25 Interesting And Fun Facts About Edinburgh Scotland [Explained]

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Edinburgh takes you on a journey of dreamy natural landscapes, historic streets, incredible architecture, and much more. Everywhere you go throughout the city, you can find something beautiful to witness. There are plenty of fun facts about Edinburgh that make it such an appealing destination. 

Historical Facts About Edinburgh

The past stories of Edinburgh can be discovered in the various historical sites throughout the city. Here are some interesting Edinburgh facts that will provide you with a glimpse of its history.

Edinburgh Replaced The Capital In 1437


Many people don’t know this, but Edinburgh was not always the capital of the country. In 1437, it replaced Scone and became the official capital. Now when you visit the city, you will find that the Scottish Parliament is also located here.

The Highlanders Brought An Elephant Around The 19th Century


During the 19th century, the Highlanders came to the city from Sri Lanka, and they brought an elephant with them as a mascot. The animal also became the marching band head. There are also stories that because it spent so much time with the locals, it also started loving beer.

The Landscape Of The City Has Been Formed By A Glacier

The most stunning thing you will notice about the city is the landscape, which was formed because of a glacier. Everything from the deep valleys to the lush greenery has been formed due to the recent Ice Age. The shifting of the ice shaped these landscapes, and this is why many people come to the city.

In The 19th Century, It Has Really Poor Air Quality

You might not think this would be a big deal, but back in the 19th century, the city had a problem with poor air quality and got the nickname, Auld Reekie. 

During that time, a lot of wood and coal fires led to the pollution of the air. Now, the city has been transformed into one of the greenest places in the United Kingdom.

Cultural Facts About Edinburgh

You will not only find beauty but also a city rich in culture and heritage as you roam Edinburgh. Here are some interesting facts about Edinburgh and its culture you should be familiar with.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Hosts Over 3000 Shows


Scotland is famous for hosting one of the largest events related to art throughout the world. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival spread across 300 venues with more than 50,000 performances and 3000 shows. It starts in August, and is estimated to create more than 5000 jobs and 260 million euros in revenue each year!

You Have To Try Haggis


Edinburgh is known for its haggis, which is a spicy meat putting that you will find everywhere you go. It is one of the famous dishes in Scottish cuisine. The best part is that there are also vegetarian versions of this dish if you don’t eat meat. Give it a try to understand the local flavors and tastes.

The Stone Of Scone Is An Important Symbol

The Stone of Scone is also known as the Stone of Destiny, and it is an important symbol for the crowning of the kings in the country. During the 13th century, it was taken to England and then put under the Coronation Chair. Now you will find it at one of the most famous castles in Scotland – the Edinburgh Castle. 

Fire Fighting Techniques Were Created By Locals


It was the locals in Edinburgh that came up with the fire-fighting techniques we know today. James Braidwood was the one who invented these techniques; before him, no one understood how to safely put a fire out. Later on, Braidwood was also hired in London to create a brigade.

Interesting Facts About Edinburgh For Kids

Edinburgh is a fascinating city worth learning about. There are many fun facts about Edinburgh for kids you can teach to the young generation. 

There Is A Knighted Penguin At The Edinburgh Zoo

Yes, this might sound weird, but Sir Nils Olav is a knighted penguin at the city zoo. He is the only penguin that has been given this status, and it took place in 2008. Ever since then, he has also been promoted to Brigadier, so don’t forget to check out this beautiful penguin when you go to the Edinburgh Zoo.

This is one of the popular attractions and landmarks in Edinburgh that are great for families and visitors.

It Has Been The Center Of Education For A Long Time


The education system in Edinburgh is well recognized, and the universities excel in various types of studies. These include law, medicine, philosophy, literature, engineering, and much more. That is why Edinburgh is often considered a popular option for higher studies.

The New Town And Old Town Are A UNESCO Site


Edinburgh consists of an Old Town and a New Town, and both of them are heritage sites you can visit. The Old Town was founded in 7 AD, and it was the original city. However, after the Treaty of the Union, a second city was created, which is now the New Town.

Useful Edinburgh Facts For Travelers

When traveling to Edinburgh, it’s always good to yourself with some helpful knowledge that will enhance your trip. Here are some fun facts about Edinburgh that can take your traveling experience to another level.

There Are More Than A Hundred Parks In The City


Edinburgh is one of the greenest places, and this is reflected in the large number of parks present. You can take advantage of these natural spaces by visiting some of the most famous parks. These include Holyrood Park, Lochend Park, Princes Street Gardens, Royal Botanic Garden, and many others.

Edinburgh Castle Is Located On Castle Rock


One of the most interesting facts about Edinburgh Castle is that it is located on a 700 million-year-old extinct volcano. The volcano is not active anymore, so you don’t have to worry about witnessing an eruption while you are there. However, one thing you should not miss here is the 1 o’clock Gun.

This is when shots are fired from the castle at 1 pm daily except Sundays. It is a ceremonial event, and many people gather here to watch this take place. This is one of the most impressive palaces and castles in Edinburgh.

There Are Volcanoes Throughout The City


The city used to have volcanoes millions of years ago, but now they are extinct and dormant. All these ancient volcanoes don’t pose a threat anymore, which is why it is safe to visit the city. Arthur’s Seat is one of the most popular extinct volcanoes that you will find in the middle of Holyrood Park.

The Oldest Building Is A Chapel

The St. Margaret’s Chapel is located inside Edinburgh Castle, and it is the oldest building in the city. It was built during the twelfth century in remembrance of Queen Margaret. It is said that the Queen’s husband passed away, and she also died because of a broken heart later on. 

Common Facts About Edinburgh

There are many general Edinburgh facts that everyone should know about the city. Some of which are also what Edinburgh is known for today. 

It Is The Home of Harry Potter

J.K Rowling wrote most of the books in the Harry Potter series in Edinburgh. In addition, some scenes in the films were even shot in the city. Most of the novels were written in places such as the Balmoral Hotel and the Elephant House. 

If you are traveling in Edinburgh make sure to visit some of the locations where the movies were shot.

There is also a Potter Trail, which is a tour that will take you through all the sites where the films have been shot. If you are a Potterhead, this is the perfect activity for you.

People Resided Underground In The 19th Century

There is an entire city beneath the surface of Edinburgh. Many families that were not fortunate enough resided in these cramped and underground rooms. However, as time went by, these places were abandoned and people started living above the ground.

There are tours that will take you through this underground network and explore the stories of legends past. It’s one of the historical and insightful things to do in Edinburgh. 

Nor Loch Was A Man-Made Lake

The area that takes up the Waverley Station and Princes Street Gardens used to be a man-made lake known as Nor Loch. It was created in the 15th century as part of the city’s defense. Later on in the 18th century, the lake was drained to create the beautiful gardens you see now.

It Is The Only City To Adopt A Dog


John Gray was a night watchman, and his loyal companion was Bobby, who sat by the grave of his owner for the next fourteen years. When he passed away, Edinburgh adopted the furry companion, gave him a collar, and created a shelter for him next to the grave of John Gray. It is the only city to ever do that.

Most Of The Buildings Are Listed


Edinburgh is one of the places to have the most listed buildings in the United Kingdom. Listed buildings are basically ones that are marked out and recognized to have significant architectural or historical interests. 

More than 75% of the buildings in Edinburgh are listed. This amounts to over 4000 listed buildings, out of which 900 are classified as Category A. Some of them are important historic landmarks in Scotland.

Other Interesting Facts About Edinburgh

Here are some other amazing facts about Edinburgh that you probably didn’t know before.

The Largest Electric Blanket In The World Is Here

Most people don’t know about this, but The Mound is an electric blanket in Edinburgh located underground. It was created to make sure that the roads don’t freeze in winter and was installed in the mid-twentieth century. However, it is not functional anymore but still exists underground.

Giles Cathedral Is A Presbyterian Church


There is a misconception that St. Giles is a cathedral, but it is a Presbyterian Church. It is still a place of worship, and you can visit it to learn more about it. It is still considered to be one of the most important church buildings in Scotland, making it a famous attraction among tourists.

The Locals Coined The Phrase “Shit-Faced”

T Locals here were the first ones to start using the term as Gardy-Lou. However, it was not used in the context that we use the term now. Nonetheless, it’s one of the funny facts about Edinburgh. 

Back in the past, people used to dump waste water out the window. This term

was used quite literally to warn people of the excrement and waste falling below so they could get out of the way. Otherwise, you may actually get shit on your face. 

There Are Haunted Graveyards Here

Many ghost attacks and haunted activities have been reported in some of the graveyards. You can ask the locals about this, and they will have interesting tales to tell you. Some might even warn you to stay away from Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Alexander Graham Bell Was Born Here

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and he is from Edinburgh. When you visit the city, you can see a plaque on his house where he was born and raised. He was from New Town, and his contributions completely changed the way people communicated at the time.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Edinburgh

These are just some of the interesting Edinburgh facts to know about that will help you have a fantastic trip and make the most of your time there.

There are parks, lakes, valleys, castles, pubs, great food, and much more for you to explore. Consider talking to the friendly locals and learn more about the city firsthand, you are bound to uncover more incredible facts about Edinburgh. 



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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