13 underrated things to do in Edi this summer

Who even needs a holiday abroad


While we’re all still longing for the day we can hop on a plane and head abroad, there’s actually a lot to do in Edinburgh this summer that you’ve probably never thought about doing before.

From exploring the city’s secret gardens to going wild camping by the beach, here are 13 underrated things to do in Edi this summer:

1. Have a picnic in Edinburgh’s secret garden

Dunbars Close Garden on Cannongate is the perfect spot for a summer picnic in a secluded and peaceful setting that not many people know about.

This secret garden is designed to look like a 17th century garden and is full of beautiful shrubs, trees and flowers. You can also bring a book to do some quiet reading and replicate the final scene of Notting Hill.

2. Find highland cows on the Pentlands

Who knew you didn’t have to go to the highlands to see a herd of highland cows. In fact, Edinburgh has its very own herd that live in the Pentlands.

It takes around 20 minutes by bus plus a small walk to get to Swanston Farm from the city centre, but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful hike through the hills to see the farm’s very own hairy coos.

3. Visit one of Scotland’s most haunted tombs

George Mackenzie’s Mausoleum in Greyfriars Kirkyard is supposedly one of the most haunted sites in not only Edinburgh, but the world.

The ghost of George Mackenzie (also known as Bloody Mackenzie) is said to have made multiple hauntings in the graveyard, with reports of visitors even obtaining mysterious scratches after stopping by.

If you’re feeling very brave, you can even go after daylight as the kirkyard is open 24 hours a day.

4. Do some artwork on The Meadows

Why not channel full main character energy and have a painting party on The Meadows with your besties.

You can buy small canvases, brushes and paints for cheap from places like The Works, Flying Tiger and Poundland. Combine it with a cute boozy picnic and you’re onto a winner.

It’ll also make for a great TikTok.

5. Cycle to Portobello and watch the sunset

It only takes around 30 minutes to cycle to Portobello beach, and it’s the perfect way to have some fun while exercising at the same time.

If you don’t own a bike you can use the Just Eat Cycles. They cost £3 for a day pass which means you can cycle to the beach and back, with stations located all around Edinburgh including one on Portobello.

6. Explore Edinburgh’s many museums

We’ve all been to the National Museum of Scotland, but Edinburgh has a multitude of others to offer.

From the Writer’s Museum and Surgeons’ Hall to the Museum of Childhood and Georgian House, there’s something for everyone.

7. Have a wander through Old Town’s hidden closes

By now you’ve probably been to the Instagram spots of Dean Village and Circus Lane, but there are many other pretty streets to discover in Edinburgh. Old Town is full of cute Instagram-worthy closes that aren’t as well known or crowded.

Personal favourites include Chessels Court, White House Close, Bakehouse Close and Advocates Close.

8. Visit Jupiter Artland

So maybe Jupiter Artland isn’t as underrated as some of the other places on this list, but it’s still definitely worth a visit.

For those that don’t know, Jupiter Artland is a contemporary sculpture park and art gallery full of whacky exhibitions. It’s the perfect summer’s afternoon out and can easily be reached by bus from Princes Street.

9. Do some pottery painting

Let’s face it, despite being summer we can expect some dull and rainy days in Edi to come. But don’t despair, this is the perfect opportunity to let your inner child run free and do some pottery painting.

Doodles in Marchmont is a pottery painting shop where you can paint your own items such as plates, bowls and even plant pots. They then glaze and fire your creations in their kiln, leaving you with a beautiful and unique creation that you can be proud of.

10. Relax in Dr Neil’s Garden

Another secret garden in Edinburgh is Dr Neil’s Garden located in Duddingston by Arthur’s Seat. The garden has a pond, winding paths and an array of plants and flowers sure to make you feel as calm as you possibly can be.

Entry to the garden is free, and it’s open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.

11. Go wild camping

Wild camping is legal in Scotland, and now that the nights are warmer it’s the perfect time to grab your mates and drag them on a tenting adventure.

Popular camping spots near Edinburgh include the Pentlands and Yellowcraig Beach. Just make sure you clean up after yourself and beware of the midges!

12. Watch a film at Cameo Picturehouse

We all love a trip to the cinema, but the experience is 10 times better when you go to watch a film in one of Scotland’s oldest cinemas.

You can watch both new releases and old favourites at The Cameo, and they even have a bar selling food and drinks.

13. Write an article for The Tab

Now that we’re finished with uni work for the summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to tick off that bucket list item we all know you have, and write an article for The Tab Edinburgh.

You can send us pitches through this link or just send us a DM over on Instagram. And even if you don’t have an article idea just yet, still get in touch and we’ll give you some ideas to get you started.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

15 things that prove you’ve found your Edi uni wife

The Scottish Government is giving £20 million to students struggling over the summer

• Here are Edi’s best dissertation submission pictures from 2021