The Hidden World of Edinburgh

Local scenes and off the beaten path treasures in the "Auld Reekie".

Edinburgh is one of the coolest, most gorgeous cities in the entire United Kingdom.  This Scottish city hosts an amazing castle that shouldn’t be missed along with many other popular historical locations. But travelers looking for something off the beaten path won’t be disappointed by Edinburgh’s great offerings. From underground passage ways to rooftop tours, Edinburgh has many great landmarks to get travelers away from the crowds.

Edinburgh is home to arts, architecture, culture, and has one of the world’s most popular festivals attracting visitors and performers from across the globe. The biggest event is the Fringe Festival that takes place every August and brings thousands of eclectic performers, artists and eccentrics to perform all over the city.

Thousands of travelers fill the streets of Edinburgh every August for the Fringe Festival.

CityPals guides can provide travelers with the perfect local guide to find Edinburgh’s hidden offerings. By getting to know the local scene with a local living in the amazing city, travelers can improve their experience while visiting “Auld Reekie” (Old Smokey in Scots).

Travelers will find two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Edinburgh. The city’s Old and New Towns and the Forth Bridge are classic tourist stop-offs that attract millions each year. Nearly four million people descend on Edinburgh annually to see the city’s top-rated attractions. CityPals can take visitors to all of those great places and so many more that are under the surface.

View of city through a cannon embrasure situated at the Edinburgh Castle.

Sheep Heid Inn

Anyone who fancies a drink at a seriously old pub brimming with history can find it at the Sheep Heid Inn. Some Toonies or Edinburgers (yes, this is an unofficial name for locals), claim the Sheep Heid Inn is the oldest licensed drinking establishment in Edinburgh.

In 1870, looking to add some more fun to the pub, a bowling alley was installed. Although it isn’t actually a part of the pub, it is still great for guests who want to play in addition to their drinking and eating experience. The bowling alley, balls and equipment are a throwback to a bygone era. It will have visitors thinking they just stepped into the final scene of the Daniel Day-Lewis film, “There Will Be Blood”.

The Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh Scotland

The Sheep Heid Inn

National Museum Rooftop

Travelers short on time or simply wanting to see as much as possible can take a “tour” of Edinburgh via the National Museum Rooftop. Of course, visitors to the city won’t want to miss the National Museum for its one of a kind exhibitions and to learn about Scotland’s past. But a CityPals guide can take holidaymakers to the museum’s seventh floor rooftop to experience a view unlike any other.

The rooftop offers a 360-degree view of Edinburgh with signs posted allowing visitors to read about the landmarks they are viewing. Travelers will feel a relaxing atmosphere as they view the city thanks to the plants that decorate the top of the National Museum.

Picture taken form the National Museum of Scotland Roof Terrace with magnificent views of Edinburgh.

The National Museum of Scotland Roof Terrace with magnificent views of Edinburgh.

Dean Village

Dean Village is a short five-minute walk from Edinburgh’s legendary Princess Street. Situated next to the Water of Leith, Dean Village is a step back in time thanks to its charming architecture. The area was the home of mills producing textiles as well as bakeries. In the center of the village is Well Court, the building that housed many of the workers who plied their trades at the mills.

Visitors can tour Dean Village before exploring Dean Gallery and its displays to learn about the area’s past. Walking along the Water of Leith path, travelers can stroll through Edinburgh and enjoy a leisurely excursion taking in the city’s sights. The Shore is a local area along the Water of Leigh path providing top-notch restaurants. Meanwhile, CityPals guides can take more budget conscious visitors to The Pitt Street Food Market on Saturdays for some local grub.

Picture of Dean Village along the river Water of Leith in Edinburgh

Dean Village along the river Water of Leith in Edinburgh

Portobello Beach

There are six beaches within easy reach of Edinburgh, but none are as classically British as Portobello Beach. The sandy seaside spot offers visitors the chance to stretch out and get some sun. During the warmer months of the year, Portobello can attract beach goers, so visitors will need to share their space. The promenade is full of arcades, games, and food stalls. The real treat is the Turkish baths, which give travelers the chance to unwind in the hot waters and steam.

Picture of Portobello Beach near Edinburgh

Enjoy a great morning or afternoon walk along Portobello Beach.

Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove is a series of passageways and chambers lying beneath the streets of Gilmerton. Located in the southern part of Edinburgh, Gilmerton Cove’s passageways were hand-carved and many of the features remain puzzling to local experts today. Travelers can explore the nooks and crannies of Gilmerton Cove on what may feel like a spooky tour of the area.

Some Edinburgh historians believe the Gilmerton Cove was created by the Druids or those participating in witchcraft to enable them to move around the city. Visitors looking to explore the Gilmerton Cove will need to book in advance.

Picture of one of the rooms inside Gilmerton Cove near Edinburgh Scotland

One of the rooms inside Gilmerton Cove.

Edinburgh continues to grow as a tourist destination and more people are visiting the Scottish capital each year. At one time, the most tourists came for the annual summer Fringe Festival. However, those times have changed as the city draws more people to its gorgeous streets and historical sites, year round.

Use the comments section below to add your suggestions for places to explore in and around Edinburgh.

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Comments (1):

  1. Paul

    January 15, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    We hooked up with a CityPal to tour Edinburgh and had a fantastic time. It’s a marvelous city and despite (that day’s) hideous weather, the time spent was one of our best of that U.K. vacation. Although not mentioned here, we also enjoyed visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia.


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