Get off the beaten path in Edinburgh by visiting these 10 offbeat attractions


Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is a city brimming with history, culture, and a plethora of hidden gems that promise an offbeat adventure to the curious traveller. From the cobbled streets of the Old Town to the neoclassical elegance of the New Town, Edinburgh offers a tapestry of experiences that are as diverse as they are unique. Consider these 10 experiences if you want to delve deeper into the city’s enchanting narrative, each one promising to enrich your travel souvenirs with a distinct Scottish flavour.

Discover the world of illusions

Nestled at the top of the Royal Mile, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions offers a fascinating journey through five floors of interactive exhibits. Here, 21st-century technology meets historic science in a kaleidoscope of visual trickery. Shrink like Alice in Wonderland, navigate the Mirror Maze or simply enjoy the panoramic views from the Rooftop Terrace. It’s an experience that captivates all ages, blending education with entertainment.

Savour the taste of Scotland

Amber Restaurant at The Scotch Whisky Experience is an award-winning culinary haven that celebrates the essence of Scottish cuisine. Indulge in traditional dishes like haggis, cullen skink and fresh seafood, all while surrounded by an impressive collection of over 450 Scotch whiskies. Whether you opt for a dram, a flight or a speciality coffee, Amber offers a taste of Scotland’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Capture the essence of Edinburgh

Open all year round and free to visit, the Vennel Viewpoint offers some of the most iconic views of Edinburgh Castle and other famous sites, including Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, the Scott Monument and the National Museum of Scotland. Located on the Royal Mile, the historic street that connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, this spot is a photographer’s dream, providing a unique perspective of the castle’s grandeur against the city’s skyline.

Stroll along the Union Canal

Escape the city’s hullabaloo by taking a leisurely walk or cycle along the Union Canal. Starting from Lochrin Basin, this tranquil waterway stretches all the way to Glasgow, offering a peaceful retreat with picturesque views. Don’t miss the charming barge cafe near Leamington Lift Bridge for a delightful break.

Meet Bum the dog

In West Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find a bronze statue of Bum, a St Bernard-spaniel mix with a heartwarming backstory. This lesser-known counterpart to Greyfriars Bobby symbolizes the friendship between Edinburgh and San Diego, twinned cities that share a love for canine companions.

Explore Dean Village

Dean Village is a picturesque nook that feels like a step back in time. Once the heart of Edinburgh’s milling industry, the village’s historical charm is visible at every turn. Wander through its serene streets by the Water of Leith and spot the millstones and carved bakery insignia which offer reminders of this chapter of the city’s history.

Visit St Bernard’s Well

Also nestled along the Water of Leith, you’ll find nearby St Bernard’s Well, a neoclassical temple housing the statue of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health that dates back to the 18th century. This tranquil spot has long been a local secret for wellness and reflection, offering a serene space to pause and rejuvenate.

Uncover literary history

The Writers’ Museum is a hidden gem located in Lady Stair’s Close, just off the Royal Mile. This museum is dedicated to the lives and works of Scotland’s literary legends: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Inside, you’ll find personal items, rare books and manuscripts that offer a glimpse into their world. The museum itself is housed in a historic building dating back to 1622, adding to the ambience of literary exploration. It’s a must-visit for book lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

Probe the mystery of Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove is a mysterious network of hand-carved passageways and chambers lying beneath the streets of Edinburgh. This subterranean enigma invites speculation and intrigue, with theories ranging from a smuggler’s den to a secret meeting place for clandestine groups. Guided tours offer a glimpse into this underground world, providing a unique historical adventure. The experience is both eerie and enthralling, as you navigate through the dimly lit corridors and speculate on their true purpose.

Encounter the Man in the Water

Prepare for a surprise at Antony Gormley’s sculptures scattered around the New Town. One of these faceless figures stands eerily in the water by Deanhaugh Street, offering an unexpected encounter that’s become a rite of passage for locals and visitors alike.

ENS Editors

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