7 Things to do Near Edinburgh Airport: Activities & Attractions

Find yourself with time to spare in Edinburgh due to a flight stopover or delayed departure? Fear not! Scotland's historic and enchanting capital city is brimming with activities to make every minute count. Edinburgh, often referred to as the 'Athens of the North,' is a treasure trove of culture, history, and natural beauty.

And the best part? You don't have to venture far from the airport to experience it.

Just a stone's throw away from Edinburgh Airport, you'll find an array of attractions and activities to suit every traveller's tastes.

Whether you're a shopaholic, a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply someone looking to enjoy the serene Scottish landscapes, Edinburgh has something in store for you.

In this article, we're guiding you through some of the best activities and attractions conveniently located near the airport, ensuring you make the most of your unexpected layover or delayed flight.

So, why wait around in the terminal when you could be exploring the captivating sights and sounds of Scotland's capital? It's time to turn your delay into an adventure!

7 Things to do Near Edinburgh Airport At a Glance

Explore this article using the links below to skip to a particular section.

  1. Visit The Royal Highland Centre: Versatile venue hosting events, from music festivals to exhibitions, offering entertainment and learning.
  2. Explore the Gyle Shopping Centre: Spacious shopping centre offering diverse shops, dining options, and a relaxing break from airport chaos.
  3. Stroll Through Cammo Estate: Historical estate with lush landscapes, wildlife, and remnants of architectural elegance amidst tranquillity.
  4. Visit Cramond Village and Beach: Quaint seaside village showcasing scenic beauty, historical sites, and inviting coastal walks.
  5. Discover the Jupiter Artland Sculpture Park: Outdoor museum blending contemporary art and nature for an enchanting, immersive experience.
  6. Climb up Arthur's Seat: Ancient volcano offering breathtaking panoramic city views and intriguing geological features.
  7. Wander the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: Diverse botanical haven with enchanting plant varieties, thematic gardens, and stunning landscapes.

1. Visit the Royal Highland Centre

Looking for an eventful diversion during your layover? Your first stop should be the renowned Royal Highland Centre, a venue that truly embodies the spirit of Scotland! Located just a short distance from the airport, the Royal Highland Centre is Scotland’s premier event venue, hosting over 220 events annually. From the pomp and pageantry of the famous Royal Highland Show to adrenaline-pumping monster truck rallies, there's no shortage of excitement at this sprawling event centre.

Why is this a good idea for a stopover? Well, the variety of events on offer means that there's always something happening at the Royal Highland Centre that's sure to tickle your fancy. Experience the bustling trade shows, high-energy concerts, thrilling motorsport events, and so much more. Whether you're an agriculture enthusiast eager to witness the finest of Scottish livestock or a music lover looking to catch a live performance, this venue has got you covered.

And let's not forget the fantastic food stalls! Take a break from airport dining and indulge in some authentic Scottish fare, from haggis to buttery shortbread. Trust us, this is one stopover experience that'll have you craving more delays in the future!

2. Explore the Gyle Shopping Centre

Who says a layover can't be a shopping spree? If you find yourself with some time to kill near Edinburgh Airport, make a beeline for the Gyle Shopping Centre, a retail haven just minutes away from the terminal. With over 70 stores featuring your favourite high street brands, this is your one-stop shop to pick up everything from the latest fashion trends to Scottish souvenirs for your loved ones back home.

But that's not all - the Gyle isn't just about shopping! If the thought of aeroplane food has you cringing, then you're in for a treat. The shopping centre boasts an array of eateries, from quick bites to sit-down meals, offering a smorgasbord of culinary delights. Whether you're in the mood for a juicy burger, a fresh salad, or a steaming cup of artisan coffee, there's something to satisfy every palate.

And if you're travelling with kids, there's no need to fret. The Gyle Shopping Centre is home to a vibrant play area that's sure to keep your little ones entertained. So, go ahead and take a leisurely stroll through the stores, refuel with some scrumptious food, or simply relax and soak in the buzzing atmosphere. A visit to the Gyle is the perfect way to turn your stopover into a delightful retail therapy session!

3. Stroll Through Cammo Estate

Imagine stepping into a peaceful sanctuary of greenery and tranquillity just a stone's throw away from the bustling airport. Sounds too good to be true? Welcome to the Cammo Estate, a historic park that's the perfect antidote to the stress of air travel. Located a mere 10-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport, this hidden gem is the ideal spot to stretch your legs and get some fresh air during a layover.

As you wander through the winding pathways of the Cammo Estate, you'll find yourself transported to a bygone era. Explore the enchanting ruins of the Cammo House, a once-grand mansion that whispers tales of opulence and intrigue. Stroll along the tree-lined avenues and discover remnants of the estate's past, including the iconic water tower and stables. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, too, as the park is home to a diverse range of birds, squirrels, and rabbits.

The Cammo Estate isn't just a walk through history - it's a journey through a natural oasis. Lose yourself in the lush woodland, stroll along the banks of the River Almond, or simply find a quiet spot to relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply a weary traveller seeking some peace and quiet, a visit to the Cammo Estate is sure to rejuvenate your spirits and make your layover a memorable one!

4. Visit Cramond Village and Beach

Escape the airport hustle and bustle and journey back in time with a visit to Cramond Village, a picturesque hamlet nestled on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Just a quick drive from the airport, Cramond offers the perfect respite from the stresses of air travel with its rich history and stunning coastal beauty.

Follow the footsteps of Roman soldiers as you explore the well-preserved remains of the Cramond Roman Fort, complete with intricate mosaics and ancient artefacts. As you wander through the quaint village streets, marvel at the centuries-old architecture and get a glimpse into Scotland's storied past.

And for the true highlight of your layover, make your way to Cramond Beach, where the sands stretch as far as the eye can see and the soothing sounds of the waves create a symphony of serenity. As you stroll along the water's edge, watch the boats sail by, soak in the breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth, and feel your worries wash away.

Ready for a little adventure? Head out to the iconic Cramond Island, accessible by a causeway at low tide. But be sure to check the tide times before you embark on this expedition to avoid getting stranded!

When hunger strikes, indulge in some hearty Scottish fare at the Cramond Inn, a charming pub that's been serving up delicious meals and pints for generations.

So why wait at the airport when you could be basking in the beauty of Cramond Village and Beach? It's a layover experience that's bound to leave you with cherished memories and a longing to return.

5. Discover the Jupiter Artland Sculpture Park

If you're looking to add a splash of creativity to your layover, look no further than Jupiter Artland, a whimsical wonderland of art and nature that promises to leave you awe-struck. Situated just a short drive from Edinburgh Airport, this outdoor contemporary art museum is the perfect destination for art lovers and curious explorers alike.

At Jupiter Artland, every step you take is an adventure in itself. Wander through the enchanting grounds, where art and nature come together to create a harmonious blend of beauty and imagination. As you meander through the woodlands and meadows, you'll be greeted by a captivating collection of sculptures, installations, and land art by renowned artists from around the world.

Feel the excitement build as you stumble upon a giant hare leaping through the grass, a mysterious mirrored cabin that seems to vanish into the landscape, or a labyrinthine vortex that invites you to explore its depths. Each artwork is thoughtfully placed within the natural surroundings, creating an immersive and interactive experience that's sure to ignite your imagination.

Whether you're an art aficionado or simply looking for a unique and memorable layover experience, Jupiter Artland is sure to delight and inspire. And if you're in need of some refreshments after your artistic journey, be sure to visit the on-site café, where you can savour delicious dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.

So, why settle for an ordinary layover when you could be uncovering the extraordinary at Jupiter Artland? It's an experience that'll leave you with a renewed appreciation for the magic of art and nature.

6. Climb up Arthur's Seat

Craving a taste of the great outdoors during your layover? Embark on a heart-pounding adventure that'll leave you breathless - both from the climb and the stunning views. Welcome to Arthur's Seat, an ancient volcano and the highest point in Edinburgh, offering a panorama that's sure to be the highlight of your layover.

Although Arthur's Seat is located in the heart of the city, it's a little further from the airport than the other destinations on this list. However, the view from the top is more than worth the extra effort. As you ascend the winding paths, you'll feel the city's hustle and bustle fade away, replaced by the tranquil beauty of nature.

As you reach the summit, prepare to be mesmerised by a 360-degree view that spans across the city, the North Sea, and the surrounding countryside. You'll be able to spot iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, and the Firth of Forth bridges. It's a sight that's sure to leave an indelible mark on your memory.

But don't just rush up and down. Take your time to savour the natural beauty of Holyrood Park, where Arthur's Seat is located. Explore the park's rugged terrain, picturesque lochs, and diverse flora and fauna. And if you're a history buff, be sure to check out the ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel, perched on a hill overlooking St. Margaret's Loch.

So why settle for a standard layover when you could be scaling heights and soaking in the breathtaking views from Arthur's Seat? It's an experience that's sure to leave you invigorated and inspired, making your layover a truly memorable adventure.

7. Wander the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Bring a touch of serenity to your layover by strolling through the enchanting grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. A mere 30-minute drive from the airport, this horticultural haven is the perfect escape from the stress of air travel and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Spanning over 70 acres, the Royal Botanic Garden is a treasure trove of botanical wonders. Wander through the world-famous Rock Garden, home to thousands of alpine plants and a mesmerising cascade. Explore the Chinese Hillside, where winding paths take you through a stunning collection of Chinese plants, many of which were introduced to the UK by the garden's own plant hunters.

But it's not just about the outdoor beauty. Step inside the glasshouses, and you'll find yourself transported to different climates and ecosystems, from the arid landscapes of the Desert House to the lush tropical rainforest of the Palm House. As you explore, you'll be greeted by a riot of colours, shapes, and scents, showcasing the incredible diversity of the plant world.

And if all that exploring leaves you feeling peckish, head over to the Terrace Café, where you can enjoy a delicious meal made from locally sourced ingredients, all while soaking in the stunning views of the Edinburgh skyline.

So, why spend your layover indoors when you could be revelling in the beauty of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh? It's an experience that's sure to leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for the next leg of your journey.

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