Indoor Activities in Edinburgh: How to Make the Most out of Your Visit Even if it Rains

Looking for indoor activities to do in Edinburgh? You’re in luck! Even on rainy days, there are plenty of things to do and see in the city.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

From museums to underground tours, Edinburgh offers a variety of indoor attractions that are sure to keep you entertained.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

1. National Museum of Scotland

Visiting the National Museum of Scotland is definitely our go-to when it comes to indoor activities in Edinburgh. This museum is one of the UK’s top 10 visitor attractions, and it’s easy to see why.

The museum’s diverse collections take you on a journey of discovery through the history of Scotland, the wonders of nature, art and design, science and technology, and world cultures – all under one roof.

There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re interested in ancient history, modern art, or cutting-edge science.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Grand Gallery, which is one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces.

Here, you can marvel at the noble Giant Deer skeleton, say hello to the massive skull of Moby the whale, and see machinery used to smash atoms. It’s a great place to start your museum visit and take some photos.

Another must-see is the World Cultures galleries, which are home to some of the museum’s oldest collections.

Here, you can learn about cultures from every corner of the world and see objects that tell fascinating stories about human history and creativity.

The National Museum of Scotland is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00, and admission is free.

There are also guided tours available if you want to learn even more about the museum’s collections.

2. Edinburgh Castle

If you’re looking for a historic and cultural experience, Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit attraction.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

Located at the top of the Royal Mile, this iconic fortress offers stunning views of the city and a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history.

Inside the castle, you can explore the various buildings and exhibitions that showcase the castle’s past.

Be sure to check out the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, and the One O’Clock Gun. You can also take a guided tour or rent an audio guide to learn more about the castle’s history.

If you need a break, head to the Redcoat Café for a light snack or a hearty meal while enjoying the amazing views. And don’t forget to grab a map to help you navigate the castle’s sprawling grounds!

3. Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is a former royal yacht is now a popular tourist attraction and museum that offers a glimpse into the lives of the British royal family.

Step aboard the Queen’s former floating palace and explore the five decks of this iconic 5-star attraction. You can see the State Apartments, the Engine Room, the Crew’s Quarters, and more. The yacht has been preserved in pristine condition, giving visitors a chance to see how the royal family lived and traveled.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is open every day of the year, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. You can pre-book your tickets online to avoid long queues and ensure your spot. The admission fee includes an audio guide that provides interesting information about the yacht’s history and the royal family.

After your tour, you can stop by the Royal Deck Tearoom for some refreshments.

The tearoom offers homemade soups, sandwiches, cakes, and speciality teas and coffees. You can also visit the gift shop to purchase souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is located in the Leith neighborhood of Edinburgh, which is known for its trendy bars and restaurants.

You can easily spend a whole day exploring the area and enjoying the local cuisine as part of your indoor activities in Edinburgh itinerary!

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4. Edinburgh Gin Distillery

If you’re a fan of gin, you can’t miss the Edinburgh Gin Distillery.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

This unique destination is where you can discover what makes their selection of beautifully crafted, vibrant, and naturally flavored gins so unique. Here are a few things you can expect when you visit:

  • Tours: The distillery offers a variety of tours, including the Edinburgh Gin Tour, which takes you through the history of gin and the distilling process, and the Gin Making Experience, where you can create your own custom gin.
  • Tastings: Of course, no visit to the distillery would be complete without a tasting. You can sample a range of gins, including their classic Edinburgh Gin, as well as their flavored gins like Rhubarb and Ginger and Lemon & Jasmine.
  • Shop: If you want to take some gin home with you, the distillery shop has a range of gin-related gifts and souvenirs, as well as a selection of their gins available for purchase.
  • Location: The Edinburgh Gin Distillery is located in the city center, making it easy to access. It’s a great option for indoor activities in Edinburgh on a rainy day.

5. The Dome

If you’re looking for a classy indoor spot to grab a drink, The Dome is a great option. Located in a large domed structure that was once a bank, The Dome is now a popular bar in Edinburgh’s New Town area.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

The bar is known for its live jazz on Sundays, which adds to the sophisticated atmosphere. The drinks menu is extensive, with a range of cocktails, wines, and beers to choose from. Prices are on the higher side, but it’s worth it for the experience.

The Dome is open from 12:00 PM to 11:30 PM, making it a great spot for an afternoon drink or a night out. The dress code is smart casual, so dress to impress. The bar also serves food, with options ranging from light bites to full meals.

6. Princes Street

Princes Street is a great place to start looking for indoor activities in Edinburgh.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

This popular street is lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions, many of which are indoors. Here are some of the top things to do on Princes Street:

  • Scottish National Gallery: This art museum is located on The Mound, just a short walk from Princes Street. It features a collection of art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including works by Botticelli, Van Gogh, and Monet. Admission is free, and there’s a café and gift shop on site.
  • The Dome: This iconic building on George Street is home to several bars and restaurants, as well as a stunning interior with ornate ceilings and chandeliers. It’s a great place to grab a drink or a meal and soak up the atmosphere.
  • Hoot The Redeemer: This quirky bar on Hanover Street is known for its inventive cocktails and retro arcade games. It’s a fun spot to hang out with friends and enjoy some drinks and games.
  • Princes Mall: This indoor shopping center is located right on Princes Street and features a variety of shops, including fashion, beauty, and electronics. It’s a great place to escape the rain and do some shopping.

7. Indoor Food Markets in Edinburgh

If you’re a foodie, Edinburgh’s indoor food markets are a must-visit. Here are some of the best indoor food markets in Edinburgh that you should check out:

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh
Stockbridge Market
  • Edinburgh Farmers’ Market: This market is held every Saturday at Castle Terrace. You’ll find a wide range of fresh produce, including locally sourced meats, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. You can also find artisanal bread, cheese, and pastries here.
  • Stockbridge Market: Held every Sunday at Saunders Street, Stockbridge Market is a popular destination for foodies. You’ll find a range of street food vendors, artisanal producers, and local farmers selling their wares. You can try everything from Thai food to vegan burgers here.
  • The Pitt: This street food market is held every Saturday and Sunday at Pitt Street. You’ll find a rotating selection of food trucks and stalls, serving up everything from burgers and fries to tacos and sushi. There’s also a bar serving craft beer and cocktails.
  • Assembly Roxy: This indoor food market is held every Saturday at Assembly Roxy on Roxburgh Place. You’ll find a range of street food vendors and artisanal producers selling their wares. You can try everything from gourmet burgers to vegan cupcakes here.
  • Stockbridge Colonies Market: Held on the first Sunday of every month at the Stockbridge Colonies, this market is a hidden gem. You’ll find a range of local producers selling their wares, including fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.

8. Cooking Classes

Taking a cooking class is definitely one of the most wholesome indoor activities in Edinburgh. There are several options available, from learning to cook traditional Scottish dishes to exploring international cuisine.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

Here are some of the best cooking classes in Edinburgh:

  • Edinburgh Food Safari: This company offers a unique Scottish cooking class that is perfect for couples, friends, and families. The class takes place over lunch or in the evening and involves some chopping but no washing up! You’ll learn to cook traditional Scottish dishes and enjoy a delicious meal at the end. Prices start at £75 per person.
  • Cooking Classes Edinburgh: This company offers a wide range of cooking classes, from Indian cooking to pizza making parties. You can learn from local chefs and meet new people while treating your taste buds. Prices vary depending on the class.
  • The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School: This school offers a variety of cooking classes, from beginner to advanced. You can learn to cook everything from classic French dishes to modern British cuisine. Classes are taught by experienced chefs and prices start at £95 per person.
  • The Biscuit Factory: This venue offers a variety of cooking classes, from sushi making to bread baking. You can learn new skills and enjoy a delicious meal at the end. Prices vary depending on the class.

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9. George Street

If you’re looking for a lively and bustling street in Edinburgh, George Street is the place to be.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

Located in the heart of the city’s New Town, this street is lined with a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars, making it a perfect destination for a day or night out.

Here are some of the highlights of George Street:

  • Shopping: From high-end fashion boutiques to well-known high-street brands, George Street has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unique souvenirs, you’ll find it here.
  • Eating: George Street is home to a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering everything from traditional Scottish cuisine to international dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a full meal, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.
  • Nightlife: As the sun goes down, George Street comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. From trendy cocktail bars to traditional pubs, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet drink or a night of dancing, you’ll find it here.
  • Events: Throughout the year, George Street plays host to a variety of events, from food and drink festivals to live music performances. Be sure to check out what’s happening during your visit.

If you’re an art lover, the Scottish National Gallery is a must-visit indoor attraction in Edinburgh.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh

Located in the heart of the city, this gallery houses one of the best collections of fine art in the world. The gallery’s impressive collection includes masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Constable, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.

The Scottish National Gallery is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and offers free admission. The gallery also has a café/restaurant and gift shop on-site, making it a perfect place to spend a rainy day in Edinburgh.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Scottish National Gallery is the collection of Scottish art. The gallery has an extensive collection of Scottish art, including works by some of Scotland’s most famous artists, such as Sir Henry Raeburn and Allan Ramsay.

The Scottish National Gallery also offers a range of events and exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check their website for the latest information.

11. Edinburgh Playhouse

As one of the largest theaters in the UK, the Playhouse has a seating capacity of over 3,000 and has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment, making it the perfect place for an indoors evening in Edinburgh.

Located in the city center, the Playhouse is easily accessible by public transport and is surrounded by plenty of restaurants and bars.

The theater itself is a stunning venue, with a beautiful Art Deco interior that is sure to impress.

If you’re planning to visit the Playhouse, be sure to check out what’s on in advance and book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

The theater hosts a wide range of shows, from musicals and plays to concerts and comedy acts, so there’s something for everyone.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh: FAQs

What are some indoor activities in Edinburgh for kids?

Edinburgh has plenty of indoor activities for kids to enjoy. The National Museum of Scotland is a great place to start, with interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for children.

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is another popular attraction, offering fun and mind-bending optical illusions. The Edinburgh Dungeon is a spooky and entertaining option for older kids, while the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers a more tranquil experience.

What are some cheap indoor activities in Edinburgh?

If you’re looking for budget-friendly indoor activities in Edinburgh, there are plenty of options. The Scottish National Gallery offers free admission and a chance to see works by famous artists such as Van Gogh and Monet.

The Museum of Childhood is also free and has a range of toys and games from different eras. For a small fee, you can also visit the Real Mary King’s Close, an underground tour of Edinburgh’s history.

What are some free indoor activities in Edinburgh?

In addition to the Scottish National Gallery and the Museum of Childhood, there are several other free indoor activities in Edinburgh.

The National Museum of Scotland, as mentioned, is free and has something for everyone. The Scottish Parliament Visitor Centre offers free tours and a chance to learn about the country’s political history.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre is also free and has regular events and performances.

What are some indoor activities in East Lothian?

East Lothian, just outside of Edinburgh, has several indoor activities worth exploring. The East Links Family Park has a range of activities, including a soft play area, mini golf, and animal encounters.

The John Muir Birthplace Museum is a chance to learn about the famous conservationist, while the Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum offers a glimpse into the region’s industrial past.

What are some indoor activities in Glasgow?

If you’re willing to venture outside of Edinburgh, Glasgow has plenty of indoor activities to offer. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must-visit, with art and artifacts from around the world.

The Glasgow Science Centre is another popular attraction, with interactive exhibits and a planetarium. The Riverside Museum, which showcases the city’s transport history, is also worth a visit.

Indoor Activities in Edinburgh: Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a wide range of indoor activities in Edinburgh for visitors and locals alike.

From exploring the city’s rich history in museums and galleries to indulging in delicious food and drink, there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your visit to Edinburgh even if it’s raining or a bit too chilly to be outside for long!