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22 Fun Things To Do in Edinburgh for Adults

Edinburgh is a beautiful city to explore, with many exciting things to see and do.

There is so much to choose from, it’s hard to find the best, so to help out we’ve chosen the most fun activities for adults (both indoor activities and outdoor activities) that Edinburgh has to offer:

The Scotch Whisky Experience

© The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience, situated on the Royal Mile right next to Edinburgh Castle, is a great place to learn about the fascinating world of whisky.

The tour starts with a fun and informative barrel ride where you find out about the whisky distilling process and the history of the whisky-producing areas of Scotland. Then you’ll continue into the blending room, view the World’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky and lots more (including a tasting session).

© The Scotch Whisky Experience

There are different tours to suit the level of interest and expertise of your group, ranging from the silver tour for beginners (with a tasting of a single malt or blended scotch whisky) to the platinum tour for dedicated whisky lovers (with a tasting of 4 single malts and a deluxe blended scotch whisky).

You can also take a tour which includes a whisky tasting and meal, where the whisky is paired with the best of Scottish cuisine.


Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

© Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

This historic attraction has been operating in the centre of Edinburgh, at the top of the Royal Mile on Castle Hill, since the 1850s, but it’s not all old technology - the Camera Obscura itself is Victorian, but the rest of the optical illusions are bang up to date!

The Camera Obscura, which is on the top floor of the building, allows you to see a live view of Edinburgh - the Old Town, the New Town, the shops along Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens,  the Scott Monument, Calton Hill and more - using only daylight and mirrors.

The image is displayed on a table in the middle of the room, and the guide will tell you all about the different parts of Edinburgh that you can see.

© Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

The rest of the building is dedicated to all sorts of interactive exhibits that will amaze and trick the eye! You can spend hours exploring all five floors of this exhilarating place.

You’ll love the illusions such as the severed head, where you are served up on a plate for dinner, the Ames room, where you can shrink and grow instantly, the kaleido tunnel and even a light harp.


Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe

© Chihuahua Cafe

You can combine two of the best things in life at the Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe - dogs and cake!

Book a 50-minute session at the cafe, and you can enjoy soft drinks and cakes (no bacon sandwiches as that would be torture for the dogs!) whilst cuddling and snuggling up to the cutest chihuahuas.

If you look on the cafe’s website you can find out the dogs’ names, photos and personalities in advance.

© Chihuahua Cafe

You can even book a double session if you want to spend more time with the adorable pooches!

You must remember to book - they can’t accommodate walk-ins as they need to consider the welfare of their dogs and not over-crowd them.


Honey Pot Creative Cafe

© Honeypot Craft Cafe

The Honey Pot Creative Cafe is located right under the famous Forth Railway Bridge (the red one) and has wonderful spectacular views of the Firth of Forth, which is great for inspiration!

There are many different wonderfully creative activities available as drop-in sessions every day at The Honeypot (with help from the staff of course).

Activities such as Ceramic Painting, Glass Fusing and Clay Modelling are available every day.

On special days (phone to check) you can even do Canvas and Wood Decorating, T-shirt painting and Bath Bomb Making.

Alternatively, you can join one of the fun organised classes and courses at The Honeypot, such as Christmas Lino Printing, Stained Glass Night, a 6-week Fused Glass Course, or a Paints, Pots and Prosecco night (bring your own prosecco!).


Greyfriars Bobby and the Kirkyard

© Forever Edinburgh

Any visitor to Edinburgh who knows the story of Greyfriars Bobby, will want to visit his bronze memorial statue and fountain and his gravestone.

Greyfriars Bobby was a faithful dog who guarded his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years. He became a favourite of the people of Edinburgh, who even paid for his dog licence so that he wasn't taken away by the dog-catcher.

When Bobby died he was buried outside the Greyfriars Kirkyard, close to where his bronze statue stands now on the intersection of King George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row (opposite the Greyfriars Bobby pub). Bobby was also given a gravestone inside the Kirkyard.

© Forever Edinburgh

Bobby is very popular with the people of Edinburgh even today - his bronze nose is shiny with the number of pats that it gets!

The Greyfriars Kirkyard itself is a lovely tranquil spot in the centre of Edinburgh - the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle for a while. You can even view inside the Greyfriars Kirk on most days.

Whilst at the kirkyard you can search for other famous graves - the poet William McGonagall, the Scottish architects William and John Adam (who designed and built many stately homes and grand public buildings in Scotland) and the gravestones which are said to be the inspiration for many of the names in the Harry Potter books.

Portobello Beach

© Forever Edinburgh

Portobello Beach is the seaside near the city!

Just an easy bus ride from the centre of Edinburgh, Portobello has a wonderful golden 2-mile long sandy beach, where you can play, stroll and swim.

There’s a grand promenade lined with lovely old Victorian buildings, where you’ll find the charming Victorian swimming pool and the Portobello Kayaking and Sailing Club.

© Forever Edinburgh

Whilst you’re there you can book a session in the original Victorian Aerotone bath at the swimming pool - it’s a Victorian spa bath that will be set up to your liking (depth and temperature).

There is a great choice of cafes and bars for delicious food and refreshments on the promenade, and there are often volleyball competitions and triathlon events at the beach.

If you want to do some shopping, you can always nip into the Portobello town centre where there are shops and restaurants.

Maison de Moggy

© Maison de Moggy

This is the perfect place for cat-lovers to get their fix of cat cuddles. You can book an hour's session in the cafe for £10, and stroke the cats to your heart’s content.

The hour-long sessions are led by the cats - if they want to snooze rather than cuddle then they are allowed to.

© Maison de Moggy

The Cafe serves hot and cold drinks and delicious cakes which you can order (paid for separately) during your session.

You can get to know the cats before your visit by checking the Maison de Moggy website - there are photos and personal profiles of all of the cute cats you will meet!


Sightseeing Cruise on the Maid of the Forth

© Maid of the Forth

The Firth of Forth, just outside Edinburgh, has spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife and the three Forth river crossings. The way to see it all is from a cruise on the purpose-made Maid of The Forth boat. 

You can take a 1.5 hour sightseeing cruise, where you’ll cruise under all three fort bridges, and view some amazing wildlife.

If you prefer a longer cruise you can take the 3-hour Inchcolm Island trip where you have 1.5 hours cruising and 1.5 hours ashore on the Island. 

For an exhilarating ride, take the wildlife watching trip on the high-speed Rib. In just one hour you’ll enjoy speeding around all three bridges, and three of the Islands - Inchgarvie, Inchcolm and Inchmickery - watching the wildlife and learning from the experienced guides.


The Grassmarket

© Greater Grassmarket

The Grassmarket is a popular lively area right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

It has everything a visitor could want - hotels, restaurants, cafes, beautiful old buildings, high-quality gift shops, independent shops and a public execution site!

There are great views up to  Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket area, and some very quaint cobbled streets. You can eat outside in the cobbled area in the Grassmarket and just soak up the atmosphere - there are lots of bars, cafes and restaurants that will suit all budgets.

© Forever Edinburgh

Adjacent to The Grassmarket is the famous Victoria Street which has gorgeous coloured buildings built on a curve and a hill at the same time! The are some very interesting independent shops on this street.

If you’re in Edinburgh on a Saturday, you’ll be able to visit the Grassmarket Market, which has a great range of stalls selling bread, cakes, meat, fish, fruit & veg, cheese, charcuterie, sweet treats and preserves.

Alternatively, you can go to the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market on nearby Castle Terrace which sells organic meat, fresh fruit & veg, freshly baked breads & pies. Both markets have street food and arts and crafts for sale.

Ferry Brewery Tour

© Ferry Brewery

The Ferry Brewery is in South Queensferry, next to the Forth Rail Bridge.

It was established in 1851 and has been making delicious beers ever since.

You can tour the working brewery throughout the year on Saturday or Sunday - you just need to email them to book your place.

© Ferry Brewery

This interactive tour is excellent value:

For only £15 you will tour behind-the-scenes at the brewery, learn all about the brewing process and the history of the brewery, feel, smell and taste the hops and malts, and then take part in a tasting session of the finished product.

You can have two half pints (of different beers) or a full pint of your favourite to taste during the tour and a beer to take away, all included in the price of the tour!


Climb Arthur's Seat

© Forever Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat is the majestic extinct volcano that dominates Holyrood Park in the centre of Edinburgh.

There are a couple of different paths that you can use to get to the top of Arthur's Seat. On the way up you can pass a couple of small lochs and a ruined chapel, depending on the route you choose.

If you climb to the summit (251 metres above sea level) you will be rewarded with fantastic 360-degree vista, with stunning views of Edinburgh city, the Firth of Forth and the Forth Bridges, and Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile leading down to Holyrood Palace.

© Forever Edinburgh

Many people choose to climb Arthur's Seat in the evening, to get fantastic sunset photographs of Edinburgh, looking towards Edinburgh Castle.

It’s quite a hike to the top, but well worth the effort for the invigorating, magnificent views - you would not believe that you are in the centre of a city!

Don’t forget your windproof jacket - it can get a little chilly at the top!

Hint: there are many great panoramic views and photographic opportunities from halfway up as well as the top.


Xtreme Karting Edinburgh

© Xtreme Karting

You can get an exhilarating taste of driving only inches from the ground at Central Scotland's largest indoor karting track, Xtreme Karting.

The easiest way to experience the thrill of karting is to book a practice package for you and your friends - a package consists of two or four ten-minute driving sessions and allow you to become familiar with the karts.

If you want to race against each other, you can take part in the Open Race sessions, and if there are 8 or more in your group, you can book an exclusive session where you take over the whole track for 3 sessions (a practice session, a qualifying session and a final race).


Edinburgh Gin Distillery Tour

© Edinburgh Gin

This tour allows you to learn about Edinburgh Gin, and taste it, at the Edinburgh Gin Distillery in the West End of Edinburgh.

You’ll learn all about the history of gin in the UK, and find out how Edinburgh Gin is produced.

© Edinburgh Gin

You’ll be able to admire the distillery’s stills ‘Caledonia’ and ‘Flora’ whilst tasting five gins and gin liqueurs from the Edinburgh Gin range.


The Real Mary King's Close

© The Real Mary Kings Close

Mary King's Close is a fascinating hidden underground street which you can tour with a guide, who will tell you all about the occupants who lived there in the 1600s.

In your hour-long tour you’ll find out all about 400 years of Edinburgh’s rich history (some of it very dark!), and the stories of the residents of Mary King's Close over the years.

© The Real Mary Kings Close

The Real Mary King's Close is on the Royal Mile, just opposite St Gile's Cathedral.

The Royal Exchange Coffee House is on-site, where you can enjoy local Brodies coffee and a nourishing snack before or after your tour.


Fore Play Crazy Golf

© Fore Play Golf Edinburgh

If you’re looking for a great place to unwind and have a laugh with your friends in Edinburgh, how about Fore Play Crazy Golf?

They have an Edinburgh-themed indoor crazy golf course, featuring Greyfriars Bobby and the Scott Monument!

If you want refreshments whilst you are playing, there is a terrace with deckchairs and garden games for your cocktails or you can choose from two different bars.

© Fore Play Golf Edinburgh

Fore Play has various packages available for you and your friends - ranging from a single round of crazy golf to a meal from their street food vendor, two alcoholic drinks and a round of crazy golf.

If you have a stag-do, hen-do or party to arrange, you can book a great night out at Fore Play.


The Chocolatarium Chocolate Tour

© The Chocolatarium Edinburgh

This great tour at The Chocolatarium is heaven for chocolate lovers. It allows you to discover the world of chocolate, you can choose from over forty flavours to taste and you can even make your own dream chocolate bar to take away.

The knowledgeable guides will tell you all about how chocolate is made - you’ll see and touch the fruits of the cacao tree, see how chocolate is made from cocoa beans, and taste smooth and creamy warm chocolate.

© The Chocolatarium Edinburgh

You can also sign up for the truffle-making masterclass, or the whisky and chocolate pairing tasting experience.

The Chocolatarium is really easy to find - just near the bottom of the Royal Mile on Cranston Street.


Treasure Hunt Edinburgh

© Treasure Hunt Edinburgh

If you’re looking for a way to get to know Edinburgh whilst taking on a fun challenge, get together with your friends and book the Edinburgh Treasure Hunt.

The Treasure Hunt is like a What’s App group, where everyone joins in on their phones to solve clues and follow treasure maps whilst exploring the most interesting parts of Edinburgh - some of them the famous spots and some of them not so well known.

© Treasure Hunt Edinburgh

You’ll be guided around the city by Captain Bess, who can help if you’re stuck on the questions. You’ll see sights such as The Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral, Greyfriars Kirkyard (where you’ll find out why they protected the graves with cages), Edinburgh Castle, and hear about lots of other interesting facts and stories.

The tour/game is self-guided so you can go at your own pace, and stop for a cuppa to enjoy the view or soak up the atmosphere whenever you want…


Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

© AboutBritain.com

This is the largest climbing arena in Europe, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when you bring your friends here - there’s bouldering, top rope, clip ‘n’ climb, lead climbing…

If you’re new to climbing you can book a group taster session with your 4 - 8 of your friends, and learn the ropes! In this great 90-minute session your instructor will show you how to get started on your climbing adventure.

© AboutBritain.com

If you’re an experienced climber (over 18 years of age) you can sign yourself in for a fun-filled session at Ratho - you just have to pass a quick competency check before you can climb (and fill in the relevant paperwork of course!).


Escape Reality Edinburgh

© Escape Reality

At the Escape Reality Edinburgh escape game, you and your friends have 60 minutes to escape from a perilous situation or complete a challenge such as:

  • escape from Alcatraz

  • find a Caribbean pirate’s treasure,

  • escape from a science lab before you become part of the experiment

  • find a vampire who has killed your close friends!

© Escape Reality

There are six different escape rooms available at Escape Reality Edinburgh, where you (with the help of your good friends) have to solve the exciting clues and puzzles to escape in less than an hour.


Bridge 8 Hub

© Bridge8 Hub

If you fancy messing around on the water whilst you’re in Edinburgh, visit the Bridge 8 Hub on the Grand Union Canal. There you can try all sorts of water-based fun such as kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding.

Bridge 8 hub is an urban outdoor activity centre on the west side of Edinburgh, only 20 minutes from the city centre.

© Bridge8 Hub

There’s a cafe serving amazing home-baking and coffee, a bike hub where you can hire mountain bikes or get your own bike serviced, and of course, there’s equipment hire for all of the canal-based activities.

If you want to have a go, contact Sean at Bridge 8 Hub to plan your next exciting Edinburgh outdoor adventure!


Lane 7 Edinburgh

© Lane 7 Edinburgh

You’ll have a great night out at Lane 7 Edinburgh. It’s on Level 4 of the new St James Quarter shopping centre, right in the centre of the city.

A night out at Lane7 is not just an ordinary night out at the Ten Pin Bowling alley. There is superb bowling of course, but there’s so much more!

© Lane 7 Edinburgh

There’s first-class food (delicious burgers and fried chicken by Fat Hippo), one of the best bars you’ve ever visited, ping-pong, pool, karaoke, crazy golf, old-fashioned computer games and even traditional pub games like darts and shuffleboard.


Black Axe Throwing Co

© Black Axe Throwing Co

Urban Axe Throwing is the new big thing - great for a night out with friends - full of fun and friendly rivalry.

At Black Axe Throwing Edinburgh you can book a session with your mates and have a great time comparing your axe-throwing skills!

A session lasts for an hour and consists of:

  • Safety Briefing
  • Learning the Basics
  • Advanced Throws
  • The Big Competition
  • Photos

You’ll be allocated a friendly instructor who will show you how to throw, will keep score during the competition and will take photos of you with your axes.

© Black Axe Throwing Co

It sounds like a hard skill to master, but it is fun to have a go at axe throwing with your friends and prove to them what a steady hand you have!


The Stand Comedy Club

© Jay Dawson / The Stand Edinburgh

The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh is known for its weekly schedule of the hottest comedy on the Scottish circuit with regular shows such as The Best of Scottish Comedy, and The Friday Show.

Their famous weekly Red Raw night is the beginners' showcase - you can catch the stars of tomorrow today!

© Jay Dawson / The Stand Edinburgh

Also, there are visiting shows and performers, and of course, they are right in the thick of the action during the Edinburgh Fringe in August each year.

The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh is in historic York Place, in the New Town - just round the corner from the new St James’s Quarter shopping development.


We hope you’ve been inspired by the fun activities in Edinburgh and found an exciting one to try - you can always try more than one of course!

Check out our other articles on Edinburgh:

For more great ideas on what to do in Edinburgh, check out our main Things to do in Edinburgh page.

If you're visiting with a loved one, our Romantic Things to do in Edinburgh has lots of fun things to do in Edinburgh for couples.

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