The summer months are the perfect time to explore the delights of Scotland’s capital city when the sun is shining, the days are long and nature is flourishing. Visitors and residents alike can take advantage of the glorious sunshine by enjoying splendid walks, sip on sumptuous cocktails in the city’s best rooftop bars and soak up the amazing festival atmosphere.
Things to do outdoors in Edinburgh
Pictured: Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh
Princes Street Gardens
There is no shortage of things to do outside in Edinburgh when the sun is shining. Just a stone’s throw from shops, restaurants and cafes you will find Princes Street Gardens. The perfect spot to pack a picnic, grab a coffee and enjoy the buzz of the city in beautiful surroundings.
Perhaps one of the most iconic sites in Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat, offering a unique experience in the heart of the city. This ancient volcano stands proudly 251 meters above the city and can be found in peaceful Holyrood Park. With various routes available, you’ll be able to find the right one to get you to the top where you can delight in spectacular views of the city.
A short stroll away, you will find Calton Hill where you can bask in the best views of the city and discover monuments, iconic landmarks and observatories. For a truly amazing experience set an early morning alarm, head to the top and savour an amazing sunrise.
Royal Botanic Gardens
If it’s peace and tranquillity that you are searching for, look no further than the Royal Botanic Gardens. Explore over 70 acres of stunning scenery which is home to an array of spectacular plants from around the world. Entry is free, opening times are available on the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website.
Further afield, you will find Portobello where miles of beautiful sandy beaches, bars, cafes and ice cream shops are waiting for you to explore. The seaside resort also boasts a bustling high street with independent shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Things to do indoors in Edinburgh
Pictured: Camera Obscura in Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland
Should you find yourself having to take shelter from the rain (it is Scotland after all!) there are plenty of things to do indoors in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland is a wonderful day out for the whole family where you can explore nature, art and design, science, technology and Scottish history. Plan your visit at the National Museum of Scotland website.
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
The award-winning Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is a fun day out for the entire family. Scotland’s oldest purpose-built attraction dating back to 1835 houses over 100 illusions and experiences including a vortex tunnel and shrinking room. They also boast an incredible rooftop terrace offering 360 views of Edinburgh, with telescopes to get an even better view. Visit their website for tickets and exclusive discounts.
Escape underground to the Blair Street Underground Vaults, the largest system of underground caverns in Edinburgh. Built beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, you can book a tour where an award-winning team will bring the fascinating history of the vaults to life which has remained relatively unchanged since the 18th Century. Tickets can be purchased on the Mercat Tours website.
Must-see attractions in Edinburgh
Pictured: Royal Yacht Britannia
Edinburgh’s must-see attractions are particularly beautiful during the summer months. High on your list should be the world-famous Edinburgh Castle. Perched high above the city, be sure to take part in one of the many guided tours to learn the interesting history of this historic site. Prebook your tickets at the Edinburgh Castle website.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Voted Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction, the Royal Yacht Britannia is a must-see when visiting the city. The 5-star attraction is one of the most famous ships in the world and was home to the British Royal Family for over 40 years. Explore its beautifully presented five decks, including Royal Apartments, Engine Room, Crew’s Quarters and the Royal Deck Tea Room. Pre-book your visit on the Royal Yacht Britannia website.
Wander along the Royal Mile which runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House. Here you will discover some of the most delicious eating and drinking spots in the city.
Connect with nature at Edinburgh Zoo, home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals including Sumatran tigers, Malayan sun bears and the first Giant Pandas in the UK for 17 years. Take part in educational activities, events, daily keeper talks and hands-on animal encounters. You can pre-book your tickets at the Edinburgh Zoo website.
Unmissable events in Edinburgh
Pictured: Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
You simply cannot visit Edinburgh this summer and not attend the city’s most infamous events. August proudly presents The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an outdoor music spectacular featuring traditional military acts set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. This year’s theme is “Stories” and will welcome over 800 performers from across the world to celebrate music, dance, poetry, spoken word and imagery. Tickets are on sale now, visit the official website for more information.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Also taking place in August is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Celebrating arts from theatre, comedy, dance, circus, children’s shows, opera and much more at stages all over the city. The festival attracts visitors from across the world and is the perfect day out for the family, or to socialise with friends until the early hours. Explore this year’s shows on the Edinburgh Fringe website. Make sure you attend a show at Underbelly, an upside-down giant purple cow!
For a truly unique experience look no further than Darkfield, a sensory experience in a 24ft shipping container. Part of the Edinburgh Fringe, this year’s experience includes Séance, where the unassuming container is transformed into a Victorian séance room. Tickets are available now on the Darkfield website.
Make the most of summer in the city by staying in one of the luxury rooms at The Bonham, perfectly positioned in the West End of Edinburgh with all of the attractions close by.