Photo: Edinburgh International Climbing Arena/Facebook

5 Awesome Sober Things to Do on a Friday Night in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Student Work Restaurants + Bars
by Ruth Boreham Dec 10, 2015

1. Go on a ghost tour

Standing in a dark room underneath the South Bridge, lit by only a handful of candles, I wondered why on earth I had decided to come on a ghost tour to one of Edinburgh’s most famous supernatural sites, the Blair Street Vaults. The guide was all in black, wearing a cloak, almost disappearing into the shadows. He held a candle to highlight his facial experiences while he told us true stories of Edinburgh at its most chilling, and the ghosts that might be standing right behind you. Having seen something myself down there, I recommend you don’t go alone. The last tour is at 10pm.

2. Relax in the baths

The Portobello area of Edinburgh is worth a visit during the day or evening. It is where the sandy beaches of the city can be found, with fantastic fish and chip shops along the promenade, and arcade games to get addicted to. But it is also home to one of the few remaining original Victorian Turkish baths in the UK. I prefer to slowly work my through three hot chambers, lingering for a long time in the middle one for as long as possible. The baths close at 9:15.

3. Stargazing

Edinburgh is a city of 7 hills and if the weather is clear it is worth spending your Friday evening on the top of one of them, Blackford Hill. Here you will find the Royal Observatory, open for public events on Fridays during the winter, monthly during the summer. The Victorian dome houses one of the largest telescopes in Scotland. Pay attention to the weather forecast for clear skies.

4. Just keep climbing

What do you do with an old quarry? Turn it into Europe’s largest indoor climbing wall of course. The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho is open until 10pm during the week and is well worth a visit. I was daunted when I first went in, being a complete beginner and seeing the 25m climbing walls all around me, but the people there were welcoming and reassuring and before I knew it I was in a harness and climbing.

5. Ice skating

In December an ice ring is erected in Princes St Gardens, but for those who want to skate all year round head to the Murrayfield Ice Rink. Apparently, you can skate in the middle of the rink as well, though I prefer to hold on very tightly to the side, slowly working my way round, which provides plenty of entertainment for my friends and everyone else. Open till 10pm, a brilliant way to spend a Friday evening.

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