Edinburgh Activities & Things To Do
Edinburgh is a city of contradictions. A historical, picturesque city with an imposing 7th Century castle looming above it but also, the home to the cutting edge Edinburgh festival fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. The festival is as much a part of Edinburgh as the castle and both co-exist happily. The city’s nicknames ‘The Athens of the North’ and ‘Auld Reekie’ also tells of the city’s contradictions. The former speaks of Edinburgh’s intellectual and cultural strengths; the latter tells of an altogether grittier, tougher city.
Getting to Edinburgh
Being Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is incredibly well connected. Edinburgh International Airport receives flights from all over the world. Domestically, London is only 1 hour flying time away. A new tram service connects the airport with the city centre. By train, services from London take four and a half hours or there is the option of the Caledonian Sleeper, leaving Euston at 11pm and arriving in Edinburgh at 7.30 the next morning. By road, the M8 runs between Glasgow and Edinburgh and takes about an hour and the A1 runs from Newcastle. National Express and the budget Megabus offer routes from many UK cities to Edinburgh.
What’s on and when to go?
Edinburgh has a packed schedule throughout the year but the summer is when it really gets crazy. If you want to visit Edinburgh in the summer months it’s advisable to book far in advance. It really is worth the extra effort though, as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which runs for most of August is an unforgettable experience. The Royal Edinburgh tattoo is also held throughout August and attracts around a quarter of a million people. The other big event in Edinburgh’s calendar is New Year’s Eve. Nobody does Hogmanay quite like the Scots and Edinburgh hosts the biggest party in the country.
Outside of the incredible sightseeing on offer, Edinburgh also provides a wealth of activities.
Raceland is the largest karting centre in Scotland. Boasting an indoor and outdoor track, a custom-built paintball arena and an American style diner. Raceland also offers group packages.
Epic Ventures offer a range of outdoor pursuits including rock climbing, abseiling and canoeing.
MadMax Adventures specialize in group activities. They offer a huge roster of options. Clay pigeon shooting, 4x4 off-roading and even tossing the caber are just a few of the unique activities to choose from.
Of course, no visit to Scotland would be complete without a wee dram. The Scotch Whisky experience offers tours and most importantly, tastings. Groups can book private tasting tours or informal whisky tastings.
Edinburgh has a fantastic nightlife, whether you want culture, fine dining or a more raucous affair; Edinburgh won’t disappoint.
Theatre doesn’t start and finish with the festival, the Royal Lyceum stages world-class productions throughout the year. The Dome is a refurbished old bank that serves excellent cocktails in a stunning setting.
Captains Bar offers Scottish folk music in the old town and is a real fixture of the city. The Port O’ Leith is a world famous bar that is a rowdy and incredible experience.
For fine dining there is The Kitchin, local lad Tom Kitchin’s Michelin starred restaurant. For those who like to get straight into the heart of the party then Rose St. is the perfect place. A long straight street packed with bars that are always busy.
Cabaret Voltaire is one of Edinburgh’s more famous nightclubs. Situated in the subterranean caverns of the Cowgate area, ‘the cab’ aims to please with a huge variety of musical genres on offer and a live venue.