15 Things to do Outside Edinburgh - Places to Visit Near & Days Out Around Edinburgh
Written by Gareth Thomas Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:57
You’ve no doubt heard a thing or two about Scotland’s Southeast, with its castles, bogs and golf courses. But there’s much more to the region, especially if you venture on the outskirts of Edinburgh. So if you are staying in the capital with your family and friends this Summer and fancy taking a break from the history, architecture and hustle and bustle of the city, why not look for days out slightly further afield?
There are many great activities surrounding Edinburgh that welcome all manner of groups. In fact, we can think of 15 breath-taking and bucket list-worthy sights and tours that will take you through Scotland’s history, from coal extraction to cloning which we have shared below for you to look over.
The Five Sisters Zoo
The Five Sisters Zoo is full of interesting and exciting animals, with over 100 different species (Arctic Wolves, Raccoons and Scottish Wildcats to name but a few), this zoo prides itself on the conservation and protection of both native and non-native mammals, birds and reptiles. With plenty of talks and feeds throughout the day you are guaranteed to have a fun and educational day out. You can even be a zoo keeper for the day!
For the ultimate outdoors and country experience take you and your family to Craigie’s Farm and enjoy all that nature as to offer. Pick your own strawberries and raspberries, explore the countryside on the Nature Detective Trail or meet some new furry and feathered friends as you feed lambs and hens. This is a great educational experience and fun filled day out for all the family.
For those of age, with a love or interest in whisky, there is no better day out than a trip to where they create the firewater. Edinburgh's only single malt distillery is Follow the malted barley's journey through the distillery and various unique processes until it becomes a single malt whisky maturing in a cask for years. Don't forget the most important bit of the tour, the tasting at the end!
Midlothian Snowsports Centre
Set in the Pentlands is Britain’s largest dry slope centre; you can even see it from some parts of the city. You can brush up on your skiing and snowboarding or give tubing a go. The centre provides lessons for beginners or, if you are more experienced, you can take to the Freestyle slope to show off your tricks. If you are looking for something that involves less effort and balance, book a tubing party and whiz down the slopes on a large doughnut.
Calling all petrol heads, get your family and friends to the largest outdoor and indoor karting and paintballing centre in the country, around 25 minutes from Edinburgh. They are happy to cater to family days out, hens/stags, large and small groups with or without experience. Burn some rubber around the circuit designed to test your skills and when you are done with that turn on your stealth mode and take to the custom-made, multi-level paintballing fort and take down the opposition. A great option for those seeking an adrenaline burst.
Mentioned in the ‘Da Vinci Code’ - both the book and the film - Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin is said to have once been the hiding place for the Holy Grail and for a piece of the holy rood. Two outdoor screenings of the film are taking place in September 2016, marking the 10-year anniversary of its release. The chapel is also believed to display carvings portraying plants indigenous to North America, like the potato and the American cactus, even though the New World had not yet been discovered when the chapel was erected.
Roslin Glen Country Park
North Esk Valley
Once home to the bleach fields that bleached Queen Victoria’s garments, the carpet factory that exported tapestry for over a decade, and the saltpetre and sulphur refineries of the Gunpowder Mills that operated for 150 years and became Scotland’s largest supplier of munition, Roslin Glen is now a blend of woodland, river walks, caves and wildflower meadows.
The birthplace of Dolly The Sheep, Roslin BioCentre is the ‘centre of excellence’ for life sciences. It overlooks the monument cairn that commemorates the Battle of Roslin. The Loanhead-Roslin cycle track cuts across the former battlefield, and takes you to the institute, where events are help regularly, including the Royal Highland Show, Venturefest Scotland, and a 4-month event celebrating Dolly’s 20-year anniversary.
Edinburgh and Lasswade Riding Centre
Hacking, trekking, common ridings and galas are activities the local riding centre is prepared to accommodate, particularly as there are 50 horses available for indoor and outdoor schools, making it ideal for large parties or teambuilding events.
This hill-side garden and nursery with a plant catalogue in a class of its own, Kevock Garden offers free plants to all those whose orders of shrubs, rare trees, bulbs and plants meet a certain minimum order value.
This local recording studio offers a Yoo-Star party experience to those who book, be they student groups, schools, solo singers, stag or hen parties, or corporate staff.
Moredun is a research centre that occasionally hosts events for the wider public, such as the One Day On-Farm event featuring a farm walk and a panel discussion on the topic of Aberdeen Angus cattle health.
A short drive away from Edinburgh, this Georgian mansion built in the town of Gorebridge has been home to the Dundas family for over 4 centuries, but it was originally the property of the Knight’s Templar. Some of Edinburgh’s streets are named after the people who lived here, and the lady of the house has many stories to share. There’s even a secret passageway, but if you’d like to know more, then why not visit on Doors Open Day, which is due in September?
National Mining Museum
Once employing 120 ponies - the pride of Newtongrange - the Lady Victoria Colliery produced more than 40 million tonnes of coal, which went in the making of such essentials as lipstick and batteries. Pay the museum a visit to find out why miners never took matches in the pit, but took canary birds, instead.
Whether you’d like a brewery tour, a BBQ or a birthday party, you can’t go wrong with Stewart Brewing. Their Rent-a-Keg/Cask service is perfect for at-home entertainment, but if you’d rather settle for a few free beers, a light snack, and a face-to-face grilling of its employees on the topic of beer making, then a drop-in tour is probably your best option.