Things to do
Definitely not one for Christmas Scrooges, the Santa Stroll involves dressing up in a Santa costume and walking through Princes Street Gardens, taking part in a gathering that looks like some kind of mad Santa appreciation society. But, thankfully, the event does have a slightly more poignant purpose: raising money for charity. All the money made goes straight to ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ and is used to take 400 sick children to Lapland to meet the ‘real’ Santa Claus. So you can actually help make some little one's dreams come true. If you need any more incentive, then remember that Santa only comes to those who have been good – so maybe doing your bit for the disadvantaged children will help secure you a healthier looking stocking come Christmas morning.
Princes Street Gardens, Tue 16 Dec, www.edinburghschristmas.com, £10 entry fee.
With all kinds of strange optical illusions, Camera Obscura offers unique views of Edinburgh. The optical lenses can also be used to make your head look the size of a hot air balloon, or there are 3D magic eye drawings to bend your mind.
Camera Obscura, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 0131 226 3709, www.camera-obscura.co.uk, open daily 10am–5pm, £7.95 (£6.50), child £5.50 (under 5s free).
An indoor climbing centre with walls of varying scariness. Thrill-seekers can opt for the non-harnessed boulder wall, which looms toward you with a 45 degree overhang. Hold on tight.
Alien Rock, 8 Pier Place, Edinburgh, 0131 552 7211, www.alienrock.co.uk, Mon–Thu noon–11pm, Fri noon–10pm, Sat & Sun 10am–9pm, £6.80 (£5.20), child £4.50.
Home to quirky, sometimes interactive exhibitions and art designed to make you think, rather than being a gallery just about art hanging limply on walls. At the Fruitmarket, art is explored in a much more interesting way and the excellent café and bookshop are worth exploring too.
45 Market Street, Edinburgh, 0131 225 2383, www.fruitmarket.co.uk, Mon–Sat 11am–6pm, Sun noon–5pm, free.
Visit mortuaries, cemeteries and generally explore the grimmer side of the city. The Rebus tours bring Ian Rankin’s famous crime books to life and are conducted by a big hulking bearded man.
Departs Royal Oak pub, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, 0131 553 7473, www.rebustours.com, every Sat 1pm, £10 (£9).