Weird (and wonderful) things to do in Edinburgh

Weird (and wonderful) things to do in Edinburgh

So you’ve done Edinburgh Castle and explored The Royal Mile and are looking for more unusual things to do in Edinburgh? Here are my favourite things to do in Edinburgh that you might not know about.

Weird and unusual things to do in Edinburgh

Solve the mystery of Gilmerton Cove

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

Photo credit – Gilmerton Cove

Visit this series of hand-carved caves and help solve the mystery of their existence! Gilmerton Cove has been used by everyone from the Covenanters to the Templars, but who actually dug them?

Gilmerton Cove is at 16 Drum Street, Edinburgh. To get there take either the no.3 or 29 Lothian Bus. Tickets are £7.50 for adults, concessions and child tickets available. Tours are by appointment, book here. No entry for children under 5.

Find out more: Gilmerton Cove.

Find The Arthur’s Seat coffins


Photo credit – The National Museum of Scotland

No one knows who made these tiny little coffins found on the slopes of Arthur’s Seat in June 1836. Ideas range from a tribute to Burke and Hare to protection against witchcraft – but they are very spooky all the same.

You can find the coffins in the ‘Daith Comes In’ exhibition on Level 4. The National Museum of Scotland is on Chambers Street and is open every day. Free entry.

Find out more: National Museum of Scotland

Climb Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh’s Volcano

Arthur's Seat

Did you know that Arthur’s Seat in the middle of the city is actually a volcano? Don’t worry it is dormant (it last erupted 340 million years ago) and now makes for a great short hill walk with great views back over the city.

Arthur’s Seat sits in Holyrood Park which is accessed from the bottom of the Royal Mile. The park is free entry.

Find out more about visiting Holyrood Park.

Look on life and death in a mask

Marvel over 40 death masks of famous scientists and politicians to notorious murderers. Can you tell a murderer from a politician even in death?

The Anatomy Museum is at the University of Edinburgh, on Teviot Place and is open the last Saturday of each month. Free entry. If the Anatomy Museum is closed when you are here, death masks are also on display at The National Portrait Gallery.

Find out more: The Anatomy Museum.

Visit Edinburgh’s thatched village

The tiny conservation village of Swanston is a hidden gem. These beautifully kept thatched cottages (which were once Council houses!) sit is on the edge of the Pentland Hills Regional Park where there are loads of paths to follow around the hills. Please leave your car at home, the no.4 Lothian Bus will take you there.

Free – Find out more: Swanston & Pentland Hills walk

Find Edinburgh’s Poltergeist (if you dare)

Visit the home of the most well-documented paranormal phenomenon in the world. A homeless man running screaming into the night, a woman being blasted off the steps by a dark force, and a near strangulation… do you dare visit the grave of Bluidy MacKenzie?

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Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is on George IV Bridge, look out for the Bobby statue. The Kirk is open April to October, free entry.

Find out more: visit the Greyfriars Kirk website. Unexplained Mysteries has Bluidy Mackenzies’ tale.

Explore the world of Camera Obscura

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

From mirrors to mazes, to optical illusions, Camera Obscura is five floors of photography & light related fun. It’s not just for the kids! Just don’t ask me to go into the vortex maze… the views from the roof are something else.

Camera Obscura is right next to the Castle on the Royal Mile and £14.50 for adults (it is worth it!)

Find out more: Camera Obscura

Marvel at the Surgeons Hall Museum

Edinburgh’s pathology museum is home to one of the world’s largest collection of all things medical – including many preserved grotesque and unusual specimens. Be warned!

The Surgeon’s Hall Museum is on Nicolson Street and is open 7 days a week and is free.

Find out more: Surgeons Hall

Get down on Gorgie City Farm

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

With chickens and tiny (smelly) pigs, sheep, goats and a horse to ride, plus a great little cafe, Gorgie City Farm is a great place to spend a couple of hours getting down on the farm.

Gorgie City Farm is on Gorgie Road, Take either the no. 25, 3, 33 and 2 Lothian Bus to Gorgie.  The farm is open 7 days a week, free entry.

Find out more: Gorgie City Farm

Enjoy tea & cake with a Cat

Feline fan? Well, Edinburgh has the just the cafe for you. Maison de Moggy offers up tea & cake and access to its 12 therapeutic and characterful cats.

Maison de Moggy is at 17-19 West Port. Entrance to the cafe is £7. Appointments are for 1 hour, you need to book in advance.

Find out more: Maison de Moggy

Watch the penguins parade at Edinburgh Zoo

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

Every day at  2.15pm the gates of Edinburgh Zoo’s penguin enclosure are opened… here comes the penguin parade. Look out for Brigadier Sir Nils Olav.

To get to Edinburgh Zoo catch the 100 Airport Bus or Lothian Bus no. 12, 26 or 31. Edinburgh Zoo is open every day of the year, including Christmas Day / £17 for adults  (in advance) and £12.50 for kids.

Find out more: Edinburgh Zoo.

More things to do in Edinburgh

Love from, Scotland x

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Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh



  1. 27/08/2016 / 9:31 am

    This is fantastic! I love finding quirky things to do and see when I travel 🙂 I’ll definitely be checking out Maison de Moggy when I finally get around to returning to Edinburgh!

  2. 27/08/2016 / 9:32 am

    Very interesting article. I liked a lot the Penguins parade and the Arthur’s Seat coffins. When I come in Edinburgh I will try all this things ^^

  3. 27/08/2016 / 11:48 am

    Oh lovely Scotland! We wish to go there in the near future, it’s definitely part of our top list of go-to’s!

  4. 27/08/2016 / 1:00 pm

    I’ve lived in Edinburgh for almost a year and I’ve only done three of these! Really good advice in here, and my mind is actually blown that I didn’t know about Swanston. I think I’ll pencil that one in for like, tomorrow. 🙂

  5. mondiea
    27/08/2016 / 4:32 pm

    Super cool list! Saving for later 🙂

  6. The Roaming
    27/08/2016 / 4:45 pm

    We loved Edinburgh so much and have only done a few things on this list, definitely need to go back again because there are some interesting things left to do!

  7. 27/08/2016 / 9:14 pm

    #1….There is something magical about thatched roofs. #5….absolutely not…nope, no way. #7…absolutely yes! Great article, nice to see a unique spin.

  8. lisa440440
    27/08/2016 / 10:40 pm

    I would definitely do a lot of these adventures when visiting. I love off the beaten path and quirky fun stuff, #2 looks very cool. Who doesn’t love penguins?

  9. 28/08/2016 / 2:20 am

    They are sure weird places and several are really spooky…but I would not mind going to Camera Obscura and also see the Penguin Parade – those will be a good photo destinations for me 🙂

  10. 28/08/2016 / 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the tips ! interesting but cool things. Am not a cat lover so would skip that one.

  11. 28/08/2016 / 2:34 pm

    Love these strange thing to do see articles. Thank you for all the info

  12. Rachel G
    29/08/2016 / 10:49 am

    The conservation village and the caves sound fascinating!

  13. 29/08/2016 / 2:15 pm

    Love the off the beaten track options here! Thanks for sharing – super fun! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #MondayEscapes

  14. 29/08/2016 / 2:48 pm

    We’ve just come back from Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. Camera obscura is SO good!! Arthur’s seats coffins looks properly creepy 🙂 #mondayescapes

  15. 30/08/2016 / 7:34 pm

    Living in Aberdeen I often visit Edinburgh and kinda thought I knew it. Delighted to see there’s still so much more to do. #citytripping

  16. 31/08/2016 / 4:37 am

    I love this list! I always like finding off-the-beaten-track kind of stuff to do. The thatched village looks like my kind of place. And I think my family would enjoy a visit to Camera Obscura. #CityTripping

  17. 31/08/2016 / 7:36 pm

    Great list, I love quirky attractions. I’ve only been to Greyfriar’s Kirk so I’ve pinned your list for a future trip. #citytripping

  18. 01/09/2016 / 10:33 pm

    I love these! I have seen the penguin parade but that’s the only one off the list – it’s far too long since I was last in Edinburgh, lots of good reasons to go back. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  19. 02/09/2016 / 12:29 pm

    Swanston looks lovely and a place I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing #CityTripping

  20. 05/09/2016 / 2:18 pm

    Great tips. The conservation village of Swanston looks charming. I hope to visit Edinburgh sometimes. I’ll be glad, if you will have time to join TRAVEL INSPIRATION link up.

    Anna xoxo

    • lovefrom
      07/09/2016 / 11:03 am

      Hi Anna, can you send me a link to the link up? I’d love to join!

  21. 06/09/2016 / 3:40 pm

    Amazing list! I pride myself on having done loads and visited a lot in Scotland since I arrived four years ago, but these are some cool things, many of which I’d never heard of! Will have to add them to my list 🙂

  22. 06/09/2016 / 4:24 pm

    I love how you compiled a list of really quirky off-the-beaten path ideas for Edinburgh. Some of them sounded so interesting! And the best part was that you included a varying list of price ranges. Thanks! This is inspirational.

  23. 09/09/2016 / 5:37 pm

    We almost went to Camera Obscura when we went to Edinburgh many years ago but were too short of time – looks like we missed a goodie.

  24. 14/09/2016 / 7:45 am

    What a wonderful read that is about the coffins and Arthur’s Seat! When I glanced at it I was already off and striding up Arthur’s Seat in hot pursuit in my head, but then I realised it’s at the National Museum! Now that hadn’t really been on my radar but it just happens that Jude’s wanting to see the wildlife photography exhibition that opens there on Friday. Serendipity? (if you’re puzzling, see my comment on I heart North Berwick 🙂 ) And I may just be drawn to Camera Obscura. I did it may years ago as a youngster and don’t remember much other than gloom! 🙂 Thanks a lot!

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