What To Do In Edinburgh This Summer If You’re Not At Fringe

© Strevo/Flickr
© Strevo/Flickr
Photo of Tori Chalmers
9 February 2017

Every year Edinburgh is transformed into even more of an artistic utopia than normal due to the Fringe festival. Swarms of people gravitate towards the city to absorb the fun. However, some may find it refreshing to steer clear from the hustle and bustle. Discover the best things to do this summer if you are not at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Take a moment to zone out from all of life’s stresses and gaze upwards at night. The perfect way to learn more about the constellations and planets is to experience The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (ROE). This astronomical institution can be found at the tip of Blackford Hill (the original observatory can still be found on Calton Hill in the city centre). Check out the Public Astronomy Evenings and delight in seeing sensational views of the entire city. A visit here will leave you feeling over the moon.

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, Blackford Hill View, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 668 8100

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

Avid climbers brace yourselves. The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena is the largest indoor climbing wall in the entire world. This haven is situated in a disused quarry; the sheer magnitude of the place can be overwhelming to any newcomer. Just zone in, take advantage of the added adrenaline, and find the best climbing path.

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, South Platt Hill, Ratho, Newbridge, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 333 6333

The Dominion

Take a trip down memory lane and enter into a bygone past when films were in black and white. The Dominion has been one of the crown jewels of Edinburgh since its grand opening all the way back in 1938. Architect Thomas Bowhill Gibson designed the building in an art deco style and what he created was a streamlined, modern masterpiece. Catch a screening of your favourite movie and enjoy the luxury of this comfortable and beautiful independent cinema.

The Dominion Cinema, Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 447 4771

S Luca

The fact that Edinburgh may not always have the most sweltering summers doesn’t mean that the idea of ice cream should be a figment of the imagination. S Luca’s has long held the reputation of being the crème de la crème of ice cream places in the city. The Nutella is utterly delectable and the iconic Irn-Bru flavour is totally addictive. Don’t forget to ask for a 99 Flake. This parlour is a great place to grab a bite to eat, too.

S Luca, 16 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 446 0233

The Edinburgh Dungeon

Map View
Edinburgh Dungeons | © Skarlo87/Flickr
Edinburgh Dungeons | © Skarlo87/Flickr
It is no secret that Scotland is riddled with history. Delve deep into The Edinburgh Dungeon to explore the sometimes chilling past. Careful though, this is not recommended for the faint hearted. Tackle your deepest, darkest fears and prepare to shiver from all the tales. Hearts will race and blood pressure will rise as visitors are taken on an immersive adventure led by a cast of highly talented actors. Learn the nitty gritty details about the notorious duo Burke and Hare and build up an appetite to discover the cannibalistic ways of Sawney Bean. The special effects, shows, and rides are to die for.

Portobello Beach

Need a quick escape from city life? Sing ‘oh we do like to be beside the seaside’ upon setting foot on glorious Portobello Beach. Portobello is just a quick bus ride away from the middle of Edinburgh. Stretch those legs along the picturesque promenade and check out any events that have a habit of springing up. Those with an interest in architecture will love the Georgian and Victorian buildings. Lots of gift shops, pubs, and restaurants are dispersed throughout this area, too.

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh, UK

HMY Britannia

Historical Landmark
Map View
UK, Scotland, Lothian, Edinburgh, Leith, Ocean Terminal, View of the Royal Yacht Britannia.
© Karol Kozlowski Premium RM Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
The time has come to don the nautical attire. The Royal Yacht Britannia is yet another gem nestled in the great city of Edinburgh. This regal vessel is as decadent as it is fascinating. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as this year marks Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. In honour of the festivities, explore the decks and discover the history behind it all. For instance, this beauty was going to double up as a safe haven for the Queen in the event of a nuclear war. Experience the grandeur that the Queen, Sir Winston Churchill, and Nelson Mandela did when they first stepped foot on the Britannia.

Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art

It can at times be refreshing to switch gears and feed the soul by staring at some beautiful art. Expect to witness a stunning array of works from the 1900s until now at the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art. Allow the sweet sound of silence to restore the mind and let the selection of installations, video work, paintings, prints, and sculptures do the talking. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Get close to a Picasso and a Matisse. Admission is free (with the exception of certain exhibitions) and don’t forget to see both buildings.

The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, 75 Bedford Rd, Edinburgh, UK, +44 131 624 6200

Arthur’s Seat

It is easy to get lost in concrete and cobblestones. Seek refuge in nature and venture to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Expect to be transfixed by the wondrous panoramic views of bonnie Edinburgh, The Firth of Forth, and beyond. Even seasoned Scots know that a trip to this glorious throne is time well spent. From the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel to the three surrounding lochs, explore all 650 acres. Pack a picnic, watch the sunset, and save some spare bread for the swans.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, UK

Steam Train Experience

Feel like an adventure? Get on over to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station and hop on a magnificent steam train. With a glass of bubbly in hand, steam along the newly built borders railway line. Absorb the stunning scenery from the comfort of the vintage carriages. From the Kingdom of Fife to the quaint Scottish Borders, pick a stop and explore away until the heart is content. This fine locomotive is equipped with all bells and whistles. All aboard!

Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, Edinburgh, UK, +44 845 711 4141