The University of Edinburgh logo

Top 5 Things To Do in Edinburgh


Edinburgh is a city full of many interesting and different areas - you can turn a corner and find yourself somewhere completely unexpected. From the well-heeled streets of Morningside to the hipster cafes of Leith, there’s so much to explore - so if you want to really get to know the city, start with these tips:

The Tour Bus

There’s no denying it - those bright red tourist buses you see around the city are very handy for a quick immersion into the city’s past and everything it has to offer today. Buy a day ticket and hop on and off to your heart’s content with this whistlestop tour of the city.

Get Ghosted

If you can handle a scare, then Edinburgh is the right city for you. Given that it’s so full of history, it’s not surprising that some of it leans towards the macabre. Go at night, if you’re not afraid of the dark - but keep your wits about you!

Go Underground

By now you’ll be familiar with the city aboveground - but did you know that there’s an entire city beneath the streets as well? In the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of chambers called the South Bridge vaults housed taverns, shops and even an illegal whisky distillery. These days, they’re only open to the public as part of guided tours - but once you go on one, you’ll never be able to see the aboveground city in the same light again.

Walk the Water of Leith

The Water of Leith runs from the Pentland Hills through Edinburgh out into the port of Leith, and for 12 of its 22 miles, you can walk alongside it from Leith to Balerno in a beautifully wooded wonderland. Taking you through some of Edinburgh’s prettiest suburbs, like Dean Village and Stockbridge, you feel like you’re in the heart of the countryside even though you’re never more than a short walk away from a Starbucks.

Get a Good View at the Camera Obscura

Along with the stunning views from its rooftop terrace, Edinburgh’s famous Camera Obscura lets you explore the city without leaving one room. An early version of virtual reality, this gives you a 360-degree view of Edinburgh right at this very moment, using nothing but a table and a beam of light. It’s pretty magic - but then, the whole city is. 

Now that you have a plan to see the city, have you applied for your University of Edinburgh Summer School yet? Check out our Courses page to see what's available this summer >