I quite often get messages on Instagram from people looking for recommendations of things to do in Edinburgh. People tend to visit the city during the summer months to make the most of Scotland’s (rare!) sunshine, to visit the Edinburgh festival, and generally soak up the bustling atmosphere. So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 things to do in Edinburgh in the summer – enjoy!
1. Visit Mary’s Milk Bar for the best ice cream in the city (and the best view to boot!)
Top tip: take the stairs up towards the castle and grab a seat on the patch of grass. It’s the best place enjoy your ice cream, people-watch and (hopefully!) soak up some sunshine. You can also follow them on Instagram for daily flavour updates. Don’t wait too long, or you might find that your favourite has been hoovered up!
2. Climb Calton Hill to watch the festival fireworks
This one really only applies if you’re visiting Edinburgh during August, I’m afraid! Although I always recommend a walk up Calton Hill to any visitor to the city – it has the best views, and the climb isn’t too steep either! During the month of August there are fireworks nearly every night and Calton Hill is a great viewing spot. Take a blanket, snuggle up, and enjoy the view.
The end of festival fireworks are particularly spectacular. Catch this year’s display on Monday 27th August 2018.
3. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens
I love visiting the Botanic Gardens all year round, but they really are magnificent during the summer when everything is in bloom. The gardens are lovely and sheltered and are perfect for a spot of sunbathing on sunny days.
Top tip: check the website for their current exhibition and talk schedule before you visit in case you miss something special!
4. Have a picnic in Princes Street gardens
Take time out from your busy sight-seeing schedule and settle down with a picnic in the park. On sunny days, Princes Street gardens really is the place to be – and the views aren’t bad either!
5. Have a barbecue in the Meadows
This is a bit of a right of passage for students in Edinburgh. The Meadows are right next to the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus and when the weather’s nice you’ll usually find the Meadows teeming with students stoking up disposable barbecues.
Top tip: as you enter the Meadows, keep an eye out for the maps which indicate where you can safely light your BBQ!
6. Paddle in the Ross Fountain
Okay, paddling is optional! But it’s definitely worth taking a stroll down to the far end of Princes Street gardens and admiring the newly-refurbished Ross Fountain. It’s an iconic feature of Edinburgh’s city centre and is back to it’s former glory at the foot of the castle.
7. Climb Arthur’s Seat at sunset
It’s always worth climbing Arthur’s Seat for unparalleled views of the city, but there’s something particularly special about admiring a summer sunset from the top.
Alternatively, if you’re not feeling up to the climb, Blackford Hill is a great alternative as you can drive up and park near the top. The photo below gives you an idea of the views!
8. Take a stroll along Portobello Beach
Just a few miles outside of Edinburgh is the gorgeous Portobello beach. It’s fairly easily accessible by bus if you haven’t hired a car, and tends to draw huge crowds on sunny days. It has a lovely promenade, amusement arcades and, most importantly, you can always find an ice-cream van!
9. Enjoy some delicious street food at the Pitt Market
I’ve posted about the glories of the Pitt street market before but it really is a must-see during the summer months. Have a drink, try some of the (many!) food vans, and really make a day of it.
10. Play pitch ‘n’ putt at the Bruntsfield Links
The Bruntsfield Links is, supposedly, one of the oldest golf sites ever, having been founded in 1895. I am by no means a golfer, but I’ve played this course a few times and it really is great fun, especially when the weather’s nice! During the summer, you can play the full 36 hole course. It’s free to play, and you can hire clubs from the aptly named “Golf Tavern” which is just nearby (and makes the perfect post-golf watering hole!)
So there we have it. My top 10 things to do in Edinburgh in the summer. Have you done any of these? Is there anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!