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How to escape the Edinburgh Festival

By August 15, 2011No Comments

Escape the Edinburgh Festival to Portobello Beach

Yeah yeah we know, just last week we were telling you about all the things you must do during the Edinburgh Festival, but today we’ve reached the halfway point in the month and we’re pretty sure most of Edinburgh’s population could use a little breathing space! So, using our expert local knowledge (ahem…) and scouring the internet and articles for any other tasty spots to escape to, here’s our top list of ways to get out there and avoid the festival for a couple of days.

The Canals

Think most people forget (or simply don’t know) that there are the canals in Edinburgh, and they’re just great for a cycle. Take your bike down and you can go for miles without seeing a single piece of traffic – except boats this is. Even better, if you’re feeling strong you can hire a row boat each Sunday from the Polwarth Boating Club house just before the main road bridge in Polwarth.


You can’t beat a trip to the beach, even if the best of the weather perhaps is behind us now. Portobello was a proper holiday destination in its day too, and the gloriously old fashioned seaside arcade (with a Wimpy??) is testament to that. The views over Inchcolm Isle and to Fife are perfect and the water is good for swimming as it doesn’t get too deep too soon. Afterwards, nip into the Espy or the Dalriada for some fish ‘n’ chips and an Irn Bru.

The Nation Museum of Scotland

Visitors to Edinburgh this festival might not appreciate how good it is to have the nation’s museum back open again at last, especially as Chambers Street is largely used as a giant bus stop for Tattoo coaches throughout August. However this Edinburgh institution (literally) is without doubt the best free day out you could find in the heart of the city. It’s had a complete overhaul after being shut for over 3 years, so aren’t you even a wee bit curious to find out what you’re missing?

The Botanic Gardens

Edinburgers often don’t know how lucky they are having their own botanic gardens not 15 minute’s walk away from the bustle of Princes Street. You can of course explore the hot house, the rockeries, the Chinese lily ponds or the fossilised tree…or you could just take a picnic and enjoy the huge expanse of greenery, filled with lots of hidden places to take five.

The Innocent Railway

Not a railway exactly but instead an old railway path. Start it just inside the gates of Holyrood Park next to the Commonwealth Pool and head along the old scary tunnel. Out the other side is a surprisingly nature-filled, flat walk with ponds along one side and the Crags along the other. The best bit is that, at the end, you reach Duddingston, where you can pop into The Sheep’s Heid for some supper and a spot of Victorian bowling (seriously).

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