View PACT 2013 - Sightseeing in a larger map

City Centre

Princes Street is one of the major streets running through the middle of the city. It features a variety of attractions along with some old and impressive architecture and a great view of the heart of the city, thanks to its large open spaces. The Princes Street Gardens can be found to the south side of Princess Street and is a great place to relax on sunny days, with plenty of grass and benches to sit on and a pleasant variety of flowers.

The Scott Monument is a large structure that can also be found near the centre of Princess street. The uppermost viewing platform can be reached by a 287-step series of narrow spiral staircases and offers an impressive view of the heard of the city. Princess Street also features the Royal Scottish Academy, the home of contemporary art in Scotland. The Scottish National Gallery is located just next to the Royal Scottish Academy, and the National Portrait Gallery is located nearby on Queen Street. Entry to both is free, but there may be a charge for special exhibits.

There is a wide variety of shops to be found along Princess Street, as well as long the two streets which run parallel to it to the north, Rose Street and George Street. There are also two shopping centres at the east end of Princess Street: the St. James Centre and the Princes Mall Shopping Centre. The near by Royal Mile has a selection of tourist shops as well as the House of Fudge and the Fudge Kitchen which sells hand made Fudge (and even shows the whole process of Fudge making).

Historic Buildings

Sitting atop the volcanic Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle dominates the city skyline and is the most popular paid visitor attraction in Scotland. Events at the castle include regular re-enactments of events from its history and occasional concerts by big-name performers, and in August, the Castle Esplanade is the venue for the world-famous Military Tattoo.

The Hub is situated at the top of the Royal Mile. This historic, category A listed building forms an integral part of the architectural fabric of Edinburgh. The Hub's spire is the highest point in central Edinburgh. The Hub is also the location of the conference dinner.

St Giles' Church of Scotland Cathedral dominates the Royal Mile. The Cathedral has been one of Edinburgh's religious focal points for approximately 900 years. It is home to some of the finest stained glass windows in Scotland, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, and hosts regular choral and organ performances.

Mary King's Close, located off the Royal Mile, is a collection of streets from the 1600s which have been left underground by newer developments. Mary King's Close is said to be haunted and has featured in several TV shows. Guided tours are available to take you under the modern streets to the surprisingly complete streets and shops which have now been rediscovered. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more booked in advance.

A statue of Greyfriars Bobby sits on George IV Bridge, not far from Princess Street, and is a category A listed building. Greyfriars Bobby was a dog that is said to have been so devoted to its master that after his death Bobby spent the rest of his life sitting at his master's grave. Bobby's grave, along with that of his master John Grey, can be found in the nearby Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The Scottish Parliament is located at the bottom end of the Royal Mile, at the foot of Arthur's Seat. Tours of the Scottish Parliament are free of charge and usually include a visit to the Debating Chamber, the Garden Lobby and a Committee Room. They include detailed information about the work, history and procedures of the Scottish Parliament. The tour also includes information about the design and architecture of the building.

The Palace of Holyrood lies at the bottom end of the Royal Mile. The Palace is the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom in Scotland and has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century. Holyrood Abbey pre-dates the palace of Holyrood by around 300 years and lies in the same grounds. The Abbey is of great historical interest due to the high number of coronations, weddings, funerals and meetings of old Scottish Parliament that took place here. Admission to the abbey is granted with a ticket to Holyrood Palace.


The National Museum of Scotland is in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town on Chambers Street, just round the corner from the main conference venue. The museum featurs spectacular Victorian architecture combined with an exciting modern building, with galleries dedicated to the natural world, science and technology, art and design, world cultures and the story of Scotland. There's also a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.

The Surgeons' Hall Museum houses one of the largest collections of surgical material in the UK. As well as permanent exhibitions concerning the history of surgery, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions, which in the past have featured wartime surgery and the remains of Burke and Hare.

The Museum of Edinburgh is situated in a series of interconnected 16th- and 17th-century buildings on the Royal Mile and depicts the city's origins, history and legends. Among notable artifacts is the National Covenant and the feeding bowl and collar belonging to Greyfriar's Bobby. A shop on the ground floor offers a range of Scottish products and souvenirs.

Music and Entertainment

There are a large number of bars and pubs in the city center along the length of the Royal Mile, Rose Street, George Street, Grassmarket and Cowgate. There is also a wide variety of night clubs in the city centre, including Espionage, The Liquid Room, Opium, Opal Lounge, Shanghai, The Hive and Why Not.

There are also a number of music bars near the city centre. The Jazz Bar on Chambers street features a variety of live Jazz musicians. For folk music there is a selection of world famous bars, including the Royal Oak, The Captains Bar and Sandy Bells Bar.

Parks, Hills and Walks

The 251m peak of Arthur's Seat stands out against the skyline from almost anywhere in Edinburgh. The summit is a fairly easy walk and offers great panoramic views of the city, making it popular with walkers and tourists. It is home to three small lochs and St Anthony's chapel, an ancient ruin perched on the north slope.

Comprising 70 acres of stunning scenery, not far from the city centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburghhas several attractions including Inverleith House, an 18th century building which is now home to one of the city's leading art galleries; and the glasshouses, that allow visitors to explore ten distinct climatic zones. The Terrace Cafe and Gateway Restaurant serve hot and cold food daily and take-away refreshments are also available from the East Gate Coffee Bar.

Located at the east end of Princes Street, Calton hill is home to several iconic buildings including the unfinished National Monument (nicknamed 'Edinburgh's disgrace'), the Robert Burns Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, the City Observatory and Nelson's Monument. Restored in 2009, the Nelson Monument stands on the highest point of Calton Hill, originally intended to double as a signal mast for ships at Leith. At the top of the tower, a time ball was installed, which was raised and lowered to mark the time, in conjunction with the One O'Clock Gun.

Situated three miles west of the city centre, Edinburgh Zoo offers much more than the world-famous Penguin Parade. It is home to over 1000 rare and endangered animals. The Zoo can be reached by bus from the city centre for £1.50 each way, take number 12, X12, 26 or 31.

An area of stunning natural beauty, the Pentland Hills Regional Park is popular with outdoor sports enthusiasts such as hill-walkers and mountain bikers. Ranger-led guided walks, map and compass courses (including night navigation techniques) and wildlife surveying are some of the activities that take place here.

The Water of Leith Walkway is a beautiful 12.75 mile walk through the heart of Edinburgh, running from the outskirts of the city through to the sea. There are a number of places that the walkway can be accessed from the centre of the city. The quiet beauty will soon make you forget the busy city that surrounds it.