Things to do in Edinburgh
A collection of ideas for things to do while you are in Edinburgh, with short local knowledge commentary from us at Edinburgh flats. Please note that the listing is only intended to provide ideas, not to be a comprehensive listing of all the possibilities. Edinburgh Flats cannot guarantee the accuracy or nature of information on the third party web links listed below.
For orientation about locations, all the distances noted are direct distances (“as the crow flies”) from Waverley station. Approximate walking times, or recommended means of travel, from Waverley station or the city centre are also noted for your planning and convenience.
As you will see, we enjoy exploring Edinburgh on foot, using public transport (buses and trains) when necessary.
Meadowbank Sports Centre, London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE
National athletics stadium and public sports centre and gym. 2.5 km east from Waverley station. 30 minutes’ walk.
The city centre of Edinburgh is not an ideal place to visit by bike, due to the steep hills, uneven cobblestones and pedestrian restrictions, but good cycling excursions out-of-town are available. Below a website mapping quiet routes for cyclists, prepared by Edinburgh Council.
The John Muir Way cycle route, which passes through central Edinburgh, provides an interesting (and relatively flat way) to explore along the coast of the Firth of Forth,
Various bike shops offer cycle hire and advertise online.
There are gyms provided by Edinburgh Council Leisure at both Meadowbank (2.5 km/30min walk east from Waverley station) and at the Royal Commonwealth Pool (1.8 km/28min walk southeast from Waverley station).
Heart of Midlothian Football Club, Tynecastle Stadium, McLeod Street, Edinburgh, EH11 2NL
Scottish Premier League (SPL) football team. 3 km southwest from Waverley station. 41 minutes’ walk or various buses (Stop PS, 14 minutes) from Princes Street to Gorgie City Farm.
Hibernian Football Club, Easter Road Stadium, 12 Albion Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5QG
Scottish Premier League (SPL) football team. 19 km northeast from Waverley station. 30 minutes’ walk or various buses (Stop PN, direction Easter Road, approx. 5 minutes) from Princes Street.
As you might expect in Scotland, there are a large number of nearby golf courses. Here a selection of them in alphabetical order, some world-renowned Open Championship courses amongst them.
Archerfield Links, Archerfield House, North Berwick, EH39 5HQ
2x 18-hole links courses. 27 km northeast from Waverley station, near Dirleton.
Baberton Golf Club, 55 Baberton Avenue, Edinburgh, EH14 5DU
18-hole course. 8 km southwest from Waverley station, near the bypass and Heriot-Watt University.
Braid Hills Golf Course, 27 Braid Hills Approach, Edinburgh, EH10 6JY
Municipal 18-hole golf course and driving range. 4 km south southwest from Waverley station, just south of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hills.
Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, 32 Barnton Avenue, Edinburgh, EH4 6JH
Fourth oldest golf club in the world. 18-hole course. Regional course for Open Championship. 6 km west northwest from Waverley station, near Firth of Forth.
Carrick Knowe Golf Course, 27 Glendevon Park, Edinburgh, EH12 5UZ
Municipal 18-hole golf course with 9-hole option. 5 km west southwest from Waverley station, near Edinburgh Zoo.
Craigelaw Golf Club, Craigelaw, Longniddry, EH32 0PY
18-hole course. 21 km east northeast from Waverley station, near Longniddry.
Craigentinny Golf Course, Fillyside Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6RG
Municipal 18-hole golf course with 9-hole option. 3 km east northeast from Waverley station, between Leith and Portobello.
Craigmillar Park Golf Club, 1 Observatory Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3HG
18-hole course. 3 km south from Waverley station, near University of Edinburgh King’s Buildings.
Dalmahoy Golf Course, Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, Edinburgh, EH27 8EB
2x 18-hole Scottish Championship course. 13 km west southwest from Waverley station, near Kirknewton.
Duddingston Golf Club, Duddingston Road West, Edinburgh, EH15 3QD
18-hole course. 4 km southeast from Waverley station, immediately southeast of Holyrood Park.
Dundas Parks Golf Club, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, EH30 9SS
9-hole course. 14 km west northwest from Waverley station, near South Queensferry and Forth bridges.
Kings Acre Golf Course, Lasswade, EH18 1AU
18-hole course. 9 km south southeast from Waverley station, near city bypass and Lasswade.
Kingsknowe Golf Club, 326 Lanark Road, Edinburgh, EH14 2JD
18-hole course. 6 km southwest from Waverley station, just inside the city bypass.
Liberton Golf Club, Kingston Grange, 297 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5UJ
18-hole course. 5 km southeast from Waverley station, near A772 and Liberton.
Longniddry Golf Club, Links Road, Longniddry, EH32 0NL
18-hole links course, formerly an Open qualifying course. 18 km east from Waverley station, in Longniddry.
Luffness New Golf Club Ltd, 1 Luffness Mill Cottages, Aberlady, Longniddry, EH32 0QA
18-hole course. 24 km east northeast from Waverley station, between Longniddry and Gullane.
Melville Golf Centre, Lasswade, Dalkeith, EH18 1AN
18-hole course and driving range. 9 km south southeast from Waverley station, near city bypass and Lasswade.
Merchants of Edinburgh Golf Club, 10 Craighill Gardens, Edinburgh, EH10 5PY
18-hole course. 4 km southwest from Waverley station, on the southwest side of Morningside.
Mortonhall Golf Club, 231 Braid Road, Edinburgh, EH10 6PB
18-hole course. 5 km south southwest from Waverley station, just southwest of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hills.
Muirfield, Duncur Road, Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian, EH31 2EG
18-hole links course, home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and used in rotation for the Open Championship. 25 km east northeast from Waverley station, in Gullane.
Murrayfield Golf Club, 43 Murrayfield Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6EU
18-hole course. 4 km west from Waverley station, near Murrayfield stadium.
Musselburgh Golf Club, Musselburgh, Midlothian, EH21 6SA
18-hole course, Regional course for Open Championship. 9 km east southeast from Waverley station, near Musselburgh and A1.
Musselburgh Links, Stables Pavilion, Balcarres Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7SD
9-hole links course, the world’s oldest golf course. 9 km east from Waverley station, in Musselburgh.
Newbattle Golf Club, Abbey Road, Dalkeith, EH22 3AD
18-hole course. 10 km southeast from Waverley station, near Newbattle, the city bypass and A7.
North Berwick Golf Club, New Club House, beach Road, North Berwick, EH39 4BB
18-hole course and 9-hole par 3 course. 32 km east northeast from Waverley station, in North Berwick.
Prestonfield Golf Club, 6 Priestfield Road North, Edinburgh, EH16 5HS
18-hole course. 2.5 km southeast from Waverley station, on southern fringe of Holyrood Park.
Ratho Park Golf Club, Ratho, EH28 8NX
18-hole course. 11 km west from Waverley station, in Ratho, near city bypass and M8/M9.
Ravelston Golf Club Ltd, 24 Ravelston Dykes Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3NZ
9-hole course. 5 km west from Waverley station, near Hillwood Park and Murrayfield stadium.
Royal Burgess Golfing Society, 181 Whitehouse Road, Edinburgh, EH14 6BU
18-hole course, the oldest golfing society in the world. 7 km west northwest from Waverley station, near Cramond, the city bypass and A90.
Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, Prestongrange House, Prestonpans, EH32 8RP
18-hole course, run by the sixth oldest club, formerly based at the 9-hole Musselburgh Links course. 12 km east from Waverley station, near Prestonpans.
Silverknowes Golf Course, 118 Silverknowes Road, Edinburgh, EH4 5ET
Municipal 18-hole golf course with 9-hole option. 6 km northwest from Waverley station, near Cramond and Firth of Forth.
Swanston Golf Club, 111 Swanston Road, Edinburgh, EH10 7DS
18-hole course and 9-hole par 3 course. 7 km south southwest from Waverley station, near Swanston and the city bypass.
Turnhouse Golf Club, 154 Turnhouse Road, Edinburgh, EH12 0AD
18-hole course. 9 km west from Waverley station, near Edinburgh Airport, the city bypass and A90.
Scottish Highland Games are popular events for both athletes and spectators. At many Highland Games, which are friendly events, largely run by local volunteers, visitors may register to take part in traditional athletic competitions. The link below gives a directory and calendar of Highland Games events throughout Scotland. The nearest events to Edinburgh, easily reached by train are in Burntisland (July, 35 minutes by train) and North Berwick (August, 33 minutes by train).
Musselburgh Racecouse, Linkfield Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian, EH21 7RG
Formerly known as Edinburgh Racecourse. 9 km east from Waverley station. X26 bus (direction Port Seton, 25 minutes) from Princes Street to Loretto Primary School, followed by 650m/7 min walk.
Edinburgh Marathon Festival
The Edinburgh Marathon Festival takes place annually on May Bank Holiday weekend (last weekend in May), offering full marathon, half marathon, team relay, 10k, 5k and junior races.
BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, EH12 5PJ
Home of the Scottish Rugby Union team and venue for International Rugby matches and national matches of Edinburgh Rugby (Guiness Pro-14 league and European Rugby Challenge Cup). 3.5 km west southwest from Waverley station. TRAM (direction Airport) from Princes Street (12 minutes) to Murrayfield Stadium, followed by 100m/1 min walk.
A selection of popular running routes, for those seeking physical exercise:
Edinburgh Marathon Festival
Takes place annually on May Bank Holiday weekend (last weekend in May), offering full marathon, half marathon, team relay, 10k, 5k and junior races.
Big Fun Run Edinburgh
Untimed 5 km run for all the family.
Edinburgh Men’s 10k
10 km run to raise awareness of Men’s health. November.
5 km run for allcomers, every Saturday. Along the coast of Firth of Forth (Promenade), between Cramond and Silverknowes.
Various distances up to 8 km, around Holyrood Park. January.
Scottish Halt Marathon +10k
Flat, along the East Lothian coast. September.
Midlothian Snowsports Centre, Biggar Road, Hillend, Edinburgh, EH10 7DU
Dry ski slope in the Pentland Hills, available all year round. 7 km south from Waverley station. Bus 4 (direction Hillend) or 15 (direction Deanburn) from Princes Street (25 minutes) to Snowsports Centre.
Royal Commonwealth Pool, 21 Dalkieth Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5BB
International standard swimming pool, built for the Commonwealth Games in 1970. Now a listed building, refurbished in 2012, it offers a 50m municipal swimming pool and fitness gym. 1.8 km southeast from Waverley station. 28 minutes’ walk.
Below are ideas for longer distance walks, perhaps using the train or bus, to walk sections of these fabulous long distance paths. See also “Parks and Open Spaces” item above.
John Muir Way
A Coast to Coast cycling or walking route covering 215 km from Helensburgh, on the Scottish East Coast, to Dunba,r at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, which passes through the centre of Edinburgh.
A canal stretching 50 km from its terminus in the west end of Edinburgh city centre (Fountainbridge/Tollcross) to Falkirk, and the spectacular Falkirk Wheel.
Water of Leith Walkway
A 20 km walkway following the Water of Leith river from Leith, on the coast, to Balerno.