the most complete example of a 17th and 18th-century burgh in Scotland today. Your lunch stop will be in the village of Falkland, which was used for filming 1940’s Inverness. With over 28 listed buildings, it gives a good representation of this period. Your final stop is at Midhope Castle, the real-life Lallybroch. Arrive back in Edinburgh at 5:30 PM.

From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

5. From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

Step into the story and witness the scenic landscapes and ruins from the TV show "Outlander" on this day trip from Edinburgh. Travel in a spacious and climate-controlled coach and see slights light like the village of Cranesmuir and the Tuilyies Standing Stones. Depart Edinburgh and journey northwest to Midhope Castle (April 1 to September 24), site of Lallybroch Castle in the time travel TV series "Outlander." Stop in the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow and enjoy a photo stop at Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison in "Outlander"). Continue to the 14th-century country pile of Callandar House, where ties to Rome's northern frontier in Europe at the Antonine Wall have been traced. Follow the footsteps of Claire and Jamie to Falkland, Outlander's Inverness.  See streets that were used as filming locations in Outlander, including where Claire sees Jamie's ghost. Move on to the Royal Burgh of Culross to discover a tiny 17th-centuryvillage nestled on the coast of Fife.  Pass by the gardens at Culross that were featured in "Outlander" as Claire's herb garden, as was the mercat cross (market cross) from Cranesmuir Village. Saunter along the cobblestone streets and see the quaint Biscuit Café. Stopping for photos at Tuilyies Standing Stones (time permitting). End the day at South Queensferry for beautiful views over the Forth and photos of the Forth Rail Bridges. Please note: Midhope Castle will be closed from December 23rd to Spring 2023.

Rosslyn Chapel, Stirling Castle & Dunfermline Abbey Tour

6. Rosslyn Chapel, Stirling Castle & Dunfermline Abbey Tour

On this guided tour of Scotland's most famous medieval landmarks, learn about the many heroes that battled in this ancient kingdom. The first stop on your tour will be the town of Dunfermline. Walk down the beautiful nave of Dunfermline Abbey*, the final resting place of Robert the Bruce, who battled for Scotland's right to be a nation. Next, travel to Stirlingshire, where you will stop in the beautiful city of Stirling, site of the monument of Scottish hero William Wallace (whose life was dramatized in the film Braveheart). You'll have ample time to stroll through the beautiful and ancient streets that surround it. You will also have a chance to explore the city's stunning castle if you wish. From Stirling, head to Bannockburn, the battlefield where Robert the Bruce routed the English in 1314. Lastly, decode the mystery of Rosslyn Chapel, which was made famous in Dan Brown's novel the Da Vinci Code. Is this the resting place of the Holy Grail? No one really knows, but you'll love the chapel and the beautiful walk you can take through Roslin Glen and the ruins of Rosslyn Castle.

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

7. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, His Majesty The King's official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once inside the baroque palace, learn about its close associations with Scotland's history via a complimentary multimedia guide (available in 9 languages). Visit the State Apartments to see the changing tastes of successive monarchs. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the King and Royal Family for official ceremonies. Go to the Throne Room to see where lunch was served to the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle when a new knight was installed. Discover where the King holds his private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Kings Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony. Admire Jacob de Wet's portraits of real and legendary kings of Scotland in the Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace. Learn about dramatic events from Scotland’s history in Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, where she witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary, Rizzio, by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley. At the end of your multimedia tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or light lunch (own expense) at the Café at the Palace.

Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

8. Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

Enjoy a theatrical sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard the Ghost Bus, a beautifully refurbished vintage double-decker, painted in traditional midnight black. Learn about Edinburgh’s grave robbers, plague victims, and the ghosts that reside in the most haunted city in Europe. Explore the city's gruesome past, while admiring its most famous monuments, including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar's Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. As you traverse the Old Town and New Town, visit the sites of murders, tortures, and executions. Hear about the infamous Burke and Hare, and the hundreds of women who were drowned or burned as witches. The bus, which belonged to the Necropolis Bus Company, boasts decorative features that include atmospheric lamps and window curtains. In 1967, the entire fleet was destroyed in a mysterious fire, and only one bus survived.

Edinburgh: Ultimate Whisky Experience

9. Edinburgh: Ultimate Whisky Experience

Depart from Edinburgh and journey north to South Queensferry, where you will enjoy a photo stop of the Queensferry Bridges. Continue on to Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery for the first whisky-themed stop of the day. Spend 2 hours here for their Whisky and Chocolate tasting tour priced at £19.55 per person. Head on to Loch Lubnaig, and then to the Glenturret distillery. Located on the Turret River, just outside of Crieff, Glenturret Distillery is Scotland's oldest working distillery and still hand-crafts its whisky using the last remaining hand-operated mash tun in Scotland. Here, enjoy a tour and tasting at a cost of £15.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, & the Highlands Day Tour

10. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, & the Highlands Day Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Scotland on this day tour that takes you to all of the most important sites in Scotland. Visit the Highlands, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Ness, and more. Your day begins on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, where a coach will pick you up for your day of adventure. As you head towards the Highlands, see the fantastic Forth Bridges. You can try some delicious home baking when you stop in the beautiful Highland town of Pitlochry. From there, continue on through the Cairngorms National Park, where you will enjoy stunning scenery amidst the unique wilderness of the National Park. Take a break at Loch Ness, which is famous all over the world for its beauty and mystery. From here, you will have the chance to take a 'monster spotting' cruise, visit Urquhart Castle, and look for the famous monster for yourself. Next, visit Glen Coe, a broodingly beautiful spot steeped in history. As you stand at the mouth of the glen, you'll feel the past come to life as your guide tells you about the terrible massacre of the Clan. On your way home, you pass by the beautiful city of Stirling, where you can see its stunning castle and learn more about the exploits of William Wallace that were dramatized in the film Braveheart.

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Frequently asked questions about Edinburgh

What are the best day trips and excursions from Edinburgh?

The best day trips and excursions from Edinburgh are:

Loch Ness

Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,655 reviews

We had a lovely time, Jim our tour guide was exceptional as he explained a lot for us during our travel. He made our journey very enjoyable and we were taken aback from the beautiful scenery Edinburgh and Scotland had to offer. Thank you Jim and thank you to the tour company for facilitating it all. Vas and Eleni.

It was my best excursion ever! Full of emotions, laugh’s, great explanation about every single detail, PAUL SANTA made it epic, this guy know the job like nobody else! Epic amazing !!! Amazing Scotland, and Amazing guide wich made everything perfect ..! I will be back and book again but, only with Paul SantA!!!

Unique experience with great stops in the Highlands! Our guide John kept telling exciting stories about Scotland and the Highlands during the trip. It was great fun and a lot of fun - would definitely recommend!

We had Sarah on our tour who was absolutely amazing! She was so enthusiastic and her storytelling was so capturing!! She was amazing!! Would definitely reccomend her tour to others, outstanding tour guide!!

Excellent, original tour which was our highlight of Scotland. Andy was great and made our trip so memorable. New year's day was even special this year with this trip