Edinburgh in a Day Tour with the National Museum of Scotland

Your full day sightseeing tour of Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town
From US$960 privately
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Tour Details
8 hours
Product Type
  • High Kirk of St Giles
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Holyrood Palace
  • Scottish National Gallery
Photos & Highlights
  • Get our most comprehensive view of Edinburgh in a full-day journey through its Old and New Town sites
  • Led by a local expert specializing in history or art
Select a date
Tour Description
This full-day tour will provide an in-depth overview of Edinburgh’s fascinating history, UNESCO-protected architecture, and charming culture. Led by a local expert, you’ll see the city’s most quintessential sites, from grand castles to medieval streets to local bars. We offer this tour as either a walking tour or with an optional chauffeured-car service — both promise to give you a comprehensive view of this enchanting city.

NOTE: If you add the optional car service please tell us your hotel or apartment address in the 'Additional Details' box while adding the tour to your shopping cart. The maximum group size for booking the optional car service is 6 pax due to vehicle size limitations
  • Edinburgh Castle (exterior)
  • Old Town
  • Holyrood Castle (exterior)
  • High Kirk of St Giles
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • New Town
  • 8-hour private tour with a Ph.D. or MA-level historian
  • Morning coffee
Your day begins appropriately where Edinburgh itself began: outside of Edinburgh Castle. Here, walking in the footsteps of kings and queens, you’ll learn about the castle's rich history as a royal residence, military outpost, prison, and fortress. 

Next, you will make your way to the charming Old Town, discussing the development of the city. Walking down the Royal Mile, your expert will share the historical significance of this area, interwoven with legends, folklore, and even ghost stories. You will continue down Victoria Street—renowned for its fairytale charm—on your way to Greyfriars Kirkyard, a graveyard from the 16th century where you will hear stories about some of its more famous inhabitants. 

You’ll then visit the National Museum of Scotland, home to a broad array of collections on topics ranging from the natural world to global art and design, to modern science and technology, and, of course, Scottish history. After absorbing the highlights of the museum, you’ll head on to the Grassmarket, once the city’s main marketplace and execution site. Spending some time in this historically rich area, your expert will also highlight the events and scenery that served as inspiration for famous literature (including Harry Potter).

Your guide will lead you next to view the exterior of Holyroodhouse Palace, the official residence of HRM the Queen in Edinburgh. And you also may venture up to Calton Hill for exquisite views of the city. Your historical morning of adventure will be topped off with a delicious lunch at a local restaurant or cafe (at your own expense)—the perfect opportunity to talk to your guide about everything from what you’ve seen during your morning to modern Scottish life. After your lunch, you’ll spend the afternoon in New Town, visiting its main streets, squares, and buildings, and seeing the contrast from the sights of earlier in the day. Wrapping up, you will finish your day, appropriately, with a wee dram in one of the city’s famed whisky bars. 

If you choose to add the optional car service, you will follow largely the same itinerary as the walking tour. We will pick you up from your hotel and you’ll kick off your tour in Old Town. However, the car will enable you to visit Arthur's Seat, an ancient volcano and the main peak of hills in the city just before lunch. After lunch, you will continue to explore Edinburgh's New Town. At the end of the tour, you have the option to be dropped off at the hotel, or you can ask your guide to recommend a restaurant or pub to continue your Edinburgh exploration. 

Interested in exploring more of this beautiful and fascinating city? Try our Creating the Scottish Identity: Literature, Art and Politics Tour. 

For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where do we meet? Where does the tour end? 
You’ll meet your expert guide near the Castle and it will end in the New Town. If you opt for the car service we will pick you up from your hotel and drop you back there after. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map.
Can you arrange a car service for the day?
Yes, car services can be arranged if needed. The largest group size we can book a car service for is 6 people, due to vehicle size limitations. Please indicate your preference at the time of booking.

Is this a good tour for children and families? 
It’s a walking intensive tour, so may not be suitable for younger kids. We recommend checking out our Edinburgh Time Travel Tour for Kids.

What costs will I need to cover on the day?
The tour includes your time with the expert guide and a coffee at the beginning of the day. If you opt for the car service, this will be included in the price as well. Clients are expected to cover the cost of their own lunch.

Do we go to Arthur's Seat?
If you select the walking tour, you will not go to Arthur's Seat. If you select the option with car service, we will do a scenic drive to view Arthur's Seat and, if the weather allows, go for a short hike there.

Do we go inside Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood Palace?
This tour doesn't go inside either Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood Palace, but views them from the outside.
Where You'll Start
(4.96) 22 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Jane Bonsall is excellent. On a drizzly, misty day in Edinburgh (typical) she was confident and expert enough to lead us through an indoor/outdoor architectural and historical feast. We’re forever grateful to her for introducing us to an extraordinary city with scholarship and inspiring narrative...something the Ziff family has grown accustomed to over the past 18 years of Context Travel experiences around the world. Thank you so much. Dean & Jania Ziff P.S. Our son and his girlfriend were led by Context a week ago in Greece (Delos, I believe).