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 and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. 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: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

2. 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).

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

3. 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: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

4. 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.

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.

From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

6. From Edinburgh: Outlander Adventure Day Tour

After leaving Edinburgh at 9:15 AM you will travel back in time as your driver guides you over the Queensferry Crossing to Culross. This virtually-unchanged 16th-century village overlooks the sea and poses as the fictional town of Cranesmuir. You have time to visit Claire’s herb garden, explore the palace, or wander the ancient streets while you imagine what life must have been like 400 years ago. You will journey past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument to Doune Castle, or as it’s called in Outlander, Castle Leoch. This formidable building gives you an insight into the living conditions of a Scottish earl in the 14th century. You can also listen to an excellent audio guide about how this castle was used as a filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Your next stop is Linlithgow Palace. Here you have time to enjoy beautiful views to the Forth bridges, have a picnic by the loch, and explore the ruins of Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace. If you’re feeling brave, you can visit the spot where that gruesome Outlander scene took place. You then travel the short distance to Blackness Castle. It’s an impressive castle that’s known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ because it resembles a giant stone boat. You have time to walk along the ramparts and explore the fictional headquarters of Jack Randall. Midhope Castle* is your next highlight. Unfortunately, visitors are unable to go inside the castle, but Jamie’s lovely Lallybroch home is still an essential photo opportunity for any fan of the show. Before heading back to Edinburgh, you will have a final stop in the colorful harbor area of South Queensferry and will return to Edinburgh by approximately 5:45 PM.

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

7. 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, you will see the amazing Forth Bridges. Then try some delicious home baking 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 and visit Urquhart Castle (optional extra ticket) and look for the famous monster for yourself. Next, visit Glen Coe, a broodingly beautiful spot that is 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.

From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Tour

8. From Edinburgh: Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Tour

Explore the Scottish Highlands and admire its spectacular scenery on a guided tour from Edinburgh. Discover more about Scottish historical figures and events with stops at Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, and Kelpies. Depart Edinburgh and travel through the historic grace of Linlithgowshire. Your guide will help you spot Linlithgow palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. On the way to Loch Lomond, make a stop at the Kelpies Monument. These two horses’ heads stand as a testament to the horse power that drove the industrial development of Central Scotland. From here you head to the shores of Loch Lomond, which is Scotland’s largest loch and is protected as Scotland’s first National Park. This is the perfect place to enjoy a walk along the ‘bonny banks’ and take in fantastic views of the mountains. This tranquil area was once the home of Scotland’s famous highland folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor. By spending time on the trails by the loch you’ll be walking in the footsteps of one of Scotland’s greatest legends. Head into the Trossachs or ‘The Highlands in Miniature’, where the Lowlands meet the Highlands. See steep mountains, shimmering lochs, and thick forests. You stop for lunch in the heart of the National Park then continue to the city of Stirling where you can visit one of Scotland’s most magnificent castles. You can choose to take in the views from inside and understand why this castle was so instrumental in Scottish history. From here, make a short journey back to Edinburgh via Kelpies before arriving back in the capital.

From Edinburgh: Full-Day "Outlander" Explorer Tour

9. 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: Glamis and Dunnottar Castles Tour in Italian

10. From Edinburgh: Glamis and Dunnottar Castles Tour in Italian

Depart from Scotland's capital city at 7:45 AM and head to Glamis Castle, where King Duncan was murdered by Macbeth. Listen to stories of the castle's ghosts and mysteries as you admire its amazing outline of towers and pinnacles, we will listen to its ghost and mystery legends.  After lunch, make your way to Dunnottar Castle and see for yourself why its dramatic position on the cliffs of the Scottish coast served as inspiration for painters, writers, and film directors.  Your last stop will be Dundee, where you can catch a glimpse of the RRS Discovery, the wooden three-masted ship that carried Captain Scott on his first successful journey to the Antarctic. Before heading back to Edinburgh, take a spin through the Silicon Glen, the Scottish Silicon Valley, where high tech companies mingle with barley fields and lakes, in a region that is of vital importance to the economy of the country.

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Frequently asked questions about Edinburgh

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Edinburgh?

The best day trips and excursions from Edinburgh are:

Loch Ness

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,655 reviews

The whole experience from the start of the journey to the end was fantastically rewarding and worth spending every penny. This was all possible not just because of the natural beauty but our undoubtedly the best tour guide so far Paul and our bus driver Adam. Paul is a jolly person with great humour and his passion for Scottish history and The landscapes were mesmerising and the history attached made it more intriguingly beautiful

Having watched the military tattoo on TV over many years it was surprising to see the venue outside of the castle. There were so many buildings to see and a lot of history.

It was a wonderful experience, make sure you feed the famous celebrity cows!

The crew was great. The restaurants we stopped at were not.

Amazing Place, Special kudos to Guide David and John.