Weird things to do in Edinburgh

Love From Scotland - 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

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.

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

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

Arthur's Seat


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.

Read 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? 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).

Find out more: Camera Obscura

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh


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

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

Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh

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

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 - Things to do in Edinburgh

More things to do in Edinburgh

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More unusual things to do in Edinburgh

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Love From Scotland - Things to do in Edinburgh


  • Cactuschild 27/08/2016 at 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!

  • Victoria 27/08/2016 at 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 ^^

  • Bart & Eena 27/08/2016 at 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!

  • 100cobbledroads 27/08/2016 at 12:03 pm

    Saved your list. Very informative and interesting!

  • ericatheis 27/08/2016 at 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. 🙂

  • mondiea 27/08/2016 at 4:32 pm

    Super cool list! Saving for later 🙂

  • The Roaming 27/08/2016 at 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!

  • Passports and Pigtails 27/08/2016 at 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.

  • lisa440440 27/08/2016 at 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?

  • eBaulaTravels 28/08/2016 at 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 🙂

  • verushka 28/08/2016 at 12:53 pm

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

  • Tanja 28/08/2016 at 1:45 pm

    fun ideas!:)

  • Danielle 28/08/2016 at 2:34 pm

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

  • Rachel G 29/08/2016 at 10:49 am

    The conservation village and the caves sound fascinating!

  • crystalegan 29/08/2016 at 1:26 pm

    I LOVE doing weird things. Makes me feel more at home. Plus I’m more impressed with things that bend my mind 🙂 🙂

    Crystal recently posted… Spectacular Photos Of The NT That Will Make You Get The Next Flight

  • oregongirlaroundtheworld 29/08/2016 at 2:15 pm

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

  • Notmyyearoff 29/08/2016 at 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

  • ReadingScotland 29/08/2016 at 6:40 pm

    I love this collection!!!!

  • becomingatravelingfamily 30/08/2016 at 1:21 pm

    These sound wonderful and so fun!

  • tots2travel 30/08/2016 at 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

  • Bumble Bee Mum 31/08/2016 at 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

  • afamilydayout 31/08/2016 at 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

  • MummyTravels 01/09/2016 at 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

  • Ahila 02/09/2016 at 12:29 pm

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

  • Anna Shirley 05/09/2016 at 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 at 11:03 am

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

  • Camila 06/09/2016 at 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 🙂

  • Susanna 06/09/2016 at 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.

  • Rosie Hill (@EcoGitesLenault) 09/09/2016 at 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.

  • restlessjo 14/09/2016 at 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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