Edinburgh Activities

  • Greenest city in the UK with 112 parks
  • Castle and Palace plus Her Majesty’s Yacht “Britannia”
  • Art Galleries and many museums
  • Water-sports, Fishing, Mountain hiking, walks, cycling
  • Excellent shopping
  • Festivals all through the year

Modern day Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is the noble offspring of the medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town. It attracts more than 13 million tourists each year and has been voted as the favorite UK City for 11 consecutive years.

Edinburgh Castle looms over the city and houses the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny used in the coronations of Scottish rulers throughout history.

Edinburgh has the largest number of heritage buildings with 16,000 edifices from different epochs.

Tons of festivals rock the city throughout the year, especially the famous Mela Festival.

ACTIVITIES IN AND NEAR Edinburgh Activities

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blank Bedlam Paintball Edinburgh
28 Great King Street
Edinburgh, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 0.52 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Paintball...
blank Alien Rock
8 Pier Place Newhaven
Edinburgh, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 1.91 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Bouldering, Climbing Wall...
blank Wilderness Adventure
15 Parkhead View
Edinburgh, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 4.07 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Abseiling, Canoeing, Climbing, Gorge Walking, Highland Games, Kayaking, Paintball, Rafting,...
blank Midlothian Snowsports Centre
Hill End Biggar Road
Edinburgh, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 4.19 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Skiing, Snowboarding...
blank Re-Union Canal Boats
30 Westburn Grove
Balerno, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 4.74 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Canal Boating...
blank Bonaly Outdoor Centre
71 Bonaly Road
Edinburgh, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 4.80 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Assault Course, Climbing Wall, Crate Building, Orienteering...
blank Venturing Out
Achdalieu 4/5 Miles Farm Cottages Tranent
Tranent, East Lothian
DISTANCE: 8.27 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Abseiling, Bushcraft Course, Canoeing, Climbing, Kayaking, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Orienteering,...
blank Eica Ratho – Edinburgh International Climbing Arena
Ratho South Platt Hill
Midlothian
DISTANCE: 8.36 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Abseiling, Bouldering, Climbing, Climbing Wall...
blank Alba Ballooning Ltd
Alba Ballooning 5 Primrose Gardens Carrington
Gorebridge, Midlothian
DISTANCE: 9.10 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Hot Air Ballooning...
blank Raceland
Raceland Upper Diamond Gladsmuir
Tranent, East Lothian
DISTANCE: 11.86 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Paintball, Go Karting...
blank Kartstart Kirkcaldy
Merchant Place Mitchelston Ind. Est
Kirkcaldy
DISTANCE: 12.97 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Go Karting...
blank Cluny Clays
Cluny By Kirkcaldy
Kirkcaldy, Fife
DISTANCE: 13.97 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Airsoft, Archery, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Falconry Experience, Off Road Buggies, Off Road Driving,...
blank Beecraigs Outdoor Activity Centre
The Park Centre Beecraigs Country Park
Linlithgow, West Lothian
DISTANCE: 15.64 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Abseiling, Archery, Canoeing, Climbing, Gorge Walking, Hiking, Kayaking, Orienteering, Skiing,...
blank Low Port Education Centre
Blackness Road Linlithgow
Linlithgow, West Lothian
DISTANCE: 15.68 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Archery, Climbing, Kayaking, Mountain Biking...
blank Craigluscar Activities
The Cottage Craigluscar Farm
Dunfermline, Fife
DISTANCE: 15.70 Miles
ACTIVITIES: Clay Pigeon Shooting, Quad Racing, Tractor Driving, Hovercraft Racing...

History

Edinburgh stands on 7 hills like Rome and Moscow and has been a military stronghold, the capital of an independent country, and a centre of intellectual activity. The first people on Castle Rock lived around 1000 BC.

The Castle Rock site was eventually known as Din Eidyn (Eidyn’s Hill Fort) and later became “Edwinesburh”, (“burh” meaning “fortress”).

Around 1127, Edinburgh became a king’s burgh and later on quickly developed into Scotland’s capital. It used to be called “Auld Reekie” because of all the smoke emitted by wood being burned in the city.

In the 18th century Edinburgh lost all independent political life but dominated the literary world in Britain. Nowadays Edinburgh has regained much of his past eminence.

Things to See and Do

The Old Town

The medieval Old Town is Edinburgh’s heart and soul and its Castle dominates the city. Strolling through its narrow streets is a small journey to times long past.

Old Town boasts numerous historic sites and buildings – the Royal Mile, the Parliament House and Gladstone’s Land, now a six-story museum, are prime examples.

The cathedral of St. Giles, with its magnificent 15th century crown tower is Old Downs most famous site. There an open spire supporting a sculptured turret houses the imperial crown of Scottish kings.

Book enthusiasts will also have the chance to visit Scotland’s National Library, while their friends or family can enjoy a walk through the Mercat Cross, Old Town’s hub.

Holyrood

Away from the crowded buildings, at the lower end of the Royal Mile, is Holyrood, with its famous Palace (the British sovereign’s official residence in Scotland). Visitors crowd the site, especially Holyrood Park, featuring a freshwater loch teaming with birdlife, and the surrounding beautiful scenery, including:

  • Salisbury Crags, a series of bold cliffs at the top of a spur of Edinburg’s highest peak, Arthur’s Seat. Below the foot of the cliffs lies the famous Radical Road – do your best to learn how this famous site came into existence.

The Crags are offered for photography lovers, with spectacular views of the city, but also for actual lovers who love romantic seclusion.

Climbing is also allowed, but climbers need to apply for a free permit. Most climbers use bouldering already installed but also free climbers often accept the challenge.

  • Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcano and the main peak of the local hills and mountains. Offering panoramic views over the city – truly spectacular scenery.

Here as well, except for a paradise for ramblers, the site is ideal for climbers, photo addicts and couples. There is a fort there which is 2000 years old and in good condition.

Princes Street Gardens

The Princes Street Gardens, laid out between the Old and New towns feature rows of flowers set out in beds, that change several times a year, and a floral clock planted in 1903.

A bandstand, an outdoor dance floor and numerous monuments has made the Gardens one of the most visited places in Edinburgh, especially for families and amateur florists.

The New Town

The New Town came into existence in 1767, and was initially designed for people of certain rank and fortune.

When built, the New Town was deliberately designed without shops or places of entertainment, but today is alive with shops, bars and cafeterias. Prince’s Street is a mile long and ideal for shopping.

Another excellent sight is the Georgian House, especially for those who love a glimpse of the past; it is furnished, from kitchen to bedrooms, with all the appurtenances of late 18th-century Edinburgh elegance.

Couples and families also love the Royal Botanic Garden, especially when the great rhododendrons are in bloom.

Don’t Forget

Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, in use from 1954-1997, is well worth a visit: just follow in the footsteps of royalty as you step aboard the Queen’s floating royal residence.

Mary King’s Close is a “must visit” area: an old Edinburgh close under the Old Town, the site is shrouded in tales of ghosts and hideous murders of plague victims that were walled up and left to die. Its hidden “haunted” alleyways won’t fail to excite your imagination.

Children and adults also crowd Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura, a world of illusions and magic, enjoying the fascinating Show and 5 floors full of a great range of optical experiences.

Scotland is the earthly paradise of all “Scotch” buffs around the globe. If you are among them, the Scotch Whisky Exhibition has a great variety of high tech exhibits, barrel rides and tastings.

Sporting Activities

Edinburgh offers cyclers some great off street experiences: you can, for example, cycle through inner-city railway lines, but be sure to obtain or download a special inner-tube map which is frequently updated to indicate obstacles or problems en route. Bike hires are easy to find.

Except for Arthur’s Peak and Salisbury Crags, the Pentlands Hills are ideal for ardent hikers, mountain – bike enthusiasts, ramblers and families that would love to pick-nick out in the country.

Naturalists crowd Duddingston Loch, where bird–watching becomes a truly unique experience.

If you and your friends love skateboarding, remember to bring your boards with you: Edinburgh’s Skate Park has a running track, adventure playground and skateboard facilities.

If it is golf that fascinates you, the city’s golf courses won’t disappoint you and your friends: a wager will probably add more thrill to the game.

Water – sports are also very popular in Edinburgh: you can buy or rent equipment and clothes for sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing and RYA. Sailing is also allowed on the Union Canal. You can also swim off the mile long sandy beach before stopping for lunch in one of the many pubs or cafes along the way.

Festivals

It would be a great idea to visit Edinburgh during the Mela Festival, which is actually a celebration of Scotland’s rich and diverse culture. Exceptional music, wonderful dance and exquisite examples of arts from around the world have made Mela Festival the peak of the city’s annual events.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August has music, dance, precision display with pipes and drums, singers and a lone piper with Edinburgh Castle in the background. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a few days later, includes theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera and music, held all over the city in various venues.

Bookworms will find the Book Festival, the largest of its kind in the world, simply irresistible. The International Storytelling Festival in October is even greater if you have children with you.

The Jazz and Blues Festival is held in July when Edinburgh plays host to the finest talents from all over the world. From bop to boogie woogie, from swing to soul, there is something for everyone.

Summary

Edinburgh is evidently a wonderful and exciting place to visit. There is always something going on and so much to do. Except for the vibrant nightlife, the city is ideal for all kinds of mild and family sporting activities, both on land and water, and you don’t have to travel far away to catch some great views or spend time in the countryside.

History and legend, facts and fiction, fun and relaxation – all mingle uniquely in Scotland’s emblem city.