Edinburgh is a vibrant and exciting city that has an abundance of activities on offer for students – whatever your interests. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the city’s extensive history or simply relax in a picturesque beer garden, Edinburgh has it all. So, we have made a list of 10 of the best things to do in Edinburgh as a student to make sure you can make the most of your time in the city whether you study there or are just visiting.

1. The Christmas Markets

Edinburgh Christmas MArket
Source: The Daily Recorf

For six weeks over the festive period, Scotland’s capital hosts its much-loved Christmas markets on George Street and East Princes Street. The markets host an array of European treats and gifts to purchase, including its famous German sausages and chocolate crepes that are to die for. As well as this, the market can occupy a family with children for an entire day with the wide range of rides available and Christmas lights. Edinburgh’s market is so popular that it was voted Britain’s favourite Christmas market in Christmas 2017, so it is sure to appeal to students in the city.

2. Bus and Boat Tours

If you want to learn a bit more about the city and the surrounding areas, then a bus and boat tour is perfect for you. Hop on the tour bus in the centre of the city, and you will see all of the city with a live guide. The bus will take you straight to South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh where you will embark upon a boat tour that will give you stunning views of the iconic Forth Bridges, as well as take you along to Incholm Island. There, not only will you be able to enjoy views over to the city, but also views of the puffins and seals.

 3. The Pear Tree

The Peartree, Edinburgh
Source: Zomato

But if you are looking for an activity in Edinburgh that is more relaxed, then The Pear Tree is perfect for you. The pub is just a quarter of a mile away from Edinburgh University’s central campus, making it ideal for that much deserved after lecture pint. As well as being popular for its drinks amongst the local students, The Pear Tree is well-known for its great food, meaning that you do not need to go searching for a McDonalds when the munchies hit you on a night out.

4. Murrayfield Stadium

Not only is Murrayfield the largest stadium in Scotland, but it is also the site where The Scottish Varsity is held in September. The varsity is an annual rugby match between the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews, meaning that thousands of students flock to the stadium each year to support their university. Tickets are only £5 for students, making it a cheap and great day out for all.

5. Arthur’s Seat

Another activity that is good for the student’s wallet is a trek up Arthur’s Seat. Whilst the 251-metre climb is steep, it will certainly be worth it once you reach the top and get to see the great views of the city from peak. A great activity to do alone or with friends, Edinburgh’s most famous hill will not disappoint.

6. Edinburgh Castle


If you are a history student, then Edinburgh Castle is a must. This historic fortress that looms over the city also serves as the backdrop for Edinburgh’s military tattoo, making it the city’s most iconic landmark. Even better if you are a Young Scot cardholder, because then the entry fee is reduced to only £1, making it great value for money considering the hours you can spend just wandering around the castle.

7. The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

A major tourist attraction situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Camera Obscura is full of interactive exhibitions and is the oldest purpose built-attraction in Edinburgh. The attraction is full of mazes, optical illusions and views out over the city. It also serves as an education centre for learning about optical illusions and photography, making it a fun and informative day out.

8. Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens

If you are looking to surround yourself with nature, then the Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to get away from the busy city life. Located just a mile from the city centre, the gardens are the ideal place to get away from it all with their wide range of plants and exhibits. Admission to the gardens is free, and the site even hosts a contemporary art gallery.

9. National Museum of Scotland

The UK’s most popular attraction outside of London, the National Museum of Scotland has something for everyone. With exhibits on Science & Technology, Fashion and World Cultures, there is something there that will interest every student. Admission to the museum is free and also gives you access to the museum’s panoramic roof terrace that looks out over to the Castle and the Firth of Forth.

10. Jupiter ArtlandJupiter Artland, Edinburgh

Source: The Edinburgh ReporterOpen from May to September each year, Jupiter Artland is a contemporary sculpture and art gallery that visitors can walk through to enjoy viewing art in a different experience than what would usually be found in an art gallery or museum. The site is described as a collaboration between the artists and the natural land, and according to Visit Scotland, it is a place where “The end product is a journey, narrated by the various artists who are given the freedom to express themselves in the landscape.”

There are tons of things to do in Edinburgh for students, whether that’s activities like taking a dance class, or hanging out at student bars…it really is one of the best student cities in the UK.