Newhaven (tours to Edinburgh), Scotland, UK cruises
Edinburgh port guide
Like much of Scotland, Edinburgh is a beautiful region shrouded in myth, mystery, and ancient history. Pale stone monuments. Crooked cobbled streets. Views out to the moody Firth of Forth estuary. On a visit to Scotland’s bewitching capital, discover a fascinating atmosphere which will leave you wanting more.
Spend your time here wandering along rows of Georgian terraced houses, stopping to take in the odd museum, or the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Perhaps you’d rather explore the quirky art scene, enjoying local fare and sampling whiskies. Whatever you choose, you’ll no doubt find something to surprise and delight.
Top landmarks and sights in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is far from lacking when it comes to things to see. The most famous landmark is probably Edinburgh Castle, whose mighty presence looms over the city. While well worth a visit, there are many other locations that may well pique your interest too.
Edinburgh Castle boasts a long and varied past. It stands tall on Castle Rock, which is known to have been the site of an Iron Age fort, centuries before the castle itself was built. Today you can see Scotland’s crown jewels at the castle, which were hidden during Oliver Cromwell’s occupation, and rediscovered and exhibited here in 1818. The 9th century, Scottish Stone of Destiny is also on display once again, having been returned in 1996 after being taken to Westminster Abbey in 1296.
Mary King’s Close
A street once called home by Edinburgh’s poorest residents, in the 17th century, Mary King’s Close is said to be haunted today. It continues to fascinate locals and visitors alike. Now underground, beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, in the 16th century this street was once filled with people and traders, including the fabric merchant Mary King. It was buried in 1760, when the Royal Exchange was built. Explore this dark and gloomy part of the city and find out if the ghost stories are true.
Medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town
For another glimpse into Edinburgh’s history, ponder the lives of those who once walked the streets of Medieval Old Town. Here you’ll find many examples of preserved Reformation-era buildings, prompting the imagination to picture bustling families going about their lives. Then, in Georgian New Town, discover neoclassical, honey-coloured stone architecture, complimented by pretty, symmetrical gardens and wide roads. Both these areas of the city are sure to fill your camera roll.
Things to do in Edinburgh
As well as taking in Edinburgh’s plentiful historic landmarks, this captivating city brings a wide variety of other ways to spend your time, from the active and adventurous to the enriching and educational.
Explore the arts scene
For those who seek to discover a vibrant and contemporary side to the city, Edinburgh is also known for its arts and cultural scene. Home to the renowned, annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you’ll find opportunities to explore plenty of thought-provoking galleries, street art, and theatre all over town.
Many would argue that no trip to Scotland is complete without sampling a whisky or two. If this appeals, you’ll find plenty of chances to wet your whistle in Edinburgh, not only at bars and pubs, but at organised whisky tastings. From the rustic to the refined, explore the best drams in the city.
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
Should you be exploring Edinburgh in favourable weather, perhaps enjoy time spent outside in Holyrood Park. The park is just a short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and within it you’ll find Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that brings wonderful views of the city if you make the climb.
Eating and drinking in Edinburgh
When it comes to dining, Edinburgh serves up a wealth of different options. You could choose to dine at superb Michelin-starred restaurants or go local with freshly cut chips drizzled in Edinburgh ‘chippy sauce’, washed down with an Irn-Bru. Perhaps you’d like to try some classic Scottish comfort food. You could sample Scotland’s national dish, haggis, neeps, and tatties, or perhaps try some surf and turf, with a cut of succulent Aberdeen Angus beef or smoked Scottish salmon.
Sweet treats to try in Edinburgh include cranachan, a rich dessert made with raspberries, oats, cream, honey, and whisky, or maybe you’d prefer a piece of buttery shortbread or sweet and crumbly tablet. Then, of course, there’s whisky. Scotland is home to more than 100 distilleries, and you’ll find opportunities to try countless different bottles in Edinburgh, should you wish.
Shopping in Edinburgh
During your time in port, you may well be on the lookout for a souvenir or two to take home, whether for a loved one or perhaps for yourself. If so, you could spend a few hours shopping on the iconic Royal Mile or Princes Street, where you’ll have your pick of high street brands and independent boutiques, not to mention whisky shops.
Some classic Scottish gifts to take home include local produce like shortbread, tablet, and whisky, or you could choose something that will (arguably) last a little longer, like authentic tweed or tartan clothing, or Celtic style jewellery.
Getting around: Edinburgh transport
Edinburgh is a relatively small city, and you’ll likely find that the main attractions are accessible on foot. Like much of the UK, Edinburgh offers frequent public buses available to take you to different areas in and outside the main city. There is also a tram service that follows one route across 15 stops, connecting the airport to York Place, taking in highlights like Princes Street on the way. You’ll find taxis readily available throughout Edinburgh too.
To travel from Newhaven cruise terminal to Edinburgh centre, a transfer service will usually be provided, however there are also public buses and taxis.
Edinburgh port facilities
For Edinburgh, Newhaven is the cruise port your Cunard Queen will arrive at. This is a tender port, meaning your ship will anchor away from the mainland, and you’ll disembark onto a tender boat that will take you ashore. Newhaven Port Authority provide a shuttle bus to the main Ocean Terminal, where you’ll find a shopping centre, taxis, and a bus stop.
Top tips for Edinburgh
In Edinburgh, and throughout Scotland and indeed the UK, the currency used is sterling, GBP. Most places will accept card payments, however, you may like to carry some cash for smaller purchases. It’s possible to buy currency on board your ship or there are ATMs located throughout Edinburgh, where you can withdraw cash. While you’re likely to withdraw Scottish-issued bank notes, any sterling notes are acceptable in Edinburgh.
Tipping is not compulsory in Edinburgh, however, if you would like to leave a tip for good service in a restaurant or café, simply rounding up your bill is appropriate. This is also true of taxi drivers – you could round up or leave up to 10% of your bill.
Like much of Scotland, Edinburgh is unfortunately not known for bright and sunny weather. Rain falls throughout the year, and it can often be quite chilly even in summer. July and August reach highs of around 18 degrees Celsius, and the winter months of December and January tend to sit at around 6 degrees Celsius.