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
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.
Photo credit – Gilmerton Cove
Find The Arthur’s Seat coffins
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
Photo credit – The National Museum of Scotland
Climb Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh’s Volcano
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.
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? 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
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 is £16.00 for adults, £14.00 for seniors and students, and £12.00 for children (aged 5-15).
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.
Get down on Gorgie City Farm
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.
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.
Watch the penguins parade at Edinburgh Zoo
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
Love from, Scotland x
More unusual things to do in Edinburgh
Follow the Harry Potter Trail
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I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.