Edinburgh, Scotland, is in my humble opinion, one of the most fantastic and magical places in the world. I never tire of how fantastic a place it is to live and to study, and I am blessed to have an amazing group of friends who have come to see me throughout my time at university, and I have been able to show off to them the city that I love so much. So I’ve put together a list of some of the best things to do in Edinburgh when you have a friend to stay, that are fun, cheap and really show the best that Edinburgh has to offer.
1. Climb Arthur’s Seat
The top of Arthur’s seat provides one of the best views of the city, the climb up the mountain is not too strenuous, and if the view at the top isn’t reward enough, the multitude of pubs serving pints and chips galore nearby should be.
2. Visit the National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland is simply, incredible. It has artifacts spanning centuries and so many exhibits, it takes a full day to even feel like you’ve begun to see everything.
3. Visit the Royal Botanical Garden
The botanical garden is one of the many places in Edinburgh, where you could spend forever getting lost. The gardens are full of beautiful plants, many instagrammable spots and it is somewhere you can feel incredible tranquil.
4. Watch some street performers on the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is stunningly beautiful, it is a tourist spot for very good reason, and it is always vibrant and buzzing with stuff going on. The street performers are no exception to this, my friend visited recently and was invited to perform alongside a man, who was sat on an 8 foot unicycle. Street performers are always a great laugh, a trip to Edinburgh isn’t complete without perusing the Royal Mile.
5. Have a night out on George Street
George Street has, in my opinion, Edinburgh’s best clubs. Every day of the week it is buzzing with people that truly know how to have a good time. From 3am bars to dancing nightclubs and the cities biggest student nights, George Street is a must visit, and it is a place where all of my friends who have visited Edinburgh, have loved.
6. Visit one of the cities many Irish Bars
Edinburgh has so much going on and the cities many Irish bars are no exception to this. My favourite thing about Irish bars in the city (our favourites are McSorely’s and Biddy Mulligans) are that there tends to be live music, contributing to a gorgeous atmosphere,
7. Explore Leith
Café’s, bars and the beautiful water, Leith is one of Edinburgh’s more hidden gems. A day out in Leith can include a meander down around antique shops, a run around Leith links, and devouring a French martini at Finn and Bear looking over the water of Leith.
8. Go book shopping
Edinburgh is a truly literary city, and it has some of the most wonderful and beautiful bookshops. Said bookshops range from old vintage shops, bearing beautiful first editions of classics from Dostoyevksy to Austen, to random charity shops with quirky old bools you may never have heard of, to modern bookshops, which have all of today’s best selling classics. Wandering aimlessly around the city heading from bookshop to bookshop is easily one of the best things to do in Edinburgh, and it is something that me and my friends will never tire of.
9. Explore Edinburgh Universities campus
Immerse yourself in the beautiful architecture of Old College and McEwan hall, soak up the sun in George Square gardens, and finish the day with a pint in the Student Union. Even if I spend the majority of my week in the Edinburgh University campus, this is still something I never tire of, and I think it is one of the best things to do in Edinburgh.
10. Food, food and more food
Edinburgh (in my totally biased opinion), has some of the best restaurants, maybe ever. From chic low key cafés for brunch, the budget friendly restaurants around campus, that specialise in some of the cities best Asian cuisine, to the high end glamorous restaurants in the centre of town Edinburgh truly has an abundance of wonderful restaurants, to a humble picnic on the meadows, if you don’t leave Edinburgh feeling a little heavier, you’ve done it wrong.