Exploring Edinburgh

Visiting for an event and want to make the most of being in this beautiful city? Rain or shine, there’s plenty to keep you occupied after getting your fill of what our campuses have to offer.

Five things to make you feel like a student

These are some of the most popular activities among Edinburgh’s student population. From favourite foods to fun for free, try out life in our city.

1. See the whole city

Arthur’s Seat, rooted in Holyrood Park, is a famous landmark of Edinburgh and a favourite spot for locals to stretch their legs, watch firework displays and take photos worthy of the pickiest Instagram feed.

The extinct volcano offers a relatively easy climb of just over 250 meters. Half-an-hour’s hike will reward you with breath-taking views of Edinburgh and beyond.

2. Get a tasty treat

You need good food to fuel you through your studies and finding your favourite spot to indulge is essential for student life.

Maki & Ramen is a popular choice with three locations dotted around the city. The Three Sisters (our Student Union!) is also well-known for good burgers and students flock to Mary’s Milk Bar for ice cream on sunny days.

3. Test your knowledge

Monday night is quiz night for many of the pubs around the city. Get a team together and hope your favourite subject comes up!

Carters Bar on Morrison Street and The Globe Bar in Old Town both run quizzes with free entry. Alternatively, you can pay a £1 fee at The Peartree on West Nicolson Street for the chance to win £50!

4. Enjoy the weather

Believe it or not, Edinburgh has been known to get warm and (dare we say) hot on occasion. With the weather on side, there are a few perfect picnic spots that you might struggle to believe are part of the capital.

The Meadows, Holyrood Park and Princes Street Gardens are all beautiful green spaces where you can chill out and catch up on some reading. If a beach is more your scene, hop on a bus and discover the two-mile stretch of white sand at Portobello.

5. Sample the nightlife

If you’re already over 18, why not hang around until the sun goes down and scope out some of the places you will no doubt visit during Freshers’ Week?

Cowgate and the surrounding streets have some of the most popular and reasonably priced clubs and bars to be found in the city centre. Key venues include Pilgrim, The Hive, Sneaky Pete’s, Bannermans and The Three Sisters.

Tourist for the day

Looking for a more traditional day out?  If you have more than a few hours to kill or are visiting with your family and friends, there are a few tourist hot-spots you should definitely check out.

National Museum of Scotland

Wander through time with exhibitions on world cultures, Scottish archaeology, science and innovation, fashion through the ages, and natural history (yes, that means dinosaurs). You can also access the building’s roof terrace, which has spectacular views of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Zoo

Famous for its pandas and penguins, Edinburgh Zoo is a picturesque setting for getting a close look at meerkats, flamingos, tigers, monkeys and more. Animal lovers should definitely make a point of visiting.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

As the oldest visitor attraction in Edinburgh, the Camera Obscura has played optical tricks on tourists since the Victorian era. Alongside newer holograms and mirages in the World of Illusions, people still flock here to be delighted and fooled.

Royal Botanic Garden

Hidden in the heart of New Town, the carefully curated gardens are made up of over 70 acres of tranquil landscape. The Botanics is home to exotic plant life, towering Glasshouses, and a Living Collection dating back 350 years.

Edinburgh Castle

No visitor’s guide to Edinburgh would be complete without mention of the Castle - take a stroll up the Royal Mile and Castle Hill to find the gates. Inside, you can view the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the One O’Clock Gun and the Stone of Destiny.