Hidden gems, lost treasures, pieces of paradise; whatever you want to call them, it’s true that Edinburgh has no shortage of such jewels. The only problem is that they tend to be so magnificent that you want to keep them to yourself! From a perfectly preserved Wild West town, to little pockets of culture, dig into our guide and unearth the best of Edinburgh’s hidden gems.
Hidden away down a side street in Morningside sits a portal to a complete other universe; Edinburgh’s very own Wild West town. Built in the 1990’s to increase attention for a Southwestern style furniture venture, rumour has it that one of the creatives who helped with the construction also worked on Euro Disney. Although somewhat dilapidated today, there’s nothing more surreal than stepping into this perfectly preserved Western world. A true hidden gem and stellar photo op.
Edinburgh Kyoto Friendship Garden
Dr Neil’s Garden
An oasis of calm in a bustling urban jungle, Dr Neil’s Garden is a gem worth treasuring. Ideal for chilled wanderings and bouts of solo serenity, this earthly Eden is located a stone’s throw away from historic Arthur’s Seat and Duddingston Loch. The brainchild of doctors Andrew and Nancy Neil, this secret garden, which is overflowing with greenery and kaleidoscope colours, is a serious source of inspiration.
Sheep Heid Inn
A local drinking institution, Sheep Heid Inn has been a trusty watering hole for over 600 years. This delightful old pub in Duddingston has witnessed its fair share of history too. If the suspected facts and figures add up, the Sheep Heid is in the running for the oldest surviving licensed premises in Edinburgh, and perhaps Scotland. Still going strong, the veteran bowling alley has been a source of entertainment since its creation in around 1870. A charming place for a pint with flawless pub grub and an unrivalled cosy atmosphere.
National Museum Rooftop
Touching the sky never seemed so feasible. The museum, although a total jewel in its own right, hosts a little slice of paradise in the rooftop garden. Take the lift all the way to floor 7 and take in the stunning 360-degree panoramic view. Perfect for travellers, signs pick out the names of specific buildings in the landscape. A handsome array of plants and vegetation adorn this rooftop terrace garden.
The gem of all gems, Pickles is a glorious foodie stomping ground. Tucked away in a subterranean setting, this enchanting place is laced with the most delicious nibbles, from cheeseboards and meat platters, to cheese balls, chutneys, olives, pâtés and of course, pickles! The wine list is ravishing, the drinks are perfectly priced, the ambience magnetic and the outside patio very cute. A secret spot for catching up and nattering the night away.
Unbeknown to many and yet totally iconic, Makar’s Court is ‘an evolving national literary monument’ that pays homage to all the Scottish greats. It is right in the centre, near the Royal Mile. Considering Edinburgh’s status as a Literary Capital, it seems only fitting to explore each inscription embellishing the stones. Worth checking out during a coffee break, this fascinating culture trap is sneakily nestled down Lady Stair’s Close.
A charming village laced with history and riddled with Scottish vernacular architecture, Cramond is less of a gem and more of a treasure chest. The elusive waterfalls of the River Almond present a spell of magic when times feel dreich. Whether craving a stroll or a day trip out of the city, make sure to investigate this flowing hidden wonder, and let the soothing sounds offer a splashing of serenity.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.