If you’ve ever pondered the secrets of the night’s sky or wondered exactly what else is out there, Edinburgh’s magnificent Royal Observatory is the place to search for the answers. Set atop Blackford Hill, just south of the city center, the unique building houses both Edinburgh University’s astronomy department and the UK’s Astronomy Technology Centre, alongside a popular visitor center. Occupying the landmark building since 1896, the Royal Observatory is one of Edinburgh’s most often-overlooked attractions, but it’s worth a visit for the hilltop views alone – stretching for miles over the Braid and Pentland Hills.
Touring the observatory is also possible, with private and group guided tours available and weekly public astronomy evenings held throughout most of the year. As well as the chance to peek through the biggest telescope in Scotland and handle meteorites estimated to date back 4.5 billion years, guests can quiz the resident astronomers on the mysteries of the solar system and learn about the constellations while star-gazing from the observatory’s open air viewing balcony.