Edinburgh is a historic city but its also full of things to do. Whether you are into tasting the best drinks and food in town, sampling the night life or immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, this city has you covered.
It doesn’t matter if you are new to they city or lived here all your life, these places are well worth checking out so here’s ECSA’s 10 things to do in Edinburgh!
Placed just down from the Castle (which we’ll talk about later) this attraction offers stunning views across the city (on a clear day) reaching as far as across the forth and into Fife! Not only do they offer student prices (Bonus) but entry gets you access to a guided tour of the city from the convenience of the Camera Obscura observatory. Ticket price also includes unlimited access to browse and interact with optical illusions and other mind bending experiments across 3 floors of activity – believe us you’ll need a whole day to walk around this place, bring a friend and a camera for hours of amusement and silliness! Perfect for all ages, big kids included!
P.S. we have and can spend several hours just playing around in the gift shop but don’t tell the staff we said that! *cheeky moneky face*
People in Edinburgh forget just how lucky the are or how unusual it is to have a castle smack bang in the middle of the city center. Located at the very top of the royal mile and playing host to the ‘Military Tattoo’ every August. The Castle is an important part of Edinburgh’s history. You can visit the Castle Esplanade (the entrance to you and me) and still get a feel for the place totally free of charge but there is a cost if you’d like to venture inside, visit the crown jewels and the famous canon, Mons Meg (aka as the One O'Clock Gun) and take a guided tour. A great way of getting to see the city and realise just how old this city is! The St Margarets Chapel, built in the 12th Century is located within the Castle and is Edinburghs oldest building.
The Botanic gardens located down towards Inverletith ( which can be reached on the number 8 bus from our Granton campus) is full of lush flora (plants) of all shapes and sizes. Take your own picnic and blanket to soak some rays or pop into the cafe to grab a coffee and read a book surrounded by impressive plants of all types. The greenhouses are worth a visit too and play host to some of the most beautiful exotic plants and there is even the odd cute rabbit kicking about! Its also free entry into the grounds with only special exhibits costing any actual pennies though donations are welcome!
Stockbridge, an area of the ‘New Town’ of Edinburgh has a real vibe and bustle to it, lots of small businesses, cafes and restaurants and a few good pubs too! People are friendly and welcoming, weekends see farmers markets filled with local Scottish and European delicacies ( who doesn’t love craft cheese?). Lose yourself wandering into vintage shops and pick yourself up a sneaky bargain to spruce up your student digs. The community regularly puts on unique events so check out the hub page and wander down sometime to soak up the atmosphere and check out the amzing views of the Water of Leith.
Arthur's Seat & Holyrood Park
not only do we have a giant castle but in true ‘one-up-manship’ this city actually has a volcano, don’t worry its extinct! It offers some of the highest and prettiest views across Edinburgh, some amazing walking trails. It’s said that you haven’t even truly been to Edinburgh or integrated until you cross off visiting the peak from your to do list. So what are you waiting for?
Coming to Edinburgh might feel like a time warp with all that history but how about actual time travel? Go back to when it all began – the big bang, no that is not a student club night! Dynamic Earth is a science and nature attraction located next to parliament and Holyrood park, the attraction takes you through all of time using science and interactive displays (including a giant frozen iceberg you can touch) to illustrate just how amazing our planet earth is. They also do a student discount! A must see.
George street and Rose street can be a bit expensive for students so we recommend giving the grassmarket a try. A vibrant part of town with cafes, bars that have sprung up in the old town. From some amazing pubs to Mary’s milk bar that makes the best fresh gelato in town at a bargain price. Its excellent way to kill a few hours, soak up some good vibes and spend time in good company.
Bonus* Armstrongs vintage clothing and surrounding shops have great bargains and unique items of clothing. Theres a great fancy dress shop too (but you have to plan ahead Edinburgh takes Halloween super serious)
National Museum of Scotland
Even if you are skint there is always something you can do in Edinburgh. There are dozens of museums and art galleries around Edinburgh but the National Museum is probably our favourite. Firstly, its massive, 5 levels all filled with different exhibitions! With rotating national exhibitions that have included everything from woolly mammoths to the history of video games this place has something for everyone. Its also got a whole section dedicated to Scottish history exploring everything from Braveheart (yes it was a real thing, and no we don’t say ‘FREEDOM’) to the Scots contribution to engineering and technology. There is also a hall full of ‘kids interactive exhibits’ totally make sure you get a shot on the 'reaction tester'. (You may have noticed there is a theme emerging around our choice of things to do #bigkids)
P.s the Museum also does ‘Museum Nights that are a bit more for grown ups and a great night out with drinks and cool acts so keep your eyes peeled!
So this one is a little bit outside of Edinburgh but its so good we had to count it. If the name sounds familiar its because you’ve probably heard about this iconic chapel. Steeped in the lore of the Templar’s and Holy Grail and featuring in the popular book series by Dan Brown and was in the Da Vinci Code movie too. The Chapel is a stunning building with guided tours running every day. The building and its grounds are a work of art, the Master and Apprentice Pillars are a marvel and you can spend hours wandering around reading up on its deep history and swooning over the intricate sculptures and their historical significance.
Penguins, Pandas and Hippos are just a few of the delights awaiting for you at Edinburgh’s world famous zoo. An absolutely massive bit of land built into the hills of Edinburgh. get face to face with a monkey or hands on with a snake if you’re brave enough! A great day out and we challenge to see all it has to offer in one day (We bet you cant do it!)
Bonus* they also do Zoo nights that are hugely popular including a bar, BBQ and silent disco alongside all the animals! What club can offer that kind of fun!? None!
We hope you take the time to get inspired and visit some of the places our fair city has to offer. We’d love for any students to tag us in any of their trips if they go or let us know what they think!
Happy travels and welcome to Edinburgh!