Take A Historical Tour Of Edinburgh – A SITU Short Guide

Edinburgh began as a fort. Easily defended upon Castle Rock, the city has grown into a globally recognised, bustling cultural hub. Take a trip with us, as we explore and experience the rich history of this glorious city.

Edinburgh Castle

Stood proud at the summit of Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle has been an iconic stronghold within the city since its erection in 1103. The castle has been involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence (14th century) to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745.

Today, the castle is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions with over 1 million visitors walking the walls each year. Visitors can take in the great hall, a cluster of museums, chappels, vaults, prisons and the Scottish Crown Jewels!

The One O’Clock Gun

Nestled within the battlements of the castle you will find the One O’Clock Gun. It’s a canon dating back to WW2 that fires a time signal every day at 1 pm (barring Sunday, Christmas Day and Good Friday). It will be pretty tough to miss it!

Purchase tickets online here to take the tour and avoid disappointment!

Edinburgh Castle - Historical Tour of Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Courtesy of Ben Guerin

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Taking centre stage the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace is the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland. Along with Queen Elizabeth II, other infamous inhabitants of the palace included Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The palace was built out of royal necessity. James IV stayed frequently in the Abbey, and it was decided to convert the lodgings into a suitable residence for royals. To this day, the Queen of England visits the palace during the first week of Summer for events and annual obligations.

Note – No tourist access when the Queen is in town!

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust

Holyrood Abbey

Sat next to the Palace of Holyrood lies the Holyrood Abbey. Founded in the 12th Century by King David I, there is a legend around its placement. Legend relates that in 1127, King David I was hunting and thrown from his horse. To stop a charging animal from killing him, a miraculous appearance of a holy cross saved him. Thankful for his escape, he founded the Abbey on the site in 1128.

Now, standing in its place the ruined abbey you can visit today. Be sure to pay a trip to the Royal Vault where you can see the final resting place of James V.

Holyrood Abbey, Courtesy of Emran Yousof

Scott Monument

Sat in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, you will find the Scott Monument. A Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. Inside you can find a detailed exhibition of Scott’s life, and if you feel active, climb the 287 steps to the top and take in the superb view of the city!

Scott Monument - Historical Tour of Scotland
Scott Monument, Courtesy of Nighthawk Shoots

Climb Arthur’s Seat

Arthurs Seat is an unmissable Edinburgh landmark. Climbing Arthur’s Seat will provide you with unobstructed views of the historic city. Take in the fact that 350 million years prior, the point you stand on used to be an active volcano.

Now Arthur’s Seat is a firm favourite for walkers and hikers, keen to summit the mount and take in the panoramic views.

Carlton Hill & The National Monument

The National Monument is Scotland’s memorial to the soldiers and sailors who died whilst fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. According to its inscription, it is intended to be “A Memorial of the Past and Incentive to the Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland”

Built in 1832, the Monument was based on the Parthenon in Athens, helping Edinburgh gain the nickname “Athens of the North”.


Thank you for joining us on SITU’s historical tour of Edinburgh! Now, why don’t you visit the Scottish capital yourself? Blend work and leisure seamlessly with serviced apartments in Edinburgh, which you can view here!