5 Days in Scotland: The Best Itinerary for Your Visit
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A great way to start your Scotland itinerary for 5 days is to take a relaxing stroll along the Royal Mile. This is the most iconic thoroughfare in the Scottish capital. The succession of streets is home to some of the most iconic attractions in the city. Points of interest you will pass by during your walk include the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. The Royal Mile is also home to some of the city's most iconic, traditional pubs like the Jolly Judge, the Tolbooth Tavern and The Royal McGregor. You will have plenty of time to check out some of these amazing locations in further detail later on during your holiday. For now, we recommend simply taking in the sights and sounds while wrapping up your walk at the next location on this 5-day Scottish itinerary - Edinburgh Castle.
With a history that extends back to the 11th century, Edinburgh Castle is one of the city's most unmissable, must-visit attractions. It dominates the area from the top of the great rock it is perched upon. During its existence, it has served as a royal residence, a prison and a fortress. Tours are available for a fee and offer you plenty of insight into the history of the venerable fortification that is located at the end of the Royal Mile.
Built in 1678 and located on the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official Scottish residence of the British monarchy and one of the city's most popular attractions. For a fee, you can take a tour that will provide you with plenty of insight into the history of this palace which has been restored to reflect royal life from the 17th century. When you are done, there is an on-site café where you can enjoy afternoon tea.
Camera Obscura is among Edinburgh's most popular tourist attractions and one of its oldest. This unique gallery that focuses on visual illusions has been dazzling visitors since 1835 and is located along the Royal Mile. Upon paying your entry fee, you will have the chance to explore a mirror maze, a vortex tunnel and a fascinating room where objects seem to shrink around you. Opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.
Open since 1859, the Scottish National Gallery is located in a stunning building that features neoclassical architecture. It houses priceless works of art from the Renaissance era to the early 20th century. Admission is free though there is a fee to view some exhibits. Opening hours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Another incredible attraction you can visit during your Scotland itinerary over 5 days is the Royal Botanic Garden. It is located to the north of the Old Town district and has a history that extends back more than 350 years. Its 70 acres are home to a massive collection of plants from around the world.
Start day 4 of your 5-day Scottish itinerary by getting an early start and heading to Arthur's Seat for the most spectacular views available of the Edinburgh area. This ancient volcano is the primary peak of the hills that overlook the city from Holyrood Park. If you climb to the top around dawn, you will be greeted with a truly spectacular sunrise.
After kicking your 4th day in Scotland off by taking in the stunning views available from Arthur's Seat, it is time to head out of the city to explore the charming town of Linlithgow. It is located just over 40 minutes to the west along the M9 and houses the remains of Linlithgow Palace, which was the birthplace of iconic Scottish historical figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots and James V. After you are done with your sightseeing, there are plenty of local restaurants where you can stop off for a bite to eat.
Princes Street is one of Edinburgh's busiest thoroughfares and also has a reputation as the city's top shopping district. This unique street has very few buildings located on its south side, which allows for panoramic views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town district.
Edinburgh is home to a huge selection of traditional pubs that line iconic thoroughfares like the Royal Mile and Princes Street. Whether you join in one of the group pub crawls that are available in the area, or you organise your own exploration of the city's most iconic watering holes, you are sure to have a great time immersing yourself in these welcoming establishments that represent a key part of Scottish cultural heritage. Some recommended spots to check out include Teuchters Landing, the King's Wark, the Kenilworth, the Jolly Judge and the Sheep Heid Inn.
Located in Andrew Square in the heart of the city, Cheval The Edinburgh Grand 5* is home to 50 unique, luxurious apartments that make the perfect base for your 5-day Scotland itinerary in the Edinburgh area. Many of the major attractions that we have recommended are within easy walking distance of this fabulous 5-star accommodation that is housed in a restored bank building. Waverly Railway Station is a convenient 3-minute walk from the property.
Some of the notable on-site facilities and amenities that you can look forward to during your stay at Cheval The Edinburgh Grand 5* include Wi-Fi, a fitness centre, a 24-hour reception desk, the Register Club Cocktail Bar and the Restaurant Lady Libertine. In-room features include a TV, a coffee machine, a microwave, a hairdryer and a refrigerator.
What we like: We love the fact that this 5-star accommodation offers you the chance to stay in a fully-equipped apartment that is located in the heart of the city. This stunning property has been finely preserved and offers you the chance to enjoy the comfort of an Edinburgh location that is characteristic of the city's iconic architecture.
The Novotel Edinburgh City Centre 4* sits in the heart of Scotland's capital and features 180 comfortably appointed rooms and suites. Its location makes it easy for you to explore the area's top sights, like the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, as well as its charming pubs and restaurants.
This top-rated luxury accommodation is home to a long list of on-site facilities, services and amenities you can look forward to during your 5-day Scottish itinerary around Edinburgh. They include a 24-hour reception desk, Wi-Fi, laundry, outdoor parking, luggage storage and air conditioning, as well as a fitness centre and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa treatments, and a sauna. Dining/bar facilities include the hotel's restaurant and the Tap Music Lounge. In your room, you will find a safe, a mini fridge and a TV.
What we like: We love this property's excellent location in the heart of the city as well as its on-site facilities that include the pools and the spa. The Tap Music Lounge is the perfect place to head to sample a great selection of available craft beers.
With 211 luxurious guest rooms and a location in the city centre, the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton 4* is a great choice if you are planning a 5-day Scotland itinerary in the capital. Iconic attractions like Edinburgh Castle are just a 10-minute walk from the property. During your stay, you will rest comfortably in a Queen Guest Room with breakfast included daily.
Hotel highlights to note at this popular Edinburgh property include a concierge service, Wi-Fi and a fitness centre. The accommodation is also home to the Nineteen Hundred Bar & Lounge and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse. It also features spectacular views of the city's famed Royal Mile and is within easy walking distance of Princes Street.
What we like: You cannot beat the location of this luxurious property as it is within walking distance of the iconic sights and sounds of thoroughfares like the Royal Mile and Princes Street. The excellent on-site dining opportunities add further to the appeal of this property for 5 days in Edinburgh.
Crowne Plaza Edinburgh 4* features 97 guestrooms and a perfect location for a thorough exploration of Scotland's capital city during a 5-day getaway. Nearby points of interest include the Royal Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Located on a quiet residential street in Edinburgh, this fantastic hotel is home to amenities that include a terrace, a garden, Wi-Fi, parking, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, a bar and a restaurant.
What we like: The list of things that we like about this Georgian-style property includes its central location in the heart of the city, its upscale dining options and the relaxing indoor pool that is the perfect place to head after a rewarding day discovering the best that Edinburgh has to offer.
The Edinburgh Address Apartments is a boutique property located within the boundaries of the city's iconic George Square, which is classified as a World Heritage Site. It is the perfect accommodation booking for a 5-day break spent discovering what makes Scotland's capital such an iconic destination.
This deal is based on a stay at either The Old Chapel, located on George Square or The Skyline, which is located on North Charlotte Street. The former is a 3-bedroom apartment while the latter has 2 bedrooms. The types of on-site amenities that you can expect include a refrigerator, a microwave, Wi-Fi, bath towels, an oven and a hair dryer.
What we like: We love the excellent privacy that this booking option offers you. It is a great choice whether you are planning a romantic itinerary or you are going on a getaway with the whole family. You will find yourself ideally located for a thorough exploration of what makes this region of Scotland so beloved.
Some things to keep in mind for your Scotland itinerary of 5 days in the Edinburgh area include the fact that there is a City Pass that you can take advantage of that will give you access to some of the area's most popular activities. Many of the ones we have highlighted here are included. The ticket includes Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse as well as a guided walking tour of the Old Town district and entry to the Scotch Whisky Experience.
The best time to visit Scotland is during the spring months from March to May. Autumn is also a great time to visit this iconic region of the United Kingdom. During the spring, the average temperature ranges from 6°C to 15°C. Summer is also popular with tourists visiting Scotland as temperatures are at their highest and a larger number of attractions and events are available. It is worth noting the crowds tend to be at their largest from June to August.
If you are travelling to the Edinburgh area of Scotland from within the UK, you have plenty of transport options. Beyond driving your vehicle or hiring one for your trip, you can also utilise rail and bus routes that run daily. The main arrival airports in Scotland are Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Upon arrival, you will find that there are various public transport choices around the city. You can also make use of the many taxi services to help you get to all of the points of interest that you wish to visit. Beyond this, Edinburgh is quite a walkable area with many of the most popular attractions located near the fabulous hotels featured here.
Taking the opportunity to sample foods that are unique to the region is a must during your Scotland itinerary of 5 days in the Edinburgh area. Get your morning started with a full Scottish breakfast or some porridge. A bowl of traditional Cullen Skink soup is a great option for lunch. It is made with smoked haddock, onions and potatoes. Scotland is also renowned for its offering of seafood favourites like scallops, lobster and langoustines. A stop for a fish and chips takeaway is another must, and so is sampling the iconic haggis that is often paired with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).