Things to do in Edinburgh

Take a Stroll

Edinburgh is full of surprises; quite often we take a stroll around the city and get confused by its geography. This is especially true of the Old Town where you can turn a corner and suddenly be underneath your previous location – it’s like living in an Escher drawing!

However, this is part of what makes the Old Town a great place to explore. Head down to the shops of the Grassmarket and then take a stroll down the Royal Mile, (a particularly fascinating experience during the Fringe Festival). After all this walking, be sure to pop in to one of the many bars and enjoy a wee dram before heading off to your next adventure.

Get your chills

There are plenty of ways to learn all about Edinburgh's gory history. Try one of the numerous Ghost Walks taking place on the Royal Mile. They're great value for money (and are best enjoyed at night for maximum impact). The Edinburgh Dungeons and the Real Mary King's Close experience are also both sure to set your spine tingling.

Enjoy and Open Top Tour

A number of open top tour buses operate in Edinburgh. These are a great way to see more of the city as you can hop on and off. There's plenty of photo opportunities along the way too. If you're still looking for more frights, there's even a Ghost Bus, home to Edinburgh's very own spooky comedy sightseeing tour.

Have a romantic break

Paris may be the City of Love, but Edinburgh is the city you'll love. This is a great place for romantic breaks. With its spectacular views and endless supply of fantastic food, you'll never be short of somewhere to treat that special someone.

Go on an Adventure

Edinburgh is a beautiful city to walk around and you can certainly tire yourself out quickly enough. However, those looking for an additional challenge can climb the Scott Monument (all 287 steps) and be rewarded with stunning views of the city. It can be a little claustrophobic on the way up, but we think it's worth it! 

For views with a little more breathing room, you can head up to Calton Hill – this is the perfect place for a picnic or just to admire a 360 panoramic view of Edinburgh. Still feeling energetic? Those wanting to go the extra mile can scale Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano in Holyrood Park. Once completed you'll feel a great sense of achievement – the perfect excuse for an extra cocktail when you reach the bottom again.

Another great way to enjoy the Scottish capital is to hire a bike and go for a ride. Edinburgh is a great city to cycle around and there are some cracking cycle routes to enjoy, such as The Water of Leith or the coastal path to Cramond. You can even cross the causeway at low tide and visit Cramond Island – just make sure you leave plenty of time for the return journey.

Fun for all the Family

Edinburgh is a great place for all the family to visit. You'll never be short of places to go and even the bigger kids won’t be disappointed. We'd recommend a trip to Camera Obscura, which is filled with interactive optical illusions – you can even spy on the shoppers of Princes Street!

Edinburgh Zoo is also a top attraction. Pop along and see the Penguin Parade and meet Sir Nils Olav; it's not everyday you get to meet a Penguin with a knighthood! 

Finally, explorers of all ages will love taking advantage of Edinburgh’s very own time machine. Situated in the leafy surrounds of Holyrood Park, the astounding science of Dynamic Earth is a sure-fire way to keep children (and adults) entertained, while sneaking in some education at the same time.

Enjoy Some Peace and Tranquility

It’s incredible how many green spaces there are to escape to in Edinburgh; all you need is a good book and a little time and you’d soon forget you're in a capital city. The Botanic Gardens is a vast space which is begging to be explored, whilst Princes Street Gardens, the Meadows and Inverleith Park are all perfect and picturesque spots for a picnic (weather permitting of course).

Film Fanatics

Edinburgh has had a lead role in a number of great films, such as the iconic run along Princes Street in Trainspotting and the upbeat song and dance numbers of Sunshine on Leith. Revisit these scenes before popping along to one of Edinburgh's many cinemas. Try The Dominion for its sofas that provide the ultimate comfort, The Filmhouse for a great selection of art-house films or The Cameo for a sense of the theatrical.

Indoor Adventures

The weather in Scotland has a habit of being unpredictable, but the saying goes "There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing". With this in mind, it's always a good idea to have some waterproofs to hand, but don’t let a little rain get in the way of your adventures – there's still plenty to do indoors!

Edinburgh has a whole host of indoor attractions, many of which have already been mentioned in this guide. There are also plenty of museums and galleries to enjoy and Edinburgh Castle is a must see attraction for anybody visiting.

Party Time

Edinburgh is more than just spectacular views. There's also a thriving nightlife scene with something to please everybody. Cocktail enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, with Bramble, Lucky Liquor and Panda & Sons all in close proximity – cocktail crawl anyone?

Edinburgh also has some great clubs, with Liquid Rooms hosting live acts and DJs. Alternatively, if you are hunting out a more underground scene, you could always have a rave in a cave at Cabaret Voltaire. Whatever you're looking for, it's safe to say Edinburgh has it all!

Want to find out more about everything Edinburgh has to offer? Pick up more great insider tips at Edinblogger.