The mile long mixture of tourism and historic scotland starts at Hollyrood with a fantastic view of Arthurs Seat up to Edinburgh Castle where there is fantastic view of Edinburgh.
Starting at Hlyrood, next to the Queens Gallery the Royal Mile is THEE tourist destination of Edinburgh, it has a great mixture of tourist shops, museums and historical places such as greyfriars and the museum. There are also many “genuine Scotland” shops selling whisky, fudge, kilts and anything else you can think to be “truly Scottish”. Starting at the bottom of the mile there is Arthurs Seat, a hill that forms most of Holyrood park. Its an easy walk to the top and promises fantastic views of the city. Just next to that is the Queens Gallery and the newly designed parliament building.
The Queens Gallery is part of the Queens Scottish residence and is open daily to tourists to show off royal pieces of artwork. The new parliament building is one of the most contemporary buildings in Edinburgh and part of it is once again open to the public to have a look around in.
Walking up the mile should take you a good 20 minutes but I have spent hours looking in the various shops and taking photos before reaching the castle. The castle itself is an impressive feature, light up at night and bombarded by tourists by day it still remains a magnificent focal point of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is hosted in its grounds once a year and has a become a familiar backdrop to the event.
I would recommend taking a bike so you can fly down the cobbles of the mile taking photos and avoiding the crush of the tourist.