Edinburgh’s best…attractions

The best days out in Edinburgh – as recommended by comedians…

Camera Obscura Edinburgh

We asked over 170 comedians and people from the comedy industry what their favourite places were in Edinburgh, and got back so many fantastic responses that we turned it into a book. The following are select extracts, but you can pick up the book on Amazon, download the ebook or find out more about the title and who’s in it.


The Real Mary King’s Close

The Real Mary King’s Close, 2 Warriston’s Close, High St, EH1 1PG. 0845 070 6244, realmarykingsclose.com. Festival hours daily 9am-11pm.

There is something weirdly calming about walking through these cool, dark passageways, retracing the steps of our forebears. And even though you are learning about how devastating and horrific the plague was to the people who once lived here, it does make you put your struggles to get an audience for your show into perspective. Catie Wilkins


Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo, EH12 6TS. 0131 334 9171, edinburghzoo.org.uk. Summer hours daily 9am-6pm. 

Aside from a menagerie of wee beasties and not-so-wee beasties and beasties that wee, Edinburgh Zoo’s most excellent of features can only be the penguin parade at 2.15pm everyday. Yes, penguins. Yes, parading. No, not the biscuits. And no, sadly they don’t have batons or hats or do jazz hands. Tiernan Douieb


Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Castlehill, Royal Mile, EH1 2ND. 0131 226 3709, camera-obscura.co.uk. Daily 9.30-9pm.

It is a rare working instrument and is about 150 years old. The camera itself is amazing if you haven’t seen it before. And it is interesting to find out about the city and get a good idea of the history of Edinburgh. I always take people there if they are new to the festival.  Barry Ferns


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle, EH1 2NG. 0131 225 9846, edinburghcastle.gov.uk. Daily 9.30am- 6pm. 

We tried to sneak into a building that was specifically designed so that it would be impossible to sneak into. Needless to say, our tour of this historic icon started, and ended, in the gift shop. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Pay the admission. Matt Okine


Edinburgh Dungeons

The Edinburgh Dungeon, 31 Market St, EH1 1DF. 0871 423 2250, thedungeons.com/edinburgh. Festival hours daily 10am-7pm. 

There are impressive special effects and lots of frights and surprises and gross-out gags. William Wallace and Mary King’s ghost were particularly impressive and state of the art. I had such a great giggle the first time that I returned last year with a colleague from my show as we had some time to kill before our trains home. Suzy Bennett


Scottish National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery; The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL; 0131 624 6200. Mon – Sun 10am – 5pm (except Thurs 7pm). nationalgalleries.org.

I love the Scottish National Gallery: if anything can make you feel insignificant, it is walking round there for an hour. Some of those paintings are utterly breathtaking, and really put some weirdo saying nasty things about your show on Twitter into perspective. Elis James

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