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EDINBURGH TRAVEL GUIDE

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Edinburgh, the Capital of Scotland

When you land at Edinburgh Airport, as 14.4 million people did in 2023, you'll be with a wide selection of society excited to explore the Scottish Capital in all its glory. At arrivals all year round you'll see families about to embark on days worth of Harry Potter sightseeing, you'll find the history lovers eager to experience this magical land anticipating what Edinburgh Castle will actually look like in person; in the summer months you'll not escape baggage reclaim without a conveyor-belt of Fringe festival-goers making their way to the city's shows and street parties and talking of conveyor-belts, you'll be hard pushed to find your luggage in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of golf bags arriving from all over the world with their owners anxiously waiting to find out if there trusty clubs will help them conquer the world's oldest and most historic golf courses. 

 

Edinburgh has bucket loads of history but it doesn't stop with castles and monuments, its role in the development of sport from hosting the first ever international Rugby Union match to inventing the game of Golf puts its sporting and adventure highlights on a par with its historical significance. Edinburgh is a City of Sport and what it offers visitors today across sport and adventure won't leave you feeling short changed. 

I love Edinburgh, and although you might call me bias as it is the city I call home, there is so much to do across sports and adventures from football matches, hikes, rounds of golf and attending big rugby fixtures.

This Edinburgh travel guide will help you plan your sports travel trip, find tickets to the events you want to be at, give you guides on the city's best sporting days out and adventures and inspire you to explore Edinburgh through sport and adventure.

Top 5 sport and adventure things to do in Edinburgh

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Easter Road Stadium, home of Hibernian FC with Arthur's Seat in the background

1. Go to an international rugby match

If you are looking to attend a international rugby match, Edinburgh is the perfect city to do so.

 

Edinburgh is where the first ever international rugby match took place, back in 1871 and is the city where Scotland play all their home international matches, at Murrayfield Stadium. That first international game was played between Scotland and England with Scotland winning the match in front of 4,000 fans at Raeburn Place in the Stockbridge area of the city. 

Murrayfield is the biggest stadium in Scotland, capable of holding 67,000 fans. It's in the west of the city, about a 15 minute walk from Haymarket train station. The walk is a little longer if you get distracted by the numerous pubs along the way such as Teuchters on Williams Street or The Murrayfield on Roseburn Street. You can also get a tram direct to the stadium from the city centre.

Scotland paying England at Murrayfield in the 2024 Six Nations

Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh as Scotland beat England in the 2024 Six Nations.

To attend a match at Murrayfield you'll need to download the free Scottish Rugby Ticketing app. For most Scotland Rugby matches you'll be able to get a ticket, although the big matches such as against England will be hugely popular and sell out quickly. 

 

Have a look at what's coming up at Murrayfield.  

The experience of attending a Scotland game at Murrayfield is like attending a showcase of Scottish national pride. Pre-game you'll be treated to lines of bagpipe players as you walk towards Murrayfield, and plenty of opportunities to buy some Scotland Rugby merchandise with pop-up stalls along the streets. Before a game kicks off you'll be immersed in national unity as the Scottish national anthem rings out across the stadium along with a lone piper who performs the bagpipes from the roof of the enormous sporting venue. It's a moment in live sport you won't find anywhere else. 

Murrayfield knows how to make noise with its atmosphere being known to be part of the stadium's character. Whilst the stadium itself is quite basic - the concourses don't really offer anything else other than toilets and your route to and from your seats - it's the areas directly around the stadium where you'll find endless food outlets and bars. They'll be live music on a main stage after the game too to keep the party going, and it's a good idea to enjoy the festivities after the game letting the majority of crowds head to the tram, otherwise you'll spend a good amount of time queueing. 

2. Play Golf

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Edinburgh is the home of Golf, where the game was invented.

Want to play golf in Edinburgh? You're in luck. Edinburgh and golf go together as well as chalk and cheese do. If you are a golf fan, you simply have to visit Edinburgh. Whether you plan on playing one of the city's 22 golf courses, visit Leith where golf was invented or explore the incredible golfing history along Scotland's Golf Coast Edinburgh and the surrounding area is a golfing paradise. 

In the city there are a number of 'pay and play' golf courses which you can book via the Edinburgh Leisure portal. It's free to set up an account (which you'll need to do to book a round of golf) and then you can choose from a selection of the city's public golf courses. Prices for adults are £32 and around £16 for children. 

Private courses also allow visitors to play a round, with a range of prices depending on where you choose to play. You can have a look through my Edinburgh Golfing Guide here.

3. Go to a football match

Edinburgh is definitely a much more Rugby orientated city, but that's not to say football doesn't play it's part. The city has two men's teams in the Scottish Premiership with both Hearts of Midlothian and Hibernian FC based in the city. Hearts are to the west in the Gorgie area of Edinburgh whilst Hibernian play in Leith, which is a destination in itself and as mentioned earlier, where the game of Golf was invented. 

You can often get tickets to their games, although for their biggest games in the season against Rangers, Celtic and against one another, tickets are restricted to members only. This is to avoid away fans getting into the home seating sections. 

At Tynecastle, the home of Hearts of Midlothian you'll find the football club has it's very own hotel in the stadium which is a cool thing to do when you are staying in Edinburgh whilst Hibernian FC is a short walk from a heap of fun things to do in Leith.

4. Go for a hike

Whilst the highlands of Scotland is a great area to go hiking, Edinburgh also has it's fair share of adventures on foot. You have multiple options from climbing Arthur's Seat which will see you get to the city's highest point, conquering the seven hills of Edinburgh which is a hike that will take all day but is a glorious way of exploring the entire city and just outside of Edinburgh, going for an adventure in the Pentland Hills is a great idea if you want to remain close to the city centre but get a dose of mountain air.  

Make sure to check out my Edinburgh hiking guide for a more detailed look at the many hiking routes the city has to offer. 

5. Go skiing

Skiing in Edinburgh? Who'd thought. It is true though, so much so that Edinburgh is home to Europe's second largest dry ski slope. You'll find the Midlothian Snowsports Centre just to the south of Edinburgh and you can reach it by the No. 4 bus (towards Hillend) from the centre of Edinburgh or taxi. It's a brilliant sporting day out for the whole family. 

The centre has multiple slopes for ski and snowboard enthusiasts which are catered for by a button lift. There is also a chair lift but it is not operational at the moment. 

To use the main slopes it will cost £15 for adults for the first hour and £10 for juniors. Any hours you spend on the slopes after the first hour will be charged at £8 for adults and £5 for juniors. Those prices also include your kit hire including skis (or snowboard), boots, poles and helmet. 

There's so much to do at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre from skiing, snowboarding, tubing to getting lessons, diving into the fun slope and enjoying refreshments at Cafe 360. 

From the main slope you get a brilliant view of Edinburgh on a clear day too and you'll be able to make out Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat as you ski down the mountain. Have a watch of my video of how to spend a day on the slopes in Edinburgh below. 

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