As a major tourist hub, Edinburgh is overflowing with amazing things to do! But how do you narrow down the really unique things that won’t be on typical tourist websites? Fortunately, we’ve summarised it for you- the top ten unique things to do in Edinburgh.
1. Picnic on the Crags
Holyrood Park is famous for its beautiful views at the top of Arthur’s Seat and its wildlife in St Margret’s Loch, but what about the Salisbury Crags? Although they are also a fantastic walking route, the Crags offer a unique and truly breath-taking space to watch the sunset over the Edinburgh skyline. Bring a picnic of a Tesco meal deal, or something more fancy and enjoy your food with an amazing view!
2. Visit Caoba in Stockbridge
Edinburgh is well-known for its independent shops and Stockbridge is the perfect location for this! With its bakeries, cafes, charity shops and independent jewellery stores, Stockbridge is the idyllic place for a day out in Edinburgh. Caoba is an independent Mexican shop located in Stockbridge, selling all kinds of wears, from pottery, to tiles, to jewellery, to plants and greeting cards! As well as being affordable (at only £1 per colourful tile) the shop itself is a bright and welcoming environment to visit.
3. Make chocolate at The Chocolatarium
Anyone with a sweet tooth needs to try out The Chocolatarium in Edinburgh. The Chocolatarium is a micro chocolate factory located in the heart of Edinburgh Old Town. Offering chocolate factory tours for under £20.00 (which includes making your very own bar of chocolate) as well as various classes and experiences, this is a must-do for any fan of Willy Wonka!
4. Browse the bookshops
Famously the city where Harry Potter was inspired, it is no surprise that Edinburgh has such a great array of independent bookstores. Some personal favourites include Tills, located just off The Meadows, and Lighthouse Books in Newington. Alternatively you can visit McNaughtan’s Book Shop, which is the oldest second-hand bookshop in Scotland, having opened in 1957.
5. Tour the underground Vaults
The dark vaults beneath Edinburgh are a spooky alternative for something to see. Tours running currently to the vaults include The Underground City of The Dead tour, which takes you right into the vaults to explore. During the 18th and 19th century, the vaults were used as housing, workshops for tradesmen and at one point many illegal activities. They are a must-see site, unique to Edinburgh!
6. Stargazing at Blackford Hill
For a more romantic setting, you could wander up Blackford Hill to stargaze. Open to the public (although you will need to book before attending) is the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, a site of major astronomical research in the UK. Check their website to see the best time to visit under local weather conditions.
7. Go to a vintage cinema showing
Edinburgh as a city is very grand in its architecture, which is reflected in the Cameo Picture house Cinema. Cameo features its original exterior light-box display. Showing independent films as well as new blockbusters, you will find yourself transported back to the 1920s in true golden Hollywood style. With a dog-friendly bar offering a range of foods and wines, you will be hard-put to find a reason not to go.
If you are fancying a traditional afternoon tea whilst in Edinburgh, you will have a huge range of options to choose from. None however are more unique than afternoon tea on the traditional Route-master bus in Edinburgh! Sample an afternoon tea complete with finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones, whilst enjoying a sightseeing tour of Edinburgh. At only £42.50 per person for a full afternoon tea and a sightseeing tour, you really can’t go wrong.
9. Browse the independent shops
Although Edinburgh does have lots of sights to see, some of the best things are in the independent shops dotted around the city. Try visiting Stockbridge for independent jewellery shops or art stores. Venture into Leith for a homemade sausage roll at Storries Bakery or gastro pub Woodland Creatures for a cask ale. Visiting the local businesses whilst exploring the city is a great way to see Edinburgh and support independent stores.
10. Tour the inside of Holyrood Palace
The history of Edinburgh is another point of interest for many visitors, with Holyrood Palace being a popular destination. Touring around the interior of the palace, visiting Mary Queen of Scots’ bed chambers and spotting murderous blood spatters rumoured to still be stained on the floor is a unique way to see Edinburgh’s history.
Edinburgh has many fun things to do that are unique to the city. From historical monuments to independent shops and chocolate factories, Edinburgh truly has it all.