Hidden things to do in Edinburgh

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Ever thought you had ticked everything off your Edinburgh to-do list? Lauren may just have a few more for you to add to the never ending list of things to do.

Edinburgh has so much history to explore, and it’s really easy to find interesting things to do throughout the city. As an international student, you’ve probably been here for a little while, and done the traditional things: Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, and more. Are you looking for something new and unique to do while you’re here? Keep reading to find out about some hidden gems in or close to the city.

1. Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove is a set of underground caves just outside of the city centre. The history of these caves is still being discovered, but you can tour the caves and learn about the many theories surrounding their existence. Were they used by witches? As a secret bar? Part of the Freemasons? Visit and find out for yourself.

Lauren inside the cave
My time spent at Gilmerton cave (if you can see me)

2. The Anatomical Museum

This part of University of Edinburgh is only open the last Saturday of every month, and it is so interesting and definitely worth a visit! Stop and find out about anatomy, from human to elephant, and see the history of our bodies. Another bonus is that they have the skeleton of notorious murderer William Burke, which is shocking to see to say the least.

3. Stockbridge Market

Just outside the city centre, this market is held every Sunday. Visit and get some good food, fresh groceries, and locally made jewellery and art from the various vendors.

Menu board in Stockbridge Market

4. Dean Village

Dean Village is a hidden village in Edinburgh, dating back hundreds of years. A stream, a museum, a picturesque little town. What more could you want while leisurely exploring on a study break? Take a walk and explore this small area of Edinburgh history, and relax by the Water of Leith that flows through it.

5. Cramond Island

This one might be a bit more well known. Cramond is an island you can walk out to when the tide is in your favour, with some beautiful views of the city and the water. Bonus? It’s free! Perfect for when you need to spend some time outdoors to relieve that exam stress.

6. National Museum of Scotland: rooftop terrace

I’m sure by now you’ve been to the National Museum, but did you venture up to the rooftop terrace?  Head up to the seventh floor and see views of the city from every angle, and be amazed by the beautiful city all over again. It's a treat that many people don't know exists.

7. Summerhall

Summerhall used to be the Royal Dick Vet School, but has now been transformed into an impressive arts venue! Visit their website to see what events they have on in the upcoming months, and spend some time in this old building. It’s like stepping back into history while still experiencing modern art. It’s a great place to socialise.

8. Lauriston Castle

Somewhere that is definitely not as well-known as Edinburgh Castle is the beautiful Lauriston Castle. Lauriston is just outside the city centre, and equally as spectacular to look at! Alongside the castle, there are gardens to walk through, and wonderful views of the surrounding scenery. Make a day trip out of it and visit Cramond Island while you’re there, both are relatively close to each other.

Lauriston Castle
The spectacular view from Lauriston Castle

I hope these ideas have inspired you to go out and visit more of Edinburgh while you’re studying here! There are so many things to see and do in this beautiful city, so take the opportunity while you can.

Lauren is from Canada and is studying MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University.

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