The 12 Best Experiences Edinburgh has To Offer

Hiking in the Pentland Hills is one of the memorable experiences offered by local guides in Edinburgh
Hiking in the Pentland Hills is one of the memorable experiences offered by local guides in Edinburgh | © AK-Landscape / Alamy Stock Photo
Really get to know Edinburgh with these excellent hands-on experiences you can book in the city.

Travel is all about the experience. Edinburgh provides plenty of opportunities to master local crafts, experience age-old traditions and embark on city-wide adventures. Go beyond the standard sightseeing itineraries and sign up for one of these memorable experiences in the Scottish capital.

Games and experiences in Edinburgh

Whitewater Rafting on the Tummel River

Natural Feature
White water rafting on the River Tummel near Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland.
© Jimmy Morris / Alamy Stock Photo

Find out just how wild the Scottish Highlands can be on a half-day experience whitewater rafting near Pitlochry. Meet in the centre of Edinburgh and be whisked away to the intrepid wilderness of the Tummel River, where a dam release guarantees lively rapids. A professional guide will help you steer over tumbling waves for a heart-pumping experience in the heart of Scotland’s wilderness.

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Spirit of Scotland Show

Amusement Park

Embrace Scotland’s cultural soul with a night of food, drink and music. A master piper leads the ceremony while you sample traditional dishes like haggis, neeps and tatties. Watch Scottish country dancers, tap along to folk fiddle music and top it all off with a wee dram. It’s an overview of Scottish culture in a single evening, right in the heart of Edinburgh.

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Canyoning at Dollar Falls

Natural Feature
Dollar Falls Canyoning Trip
Courtesy of Viator

In the Ochil Hills, 45 minutes from Edinburgh, Dollar Canyon carves its way through Scotland’s countryside. Join an adrenaline-fuelled experience canyoning at Dollar Falls. Leaving from the city centre, it’s no time at all before you’re out in Scotland’s natural playground. See the country from a different angle as you’re strapped to a harness and a professional guide takes you down the steep cliff-edges and waterslides.

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Pub Crawl

Bar, Beer, Wine, Cocktails
Pub Crawl
Courtesy of GetYourGuide

Discover the best places to party the night away in Edinburgh under the guidance of a local. An organised pub crawl is a great way to make friends with fellow travellers while sampling the best bars and clubs the centre of Edinburgh has to offer. Take advantage of drinks deals in thumping techno clubs, swanky cocktail lounges and grungy live music bars to get the full range of the city’s hotspots after dark.

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Zombie Scavengers Game

Amusement Park

Ever wondered what it would be like to fend for yourself in a zombie apocalypse? The atmospheric streets of central Edinburgh are the ideal place to let your imagination run wild on a zombie-themed scavenger hunt. Guided by a smartphone app, you’ll be issued challenges taking you all over the city centre. Earn points by picking up survival materials and fending off zombie hordes (disclaimer: no actual zombies, real or costumed, are involved in this experience – making it family-friendly).

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Ghost Bus Tour

Amusement Park
Double decker bus for Ghost Tours around Edinburgh
© martin berry / Alamy Stock Photo

Down the narrow alleys of the Old Town lurks Edinburgh’s notoriously grisly history. Unlock the dirty deeds of the past on an evening ghost bus tour through the city centre. Hop on board a vintage bus and listen as a comedy character guide talks you through the creepier parts of the city’s past. Grave robbing, witch hunts and haunted graveyards are all in the cards.

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Classes and workshops in Edinburgh

Make Your Own Whisky

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Edinburgh Whisky Workshop
Courtesy of Viator

Choose to have your whisky peaty, smoky or sweet with a blend your own whisky course in the centre of Edinburgh. This distinctly Scottish experience combines a whisky tasting session with a chance to make your own concoctions. Try six different whiskies and learn all about hue, flavour and grain before deciding on your perfect match. The best blend of the group takes home a special prize on top of their miniature sample.

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Photography Walk

Architectural Landmark

Join a professional photographer on a picturesque walk around the Old Town. You’ll be guided to some of the best views in Edinburgh, soaking up history while learning how to frame and shoot the striking architecture and from exceptional vantage points. Your guide will even talk you through the technical aspects of capturing that perfect moment.

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Whisky Masterclass Experience

Distillery
Scotch whisky experience tasting building in the Royal Mile,Edinburgh,Scotland
© martin berry / Alamy Stock Photo
The Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection is the largest scotch whisky collection in the world. You can experience it yourself with a privileged private viewing at the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile. You’ll be taken through the origins of the 3,384-bottle collection and learn from an expert how to tell the difference between blended, single malt and single grain. In-depth lessons about hue, smell and taste will leave you feeling like an expert.
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Here’s what else you can do in Edinburgh

Hill Walking in Edinburgh

Natural Feature
Pentland Hills landscape, Edinburgh.
© susanpoupard / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
You don’t have to go far from Edinburgh to find the rolling hills and crags that epitomise Scotland’s rugged wilderness. Experience this majesty on a guided hill walk in the Pentlands, just a short drive south of Edinburgh. Drink in the dramatic views along the hiking trails as you’re guided by an experienced local.
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Dirty Dave’s Edinburgh Adventure

Amusement Park

If you want to get to know Edinburgh’s rougher edges, try Dirty Dave’s R-rated Edinburgh Adventure. It’s cheap, it’s irreverent and it’s comedy gold. Follow your guide, Dave, through the streets of the Old Town and learn a little alternative history of the winding cobbled streets from a foul-mouthed Scotsman.

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Comedy Night

Concert Hall
Monkey Barrel Comedy club
Courtesy of Viator

You haven’t experienced Scottish charm and hospitality until someone’s poked fun at you. Spend an evening in a comedy club to get a taste of Edinburgh’s sense of humour. Shows feature well-established comedians who prove that excellent Scottish comedy isn’t limited to the Fringe Festival. If you’re feeling brave, take a seat at the front (and remember if someone makes you the butt of the joke, it’s all in good fun).

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These recommendations were updated on May 20, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.