Edinburgh is a fun city to enjoy by day or night, but as darkness falls, the city certainly becomes more romantic and mysterious and offers plenty of different types of entertainment as well as the chance to discover the real magic of this place.
1. Walk the Royal Mile
This is the name of the main street that leads up to Edinburgh Castle and it is very atmospheric at night. The floodlit castle, of course, is a very special sight. Apart from enjoying some window shopping along the way, there are restaurants and bars to tempt you throughout the route! If you prefer, there is a guided evening walking tour available throughout the summer months.
There are regular Knight at the Castle events with people dressed in historical costumes and DJs and street performers. The castle is floodlit in different colors to add to the atmosphere.
2. Taste a wee dram of whisky
Whisky (spelled without an ‘e’) is the national drink of Scotland and is world-famous. There are more than 400 different Scottish whiskies including single malt, single grain, blended malt, and blended grain. There are various tours to take and tasting sessions to enjoy, but after the sun goes down, why not enjoy a whisky or two at any of the bars dotted throughout the city? Amongst the most famous are the Whisky Bar on the Royal Mile and the Bramble Bar which is situated in an underground cellar in Queen Street and serves excellent whiskies and home-crafted cocktails. Bennets Bar is one of the most famous bars and is the place to go if you want to spot the odd celeb or two.
3. Enjoy the Edinburgh International Festival
This world-famous festival began in 1947 and runs for the first three weeks of August each year. Top class performers in opera, theatre, and dance from all over the world perform in this glittering event. During the festival, there are also numerous art exhibitions, talks, and workshops held throughout the city.
4. Or head for The Fringe
The Fringe runs at the same time as the Edinburgh Festival and covers a wide spectrum of events including theatre, comedy, dance, opera, children’s performances and all genre of music. Everybody and anybody can perform at the Fringe and in 2017 there were more than 52,200 live performances in 300 locations. The Fringe began in 1947 offering alternative entertainment to the International Festival and today, comedy has the largest number of events.
5. Listen to the pipes & drums of the Scottish military bands
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (REMT) is held as part of the International Festival and features displays by the British Armed Forces, military units from the Commonwealth and International military bands. The Military Tattoo is held in the wonderful setting of the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle at night. The pipes and drums of the highland bands are amongst the highlights each year. The REMT is a unique blend of military traditions with international cultures.
6. Dance the night away in a traditional Ceilidh
If you love the idea of having a go at traditional Scottish dancing, why not go to one of the local ceilidh (pronounced Kayley)? There is one held every Friday night at the Ghillie Dhu on Rutland Place which is always great fun. The evening begins with a traditional Scottish meal of haggis, tatties, and neeps – haggis, potatoes, and turnips- before the dancing begins with all the traditional dances for you to join in. At midnight, the resident DJ takes over and there is great pop music and dancing till late!
7. Go stargazing
The Royal Observatory holds a fun public astronomy evening every Friday night throughout the year. Winter skies are best for stargazing as they are darker! There is a Victorian telescopic dome with an adjacent flat roof and the sessions last for one hour with experts on hand to guide you on what planets and constellations can be seen.
8. Enjoy an Open Evening at the National Museum
Staff at the National Museum of Scotland host a series of ‘Lates’ in the Great Gallery. These evenings have a seasonal theme and include live music, craftwork, entertainment and food
9. Visit a truly stylish cinema
The Cameo at Tollcross built in 1914, was originally named the King’s Cinema and is thought to be the oldest cinema in Scotland. The building is of great architectural value and is preserved by Historic Scotland. For film lovers, there is the promise of great films to be enjoyed by lovely comfortable seats! The Cameo is part of the International Edinburgh Film Festival and at other times hosts many special events such as its popular Vintage Film Viewings which are held on Sundays.
10. Mad Expression Session
If you feel that you are a thwarted musician or singer, why not head to The Dog House at Clerk Street where there are jamming sessions every evening. Musicians and singers of all styles are welcome to join in or if you prefer, you can just order a drink, relax and watch.
Updated: August 6, 2019