Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.

Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

New to Edinburgh? Top things to see and do in your first few weeks…

Reading Time: 2 minutes

…by Katherine / studying Civil Engineering / 5th Year.

Moving to a new city can inevitably, be a nerve-wracking time, however I can assure you that I have found Edinburgh a fantastic city to call home for the length of my university degree.  

Edinburgh has plenty of sights to see, both within the city centre, and easy to reach on public transport. Here are some ideas of less well known attractions to go and see, with a student-friendly budget in mind! 

The Royal Botanic Garden 

Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden is located relatively close to the city centre in Inverleith, and is a great place to relax from the pace of city life. There are plenty of different plants and trees to see, and lots of space to have a quiet moment. The main gardens are free to enter, and cafés and food outlets are available if you would like a snack or drink. If you are interested in plant science, there are also informative exhibitions available to enter. 

Wildflower meadow in front of The Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Wildflower meadow in front of The Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Portobello Beach 

Portobello is on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and has a long, sandy beach and promenade with amusements and cafes. In the warmer days of September, it is an especially nice place to sit and take a picnic, or have a dip in the sea. The beach is popular with swimmers, in addition to paddleboarders and sailors. Portobello can be easily reached on the bus, and the beach is free to visit. I would also recommend a trip to the beachside pizza shop while you are there! 

Portobello Beach - blog image

Portobello Beach

Calton Hill 

With possibly the best views of the city, Calton Hill is another must-see sight which is often overlooked by those visiting Arthur’s Seat. The walk is well paved, and – although steep – is a relatively short walk to the top, giving you views across the city. A café is located at the top of the hill, and if you keep an eye on your calendar, there are often good evenings to visit to get free views of the fireworks. The hill is in the centre of town, and easy to walk to. 

View over Edinburgh from Calton Hill

View over Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Pentland Hills 

The Pentland Hills are just outside Edinburgh, however still connected to the city by many bus routes. There are many free walks and hikes to try, and you might even see herds of Highland cattle grazing! There is also an outdoor artificial ski slope, which offers lessons and timed entry at very reasonable prices, all year round. Skis and snowboards can be rented at the centre. In addition, there are plenty of cycle trails to try, so there is an outdoor activity to suit everyone here!

The Pentland Hills in the snow

The Pentland Hills in the snow


This blog was originally published on the School of Engineering blog site. You can read more of their blogs here:

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.