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The Best (secrets) of Edinburgh

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Found this guide helpful

Edinburgh is an awesome place with many well known sites - most of which are well advertised on tripadvisor. This guide is for those people that want to get off the beaten path, and for those that want the insider's scoop.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

17 Places

1 City Tip

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Map

17 Places

Dean Village

Historic Sites

Cramond Village

Historic Sites

Lovecrumbs

Restaurants

Dr Neil's Garden

Gardens

The Sheep Heid Inn

Restaurants

Holyrood Park

Parks, Castles

Dunbars Close Garden

Gardens

Lady Stairs House

Speciality Museums, Historic Sites

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Gardens, Art Galleries, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Piano Cafe

Restaurants

Stockbridge Market

Flea & Street Markets

New Town

Neighbourhoods, Historic Walking Areas

Calton Hill

Lookouts, Geologic Formations

Greyfriars Kirk

Cemeteries, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Sacred & Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

City of the Dead Tours

City Tours

The Royal Oak

Bars & Clubs

The Meadows

Gardens

Zoe E's City Tips

  • Edinburgh is an easy city to navigate, once you have a map. Walking distances are generally short, but buses are also a great alternative. The bus costs 1.50 pounds, and you should carry the correct change, as you will not get any change back once the machine eats it. If you have good legs and lungs, do try walking - you will see so much more this way!
  • Save
    Dean Village
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    Dean Village is only a short walk from the Princes Street Gardens, but I believe the village is so much prettier. Like an oasis in the middle of New Town, the village makes you feel as if you have walked into a tiny... well... village. Beautiful in winter or summer, take a stroll and stop on the small bridge overlooking the bend in the river. See more info and pictures here http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/12/dean-village.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The village meets up with the water of Leith Walkway, making for a lovely stroll.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #40 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • stroll in the past 16/07/2018
    • So pretty 16/07/2018
    • Dean Village
    Address:
    Dean Path
    Edinburgh EH8 8BH
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Other:
  • Save
    Cramond Village
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    A bit further out of the way, but still worth a visit is the area of Cramond. By walking out at low tide, you can reach an island populated by history - WWII history to be exact. The village itself has a seaside feel, and makes for a great half-day trip.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure to check tide times if you want to walk out to the island.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #69 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely wee place 14/06/2018
    • A spring break 21/03/2018
    • Cramond Village
    Address:
    Five miles NW of city centre
    Edinburgh
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 557 1700
    Other:
  • Save
    Lovecrumbs
    Restaurants (Cafe, British)
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    After a lot of research over a four month period, I narrowed down my list of 'The Best Cafes in Edinburgh', and this one is at the top of that list. Lovecrumbs is nondescript from the outside, but inside you will find a haven of warmth and cute style. The cakes are always great, so are the brownies and scones, and the tea comes with a thermos so you can refill to your heart's desire.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The area is also a nice one to explore - near the arts school, it is filled with second hand bookshops and thrift stores.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #339 of 2,028 restaurants in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Cosy coffeeshop 07/07/2018
    • A great place to enjoy desserts and coffee 20/06/2018
    • Lovecrumbs
    Address:
    155 West Port
    Edinburgh EH3 9DP
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 629 0626
    Other:
  • Save
    Dr Neil's Garden
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    Located outside of the main tourist route - just ten minutes walk from the edge of Holyrood Park, is this hidden gem. And it is truly hidden - walk through a carpark to find this beautiful secret garden. You can find some peace and solitude here, or admire the small ponds, bridges and herb gardens. This is a true favourite of the locals! Read more info and see pictures here: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/09/dr-neils-garden.html

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Once every year, they open the small round building to the public, and you can see a small exhibition inside.
    From the community
    Ranked #82 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • a hidden gem off the beaten path 15/07/2018
    • Stunning little garden .. hidden gem 14/07/2018
    • Dr Neil's Garden
    Address:
    Old Church Lande
    Duddingston Village
    Edinburgh EH15 3PX
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 7849 187995
    Other:
  • Save
    The Sheep Heid Inn
    Restaurants (Bar, British, Pub, Scottish)
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    This small pub serves great food, but also holds an interest for any history buffs - as the oldest inn in Edinburgh! Rumour has it, a king James liked to frequent the place, back in the middle ages. Nowadays, the decor reflects the age of the inn, and the food is still fantastic! I must have sampled most of their items, so I have a good idea of the place. Try the bangers and mash, they are superb. You won't see too many tourists here, mainly locals enjoying a pint or two. See more pictures of the area around the inn here (it is a very quaint place called Duddingston, well worth a look): http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/09/duddingston.html

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The inn is about ten minutes walk from Holyrood Park, and two minutes walk from the hidden Dr. Neil's Garden. Make a day of it!
    From the community
    Ranked #870 of 2,028 restaurants in Edinburgh
    • Great food...and a game of skittles after! 18/07/2018
    • A histrionical pub 17/07/2018
    • The Sheep Heid Inn
    Address:
    43-45 The Causeway
    Duddingston
    Edinburgh EH15 3QA
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 661 7974
    Price range:
    US$11 - US$34
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 23:00
    Mon - Thu
    11:00 - 23:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Holyrood Park
    Parks, Castles
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    While this is not exactly a secret of Edinburgh, it is true that many tourists give the park a miss. Don't miss out on it! Although it is a further away from the main tourist route, you will not regret making the trip. Walk to the top of Arthur's Seat for great views and a feeling of the Scottish Highlands! See more info and pictures here: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/09/wild-edinburgh.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you are lucky enough to be in Edinburgh on a day with an inversion layer (low lying clouds) head up to Arthur's Seat to see a view of the castle in the clouds!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • You wont be disappointed 18/07/2018
    • A must do 18/07/2018
    • Holyrood Park
    Address:
    1 Holyrood Park
    Edinburgh EH16 5BT
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Other:
  • Save
    Dunbars Close Garden
    Gardens
    Zoe E Says:

    There are about a billion closes and wynds in Edinburgh's Old Town, but this has to be my favourite. Located down a small alleyway, the courtyard opens into a beautiful secluded garden where you can sit and contemplate the wonders of the city. For photos of the garden and other closes and wynds, click here: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/10/winding-lanes.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Do have a look into the other closes and wynds - try the Lady Stairs Close too!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #113 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    • hidden gem 12/07/2018
    • So serene 29/06/2018
    • Dunbars Close Garden
    Address:
    Canongate, High Street
    Edinburgh EH8 8BW
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 529 7061
    Other:
  • Save
    Lady Stairs House
    Speciality Museums, Historic Sites
    Zoe E Says:

    The Lady Stairs Close is not only a beautiful remnant of the Old Town, it also holds its own secret: a small writers museum, with free entry! The close itself is one of the larger ones on the Royal Mile. Just walk down the alley, (have no fear, locals use the alleys all the time), and you're there. Another plus about the closes and wynds: they are very quiet compared to the bustling Royal Mile. For more info and pictures of the wynds and closes of Ediburgh, click here: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/10/winding-lanes.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The small writer's museum closes at around 5pm, so try and get here early.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #220 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    • Must see!!! 05/06/2018
    • Found by chance 08/10/2017
    • Lady Stairs House
    Address:
    Lady Stairs House Lady Stair's Close Lawnmarket
    Lawnmarket
    Edinburgh EH1 2PA
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 529 4901
  • Save
    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
    Gardens, Art Galleries, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    This is another place high on the tripadvisor list, but one that deserves a mention. If you find yourself with half a day to spare, and you like gardens, then I would definitely recommend coming here. There are many unusual things to see inside the gardens: the rock gardens beside the giant glasshouse look like they have leaped off the pages of pinterest; the Queen Mother's memorial gardens are delightful and include a small shelter tiled with seashells; and you can also find interesting crafts and plants in the community gardens. For more info and photos, click below: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/09/sunday-stroll.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Botanic Gardens are very close to the Piano Cafe, one of my favourite cafe's in the city. Go for brunch or lunch! Then take a stroll around the Stockbridge area, following the Water of Leith walkway.
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • day out to botanics 18/07/2018
    • Really lovely place 17/07/2018
    • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
    Address:
    20 Inverleith Row
    Edinburgh EH3 5LR
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 552 7171
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Piano Cafe
    Restaurants (Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    I must have come to this cafe every morning for about a month! I love their food, and the simplicity of the cafe. The chairs are comfy, you can stay for a while and use the free wifi or read a magazine. The crepes are amazing, savoury or sweet, and the hot soup of the day is cheap but good!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • New business 18/06/2016
    • Quaint and perfect. 14/12/2014
    • Piano Cafe
    Address:
    5 Howard Street
    Edinburgh EH3 5JP
    Scotland
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    08:00 - 18:00
  • Save
    Stockbridge Market
    Flea & Street Markets
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    Every Sunday the small urban village of Stockmarket holds a market with some of the best food, drink and produce in the city. The market is tiny - held in a small carpark, but it packs itself in there, and you can find all manner of yummy and pretty things! I love the handmade jewellery, soaps, and woolly knitted articles. For more info and pictures, check out the link: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/09/sunday-stroll.html

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Grab lunch here, then take it to the nearby Botanic Gardens! Or take a walk around the area of Stockbridge and follow the Water of Leith walkway for a pleasant afternoon.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #70 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great local produce on offer, plenty of food & bits available 02/07/2018
    • Great little neighborhood market 01/07/2018
    • Stockbridge Market
    Address:
    Saunders Street/Kerr Street
    Stockbridge
    Edinburgh EH3 6TQ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 261 6181
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    New Town
    Neighbourhoods, Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    Take a walk around New Town to get a feel for the other side of Edinburgh. Every tourist will make it to the Royal Mile, and will get a taste of that Old Town feel, but New Town is interesting too. Like a Scottish Paris, the streets are wide and lined with tall trees. Ladies walk their small dogs in private parks, and boutiques sell high end items. I like to simply walk around the New Town, but you can also stop by Charlotte Square, and make your way to the National Portrait Gallery.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • New Town is so close to Dean Village, you should make the small detour to see it.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unique architectural and urban experience 14/07/2018
    • New Town is beautiful! 11/07/2018
    • New Town
    Other:
  • Save
    Calton Hill
    Lookouts, Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    Ok, so here is the secret to seeing Calton Hill. Be patient, and wait till sunset, then you will be rewarded with the best views! At sunset, there are less tourists too, and you can enjoy your time in a relatively calm manner. For photos of Calton Hill at sunset, click below: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/11/calton-hill.html

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful views 19/07/2018
    • one of the best views ive ever seen in my life in a city. unique 19/07/2018
    • Calton Hill
    Address:
    St. Andrews House 2 Regent Road
    Edinburgh EH1 3DG
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    Greyfriars Kirk
    Cemeteries, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Sacred & Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    If you are a bit of a weirdo like me, and you love hanging around in graveyards, then this should be top of your list! The Greyfriars Kirkyard is full of history, thrills and Harry Potter mania. Harry Potter? Yup, you red that right. Further back in the kirkyard, past the old walls of the city, you can find the real life grave of one Tom Riddel. If you look closely, you can also find McGonagall, and a few other notable names. On top of the nerd factor, you have the spook factor of the Mackenzie Ghost. I love to simply wander in the graveyard and get away from the throngs of tourists around Greyfriar's Bobby. For more info and pictures of the kirkyard, check out the link: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/10/spooky-edinburgh.html

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • If you are truly interested in the graveyard and it's stories, go along on one of the tours given by City of the Dead!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #55 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good service 12/07/2018
    • Great acoustics 09/07/2018
    • Greyfriars Kirk
    Address:
    1 Greyfriars Place
    Old Town
    Edinburgh EH1 2QQ
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 225 1900
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 13:30
    Mon - Fri
    10:30 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    City of the Dead Tours
    City Tours
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    These tours are a wee bit kitschy, and not for everybody's taste. But, after taking their graveyard tour twice, I can highly recommend it as good for both history buffs and thrill seekers. Sadly, nobody on my tours spotted the Mackenzie ghost, but I did see something very strange myself: a black shadow in the shape of a six foot tall man. It was watching me too... Needless to say, the experience was thrilling for me! For more info and pictures of the graveyard, click here: http://life-gazing-and-wildstrawberries.blogspot.com/2014/10/spooky-edinburgh.html

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Try and go on a night tour, for more thrills. Oh, and dress warmly.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #68 of 239 Tours in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantastic tour for me as a wheelchair user 18/07/2018
    • Kevin Elgar 18/07/2018
    • City of the Dead Tours
    Phone:
    +44 131 225 9044
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:30 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    The Royal Oak
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    You will find great live music at the Royal Oak, but be aware - this bar is tiny! The bar is quite close to the Royal Mile, and is an old favourite of the locals.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 214 Nightlife in Edinburgh
    • Live music - a real treat! 09/07/2018
    • Royal Joke 05/07/2018
    • The Royal Oak
    Address:
    1 Infirmary Street
    Edinburgh EH1 1LT
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 557 2976
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:30 - 02:00
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 - 02:00
    Other:
  • Save
    The Meadows
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Zoe E Says:

    The park located next to the University is quite a pleasant one for walking. You may find small vans selling food, buskers singing songs, and dogs fetching sticks. Then make your way through the university for a glimpse of the architecture and student life.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Don't walk in the Meadows alone at night or very early morning, as these times can be unsafe for solo female travelers.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #81 of 449 things to do in Edinburgh
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nothing special about this overcrowded park 24/06/2018
    • Nice for a walk 19/06/2018
    • The Meadows
    Address:
    Old Town
    Edinburgh
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 131 510 7555
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