8 Must-See Secret Spots in Edinburgh
Visitors from across the world flock to see “Auld Reekie’s” looming Castle and walk the length of the Royal Mile. But nestled away from the hubbub of its tourist haunts are some lesser known secret spots in Edinburgh, well worth a visit.
Here’s our list of the must-see secret spots in Edinburgh:
Wild West, Morningside
Ever fancied an American road trip? Get yourself over to Edinburgh’s very own Wild West hidden behind Morningside Library.
The replica Wild West town contains a jail, a saloon and looks straight off the set of Westworld.
It was actually built for use in an advertising campaign for a furniture business and although much of it has been demolished, there are still a couple of buildings to instil that cowboy feel.
Head along the 4-mile route of the River Almond as it passes Edinburgh and you’ll have the chance to enjoy some of the best natural scenery around. The quiet waterways navigate Cramond on their way to the Water of Leith, and flow along pretty banks of wildflowers and an icy-blue mini waterfall. Perfect place for a peaceful weekend wander, and just one of the many great walking spots near the capital.
Swing by Craigentinny Crescent and you’ll happen across this impressively carved tomb.
The resting place of local boy William Henry Miller, the intricate engravings of this mausoleum makes for a stunning sight.
Kyoto Friendship Garden
Not only does Scotland’s capital have its own slice of the Wild West, you can experience the Asian East for free too. In the grounds of Lauriston Castle is the pretty Kyoto Friendship Garden. The bamboo lined pathways and Japanese style planting were built to celebrate the twinning of Edinburgh and the prefecture of Kyoto in 2002. The gardens are wonderful to visit and serve as a quiet escape from the hubbub of city life.
Dovecot Studios houses some of the best tapestry-weavers and artisans around and is a great place to pop in and watch the masters at work.
Once upon a time, folks came to this building to swim a few lengths, now an art gallery and tapestry studio, the rooms are awash with colour and intricate design works.
Mary King’s Close
Speaking of weaving, a network of tunnels and underground pathways snake their way under the bustling street of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once used for storage and transportation of goods around the city’s key sites, much of the tunnel route has now been closed to the public, but you can still get a peek of what things were like at Mary King’s Close.
The Royal Observatory provides some of the best views of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks celebrations in town and is one of the prettiest secret spots in Edinburgh.
Sat atop Blackford Hill, the university research building is open to the public and contains plenty of useful information on the night sky and astronomy.
From its perch, the Observatory building offers great views of Edinburgh’s panoramas, and the walk up the Hill is a grand old-leg stretcher in and of itself.
The Grave of the Dark Lord
Over in Greyfriars cemetery you may find one grave in particular adorned with flowers and various Harry Potter memorabilia. The name inscribed upon the headstone is one Thomas Riddell, died 1806. Of course, Thomas Riddell is the true name of Harry’s arch-nemesis, the Dark Lord Voldemort. Legions of Potter fans have flocked to the site since the publication of the books, so perhaps not as unknown as other secret spots in Edinburgh. Of course, the actual Tom Riddell has little to do with witchcraft and wizardry, but author J.K. Rowling has revealed she regularly walked through the graveyard when penning the novels, so perhaps Riddell’s tombstone provided a little inspiration after all.
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