Looking to escape the Fringe for a while? Take your pick from our round-up of Edinburgh’s best activities beyond the festival
1. Get your skates on with the Edinburgh Roller Girls
Clap, cheer and fill your roller boots with Edinburgh spirit as you head along to watch the Auld Reekie Roller Girls whirl and jostle their way around the rink. Who knows, you might even find yourself singing along to their famous chant, ‘Auld Reekie, You’re So Fine’.
2. All aboard the party bus
Level up your night and climb aboard the non-stop party bus. It’s not just about saving your heels from the cobblestones, it’s about getting the most out of a single night out in Edinburgh. Perks include queue jumping, waived cover fees and complimentary VIP, letting you cruise the city in style. By the time the night is done, you’ll have partied in three bars and a club on a night you’ll never forget – if you can manage to remember it in the first place.
3. Tour the city of music
Get the full story behind the National Museum’s latest exhibition, Rip it Up – The Story of Scottish Pop, along with free admission. Edinburgh Music Tours will open your eyes and ears to the music underground of Edinburgh and explain how its pop, punk and funk have gone on to influence the rest of the world.
4. Time for tea with Mr Jenner
Step into Edinburgh’s most prestigious department store and join Mr. Jenner himself for an afternoon tea to remember. As you enjoy tipples and treats, the legend will entertain with stories of the city, allowing you to feel a part of the one of the most iconic destinations in the capital. After you finish up, be sure to explore everything the shop has to offer – it even has the Queen’s stamp of approval, after all.
5. Save the dinosaurs at Dynamic Earth
Rescue dinosaurs after a volcanic eruption at Dynamic Earth. This brand new interactive exhibition offers up a storytelling adventure where fiction meets science to inspire and challenge young learners. Along the way, they will get an opportunity to handle real dinosaur teeth, claws and bones. The hardest part of the puzzle is bound to be getting your child to leave when the fun is over.
6. Taste your way through the Gin Safari
Put on your gin-tinted glasses and get ready to discover the best Edinburgh has to offer in juniper spirits. This walking tour takes you through the city and gives you the chance to taste the likes of gin-cured salmon and G&T marshmallows – as well as plenty of Scottish gins too, of course.
7. Take the mic at Bar Brig
Take to the stage at Brig Below, where every Monday the house band turns the mike over to the public.
The delicious cantina food is discounted, cocktails sell by the pitcher and you’re the main event. Sing your heart out, and don’t hold back – rumour has it bad performances are quickly forgiven with a round on you.
8. Discover independent artists at Handmade Edinburgh
Hunt for your own piece of Edinburgh in the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens, where many of Scotland’s finest artisans will gather for a three-day fair of high-end handmade wares. You’ll find everything from pottery to fashion, or for something extra special, try putting in a bespoke commission for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
9. Look to the stars at the Royal Observatory
Stargaze from Edinburgh’s iconic Royal Observatory. Their open days are the perfect occasion to indulge your astronomical curiosities, so climb up to the viewing gallery and stare out into the night, handle real meteorites, and learn the timeless lessons of the stars.
10. Challenge yourself with your own Highland Games
Toss your caber in the ring and try your hand at the Highland Games. After all, your chances are much better when you choose your opponents from your own mates.
Great Away Days will throw you and nine of your pals your own miniature highland games, with a full schedule of events from hurling wellies to tossing hammers.
11. Get musical with the Mad Hatter
Join in the Mad Hatter’s spoon playing workshop.
You’ll learn to play the utensil to whimsical tunes inspired by Wonderland, and the guest with the wackiest Wonderland wardrobe gets a prize, but everyone will leave playing spoons like a pro or at the very least, looking mad whilst trying.
12. Get all tiled up with Helen Miles
Channel your creativity with Helen Miles, who will provide all of the materials and expertise to guide you through your first mosaic design. Get inspired and unwind as you style your own pattern using gorgeous coloured tile, then take your new masterpiece home.
13. Inflate your imagination at the Museum of Childhood
Get all blown up at the Museum of Childhood with an afternoon aimed at the youngest of audience members. In this short workshop, little ones will master the twists and turns of transforming air and elastic into swords and animals in a hands-on class kids will love.
14. Say cheese at I.J. Mellis
Taste your way through the best cheese in town at Edinburgh’s beloved cheesemonger, I.J. Mellis. These renowned experts have been dealing in all forms of dairy deliciousness for decades, from creamy bries to flavour-packed blues, so join them on their dedicated cheese tasting evening where you’ll be guided through the very best on offer.
15. Pamper your puppy with Canine Therapy
Treat your pooch to a full body Swedish massage and learn the skills to repeat the steps at home with this canine massage class. You may already know how to pet your pup, but after this workshop, you’ll have all the skills you need to really bond with man’s best friend.
16. Stitch it up with Say It Ain’t Sew
Stitch a one-of-a-kind creation as you sip a luxury cocktail at Cabaret Voltaire’s new-age cross stitch club. Materials are provided, so all you need to bring is your creativity and a little thirst.
17. Go bottoms up at The Tequila Festival
Ay, tequila! The Tequila Festival is in town. Discover an array of tequila cocktails while you experience the very best in Mexican street food, enjoy a live mariachi band, and get stuck into piñatas galore. Upon arrival you’ll be handed a complimentary shot and a “tequila bible” to help get the party started.
18. Get a buzz on with beekeeping at Colstoun House
Escape the city and get a taste for the wild life with Colstoun House’s beekeeping course. Nature’s hardest workers don’t do it alone, and this course teaches you how to maintain a colony from pollination to honey crop collection, complete with a delicious lunch inspired by the sweet nectar halfway through.
19. Be Insta-ready with a phone photography class
Snap the perfect picture wherever you are with the one device you always already have with you. This unique photography class gives you the chance to ensure the Instagram likes will come rolling in. We all experience the same Edinburgh, but when the posters come down and we all go home, these photos will keep the memories alive.
20. Catch the penguin parade at Edinburgh Zoo
March along to Edinburgh Zoo and witness the most majestic event in the city: the penguin parade. This beloved tradition sees penguins you can’t help but love waddle from their habitat through the zoo, putting on a show along the way. Perfect for animal lovers of all ages.
9. Scent your way with Sleeping Beauty’s perfume making course
Design your own signature scent at the Sleeping Beauty Salon. Sample and test eighteen exquisite blends and consult with a professional perfumer to handcraft a brand new scent that’s completely unique.