Leisure activities in Edinburgh for solo expats, couples and families

leisure in Edinburgh
Updated by vera2019 on 14 October, 2019

As well as its popular seasonal events, Edinburgh offers fun leisure activities all year round. Whatever your interests, you will find something new to explore that can be enjoyed alone or with friends and family.

Family activities in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has several exciting options to help get out into nature with your kids. Climbing Arthur's Seat is an essential Edinburgh activity that is fun for all ages, especially if you pack a picnic to eat at the top. Gorgie Farm and Edinburgh Zoo provide children with an opportunity to get up close with animals, while the Royal Botanic Gardens and Butterfly World both have large indoor spaces, so the kids can explore nature even if the Scottish weather is a let-down. 

If your children are more interested in history and science, then Dynamic Earth and the National Museum of Scotland offer multi-sensory, interactive exhibits that they will love. The Museum of Childhood is also an enjoyable family outing.

Things to do as a couple in Edinburgh 

Edinburgh is a naturally romantic city, filled with great date ideas. There are so many brilliant restaurants covering all cuisines that you and your partner will be spoiled for choice! Shopping centres including Fort Kinnaird and Ocean Terminal offer popular chain stores, multiplex cinemas, and food outlets in one convenient location, perfect for date nights. Alternatively, there are award-winning restaurants to visit in every neighbourhood. 

Edinburgh is known for its impressive arts and culture scene. The city's many theatres, cinemas, galleries, and museums make the perfect outing for couples. Round off your evening together with a nightcap in one of the city's speakeasy bars, such as Panda & Sons, Bramble, and Bullard & Mack. 

Group activities in Edinburgh

Looking for something different to suggest to your new friends? There's no shortage of fun group activities in Edinburgh. Escape rooms are popular across the UK, with several located in the city centre. There is even a Harry Potter-themed escape room in the Old Town. Other adrenaline-boosting activities on offer in Edinburgh include a trampoline park, laser tag, and a VR games arcade. For a spooky twist, you could take part in one of the city's ghost tours, several of which are free. 

Scots are big advocates of drinking in the house before hitting local bars or nightclubs. Why not offer to host pre-drinks at your home to help get to know your new friends better? Look out for pub quizzes or other themed nights in bars in your neighbourhood to inspire your nights out. 

Spending time alone in Edinburgh

There is so much to explore in Scotland's capital that you will most likely be glad of some time to wander by yourself! You may enjoy meandering around the many closes of the Old Town for a taste of the city's history or exploring the many independent shops in neighbourhoods like Stockbridge and Morningside.

It is very acceptable in Edinburgh to sit in a coffee shop or cafe alone. Local coffee shops in Bruntsfield, cafes inside galleries or museums, or one of the many Costa and Starbucks are good options if you are enjoying a solo day out. 

If you are hoping to make friends in your local area, check out the nearby pubs. If they have a calendar of events, this can be a good way to make friends with the locals. Just don't expect to go out and make friends straight away - Scots are not often receptive to strangers trying to join their group! Be sure to check local notice boards for any clubs, societies, or exercise classes in your area that will help you meet people with similar interests. 

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