1. Be amazed by the world’s best wildlife photography
Proud of your snap of cheeky meerkats playing at the zoo? Or your cat lazing on the lawn? Learn from the very best with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the National Museum of Scotland.
Don’t miss the chance to see this exhibition – on loan from the Natural History Museum – featuring 100 of the most awe-inspiring images from the natural world.
From strutting male ruffs in Norway to scrapping komodo dragons and a cute, hungry hare. More than 42,000 hopefuls from 96 countries entered their photos – so you know the winners are really, really good.
Where is it? Chambers Street, EH1 1JF
How much? FREE!
2. Climb Calton Hill to the ‘Athens of the North’
The atmospheric, spooky architectural ruins that sit atop Calton Hill led to Edinburgh being known as the ‘Athens of the North’.
The National Monument on the top of the hill was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens – the huge ruined temple built 2,500 years ago dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. The Scottish monument pays more than lip service to the Parthenon’s iconic pillars.
Ancient Greece aside, you can enjoy magnificent, sweeping views across Edinburgh – with Arthur’s Seat, the Holyrood crags, the Royal Mile and the castle all totally visible. No wonder Calton Hill is part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage site.
Drink in the views with a latte from the hip Milk – Edinburgh’s highest coffee shop.
Where is it? Edinburgh city centre, beyond the east end of Princes Street
How much? FREE! Or just the price of a coffee
3. Explore Picasso, Warhol and bona-fide art heroes
Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein… These guys are real heavyweights of the art world.
See their work in this fantastic collection of Cubist, Expressionist, post-war and contemporary art at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
It often rains in Scotland. So use a rainy day to brush up on your culture – then hold a dinner party with your friends to show off about Picasso’s Cubism period or Warhol and pop art – smug, moi?
Where is it? 75 Belford Road, EH4 3DR
How much? FREE! Fee for special exhibitions
4. Don’t act your age at the Museum of Childhood
Those halcyon days of childhood seem a long way off as you start the slow climb from 30 – all careers, houses and raising families. Take a stroll down the memory lane of misty-eyed nostalgia at this museum.
From marbles and yo-yos to Monopoly and Ludo, you can’t fail to recognise things you had as a child.The museum is split into 5 galleries over several floors, with impressive collections of toy cars, puppets, dolls, board games and school games.
On a family trip? Your kids will be gobsmacked by how ancient mum and dad’s toys appear today. We can still hear them laughing.
Where is it? 42 High Street, EH1 1TG
How much? FREE!
5. Walk like kings and queens along the Royal Mile
Running through the heart of the Old Town, the Royal Mile connects two royal residences – Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House.
Also part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s jam-packed with things to see and do between the royal stuff.
There’s St Giles Cathedral – look out for the heart-shaped section of pavement outside, and law courts and parliament buildings. Gladstone’s Land is the ‘best surviving example of an Old Town tenement from the 1600s,’ reckon the heritage boffs at UNESCO.
All that sightseeing is thirsty work – stop off at one of the many historic pubs for a cheeky half between stops.
Where is it? The Old Town, EH1
How much? FREE to walk the street, but some sites have admission fee
6. Tuck into curry served from a police phone box
An old out-of-use police telephone box has been transformed into one of the country’s most original places to eat – Bollywood: The Coffee Box.
Nutan Bala cooks up the kind of grub that’ll make your taste-buds sing from inside the converted box. Think rustic, authentic curries with a side order of samosas and soups.
Naturally, it’s becoming part of local legend among those in the know, and if you’re partial to a ruby, it’s well worth stopping by.
Where is it? Bruntsfield Place, south-west of the city centre
How much? Price of a curry -Street-food prices
7. Have a laugh at The Stand Comedy Club
The Stand is an Edinburgh institution. It has various stand-up, sketches and touring shows throughout the week, but every Sunday afternoon it holds a free improv show called Whose Lunch Is It Anyway?
Hosted by The Stand’s resident comedy duo Stu and Garry, it’s a great laugh. And there’s grub if you want a bite to eat while the mirth and mayhem ensue.
Where is it? 5 York Place, EH1 3EB
How much? FREE!