Edinburgh offers an abundance of hidden gems and unusual places to visit tucked away in its labyrinthine cobbled streets. Whether it’s stumbling upon a historic sites below ground or exploring mysterious coves, Edinburgh never fails to surprise and captivate. So if you find yourself always doing the same old things at the same old places, it’s time to try something new. Take a pick at our list of unusual places to visit in Edinburgh for inspiration on where to go next.

1. Edinburgh Vaults

Edinburgh Vaults - unusual places to visit in the city
Source: Kjetil Bjørnsrud

Located on North Cowgate, you can find the Edinburgh Vaults. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the vaults were reputedly the site of criminal activity and infamous serial killers, unsanitary living conditions, and even ghostly apparitions. Today, the vaults are a popular tourist destination, hosting ghost tours and historical walkthroughs that provide a window into Edinburgh’s grim and gritty past. The Vaults are also used for Fringe festival venues.

2. Surgeon’s Halls Museum

Surgeon’s Halls Museumunusual places to visit in Edinburgh
Source: Surgeon’s Halls Museum Facebook

For those who have a strong stomach, Surgeon’s Halls Museum is worth a visit. Detailing different medical conditions and the development of surgical treatments throughout history, Surgeon’s Halls Museum is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.

Address: Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Nicolson St, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, EH8 9DW

3. Prestonfield House

unusual places to visit in Edinburgh
Source: Afternoon Tea at Prestonfield House, www.prestonfield.com/gallery/

If you are feeling fancy, Prestonfield House can provide a beautiful afternoon tea (served from 12pm daily). Although it will set you back £45.00 per person, you will be dining in style, in the grounds of the great house and accompanied by the house peacocks!

Address: Priestfield Rd, Edinburgh EH16 5UT

4. Maison de Moggy

Maison de Moggy
Source: Maison de Moggy Facebook

Whenever you are having a stressful day, head down to Westport for some feline therapy at Maison de Moggy! Maison de Moggy is Scotland’s first cat café where you can enjoy tea and cake whilst having a cuddle with twelve cats.

Address: 17 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2JA

5. Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament - unusual places to visit Edinburgh

Did you know that you can watch politics at work at the Scottish parliament buildings? Observe history in the making as motions are passed and then stop by the Parliament Café for lunch! Just make sure to check what’s on via the Scottish Parliament website before stopping by.

6. The Writers Museum

unusual places to visit in Edinburgh
Source: Makars Court, www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/writers-museum

Edinburgh is a city of the arts and thus boasts a range of museums depicting its creative history. The Writers Museum is located near The Royal Mile and celebrates the lives of three Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Spend your morning getting up close and personal with historical literatures.

Address: Lawnmarket, Lady Stair’s Cl, Edinburgh EH1 2PA

7. St Cecilia’s Hall

unusual places to visit in Edinburgh
Source: Pixabay, Pexels

Additionally, visit Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall on Niddry Road. St Cecilia’s Hall houses The University of Edinburgh’s historical musical instrument collection which is amongst the world’s most significant musical collections. For any piano-players or classical lovers, it is definitely worth a visit!

Address: 50 Niddry St, Edinburgh EH1 1LG

8. Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove
Source: John Dale

About thirty minutes away from Princes Street is Gilmerton. And beneath the Gilmerton streets is Gilmerton Cove, a set of passageways and caves whose origins are unknown. Similar to the Vaults in central Edinburgh, Gilmerton Cove offers a mysterious historical adventure afternoon exploring underground passageways. Although you need to book in advance, Gilmerton Cove is less busy than the Vaults and an interesting visit.

Address: 16 Drum St, Gilmerton, Edinburgh EH17 8QH

9. Newhaven Harbour

Newhaven and Harbour Edinburgh
Newhaven and Harbour Edinburgh Facebook

If you need a place to enjoy a seaside sunset, visit Newhaven Harbour. With the Newhaven Lighthouse setting up a picturesque walk, and the local chippy providing dinner, your evening will surely be enjoyable!

Address: Pier Pl, Newhaven, Edinburgh EH6 4LP

10. Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
Source: Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

There’s no time like the present, especially in preparing for the festive season! Head to the Royal Mile for one of Edinburgh’s most magical shopping experiences. Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe stocks everything from glittering baubles to towering centre pieces. Any Christmas connoisseurs need to check this place out.

Address: 145 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN

Edinburgh is full of interesting and unusual places to visit, and you can truly get to see a different side of what’s in the city by venturing outside your usual haunts. If you need some more inspiration, check out our list of unusual things to do in Edinburgh instead or these cool places to see in the city.

Last Updated on March 21, 2024