If you’re a visitor to Edinburgh, welcoming visitors of your own to the city, or even just a local turning tourist, there are certain attractions you’re likely to have on your list. With a little judicious planning however, you can avoid the tourist throng, and find special exhibitions, events, and tours that will make Edinburgh’s top visitor attractions that bit more special for you and your companions.
‘Botanic Lights’ at The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, or ‘The Botanics’ as they’re affectionately known, are a must visit at any time, but a visit during one of the Garden’s ‘Botanic Lights’ evenings is simply unforgettable. Botanic Lights sees the Botanic Gardens transformed into an enchanted wonderland with spectacular light shows set to music. Visitors wend their way gently round a one and a half kilometre path where trees, fountains and buildings appear to take on a stunning new magical life. Times/dates and prices can be found here.
Afternoon tea at Hopetoun House
Known as ‘Scotland’s finest stately home’, Hopetoun is just a stone’s throw from the city and South Queensferry and is well worth a visit, with stunning collections of antiques and objet d’art inside, and rolling acres of magnificent grounds outside, as well as stunning views of the Firth of Forth. But if you really want to ice the cake, treat yourself and your guests to afternoon tea, in the Stables Tearoom, with gourmet sandwiches, homemade fruit scones with organic cream and Hopetoun strawberry jam, along an assortment of home-baking, and optional fizz. Understandably, pre-booking is advisable.
Platinum Tour & Taste of Scotland at The Scotch Whisky Experience
There’s a fair chance you and your visitors will want to sample a drop of the good stuff whilst in Edinburgh, and where better than The Royal Mile’s Scotch Whisky Experience, which welcomes 300,000 visitors a year with it’s unique approach to whisky coaching. For something a bit more special than the standard entrance, try the Platinum Tour. It’s a tutored tasting, by a senior whisky guide, of four contrasting single malt whiskies, followed by an extended time absorbing the atmosphere amidst the stunning Whisky Collection. Afterwards, you can delight the senses further with the ‘Taste of Scotland’ menu in Amber, the venue’s restaurant.
Special tours at the National Museum of Scotland
No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without seeing the amazing exhibits and soaring spaces of the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. But have you ever found that it’s all a bit much to take in?
Our top tip is to book on to one of the National Museum’s themed tours. Rather than wandering through the truly mind boggling variety of exhibitions at the museum, your guide will focus on one particular theme, bringing an insight and meaning to the contents that wouldn’t otherwise be available. From ‘Feisty Females’ to ‘Supernatural Scotland’, it’s all waiting to be discovered.
Special events at Rosslyn Chapel
Mysterious, beautiful and historical, Rosslyn Chapel is one of Edinburgh’s best visitor attractions, and is a must for any itinerary that allows time away from the city centre. However, if you’re lucky, you may enhance your experience even more by catching a special event at the Chapel.
This September, special 10th anniversary screenings of ‘The Da Vinci Code’, the film that has earned Rosslyn much of its current popularity, are taking place in the grounds of the Chapel – a suitably enchanting (if possibly chilly) setting. If pot-boiling fiction isn’t for you, there are also concerts and recitals within the Chapel itself to look out for.
For more great events in and around Edinburgh, check out our events pages.