If you have moved to Edinburgh to study, you’re probably going to do some sightseeing over the next few years. While it’s important to visit the castle and Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh is a perfect city to try out something a little different. For those who seek it out, Scotland’s capital has loads of experiences and activities to give a go that are down the track less walked, all of which will show you a different side of the city. Whether it’s a particular event you should go to or a place you should visit, Edinburgh is full of the weird and wonderful. Here are 10 of the most unusual things to do in Edinburgh.

1. Surgeons Hall Museum

Surgeons Hall Museum
Source: Surgeons’ Hall Museums Instagram

Built-in 1505, Edinburgh’s Surgeon’s Hall is not only one of the oldest museums in the city, but one of the more strange and unusual. It is home to the world’s largest and historical collection of surgical pathology; everything from bone and tissue matter to historical medical instruments. While you’re there, make sure you look out for the gruesome pocketbook made entirely out of the skin of renowned serial body-snatcher William Burke.

2. Alien Rock

Alien Rock
Source: Alien Rock & Alien Bloc Instagram

Whilst not being space-themed, this spot in Leith is kind of out of this world. One of the best and only rock climbing facilities in the city, Alien Rock is perfect for the moments when you want to skip the library for something a little more adventurous. Right next to the Leith docks, it’s a brilliant spot to have an afternoon of fun and an evening of good food just outside of the city centre.

3. The Loony Dook

The Loony Dook
Source: Wikipedia

Nothing quite says happy new year like a dive in the freezing Forth first thing in the morning. Every year, locals and tourists alike brave the cold waters, both to celebrate the new year but also to relieve the hangover from Hogmanay partying. A super fun and wacky event for the brave amongst you to dare to dip in just your trunks.

4. Mary Kings Close

Mary Kings Close
Source: Real Mary Kings Close.com

Anyone who comes to Edinburgh will be told of the ghost tours and the creepy history of the city. If you are a fan of the supernatural and want to seek out some spooky thrills, this is the best place to do it. Left almost exactly as it was when it was closed off, this close which lies underground the city is renowned for alleged hauntings and paranormal activity.

5. Beltane Fire Festival and Samhuinn Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Festival and Samhuinn Fire Festival
Source: Wikipedia

Whilst everyone has heard of the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, only a few have attended the Fire Festivals which take place in the capital each year. Celebrations of Ancient Celtic Rituals, these are events you’ll never forget. With one in April and one in October, you can be sure the lit fires and torches will keep the cool breezes of Spring and Autumn away.

6. Penguin Parade at the Zoo

Penguin Parade at the Zoo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Every day when the clock chimes 2:15, Edinburgh Zoo becomes a little magical. Stand along the pavement and become the pathway for the penguin parade. Watch as the little fleet dawdle along past you, like something out of a Disney film. A little bit of wholesome wonder to brighten even the busiest of exam seasons.

7. Anatomical Museum

Anatomical Museum
Source: Wikimedia

If you’re a med student, it’s likely you’ve been here already. Open to the public on certain days each month, if you are organised enough to coordinate your studies with a day when the museum is open, make sure to give it a visit. A little weird, a little spooky, lots of body parts in jars. It’s in Teviot too, so once you’ve had a look at some potted brains, you can wash it down with a pint and nachos.

8. Church of Scientology

Church of Scientology
Source: Wikipedia

One of the only churches of it’s kind in Scotland if you fancy trying something new and unusual this is the thing to try. You’ll have heard of Scientology from celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but you’ll find the people in here are actually quite ordinary. Pop in for a free personality test, and who knows, you might find yourself learning a couple of new things. They have free tea and coffee too, which is always a plus.

9. Find the Ferret Man

Find the Ferret Man
Photo by: Magda Ehlers- Pexels

One of Edinburgh’s most lucrative characters, the Ferret man has become somewhat of an urban legend for university students. Every so often you’ll catch him walking through Newington with his furry friends on their leash. Super friendly and a funny dude, he can be found sometimes in the DogHouse opposite St Patrick’s Square, where you can grab a butterbeer and a chat. If you’re lucky, you might even get to pet his ferret.

10. Chihuahua Cafe

Chihuahua Cafe
Source: Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe

We’ve all heard of cat cafes, Edinburgh has a great one! But what about dogs? Venture on down to Frederick Street, and you’ll find just that; seven pint-sized pups ready and waiting to be cuddled over a cup of coffee. All very cute and up to play, this cafe is like no other you’ll find in the city.

Last Updated on June 15, 2024