Things to Do in Edinburgh: Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour
Explore the city independently
Many of our tours offer the opportunity to do independent sightseeing through open-top bus tours, called “Hop-On, Hop-Off” Tours. With these tours, instead of your guide bringing your group around the city, you’ll be free to choose among the routes offered by the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus company to explore the city independently. You can stop off at just the sites you want to explore, and get back on the bus at your leisure. CIE Tours offers Hop-On, Hop-Off bus vouchers on many our our tours that stop in Edinburgh, London and Dublin - just check the itinerary to make sure it's included.
In Edinburgh, you can choose from four different routes. All four tours begin at Waverly Bridge, just off of Princes Street, but you may join the tour of your choice at any of the bus stops along its route.
Explore the City Centre of Edinburgh with the Edinburgh Tour, including a live guide, and views of spectacular buildings throughout the capital city. Hop off the bus to visit the historic Edinburgh Castle, or Palace of Holyrood House. Take a trip down the famous royal mile, the stretch of road connecting the Castle with the Palace, filled with street vendors, musicians, and bustling activity. While on the tour, marvel at the architecture of the Georgian New Town, all while enjoying the live commentary given by an enthusiastic bus tour guide.
The Majestic Tour heads north of the City Centre and travels towards the Port of Leith. This tour features multi-lingual commentary in 10 languages, with headphones provided on the bus. Hop off the bus to tour Scottish Parliament and step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, or sit comfortably while enjoying the beautiful views of the Leith shoreline. A highlight of this tour is the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. Here you will find 70 acres of beautiful landscape filled with 100,000 different kinds of plants, and breathtaking panoramic views of the Edinburgh city skyline.
Edinburgh City Sightseeing
See all the main attractions of Scotland’s capital city on the Edinburgh City Sightseeing Tour. This tour offers multi-lingual commentary in nine languages, as well as Horrible Histories children's commentary narrated by author Terry Deary, with headphones provided on board. Visit the National Museum of Scotland and marvel at its diverse collections of treasures from Scotland’s history, and from around the world. See Edinburgh's Old Town, as well as Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill, hopping on and off to see the attractions of your choosing.
3 Bridges Tour
The 3 Bridges Tour of Edinburgh offers a live guide in English, and superb views of the capital city, Fife’s coastline, and the iconic 3 bridges. As well as a bus tour to Queensferry, this tour option also offers a relaxing boat cruise filled with stunning views the Firth of Forth. Depending on the time of year, you may even be able to experience the wildlife that the boat tour has to offer, looking out for seals and puffins as you travel through the coast. Explore the majestic conservation town of Queensferry, with its stunning harbor and picturesque coastal views, as well as its wide range of eateries and gift shops.
No matter which tour you choose, you’ll get fast track entry to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyrood House.
Filled with breathtaking scenery and rich history, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in all of western Europe. A royal residence, prison, military garrison, and a fortress, this castle has no shortage of exciting tales told through its architecture and exhibits. Whether you prefer to follow an itinerary, or an audio guide, you won’t run out of things to do and see when visiting Edinburgh Castle. From The Royal Palace, to the Stone of Destiny, from St. Margaret’s Chapel to the National War Museum, visiting this historic landmark is essential when traveling through the capital city of Edinburgh.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Travelling over a million nautical miles to become one of the most famous ships in the world, the Royal Yacht Britannia served the royal family for over 44 years, becoming a five star visitor attraction and an evening event venue right in Edinburgh. Explore the famous ship and discover all the different rooms and areas where the royal family, as well as many famous figureheads spent their leisure time. While all tours are self guided, feel free to take advantage of the free audio tour that the ship has to offer, available in 30 different languages. Visit the royal tea deckroom to enjoy fresh homemade refreshments, or visit the fabulous gift shop and explore their range of exclusive souvenirs. Filled with luxurious rooms kept in pristine condition, the Royal Yacht Britannia is one of Scotland’s best tourist attractions.
Palace of Holyrood House
Standing at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyrood House is not only a famous Scottish tourist destination, but also the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history. Visit the beautiful palace gardens and enjoy the uninterrupted views towards Holyrood Park, or explore the chambers previously inhabited by Mary, Queen of Scots. From portraits of legendary kings, to numerous treasures throughout each room, the Palace of Holyrood House is just as majestic as one can imagine.