Covid-19 – What is open in Edinburgh

I am writing this post purely for visitors to Edinburgh who want to have an all in-one-place of what is open in Edinburgh. Officially the Scottish government gave tourism sites and attractions the go ahead on July 15th, however not all of the places are open just yet. 

This post will be based on Edinburgh’s most popular attractions and activities. 

Hopefully, the people of the UK will opt for a “staycation” this year and help our ever struggling tourism and hospitality industry. 

In Scotland right now it is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops. It is also advisable that you make payments with card where possible and of course maintain social distancing. 

I will try and update this piece as time goes on, but right now this is what is opening and opening soon.


Edinburgh Castle

The most popular attraction in all of Edinburgh is the Castle which is opening on Saturday 1st of August.

They have made some changes, tickets will need to be pre-booked online before arrival. You can do that easily on their website. 

They are also advising:

  • Contactless payment where possible.
  • One-way systems and some areas of sites, such as enclosed spaces, will be closed off to visitors.


Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh zoo like many others across the country have suffered huge economic losses. The survival of endangered animals depends on the survival of the zoo. Support your local zoo and make a visit. 

Edinburgh is open from 10am-6pm daily.

Advanced booking is essential and a time slot is needed for your visit. Book tickets online here.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace situated at the bottom of the Royal Mile and the official Edinburgh residence of The Queen will be opening mid July.

The Palace and grounds will be open from Thursday July 23rd. 

In order to maintain social distancing within the building, they have closed two tiny rooms where social distancing cannot be maintained. The multimedia audio guides will be available and cleaned thoroughly before and after use.

The gift shop is open, but will only be accepting card payments.

They have introduced a timed ticket system which can be booked online here. 

Surgeons Hall Museum

The Surgeons Hall Museum is located near to Edinburgh University in the Old Town. Owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and consist of the Wohl Pathology Museum, the History of Surgery Museum and The Dental Collection.

The museum is open from 10am-5pm , 7 days a week. 

It is recommended to make a reservation for your visit so that you won’t be turned away. However, you can buy tickets on arrival. There is a capacity of 8 people per group visit. 

Tickets can be purchased here online.

The Real Mary Kings Close

Visit the underground warren of streets and hear about the city of Edinburgh’s dark past. 

The tour underground is fully guided and lasts 1 hour. This is not suitable for young children.

The Real Mary Kings Close is open from 10am daily.

You must pre-book your tickets in advance online before your visit. As capacity will be reduced this means you can guarantee your place on a tour at a time that suits you, at the best possible price, and avoid disappointment. Book tickets here. 

Edinburgh Dungeons

Are you brave enough to visit the Dungeons? Situated behind Edinburgh’s main railway station the Dungeons is the ultimate underground journey through Edinburgh’s darkest history, using live actors and theatrical sets.

The Dungeons are open daily from 11am-4pm. 

Tickets must be booked in advance before entry. There are different tiers of tickets available.

Choose from Entry, Flexi or Ultimate and save online!

  • Entry guarantees you a time slot
  • Flexi allows you to visit any time
  • The Ultimate Ticket is packed with extra treats!

A face covering must be worn throughout your visit. Please note the drop ride at the end of the tour has been suspended. 

Book tickets online here.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

You can visit The Queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years. Berthed in Edinburgh, next to Ocean Terminal  follow in the footsteps of Royalty. The Royal Deck Tea room and gift shop will also be open.

Their tickets are sold by arrival times and once you are on board you can stay as long as you wish within our opening hours. Tours are self-guided, available on your mobile or an audio handset which is included in the price of admission. The tour takes approximately 1.5-2 hours, but you can tour at your own pace.

The ship will be open to the public on Monday 27th July.

Tickets can be bought online here.

Holyrood Distillery

Edinburgh’s new distillery is not open for tours yet, however the Courtyard bar and gift shop are open. 

Alongside Pizza Geeks and Innis & Gunn, they’ve transformed the courtyard of the Distillery into an amazing outdoor bar full of flavour focused-food and drink with plentiful seating. 

The Courtyard bar is open between Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-8pm. 

For more information click here.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

The very popular attraction at the top of the Royal Mile is opening up again from Monday 17th August. 

You can take the basic tour and learn about the process of making whisky or enhance your experience with one of the masterclasses and tastings on offer. The Amber restaurant will also be open from the 17th of August serving up Scottish cuisine and whisky.

They will be open seven days a week, tours will run 11:00 to 17:30. Online ticketing and restaurant booking is available now. Book tickets and time slots here.


Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

If you are looking for some fresh air, and something free to do in Edinburgh then a visit to the botanic gardens are a must. Enjoy the 70 acres of landscape and see the Chinese hillside garden, the woodland garden and the Queen Mother Memorial garden.

If you are visiting our Edinburgh Garden, you must book a time slot online before your visit.  This will enable them to limit the number of visitors in the Garden, minimise queuing and facilitate physical distancing. 

There are hourly time slots available throughout the day between 10am and 4pm and details can be found online when you book. The time slots are free to book.  Reserve your time slot here.

Rosslyn Chapel

Situated just outside Edinburgh in the village of Rosslyn (accessible by Edinburgh buses).

The chapel took some 40 years to build and its ornate stonework and mysterious symbolism have inspired  visitors ever since. Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code also made the chapel famous and people flock to the chapel.

The chapel is open but tickets must be pre-booked.

Tickets should now be booked in advance here for one of the timeslots available. Each timeslot lasts for one and a half hours and access to all areas of the Chapel and visitor centre is included within that time. The site will close for 10 minutes between each timeslot.

Maison De Moggy

Scotland’s first cat cafe has reopened to visitors. 

The cafe has 12 resident cats who live in a special built cat haven where they have free roam of the place. If you are a cat lover and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cats then you should make a visit. The Cat cafe is near the Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

You must book your time slot online before you visit and the visits will be limited to one hour. The maximum group size is for 6 people and a face covering must be worn throughout your visit. To make a reservation click here.

Visit Scotland Tourist Information

Visit Scotland’s information centre which is on the Royal Mile – near to St.Giles Cathedral is open to visitors between 10am-3pm. 

The centre is staffed if you want to ask for advice and there are many leaflets and information stands to help during your visit. There is also the opportunity to book day trips from their centre.

They also have a small gift which supplies only Scottish products. 

For more information, click here.

Thanks for reading, I hope that you are inspired to visit Edinburgh soon. 

I should also mention that my own small business is back up and running. My one hour Harry Potter Walking tour is available to book now. 

If you require a re-usable face covering I can recommend this etsy shop. 

Thanks, Kat.

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