Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the worlds most visually dramatic and vibrant cities. Lying on the South East of Scotland, Edinburgh is the Capital City of Scotland and seat of the Scottish Government. Although second in size to its West Coast neighbour Glasgow, the population doubles in size each year during the International Edinburgh Festival with events covering the four weeks of August. This, however, does not limit the activities in Edinburgh, or the attractions and things to do during the other eleven months of the year. Moreover there is a wide variety of accommodation, hotels, bed and breakfasts and self catering options to manage the great number of tourists and holiday makers that come to explore all that this exceptional city has to offer.

The dramatic landscape, stunning architecture and rich cultural history in science, philosophy and art from the enlightenment era, has resulted in Edinburgh being dubbed the 'Athens of the North'.

Edinburgh is divided into two parts, the Old Town and New Town. The New Town was named to distinguish it from the medieval heart of the old city and by modern standards is not new. Built in the 18th Century, the New Town contains some of the finest Georgian architecture in the world and is a highly desirable place to live. The two parts of the city are separated by Princes Street Gardens, which host a series of garden events, monuments and also Waverley Train Station.

The Old Town is dominated by Edinburgh Castle which sits atop an extinct volcano which ridges down the Royal Mile to Holyrood House, and another volcanic outcrop - Arthur's Seat. Enclosed by the North Sea and the Firth of Forth and defined by its geological landscape, Edinburgh retains the age old charm and history so often associated with the city.

Served by Edinburgh International Airport, the city is linked to Glasgow and the West by road and rail, and to England and the South via the East Coast Main train Line and the A1 Great North Road which links the capital cities of England and Scotland. To reach points North, the famous Forth Rail Bridge and road bridge span the Forth and form the gateway to the Northern parts of Scotland.

Those looking for things to do in Edinburgh are truly spoilt for choice. The city has a European capital city feel with a host of services and amenities to cater for residents and the many thousands of visitors each year. Culture, sports, arts, and entertainment are high priorities in Edinburgh and all are well established and highly regarded.

Edinburgh Restaurants and Cafes

Edinburgh restaurants and cafes offer an incredible array of tastes and styles as would be expected from major world city. Continental cafe bars are common; with pavement eating and drinking for customers who like to soak up the atmosphere and indulge in some people watching. All niches in world cuisine are offered as are top rated restaurants and cafes for the more discerning clientele.

Activities and Attractions

Any list of things to do in Edinburgh would not be complete without the many natural, cultural, and historic attractions on offer in the city. Edinburgh Zoo has been a popular attraction since it opened in 1913 and is a foremost centre for animal research and conservation. Edinburgh Castle has an obvious visitor appeal and the many museums and art galleries display a wealth of local and international treasures. Activities for families, couples or the solo explorer are all in abundance here.


For an excellent way to discover the hidden and obvious delights of Edinburgh many people take a tour either on the many open top buses or with a walking guide. The buses offer a hop on, hop off service for flexibility and you can rejoin the tour at any time. Walking tours are popular to take in the information and sights of offer and also for the many underground walks and dungeons in the witch and ghost walks. Whisky tours are also on offer from the city.

Bars and Nightclubs

For those looking for the perfect night out in the capital city, you will be amazed at the diversity of nightclubs that Edinburgh has to offer.

Edinburgh has a reputation for offering the best variety of nightlife. There are clubs for every music taste and culture and the extending opening hours of the pubs and bars, themselves often offering dance floors and club environment, means a seamless transition between cafe, bar, and club life in Edinburgh. This all combines to provide a nightlife to comparable to any other capital city.

Edinburgh is home to a long standing brewing tradition and has exported many of its own fine ales for centuries, so much so that the Heriot Watt University in the city has a world renowned academic brewing institution. Ales locally and wider sourced are served in traditional bars in the city many of which retain their centuries old feel and atmosphere. These sit at ease with the many modern bars and cafes, reflecting a diverse clientele well served in their drinking time.


Edinburgh offers accommodation in a variety of formats in the many different areas of the Scottish capital making it easy for you to explore all the things to do, activities and attractions. There are hotels and luxury guest houses designed to spoil and lavish attention. There are smaller bed and breakfast establishments for a more 'home-from-home' feel. And for those wanting that little bit of extra privacy that comes with self catering accommodation, will be pleased to know that Edinburgh has a fantastic range of holiday cottages and other self-catering accommodation.