10+ Great Things to Do in Edinburgh When It Rains

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Check this post for the 10+ great things do in Edinburgh when it rains (and it rains a lot in Edinburgh). Scotland off-season can be fun and enjoyable!

Don’t know where to go in Edinburgh on a rainy day? We’ve got you covered! If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. I’m originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, however, when I turned 22, I moved to Edinburgh to study for a Masters Degree. Edinburgh is a very special place for me, as I also met my husband there (who is a co-founder of this blog). In total, I lived in Edinburgh for over 1.5 years, while Pepe spent 3 years in Edinburgh!

Naturally, having spent so much time in this gorgeous city, I wrote A LOT of posts about Edinburgh including this ultimate guide to Edinburgh or this 7-day itinerary for Scotland.

The ultimate guide to Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh travel tips

Even though the city looks a bit sombre and gloomy when it rains, I actually like it most, when the sky is grey. Scotland isn’t precisely famous for good weather, so you have to be creative especially if you’re travelling to Scotland off-season.

Looking for more inspiration for your Scotland trip? Check this post about the 20+ EPIC places to add to your Scotland Travel Bucket list!

So without further ado, let’s get started with the best ideas for a rainy day in Edinburgh!

Best things to do in Edinburgh when it rains | Scotland off-season

Go for an Afternoon tea in Edinburgh when it rains

One of the best things you can do in Edinburgh on a rainy day is heading to one of the city’s best Afternoon teas. With unlimited tea of your choice and many delicious bits of sandwiches and biscuits, it’s a great way to spend a rainy and cold afternoon in Edinburgh off-season. The average price for an Afternoon tea in Edinburgh is around 30 pounds for 2 people. However, if you’re on a budget (hey, check out my post about 15+ free things to do in Edinburgh) it is possible to find cheaper deals on Groupon (something like 17 pounds for two).

Another affordable Afternoon tea in Edinburgh that I would recommend is Afternoon tea at the eteaket Tea Room. Read our review of the Afternoon Tea in eteaket Tea Room.

The ultimate afternoon tea ceremony in Balmoral (the fanciest hotel in Edinburgh) will cost you £45 per person but you will be sitting in such a beautiful setting!

One of my favourite Afternoon Teas in Edinburgh is at the Signet Library. I’ve been there twice and I would definitely recommend it.

Afternoon Teas at the Signet Library
Afternoon Tea at the Signet Library

For more Afternoon tea ideas check my post about 7 best afternoon teas in Edinburgh >>>

Visit one of Edinburgh’s best attractions

An obvious thing to do in Edinburgh when it rains would be visiting Edinburgh’s best attractions. The most famous attraction would be the Edinburgh castle, however, there are so many amazing museums and attractions.

I would also recommend Real Mary Kings Close as one of the best indoor attractions in Edinburgh for a rainy day. Visiting Edinburgh Dungeon and the Camera Obscura also has been fun. And of course, don’t forget the National Museum of Scotland.

Read my full guide to the 10 best attractions to visit in Edinburgh >>>

Edinburgh Dungeon - 10 absolutely best attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland
The entrance to the Edinburgh Dungeon

Try the best Scotch (Scottish Whisky) in Edinburgh Whisky Experience or one of the Whisky bars

And of course, don’t forget the famous Edinburgh Whisky Experience, where you can learn about the history of whisky, learn how to distinguish whisky from different areas of Scotland and, finally, you can taske some amazing whisky. You need to buy tickets in advance though. You can check the prices and availability here.

Edinburgh Whiskey Experience

Try Scottish food in Howies

Howies is definitely one of the best places to taste real Scottish food, e.g. haggis! However, if you’re local, you will also like the place because of amazing food (the salmon is heavenly!) and impressive interiors (the one on Waterloo place is the best!). Moreover, they offer a 2 course-menu for early dinner (15 pounds) and for lunch (11 pounds). Not bad, huh? Could be one of your date ideas in Edinburgh as well.

Credits: howies.uk.com
Credits: howies.uk.com

Explore Edinburgh Vaults

One of the most amazing things to do in Edinburgh on a rainy day is visiting Edinburgh vaults. I wrote an entire post about Edinburgh vaults experience and the best tour of Edinburgh vaults, so make sure to check it out.

Edinburgh Vaults Tour with Mercat - the best tour in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Vaults

Have a lunch/ drink on the top of Victoria Street /Johnston Terrace

The view from the second level of Victoria street is unmatchable. There are some cafes on top (e.g. Maxis Bistro & Wine Bar), and well, I don’t know about the food, but they have great coffee! Once it stops raining, you can also go and check out Victoria street with plenty of local and very unique stores, restaurants and cafes. You can buy some of the best souvenirs for your friends there.

Victoria Street Edinburgh
Victoria Street

Explore some of Edinburgh’s best coffee shops

Edinburgh has plenty of great coffee shops. It gets dark very early in winter, so people drink a lot of coffee in Edinburgh. They are also are cosy and have plenty of sitting space. Some of my favourite coffee places in Edinburgh are Black Medicine Coffee company, Milkman and Burr & Co. Many great coffee spots in Edinburgh are located close to the University of Edinburgh.

Most Instagrammable spots in Edinburgh, Scotland - tips from a local
Urban Angel

Have a cake in a very old cafe on Royal Mile

If it’s raining and you’re stuck somewhere on the Royal Mile, don’t worry! One of the best things to do around the Royal Mile when it rains is heading to Clarinda’s Tearoom for the best homemade scones and a very unique and atmospheric environment. The cafe closes quite early though, so check their working hours on the official website: Clarinda’s Tearoom.

Clarinda's Tearoom Edinburgh
Clarinda’s Tearoom Edinburgh

Go on one of the day trips

If it’s raining in Edinburgh, it doesn’t mean that it rains all around Scotland. Check my post about the best day trips from Edinburgh, so you can escape the rain and discover a new place!

St. Andrews day trip from Edinburgh, Scotland
St. Andrews

Find the best (indoor) view of the Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh’s highlight is undoubtedly the castle that stays very prominent in the heart of the city and defines Edinburgh’s landscape. There are multiple indoor spots, from where you can see the best view of the Edinburgh castle such as the Starbucks on the Prince’s street, Elephant House cafe or the terrace of the National Museum of Scotland.

The Edinburgh Castle - 10 absolutely best attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland

Visit Edinburgh’s most beautiful restaurant – the Witchery by the Castle

My favourite restaurant in Edinburgh is the Witchery by the Castle. It’s quite an expensive place (although, during the working days they have a lunch menu deal, which is quite affordable). However, The Witchery by the Castle is a must when visiting Edinburgh. It’s one of the most unique restaurants in the world and the interior is simply unmatchable. You feel like you’ve travelled in time and you’re sitting in a real medieval room. The visit to the Witchery by the Castle can make your trip to Scotland off-season more enjoyable and it’s a marvellous place to hide from the rain!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, you might also like the following posts down below:

The best affordable hotels in Edinburgh

Most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh

Best tours to take in Edinburgh

The trip to the Isle of Skye

And don’t forget to check out our road trips to Highlands and the Isle of Skye!

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