This summer was the fifth that I’ve been to the Edinburgh Fringe and, although I love to get my fill of the shows, there’s also loads of other things to do whilst you’re in Edinburgh. There’s great views spots, a variety of attractions and loads of quaint towns to explore, just out of the city centre. So, plan your trip to Edinburgh now, with some of these ideas in mind!
- Calton Hill – just 10 minutes walk from Princes Street to the top of the hill, the view is amazing on all sides – you can see the new town, the estuary, Arthur’s Seat and the old town. Bring your lunch and make it a picnic!
- Camera Obscura – sat up near the castle, this attraction isn’t just for kids! It’s all about illusions and is a fun and quite interesting attraction. Also, it’s fascinating looking out over the city with the obscura at the top.
- Arthur’s Seat – if you’re up for more of a challenge than Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat has a quick half an hour route up (or lots of longer variations if you’re a serious walker) and the views are incredible!
- Edinburgh Gin: Make your own gin – a bit different to a traditional Gin Distillery Tour, the Edinburgh Gin Company let you get a little more hands on. A treat for gin lovers (try the Rhubarb and Ginger flavour – it’s amazing!)
- Whisky Tour – if you’re more of a whisky fan, you can take the tour up near the castle!
- Edinburgh Castle – it’s worth paying for an audio guide to explore the castle and really get a sense of the scope of history and events that have happened there over the years. It’s a really interesting tour with some fab city views.
- Military Tattoo – If you’re in Edinburgh in August, try to get tickets for the Tattoo in advance, if you can. The military concert, which takes place in the castle grounds, is a spectacle to behold and you may even get to see a member of the royal family!
- The Dungeons – similar to the tours in other cities, the dungeons is a fun wander through the vaults under one of Edinburgh’s bridges, with interactive rides and lots of ghostly tales. Maybe not great for little kids, as some on our tour didn’t seem to be enjoying it.
- Ghost Tour or Underground Tour – if you want the next level to ‘The Dungeons’, check out some of the tours on offer. The ghost tours are a bit more fun but the underground tours are actually a really informative and interesting look into the history of the city and what it would have looked like many years ago.
- Royal Yacht Brittania – out in Leith, the attraction is well worth visiting. Before the royal family travelled the world by plane, they had this yacht made. The queen used it when on her royal visits, royal couples used it for honeymoons and it was used to entertain famous guests. This luxury yacht is actually really interesting to explore and a real step back in time!
- North Berwick – worth a trip on a dry day, the town is great for grabbing a fish and chips and walking or cycling the coast. The views are great, the people are friendly and it feels like a real Scottish town.
- Boat Trips – head up to Queensferry on the bus or train and get a boat tour out to see the spectacular Forth Bridge and the islands, to explore Scotland from a different angle.
- The Big Wheel – if you’re staying in the city centre, have a go on the big wheel in Princes Street Gardens for a great view, right in the middle of it all.
- The Scott Monument – sat next to the big wheel is the Scott Monument, a tribute to Sir Walter Scott, which, for a couple of pounds, you can go up too. It’s interesting to hear the history of the monument and the views are great too.
- Scottish National Gallery – last but not least, pop into the gallery for some interesting art over the ages, and some great visiting exhibitions. We were lucky enough to see a David Bailey exhibition last year which was fantastic.
Well, if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, I don’t know what is! Make sure you visit some of these fantastic attractions to really get the most out of your visit to Edinburgh and why not share your favourite Edinburgh things to do below!