What's included in the Edinburgh tour on the ESW trip?

ESW coming up June 11, 2023, getting to Edinburgh a day early. For the Edinburgh introductory tour on Day 2 (after the Day 1 trip to Stirling Castle), the itinerary calls for "an introductory tour of the city including the Palace of Holyroodhouse... and Edinburgh Castle." Questions about this: Does the tour include an INSIDE tour of Edinburgh Castle, including the crown jewels? Does it go INSIDE St. Gile's Cathedral, or any other sites other than Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse? We're trying to plan our first (free) day, and we don't want to plan anything that will duplicate what the tour will cover.


  • edited May 11

    You only go into a small part of the castle, much of it is offices and barracks for the military personnel stationed there. You get to enter the small chapel and if interested get to stand in a slow line that snakes around and passes glassed display cases (and dioramas?) and information placards before you enter a very small room containing the historical, but relatively unimpressive, "Crown Jewels." I believe the Stone of Scone (Stone of Destiny) was there at that time as well.

    It may be different now, but when we went, St. Giles was just a stop on our walking tour of the Royal Mile. We went in (I believe our guide or TD were not allowed to give a tour), but the only thing I remember was the memorial to fallen soldiers near the entrance. (at the website you can order and download an the audio tour to see what there is to see (and what you may miss). If you go on a Sunday, remember St. Giles is still a working church.

    If it is on your itinerary you may visit and do a tasting at the "Whiskey Experience" just outside the Castle parade ground at the start of the Royal Mile.

    You need to read the itinerary carefully- "see," "visit," "tour" and "guided tour/tour with a local guide" all mean something different in that regard.

    Go back in the forum archives to see what others have done when they arrive early or have free time.

  • We went in 2017. We got a bus ride around the New Town area, guided tour of Holyrood, then the bus went up the Royal Mile and we got out at the castle to tour mostly on our own. As Alan said, you wait in line to see the jewels and Stone of Scone ( it should be back in place after Charles' coronation) and a couple of other sights. Amazing views from up there.

    We had a group dinner in a private room of the Whisky Experience with a tasting of 3 different whiskys. I don't see that on the itinerary sadly.

  • During our extra day we toured the Britannia. Easy bus schedule. You can also go to St Andrews

  • I'm watching the current status of the Edinburgh tram extension that is supposed to be available soon to Leith and Ocean Terminal as an alternative to the bus to see Britannia.

  • edited May 11

    Even if the tram extension is not running, the Lothian buses are great and easy to use. We arrived before our rooms were ready so left our bags with the bell captain and took a bus to Leith to see HMY Britannia. The next day we took a bus to Craigmillar Castle at the edge of town (across from the Royal Infirmary). When done touring that we took another bus to Rosslyn Chapel where we met our friends who had taken a bus straight from the hotel, and then after seeing the chapel and getting a bite to eat, all four of us took a bus back to the hotel. I had the schedules all figured out before we left the US.

  • But I wanna ride the tram Alan.😎

    We're considering taking the bus to Rosslyn. It does sound easy.

  • We got our buses right on Lothian Rd (A700) at the stop in front of the Waldorf-Astoria- just down the street from the Sheraton where we were staying Our friends' bus went straight to Rosslyn Chapel. We went to Craigmillar Castle first so had to transfer at a big Tesco midway between Craigmillar and Rosslyn Chapel.

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