Culture in Edinburgh

Spectacular architecture, its own dormant volcano and more history than one city really needs, Scotland’s capital has enough culture to fill ten cities. In fact, Edinburgh has so many museums, galleries and exhibitions vying for your attention, it would be impossible to do them all in one city break. Prefer your culture of the student variety? Edinburgh’s universities are packed with heritage and known for their spectacular architecture. With so much on offer, staying in one of our Edinburgh hotels is guaranteed to get your cultural city break off to the the best possible start.


Galleries

While culture vultures in their droves descend on the city each August for the month-long celebration of all things creative, the city is no slouch in the art stakes in the remaining 11 months of the year. From world-class institutions to more avante garde galleries, Edinburgh is a treasure trove of all things arty, from the fine to the funky.

Three floors of masterpieces from artists such as Rubens, Cezanne and Constable await you at the Scottish National Gallery. Browse this world-class fine art gallery then grab a bite to eat at the on-site Scottish Cafe and Restaurant to sample local food while enjoying views of Princes Street Gardens.

From historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots through to contemporary pioneers of sport, science and the arts, Scotland’s past and present is represented through the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s collection of faces. The building itself is also worth a look - it’s one of Edinburgh’s finest.

Love your art cool and contemporary? Head to the Gallery of Modern Art. Just a 15-minute walk from our Edinburgh Haymarket hotel, this remarkable gallery is made up of the Modern One and Modern Two buildings and a sculpture park. Don’t miss the chance to see works by Henry Moore, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Anthony Gormley, Matisse and Picasso.

Anyone interested in both beautiful paintings and beautiful buildings should visit the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture. It champions artists at all stages of their career through exciting exhibitions, events and talks.

National Museum of Flight

The National Museum

Dynamic Earth


Museums

Edinburgh has so many museums it would be impossible to fit them all into one city break. Besides the big hitters, there are museums dedicated to war, flight, science plus it’s home to the world's first museum of childhood.

Of the free museums on offer, the best has to be the National Museum of Scotland. A quirky place full of treasures - from dinosaur skeletons to the latest in high technology - you could easily spend a whole day here. It’s interactive galleries are entertaining to adults and kids alike and, if that’s not enough, there are also free tours and treasure-hunt style trails to help you get the most out of your visit.

Edinburgh doesn’t get more family-friendly than the Museum of Childhood. Kids can find out what it was like to grow up in bygone eras whilst the grown-ups reminisce. It spans the 18th - 21st centuries and has some iconic items for sale in the shop.

Set within Edinburgh Castle, the National War Museum is all about Scotland in times of conflict. You’ll find out how the country’s unique terrain has shaped its military history as well as learning about today’s military and Scotland’s role in major battles of the past.

Fancy a day trip? Twenty miles east of the city brings you to the National Museum of Flight. So fascinating you’ll want to pay more than just a flying visit, it charts the history of aviation from World War I to the present through real aircraft, hangars, interactive exhibitions and supersonic experiences. If you’re thinking of going to the museum for the breathtaking yearly aerial spectacular that is Scotland’s National Airshow, why not book into the Premier Inn hotel near the National Museum of Flight?

Prepare to have your mind blown. Dynamic Earth uses cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art interactive displays and a 360 film experience to take you on a journey through time to tell the awesome story of planet earth. Polar ice caps, tropical rainforests and a bubbling volcano included.


Universities

Full of history and heritage, Edinburgh’s universities breathe new life into the city’s cultural calendar, keeping the arts scene fresh and interesting. Whether you’re attending an open day or graduation, or just being nosey, they’re a great place to visit - some of the buildings are tourist attractions in their own right.

The sixth oldest university in the English speaking world, Edinburgh University has a student life to match its history and reputation. Its beautiful listed buildings have produced graduates who have influenced world history, from novelists to prime ministers. Sitting in the heart of the Old Town, the campus puts you in the heart of the action. Plus there’s a Premier Inn hotel near Edinburgh University that makes a great base for all your cultural exploring.

Located on the edge of the city, Heriot-Watt University stands out thanks to its strong connections to business and industry and a strong student community feel. The University’s campus provides plenty of space to study, relax and explore. Check out its state-of-the-art, sporting facilities which are used by lots of Scotland’s athletes, including the national football and rugby squads.

Made up of three smaller sites on the west of the city, student life at Napier University is as varied as the courses it offers. The Sighthill campus serves over 5,000 students of science, health and social care, while engineering, computing and creative industries students are based at Merchiston. Home to the Business School is the Craiglockhart campus.


Exhibitions

If you’re in town for a one-off exhibition, event or trade show, you’ll probably find it at one of the following first-class venues.

Edinburgh International Conference Centre
(or the EICC) is one of the city’s finest exhibition spaces, with a year-round calendar of art, tech and business events. Part of The Exchange in the west end of town, EICC is easy to get to by plane, train or car, and enjoys catering by Leith’s at the EICC, founded by Great British Bake Off’s Prue Leith herself!

About three miles from the city centre in the suburb of Chesser you’ll find the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. It holds hundreds of events and exhibitions each year, from sci-fi comic conferences to reggae festivals.

Next to Edinburgh Airport and close to our Edinburgh Airport (Newbridge) hotel, the Royal Highland Centre plays host to over 220 events annually. Attracting over one million visitors each year, the largest event is the Royal Highland Show, but there’s also a year-round calendar of exhibitions with subjects that range from natural history and science to classic cars.


Looking for a hotel in Edinburgh?

Whether you're staying in Edinburgh city centre, next to Edinburgh Castle, around Princes Street, or on the outskirts of town, we have the right hotel for you. Flying in on business and we've hotels next to Edinburgh Airport. Looking for a family-friendly hotel for a weekend break and we have those aswell.