15 things to do in lockdown in Edinburgh

It’s all a bit grim, isn’t it? We’ve been in lockdown for a long time and it can get a bit boring. But there are plenty of things to do in Edinburgh, whether that’s exploring the city more or online workshops from local businesses. We are passionate about supporting local enterprises at Keep Edinburgh Thriving so we’ve included some great activities that can bring a bit of excitement as well as helping them out. It’s a win-win. 

1. Get crafty with Edinburgh Remakery

Want to learn a new skill? Edinburgh Remakery is the place for you. They have a range of online workshops including a course on bookbinding starting in March. 

Person sitting down using a sewing machine
📷 Lee Live Photogapher

2. Spring has (almost) sprung at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

There is no better time to explore the Botanic Garden. You can spend the whole day getting lost in the different gardens and you can grab a takeaway coffee to keep you going. Because of the current guidelines, make sure you book a time slot.

3. Explore the city on foot

It can feel like there isn’t much else to do apart from going on walks at the moment. If you’re tired of traipsing around the same old route, spice it up a bit by using our handy walking guide to find a stroll that suits you. 

Woman with a backpack stands on Calton Hill looking over foggy Edinburgh

4. Live in Leith

Throughout March, the legendary Leith Theatre is hosting a series of online gigs supporting local artists and providing you with quality live music from your sofa. Find out more about Live in Leith here.

📷 Ben Glasgow

5. Find your new favourite local business with Hidden Trax

Hidden Trax have teamed up with local businesses around Edinburgh to record podcasts about their journey. They’re perfect if you want to find a new local business to support and find out more about their story.

6. Delve into Edinburgh’s history with Curious Edinburgh tours

Take your walks around the city to the next level with Curious Edinburgh tours. Developed by the University of Edinburgh, the app includes a variety of tours to go on with fascinating information on each stop. Tours include the Scottish Enlightenment, History of Brewing and the Black Lives Matter Mural Trail. 

7. Get your body moving with Dance Base

Turn your living room into a dance floor with Dance Base’s online classes. If you just want to try something out, you can do a drop-in but if you’re in it for the long haul, you can sign up to a course. There is something for everyone, from ballet to reggaeton. 

8. Online concerts from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

We know everyone’s missing live music. The SCO have adapted to Covid times well, swapping out their regular Thursday night concerts at the Queen’s Hall for online concerts throughout lockdown. You can tune in on Thursday nights or on Fridays for their new Listen at Lunchtime series to get your classical music fix. Their YouTube channel houses all the previous concerts so you can spend hours immersing yourself in their back catalogue.

A group of musicians rehearse with their conductor
📷 Ryan Buchanan

9. Explore Edinburgh’s food scene

It has been amazing to see how restaurants have adapted to these weird times. With many quickly redesigning their premises for takeaways or offering at-home kits, you don’t need to sacrifice a delicious meal just because you can’t sit in a restaurant. Always try and order directly from restaurants to give them that little extra help!

10. The hidden gems of Edinburgh’s street art

Why not use our street murals guide to plan an artsy walk around the city, stopping off at some of the best street art in Edinburgh? Perfect for all you Instagrammers out there.

Brightly coloured mural on tunnel wall including yellow car
📷 Kat Gollock

11. A laugh a minute

We could all use a laugh at the moment. The Stand Comedy Club are hosting free comedy nights with big names like Jo Caulfield and Mark Thomas. 

12. Live theatre with the Traverse

The Traverse have masterfully pivoted during lockdown and have fully embraced online streaming. There are plays to stream on demand and online workshops to sign up to. It’s more important than ever to support local theatres so have a look through their great programme!

13. Take the plunge

Swimming in the sea has been proven to do wonders for your health, both physical and mental, and there are so many great spots to try it out in Edinburgh. Portobello Beach and Wardie Bay are good places to start.

Always do your research before doing outdoor swimming as we all know how chilly the Forth can be!

14. Pimp your party with Hey J Events

If you really want to treat your family or friends, why not organise a teepee sleepover? Hey J, a small business based in Edinburgh, will provide all you need for your special night and deliver it to your door. They’ve also just launched a two-night home cinema set up, delivering an 80 inch portable screen and projector, along with all you need for the ultimate movie marathon weekend. 

Teepee with balloons outside

15. Festival feels with Hidden Door

Hidden Door has been a prominent feature of Edinburgh’s cultural calendar since it began in 2014. There’s no stopping them this year. While they can’t host their usual gigs, there are plenty of online shows to check out on their website.

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