Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities ever! I love it so much: the green spaces, historic architecure mixed with amazing shopping and restaurants. For me, Edinburgh has it all. I think Edinburgh is a perfect city to visit in Covid-19 times (if government travel advice allows of course!) as it is very open. Have a look at my top things to do if you are visiting this wonderful Scottish city anytime soon.
Earlier on I wrote about my experience of London Luton Airport during Covid-19, have a read through this if you want to know more about air travel.
Walk around the Princes Street Gardens
The Princes Street Gardens are to adjecent parks that divide the old town centre from the new. It is a lovely green space to walk around and explore, and you will find plenty of interesting sights. The Scottish National Gallery, Scott Monument and the famous Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh Waverly Station is just next door as well! The parks allow for easy social distancing and on a sunny day you can have an outdoor picnic.
Have dinner and drinks at Brewhemia
Although you might want to stay outdoors for as much as you can in this time, there is no denying you will need somewhere to eat and drink. And Edinburgh is definitely too cold for outdoor picnics in the evening!
Located a 2 minute walk from Waverly Station you will find Brewhemia. It is Edinburgh’s largest restaurant and bar, so a perfect inside space for lots of distancing! The staff wear masks (when we were there in late August) and santisise surfaces regularly: they do everything they can to make you feel safe. I would definitely recommend you book a table as it gets fully booked on most days anyway, and with covid-19 they might not let you in if you don’t have a reservation.
The restaurant has a German-style menu with dishes like schnitzel, gin cured salmon and bratwursts. Normally they have music and live entertainment for a guaranteed fun night out, but this is depending on governmental guidelines when you visit.
Enjoy the view from Calton Hill
If you want a good view over the city but don’t fancy a big hike you can take a short walk up to Calton Hill. It is around a 10 to 15 minute walk from Waverly Station and only includes a couple of steps and tiny bit of an incline (but I wouldn’t recommend it for wheelchair users or less abled people!). For us this was perfect as we really wanted to enjoy the view over Edinburgh but are not the best of hikers. I think Calton Hill is a great alternative to Arthur’s Seat! With a takeaway coffee we enjoyed the walk over and around the monuments at the top of the hill. On a clear day you have the most amazing view and can even see the sea and famous Forth Bridge.
Book a free slot for the National Museum of Scotland
You might be scared you need to stay outside on your city trip to Edinburgh in ‘these times’, but there are plenty of things to do safely inside. The National Musuem of Scotland, right in the heart of Edinburgh old town, are very well prepared for covid-19 safety.
You can book a free slot online for your visit, allowing you in within a half an hour time slot. We arrived a bit early and found the staff very helpful and accomodating. Once inside you will need to wear a mask and there are multiple places for sanitising your hands. Due to the time slots the museum feels very quiet and allows for very easy distancing from other people.
Although some of the exhibitions are closed at the moment (at time of us visiting in late August), the main galleries are open and worth a visit! We especially enjoyed the Kingdom of the Scots and Living Lands galleries.
The museum is a fun visit for kids too, although keep in mind that most interactive displays are closed because of surface touching.
If you’re feeling adventurous, hike up to Arthur’s Seat
If you’ve walked up to Calton Hill and can do with a bit more of a challenge, why not take on the hike to Arthur’s Seat? This definitely allows for some time with easy social distancing if you want to escape the busy city centre.
This extinct volcano gives you a fantastic 360° view over the city. Depending on which route you take, it usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes to climb to the top. Have a browse through this helpful guide from Earth Trekkers to see which route is best for you. There are ones that include steep climbs but amazing views or an easier walk up through the park.
Depending on the weather it is likely to be quite windy and cold at the top so pack a jumper!
These are my tips for things to do in Edinburgh at the time of covid-19. Although it is a difficult time to travel, if you plan properly you can still have a lovely city trip. Pre-book your restaurant visits (even if you’re just popping in for a coffee or drink!) and plan things to do outside. This is very easy in Edinburgh as it’s a lovely green city.
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