New Students

Things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a great city to live in, with many cultural and historical attractions, beautiful scenery and places to visit. Below you'll find a few of our recommendations and favourite places around the city.

deserted royal mile

Tourist Attractions 

There is so much to do and explore in Edinburgh - either on your own or with others and most of the city's great attractions are free. 

10 best free things to do in Edinburgh (TripAdvisor)

Royal Mile

One of the more popular and busy tourist streets in the city, leading to so many other great places to see in Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Royal Mile and Grassmarket (Visit Scotland)

Scottish Parliament

Located in the city of Edinburgh, this is a fully accessible building. You can visit and enter the debating chamber, join a free guided tour and check out the unique modern architecture. 

Scottish Parliament website

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. You can get tickets to explore inside the castle (and take advantage of the guided tours) or simply walk around the outside taking in panoramic views of the city below.

Edinburgh Castle website

Scott Monument 

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. Positioned in the centre of the New Town, you can pay to climb all the way to the top where you'll discover stunning views of the city.

Scott Monument (Museums and Galleries Edinburgh)

Royal Botanical Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation, as well as a popular tourist attraction. It is free to enter if you want to wander around the grounds and there are tours and events year-round.

Royal Botanical Garden 

Best places to get outdoors 

Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags

Skyline with Arthurs seat in the background on a sunny day
Skyline with Arthurs seat

A popular hike for students with a stunning 360-degree view of the whole city, Arthur's Seat is definitely worth a visit. 

The Meadows 

This is the central park of Edinburgh and the city's prime location for summertime barbecues, sports and social clubs. Perfect for summer evenings and picnics with friends, a great place to relax, and close by to The University of Edinburgh central campus.

Calton Hill 

Calton Hill is a mix of bustling commercial areas and quiet residential streets. The hill itself, with spectacular city views, is home to the Collective contemporary art gallery and the unfinished National Monument.

Calton Hill (World Heritage Site)

Portobello Beach

Portobello Beach
Portobello Beach

Come rain or shine, Edinburgh has many local beaches to check out. One of these is Portobello beach, a popular choice for students and easy to get to by bus. 

Portobello Beach