There’s a reason Edinburgh is the party capital of the north of Britain – only London can compare to the sheer diversity of bars and clubs across several districts. Cowgate, Grassmarket and George IV Bridge are a snug trio that are just as eclectic as each other. The areas boast their own authentic pubs that capture the traditional Scottish way of life (whisky), alongside swanky and upmarket cocktail bars.
The Royal Mile is just as busy, but has a more olde-worlde style of nightlife. The pubs are small and cosy, featuring a real air of mystery as they are often tucked down side streets, but you’ll at least get a proper beer if you so wish… George Street transforms into an illustrious, decadent destination after dark, with underground bars and clubs that have even welcomed big name celebs past the velvet rope. There’s also the charming West End, littered with the city’s most important theatres and concert halls, along with Leith – a breathtaking waterside suburb on the coast of the Firth of Forth, home to kitsch bars and two of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurants. If that’s not reason enough to visit…
Edinburgh is fun, flirty and just a little bit crazy. Our activities embody all of that, and then some, and there are over 200 to choose from. You’ve got the classics – cocktail workshops in only the most glamorous bars, and sparkling afternoon tea to name a few – but this is a city full of surprises, with none more so than on the ghost bus tour. This takes you through the deep and dark history, touring some of the most gruesome sights, and only the brave will survive (you all will). Edinburgh Dungeon is similar to the tour, revisiting the Dark Ages of the capital, but you’ve also got Mini Highland Games should you want to add a light-hearted spark amongst all of the medieval murder…
On the subject of activities, we have to go into our accommodation options. We’ve got grand, 4-star hotels coming out of our ears, as well as luxurious apartments in the centre of the city – including some set directly on the legendary Royal Mile.
George and Princes Street Shopping
Edinburgh is one of the busiest and best shopping capitals in the world, and it’s all thanks to these chaps. Princes Street is the older brother of the pair, and one of the biggest shopping thoroughfares in the capital (this is where you’ll spend the hen weekend kitty). It boasts all of the city’s largest stores, as well as the iconic Jenners building - an Edinburgh landmark and huge department store. George Street, running parallel to Princes, is for the sophisticated shopper, featuring boutique (read: expensive) shops and exclusive bars. We won’t tell if you don’t…
The Royal Mile is the most recognised street in the whole of Scotland. A line of cobbled streets from Holyrood Palace, leading all the way up to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile – coming in 107 yards over a mile – is a hen do haven. Strewn with how-many-items-can-you-cover-in-tartan-and-add-bagpipes souvenir shops, alongside actual bagpipe buskers, interspersed with the capital’s oldest and most traditional pubs and restaurants; it’s one of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh. During the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival, this street is the backdrop of haggis-eating tourists, entertainers, street performers and whisky spilling onto the streets.
Contrary to popular belief, the Scots are the friendliest people in Britain (they also don’t all eat haggis for breakfast, and there’s more than one hair colour…). According to recent research, by Cambridge University no less, people in Scotland are the most agreeable and cooperative. Maybe that’s why Edinburgh has sailed up the ranks of our top ten hen do destinations.
Edinburgh’s festivals and events are known around the globe. Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, spanning 25 days, over 50,000 entertainers and 3,269 shows in 294 venues, in 2016 alone. It has played host to every big name in comedy, and fills the bursting streets of the capital. The Military Tattoo, held during the Edinburgh Festival, is another major attraction, and a unique one at that – featuring military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands. Hogmanay is Scotland’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, set under the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and is one big celebration of all things Scottish – with whisky thrown in for good measure. And, we’re not forgetting Burns Night, an event held in the honour of Robert Burns that sees even more whisky spilt in the streets.
Edinburgh has right royal connections – you may even bag yourself a Duke if you’re not careful (not you, Bride). Edinburgh Castle is the most visited icon in Edinburgh, dominating the city’s skyline and casting a shadow on all in its wake. Connected to the Royal Mile (we sense a theme here…), Holyrood Palace stands tall as the home of the British Monarch in Scotland. The Real Mary Kings Close underground streets are not quite as luxurious as the palace, but still have royal connections. They are also said to be the city’s spookiest attraction – once home to the innocent victims of the plague, and now to their ghosts. If that hasn’t tired you out, you can even explore the Royal Botanic Gardens and Royal Yacht Britannia.
Edinburgh is the seventh most populous city in the UK, and is a major transport hub – getting in and out will be a breeze. Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest, handling around 11 million passengers every year, and has connections to most major airports. It also has a tram link taking you to the city centre. The Edinburgh trams are your best resource to get around, with 15 stops around the capital. However, should you need to walk off the cocktails – the city is walkable. It takes only 15 minutes to walk from The Royal Mile, slap bang in the Old Town, to George Street – the heart of the New Town. You’ve also got Edinburgh Waverley, and Haymarket, for getting to and from the city.
We can already tell this spectacular city has swept you off your feet, so we've got even more info on our detailed Edinburgh nightlife guide. Or, you can go straight to the Edinburgh Hen Weekends page and enquire.