Sport in Edinburgh

For sports enthusiasts, Edinburgh is a great place to play or watch a game. Sports are a significant part of Scottish culture, and Edinburgh offers many to choose from, including both traditional and internationally played sports.


Fans of rugby should check if a 6 Nations rugby match is scheduled in Edinburgh during their visit. Matches generally take place February through March, with each side facing their opponent at their home venue every other year. In May, there is the Edinburgh Sevens Rugby Festival. This festival is related to the IRB Sevens World Series with the final event happening in Edinburgh. With all the people gathering for the big match, other rugby related events are held as well. Open rugby festivals are held over two days, featuring players over 35 (known as the Golden Oldies) and teams of female players. On the second day, there is a P7 mini festival which rugby teams can register for in advance.


For golf enthusiasts, travel a short distance outside of Edinburgh to what is known as the Cradle of Golf, East Lothian. Golf has a long history in Scotland (Scots have been playing it since the 14th century), so it is no surprise that there are world-renowned golf courses here, including Gullane, the Open Championship course at Muirfield, and the Open Qualifying course at Dunbar. Edinburgh also saw the formation of the world’s first established golf club, The Gentleman Golfers of Leith (later known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers) in 1744. The thing that is great about this area is that golfers of all handicaps have a place they can play. There are historical golf courses, such as Musselburgh Links, which is the oldest continuously played course in the world, as well as modern courses, such as the courses at Craigielaw, which have been specially designed. Plus, the wide variety of courses means games can be played on sandy links overlooking the sea or on parkland greens, whichever is preferred.

Highland Games

For those who would like to see traditional Scottish sports at their finest, take a day trip out of Edinburgh and watch the Highland Games. These events are held throughout the year, and they celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage. Here you can listen to bagpipes and Scottish drumming, or watch dancing and the famous heavy athletics, such as the caber toss and the stone put. There are also other entertainments and exhibits that show additional aspects of Scottish and Gaelic culture. Held every August, the Cowal Highland Gathering, which is known as the Cowal Games, is the largest Highland games in Scotland and attracts around 35,000 competitors and about 15-20,000 spectators from around the world.


Hurling fans might want to catch a shinty game. These games can be found around Edinburgh and throughout Scotland. Similar to hurling, shinty is played with sticks and a ball, but it has different features and rules, such as differently shaped sticks and players being restricted from catching the ball even for a short time.

Whether sports fans are playing or watching, Edinburgh offers an engaging variety of opportunities in which to participate.