How to adapt to the culture in Edinburgh

culture in Edinburgh
Updated by vera2019 on 15 October, 2019

Edinburgh is known for its rich heritage, and it is a cultural hotspot, full of fascinating bars, venues and galleries to explore. The city has a huge international population, and locals are very welcoming to newcomers. If you want to make the most of your time living in Scotlands capital, here are some activities you must do.

Exploring Edinburgh

A journey up Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill should be top of your list when you arrive in Edinburgh. Both will offer up stunning, panoramic views of the city that will help you see the whole of your new home. Explore the Old Town, stretching from the Royal Mile to the Grassmarket and Cowgate to experience the oldest buildings in the city.

Edinburgh is proud of its links to Harry Potter. Author J. K. Rowling lives in Morningside, and the inspiration for many of her magical locations are within the historic Old Town. There are several Harry Potter walking tours that will highlight these, as well as the wider history of the city.

You may be surprised by just how walkable Edinburgh is. From Dalry and Haymarket to Princes Street and the New Town, as well as the Royal Mile, Holyrood, and the Southside, you can explore the city on foot with ease. If you do opt to take public transport, remember always to say thank you to the bus driver - this is an essential Edinburgh custom.

Venture away from Princes St and the Royal Mile as soon as you can. There is so much more to Edinburgh than the tourist hotspots! Leith is a must-visit. The peaceful Shore area of Leith is a beautiful photography location and a culinary hotspot. If you enjoy the seaside, then the quaint neighbourhood of Portobello should also be on your list. Shopping fans should visit Stockbridge for unique local fashion boutiques and delicatessens.

Arts and sports in Edinburgh

Whatever your interests, Edinburgh has you covered. There are more than a dozen museums and galleries within the city centre, most of which are free to visit. The People's Story Museum is an enjoyable way to learn about Edinburgh's past, and the National Museum of Scotland is the finest in the country.

Sport also plays a significant role in the city. Edinburgh has two football teams: Hearts of Midlothian FC (Hearts), based in Gorgie to the west of the city, and Hibernian FC (Hibs) located on Easter Road in Leith. The bars in these areas are closely aligned to their local clubs. While the atmosphere is generally friendly, consider what you wear in them to avoid trouble! Hearts supporter wear burgundy, while Hibs fans dress in light green. Edinburgh's other main sport is Rugby. Attending a match at Murrayfield stadium is highly recommended: the atmosphere at one of these games is second to none.

Meeting the locals in Edinburgh

Generally, Scots socialise outside the house. It is common to meet friends for a coffee or at the pub. When out with the locals, its custom to buy drinks in rounds, taking turns to pay for each other instead of only buying your own. The Scots are big drinkers, so if you are not, this may take some getting used to! While Scots are known for their whisky, gin is actually the most popular drink in Edinburgh. There are several made in the city, including Pickerings and Edinburgh Gin, which are delicious.

Along with going out for a drink, people in Edinburgh love both eating out and ordering food in. A chip shop favourite that is unique to the city is to order salt and sauce with your fish and chips. The ‘sauce' in question is a unique blend of HP sauce and vinegar. Be sure to try it at least once! Takeaways are a very social thing in Scotland, so suggesting ordering food in could be a great way to get to know your flatmates.

Of course, we can't write about Edinburgh culture without mentioning the Festival Fringe. This month-long celebration of the arts sees almost every theatre, pub, and event space in the city turn into a show venue. The city's other major cultural event is Hogmanay, the Scots' word for New Year's Eve. As a new Edinburgh resident, you can take in the fun of both at your own pace, and also explore the selection of pop-up bars and food markets that accompany these events.

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