Five places for peace and quiet during the Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh in August; The Festivals, bustling with creativity, full of energy, and sometimes… well sometimes it’s all a bit much. If you’ve found yourself craving a quiet place to relax and recharge, then look no further. Your Edinburgh oasis is just around the corner.

Birds eye view of Edinburgh from the Crags on Arthur's Seat
Birds eye view of the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens

1. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

One of the most peaceful places in Edinburgh must be the Royal Botanic Gardens, just 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre. The Botanics are a favourite spot for many Edinburgh locals all year round, and it’s the perfect place to take stock and recover from your festival fatigue. With excellent views over the city, glasshouses to transport you to the tropics on a rainy day (currently under refurbishment), and 70 acres to explore, the Botanics have it all. Plus, it’s free!

Modern Art Gallery at night.

2. Galleries

We all know that the Scottish summer can bring you an array of sun and rain all in one day, so it is important to have somewhere to find cover when the heavens do open. Luckily, you can take shelter from both the weather and the crowds in the city’s excellent galleries. The National Gallery, on Princes Street, is super conveniently located. If you venture a little bit further, you can find your way to the Portrait Gallery in the Georgian New Town, or the Modern Art Galleries in beautiful parkland, a 15 minute walk from Princes Street. If you are a real art lover, you can always hit all the galleries in one day, with all the galleries being within walking distance of one another.  The cherry on top is definitely the excellent cafes at each gallery.

Pentland hills with Edinburgh buildings in the foreground

3. Pentlands

Head out to the southern outskirts of Edinburgh and you’ll find the Pentland hills. Put on a sturdy pair of shoes, a raincoat, pack up your lunch and hit the hills. Soon the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh will be a thing of the past. Don’t worry about needing a car either, Edinburgh’s buses can easily rise to this challenge.

The Pentlands by bus The Pentlands by bus
Lauriston Castle

4. Edinburgh’s other castles

Edinburgh Castle is an unmissable part of any visit to Edinburgh. However, if you’re looking for a quieter spot, then you may want to consider one of Edinburgh’s other castles. There are 15 castles and palaces in Edinburgh, so there is plenty of choice! Head to Lauriston Castle, perfectly preserved since it was given to the city in 1926 and with beautiful grounds and a Japanese garden with views to the Kingdom of Fife.  Alternatively, any history lover will appreciate the atmospheric, medieval ruins of Craigmillar Castle.

Whisky tasting event with host and customers at a table enjoying tasting.

5. The Scotch Whisky Experience

Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we’re very fortunate to be situated right next door to Edinburgh Castle, and to be host to thousands of visitors every week. This may not seem the best recipe for a quiet evening, but if you’re looking to avoid queues and crowds, why not book onto a Platinum Tour. An early evening tour, taking place after the rush of the day, with an extended viewing of one of the world’s largest collections of Scotch whisky, is the perfect time to quiz your expert guide and relax while unleashing your inner whisky geek.