Edinburgh Fringe’s Hidden Gems – Straight from the Locals!

Last updated: Sep 21st, 2023

Being the largest performance arts festival in the world, what can we say or offer about the Edinburgh Fringe festival that hasn’t been said before?

Seeing as we were in the Scottish capital recently, we had a good old chinwag with the locals to find out those hidden gems you might not know about if visiting the city for the first time.

Trust us, their answers are insightful AND brilliant.

A City Under a City, Mary’s King’s Close Museum

This one can be very easy to miss, seeing as it’s underground!

Right off the Royal Mile, The Real Mary King’s Close is an eery step back in time to a city under a city! Experience over 400 years of history where you’ll discover streets frozen in time, stories from your character guide and a bucketload of myths and legends.

And once you’re done, you can enjoy a delicious coffee and ice cream in nearby The Royal Exchange Coffee house.


Discover Art & History at the Palace of Holyroodhouse 

Frontal shot of the Palace of Holyroodhouse on a sunny day

At one end of the Royal Mile is the King’s official residence when in Scotland – the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Absolutely captivating, you’ll feel like a right royal fly on the wall with some of the incredible history and art associated with the palace. There’s: 

  • Mary, Queen of Scots 
  • Bonnie Prince Charlie 
  • State apartments 
  • Palace Gardens 
  • The Great Gallery 
  • The Throne Room 
  • And a vast collection of treasures and artwork  

Check out more here.


Nature at Its Finest at Holyrood Park – a Green Gem in the City! 

Image of green landscape, with building in the mid-ground and a blue, partially cloudy sky, of Holyrood Park

Straight outside of our monarch’s Scottish home away from home, you can step away from the hustle and bustle of city life by exploring the beautiful and calm, Holyrood Park! 

You’ll find Salisbury Crags, 2000-year-old forts, the medieval St Anthony’s Chapel, and the ancient volcano, Arthur’s Seat – which gives incredible views of the city. 

The park is also full of a diverse range of flora and birdlife, with Duddingston Loch a freshwater loch with a vast array of our flying friends that you can see. 

Expect a chilled out, green zone where you can take loads of stunning photos. 


A Citywide View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill 

A citywide view of Edinburgh

Visited Holyrood Park and, amazingly, your camera still has room for more cinematic photography? 

Then on your journey back into the city why not stop at Calton Hill? 

Stunning pretty much in any weather, we’d recommend catching the view at sunset where the panoramic shot of Edinburgh below is, quite simply, nothing short of gorgeous. 


Get Away from the Hustle and Bustle in Trendy Stockbridge 

Circus Lane with historic, beautiful buildings and plenty of greenery, in Stockbridge in Edinburgh.

Here’s a trendy area for you to take in. The plus point is it still packs that same quirky, artistic, cool Edinburgh punch, but gets you away from the hectic city centre. 

It’s the area of Stockbridge! 

Stuffed with fun and hip shops, bars, restaurants and stunning architecture (a standout is the cosy St Vincent’s Chapel), the leafy suburb is where you go if you want a hefty dose of cool and beauty (check out Circus Lane for the ultimate feel-good walk). 

On Sundays, you’ll also find the outdoor Stockbridge Market, which is jam-packed with stalls offering wares from artists, makers, and some of the best street food around, like stringy, melty cheese arancini and paella which had people queueing around the block. 

Simply delicious. 


A Night Out along Leith Walk 

Part of Leigh Walk.

You’ve finished your day strolling around Edinburgh and now, quite honestly, you’re ready for a fun night out and social with your group. 

Enter stage left, Leith Walk. Fantastically full of stylish bars and restaurants, it also gets you away from the main drag too. 

Win, win. 


Stay up until the Early Hours at the Subway Cowgate 

Image of Cowgate entrance club in Edinburgh.

It’s past midnight and you still want more bang for your buck? 

Subway Cowgate has got you covered. Tucked under the George IV Bridge, away from the main drag, it’s a proper party venue and one definitely for you to end the night at. 

Special Mention: Stay Outside of Edinburgh (Usually…)

Time to go home, so where to stay? Ok, this one is ours. 

We stayed in Bathgate, which has easy and convenient access to the Scottish capital with regular and quick trains. Overall costs were reduced and it was easier to book accommodation – with Edinburgh stays more challenging to book, due to obvious reasons. 

Which is USUALLY the case – but not when booking a large group through us 

With our excellent local suppliers, we’re able to supply central accommodation for you to stay in at reasonable costs – such as Pollacks Hall, right under Arthur’s Seat and a stone’s throw away from the city centre (we’ve recently organised four groups stay there, with well over 200 people happily accommodated for!). 



Get me to the Edinburgh Fringe!

What an artistic, cultural, trendy, performance based, and captivating city Edinburgh is – and that’s amplified enormously when the Fringe comes to town. 

If you use our list above you can fill your time with a refreshing take on the festival, after or instead of the usual busy places you may already be aware of.  

If you’re looking to get stuck into the Fringe and need an easy and friendly chat with an expert, who can tailor-make your group’s tour, call or email us by pressing the button below. 

Get in touch

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