Edinburgh in Scotland makes a great location for couples as there are so many fun things to do here.
This historic city is full of impressive medieval architecture, dark intricate gothic spires and rustic cobbled streets. There are numerous narrow passageways to wander, charming medieval relics to see, plus an entire hidden city lurks deep underground!
Whilst exploring, you’ll notice that traditional bag pipes are never too far from ear shot and the iconic Edinburgh Castle dominates the cities skyline.
Edinburgh is spilt in two. Offering a fantastic juxtaposition between the Georgian lined streets of the New Town, and the medieval Old Town which oozes historical wonders.
We endured the worst weather during our long weekend in Edinburgh. Yet even the rain, hail and snow storms couldn’t dampen our spirit. We loved seeing a glimpse of what this unique city has to offer, and Edinburgh was everything we hoped it would be.
Here’s my list of 16 fun things for couples to do whilst exploring Edinburgh.
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1. Hike up Arthurs Seat
Arthurs seat is actually an extinct volcano which last erupted over 340 million years ago – so I think we’re safe!
It’s a relatively easy hike, taking around 45 minutes to reach the summit, and provides one of the highest viewing points of Edinburgh. Arthurs seat rises 882 foot above sea level and treats you to uninterrupted views of the city.
Many believe this historical site is a possible location of Camelot – the somewhat mythical castle of King Arthur.
Unfortunately the weather was torrential when we visited, preventing us from making it up here. It’s high on our list for when we visit Edinburgh again one day. The view back across the city looks breath-taking and it would make a glorious spot to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine.
2. Visit the impressive Edinburgh Castle
No visit to Edinburgh is complete without exploring the iconic Edinburgh Castle.
This place looks incredibly unique, as the castle sits perched on top of an old volcanic hill. Its sharp edges carved many moons ago by Ice-Age glaciers.
Take a walk up Castle Hill, and soak in the impressive panoramic views of the city below. If you want to go inside (which I suggest you do) then grab yourself a ticket, and enjoy spending hours wandering around in the footsteps of royalty, prisoners and the odd ferocious pirate.
We got to see the late Queen Elizabeth’s magnificent crown when we visited. However, I’m unsure if this is still on display.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions within Edinburgh so expect it to be busy the majority of the time. Especially if you’re visiting during peak season in the summer.
3. Join in at Edinburgh Fringe festival
Depending on the time of year you visit, you might be able to join in with the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Which takes place every summer, lasting 3 weeks throughout August and attracting people from all over the world.
The entire city turns into an arts festival with hundreds of stages scattered across the streets. Musical artists perform, comedians carry out their comedy sketches and circus acts amaze you.
Fringe festival is a great atmosphere, thats enjoyed year after year by thousands. Expect bustling streets, bars and restaurants whilst Edinburgh Fringe is happening.
Top Tip: Book your accommodation months in advance if you’re looking to attend. It sells out fast and the nightly rate will also be higher during this time.
4. Walk Edinburgh’s ‘Royal Mile’
The Royal Mile is at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the two Royal sites (Edinburgh Castle & Holyrood Palace) together.
This straight route will have you admiring impressive architecture as you wander along the uneven cobbled road. The walk itself is one scots mile long (a measurement that has become obsolete) but it equates to roughly 1.8km. That’s just over one mile in todays terms!
You can purchase a Royal Mile guided or self tour ticket which is great if you want to learn more about the history. Alternatively, you can walk and explore it at your own pace for free.
For the easiest route, you’ll want to begin at Edinburgh Castle. Then it will be a downhill walk all the way, finishing right next to the gates of Holyrood House.
5. Experience the immersive Edinburgh Dungeons
We absolutely loved the Edinburgh dungeons! They are so well done and I highly recommend visiting whilst in Edinburgh.
You’ll go beneath the streets for this spooky interactive tour. Where you’ll find live actors in fabulous makeup, dressed head to toe in authentic costumes. Then you’ll get sentenced to prison by the judge and be told dark stories of past prisoners, torturers and Witch hunts.
All the sets, props and special effects at this attraction are incredibly impressive. With shaking floors, spinning walls and a boat ride to name a few. It creates such an immersive experience and you’ll be on tender hooks the entire time you’re down here.
At the end of the tour there is an optional drop ride which you can chose to go on. It’s inside a pitch black room and makes for an entertaining souvenir photo if you chose to purchase it at the end.
I think Edinburgh dungeons have perfected the balance of laughter and feeling scared witless. I 100% recommend you visit.
6. Go on a Scottish whisky tour
The Scots sure love their whisky. After-all, it’s an alcoholic beverage that’s been lovingly distilled in Scotland for centuries.
If you’re into your whisky, or perhaps just want to enjoy a whisky experience whilst visiting Scotland. Then Edinburgh have plenty of taste-testing tours on offer for you to sip your way through.
Learn about what makes each whisky unique as you savour all the different flavours, and gain an understanding into the processes of how they’re made.
Top tip: These tours are only available for people age 18+, and make sure you don’t need to drive afterwards!
7. Save money with a Edinburgh city pass
Much the same as we did when we were in New York. Edinburgh offer a city pass allowing you to visit some of the city’s top attractions/tours within your ticket price.
If you’re planning on doing lots of tours whilst in Edinburgh, having a city pass can save you up to 40%, allowing you to spend your money elsewhere.
You can chose between a 1, 2 or 3 day pass. They run in consecutive days, and, if you’re flying into Edinburgh (EDI) airport this pass includes open airport transfers.
8. Walk through the closes
Old Town Edinburgh is full of narrow alleyways and thoroughfares called ‘closes’ and ‘wynds’.
These narrow paths dart off north and south from the main Royal Mile, with some just wide enough to fit a horse and cart. You could easily spend hours wandering around these unique historic alleyways.
Most of them are free to roam, but if you’re looking for a paid attraction then head to Mary King’s close. That close is hidden underground and was once used to quarantine the infected people during the plague epidemic in the 17th century.
It’s steeped in history, and supposedly haunted by the ghosts of the people that died in here.
9. Learn at the National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland has free entry and there is heaps to look at inside. So much so, that you could easily spend hours in here learning about everything they have on display. This museum certainly comes in handy when the heavens have opened (which they like to do in Scotland) and makes a great rainy day activity to keep you in the warm and dry.
The National Museum of Scotland is housed inside a beautiful Victorian building. Its birdcage style main hall has three stories of detailed cast iron balustrades. All of which gets flooded with natural light, thanks to the soaring glass roof.
Not only can you enjoy the building itself, but the things to see inside the museum are endless. From a full skeleton cast of a T-rex to interesting Ancient Egyptian artefacts.
There will be something that everyone finds interesting.
10. See all the animals at Edinburgh Zoo
If you love seeing rare and beautiful animals, Edinburgh Zoo is home to thousands of incredible mammals, reptiles, amphibians and more.
They did have the only two giant pandas in the UK, however the Panda pair headed back to China at the end of 2023. Although the giant pandas have gone, Edinburgh zoo are now deciding which species to help next.
The zoo is set on a 82 acre pitch, so there is plenty to keep you busy for the entire day. Plus it’s situated just 3 miles from the city centre, so getting public transport here is pretty straight forward.
11. Have a drink in the Frankenstein Bier Keller
This place is bizarre!
Enjoy a pizza or a drink in this unusual, multi-level themed Frankenstein bar. A pub that’s housed inside a 150 year old gothic church, and bursting with good atmosphere.
Located in the Old Town part of Edinburgh, this pub comes alive in the evening. So, if you’re looking for a fun place to party until 3am, this could be the one!
Children are welcome until 8pm if you want them to experience the weirdness of this monster themed pub too.
12. Explore Edinburgh’s underground Vaults
Beneath the streets of Edinburgh you can discover a hidden city of chambers dating hundreds of years old.
These once open skied closes became enclosed with stone when the population grew and the city expanded. Buildings were built directly on top, sending the closes into darkness and burring this part of the city under ground forever.
Over time, these dingy chambers or vaults became popular with the poor who became squatters here. Sometimes multiple families all squeezed into one filthy, sewerage ridden room together. It became a dark place, full of squatters & brothels. Unfortunately many murders took place down here too.
These vaults are supposedly extremely haunted. If you’re feeling brave book yourself onto a Vault ghost tour at night, and delve deep into the underbelly of the city.
A rememberable and fun experience for couples to do whilst in Edinburgh.
13. Go to the chocolate café
If you have a sweet tooth, and ‘sickly’ isn’t a word in your dictionary. Then you have to visit Coro Chocolate Café on 13 Frederick Street.
This restaurant only serves sweet treats. Think chocolate loaded cakes, stacked waffles, decadent cheesecakes and chocolate fondues. Pretty much everything on the menu is drenched in warm melted chocolate.
Absolute heaven for hardcore chocolate lovers! This cake was delicious!
14. Walk around Dean Village
Dean village is located just on the outskirts of the city, but still within walking distance from Edinburgh centre.
It’s a charming and picturesque village with the Water of Leith rushing through the centre of it. This river used to power and turn the millstones of this former grain milling village, and once played a key role in the milling industry.
Cross the bridge over the Water of Leith and enjoy admiring the beauty of this residential village. If you want more, theres a 12 mile walk along the Water of Leith Walkway if that takes your fancy.
15. Visit the colourful Victoria street
An iconic street in Edinburgh which you’ve probably seen photographed hundreds of times – and for good reason.
Situated right next to Grassmarket, this curved and swooping cobbled street is full of bright colourful shop fronts, making it a pretty place to wander. Pop into an array of cute independent shops and enjoy exploring the most colourful street in Edinburgh.
Some Harry Potter fans believe this is where JK Rowling got her inspiration with Diagon Alley in her famous Harry Potter books. Because of that, you’ll stumble upon plenty of Potter fans here, with the majority buying a wand in one of the Wizardry shops.
Although Edinburgh is the birth place of Harry Potter, it’s never been confirmed that Victoria Street was her inspiration. The Shambles in York is claimed to be another, and having been to both, I think the latter is a strong contender!
16. Relax in the West Princess Street Gardens
If the weather allows, why not head off for a heavenly stroll amongst the flowers. In West Princess Street Gardens you’ll spot impressive monuments and statues. Plus, if you look up, you’ll see a breath-taking view of Edinburgh Castle perched high up on the hill. There’s also a fabulously intricate cast iron water fountain in here, named Ross Fountain that’s well worth a visit.
Ross fountain was bought by a gunmaker named Daniel Ross in 1862 which was later gifted to the city and installed in its current position in 1872. It’s so bright and looks fabulous!
West Princess Street gardens are right in the heart of New Town Edinburgh, so you’ll be just around the corner from all the shops too.
There you have it – 16 fun things to do in Edinburgh for couples. Blending history, culture, and romance into one magical Scottish adventure. From hiking Arthur’s Seat to indulging in the chocolate café, you’re bound to create memorable experiences together.
So get packing, and let Edinburgh welcome you into its enchanting embrace.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh?