Kirsty is Marketing Manager at HAGGiS Adventures. At weekend's she is often found camping by a loch, trying a new open swimming spot or heading out on her gravel bike. She's a massive fan of Scotland men's football team and has traveled all over Europe to see them play. She's also loves Scotland's amazing food and drink scene so when she's not away for the weekend she'll be checking out a new distillery, tap room or restaurant.
A Local's Guide to Fun Things to do in Edinburgh
Edinburgh welcomes over 4 million visitors every year, and with so much to see and do in Scotland’s capital city, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Alongside the famous National Galleries, the National Museum of Scotland and the iconic Edinburgh Castle, there are lots of fun things to do for couples, friends and families that are off the beaten track.
Here’s a handy local’s guide to some hidden gems for food lovers, music fans and those who love to hike to reach amazing views.
Whether you’re in a couple or with your family or friends, a trip to Edinburgh would only be complete with taking a walk to get the best views of the city and its epic architecture. Popular with locals and tourists, Arthur's Seat is the go-to destination for views across the city, over the Firth of Forth to Fife, of the Pentland Hills and out to East Lothian.
An easier and shorter walk for incredible views is Calton Hill, right in the city centre. As well as the views, Calton Hill has a contemporary art gallery at the top, foodies’ dream restaurant The Lookout and the National Monument, inspired by the Parthenon in Athens.
This wouldn’t be a true local’s guide if it didn’t mention whisky. There are numerous whisky experiences to choose from, so here’s a few of the best. If you have yet to try whisky and want to learn more about it, we recommend visiting the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile. But if you love whisky we recommend the timeless Bow Bar on Victoria Street, Leith’s The Mother Superior or The Black Cat on Rose Street.
Edinburgh’s craft beer scene is vibrant, with many of the best craft breweries based in Leith. Multi-award-winning Moonwake brewery is located in The Shore area; they have a tap room, brewery tours and a shop for beers on the move. Newbarns Brewery is the newest addition to Leith, and as well as a great selection of beers, it has dominos, darts and bar billiards, and a pub quiz every second Sunday afternoon.
What’s a city break without street food? Luckily Edinburgh has embraced the street food revolution and new kid on the block is ESF (Edinburgh Street Food). ESF is at the Omni Centre and has a huge selection of food from around the world, with seating inside and outside; this is a must-visit venue for food-fans. Neighbourgood Market is in the beautiful area of Stockbridge, not far from the city centre. The street food market is in a cricket ground and has picnic benches and plenty of space for blankets. There’s often live music, sports and a huge selection of food and drinks.
Folk music is thriving in Edinburgh with lots of city-centre bars having live music, especially at the weekends. The iconic Sandy Bells is on Forest Road, and The Royal Oak often has folk musicians jamming in the basement, perfect for couples. Captains Bar is a tiny slice of acoustic music heaven, and Greenmantle is in the student area of Newington, south of the city-centre.
Portobello is a beautiful seaside suburb of Edinburgh, with a long beach, great food and drinks options and good vibes. Warm days are spent swimming, playing beach volleyball and watching the many dog walkers. If you’re with your partner, join the many couples on warm nights watching sunsets, sitting around a fire on the beach and eating a slice from Civerinos.
A short train journey from Edinburgh is the stunning coastal town of South Queensferry. Get up close and personal to the famous Forth Rail Bridge, walk through the cobbled streets and grab an ice cream.
Just along the coast from Royal Yacht Britannia is Wardie Bay, one of the most popular cold water swimming spots in Edinburgh. It’s a small beach that really packs a punch, with stunning sunset views. You’ll find lots of people having a BBQ during warm summer evenings.
If you’re in London and short of time, Evan Evans day tour to Edinburgh is the perfect way for you to explore Scotland’s capital city. Leaving bright and early in the morning, sit back and relax as you journey through England and into Scotland on the train, arriving mid-morning, giving you a day to explore. If you want to spend more time in Edinburgh, you can extend your trip to 3 days.
How many of the above activities can you tick off while you’re there?