5 things to do in Edinburgh this January

Last updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2023

After the festivities of the past month, it can sometimes feel like there’s not a whole lot going on in January.

If your calendar is looking a little empty, why not plan a day out to our capital city, Edinburgh? There's so much to enjoy in the city, whether it's a good trawl of the January sales or being a tourist for the day and taking advantage of Edinburgh being a bit quieter.

Here’s our top five picks for Edinburgh this January:

Visit top attractions

You never really know what you’re going to get with the weather in Scotland in January so Edinburgh is a great city for a good mix of indoor and outdoor attractions. The National Museum of Scotland is perfect for a rainy day – it’s free to go in, it’s a short walk from Waverley train stations and there is something in there for everyone. If the weather is dry, head up to the outdoor viewing terrace for great views over to the castle and the rest of the city. If you’ve had enough of all the warm and fuzzies of Christmas, the Edinburgh Dungeon is fantastic to get the heart racing and adrenalin pumping. If you’re travelling with kids, don’t forget to show a Kids for a Quid ticket to get one free child entry.

See the Old Town

January can bring with it some beautiful weather – cold, crisp days with clear blue skies and sunshine. When the sun does shine, Edinburgh is a great city for simply wandering around stopping in cosy cafes to warm up every once in a while. The Old Town is home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks including Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral, the Hub and Holyrood Palace. The Castle Esplanade is one of the best places to get fantastic views over the city and surrounding areas. Down the Royal Mile, there are lots of little alleyways that make for great photo ops and are intriguing to wander through. They've all got plenty of stories to tell.

Treat yourself

Loads of restaurants have great deals on in January to entice people out so if you’ve got some Christmas money left over, why not treat yourself? Book a nice restaurant you’ve always fancied trying, or revisit an old favourite. When you’re taking the train, you could even have a glass of bubbles to toast the new year.

Take a walk

Blow the Christmas cobwebs away with a hike up Arthur’s Seat. Starting in Holyrood Park, the walk is well worth the effort for the views at the top. You can see for miles! See if you can spot the now teeny-tiny castle, the three bridges and the beaches of East Lothian. Be sure to wrap up warm and wear proper footwear as it is really steep in parts. If it’s not too windy, take a picnic and sit awhile to savour the views at the top. Once you get back down, it’s definitely time for a warm up in one of Edinburgh’s cute cafes or cosy pubs. For a quicker walk that requires a little exertion for great rewards, take a walk up Calton Hill. It’s right next to the city centre and gives you the perfect photo spot overlooking the city and the castle.

Whatever you get up to in our capital this January, we hope you have a great time.

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