Sport in Edinburgh

Cheer from the sideline, race to the finish line, perfect your swing or witness history in the making. Experience Edinburgh’s rich sporting tradition as a spectator or as an athlete yourself.

Rugby

3354645106_a6543d0786_oEdinburgh has a fantastic rugby tradition, home to a professional Pro 12 rugby union team as well as the Scottish national team.

  • Edinburgh Rugby Club – The city’s professional rugby union team, Edinburgh Rugby Club, play at Murrayfield Stadium, just west of Haymarket station. 
  • Heineken Cup – Murrayfield is a routine venue for Heineken Cup matches and has hosted the tournament final on multiple occasions.
  • Six Nations – Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium is also home to the Scottish national team, drawing in huge crowds during the Six Nations tournament. The annual event takes place in late winter/early spring between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Football

Edinburgh is home to two rival SPL teams, each with its own set of die-hard supporters.

  • Hibernian F.C. – Head to Easter Road Stadium in Leith to watch ‘Hibs’ play to a home crowd. Founded in 1875 by Irish immigrants, the club has a long and unique history – notably being the first British team to participate in the European Cup.
  • Heart of Midlothian F.C.  – Based in the city’s west side, ‘Hearts’ play in the historic Tynecastle Stadium. Hearts are Edinburgh’s oldest football club, founded in 1874 by members of the Heart of Midlothian Dancing Club.

Golf

Scotland is the birthplace of golf, so where better to enjoy a round (or several) than on one of its many scenic courses? Here is just a small selection of the places you can go to play golf near Edinburgh:

Edinburgh Courses

  • Duddingston Golf Club – This beautiful course is quietly tucked away in the historic village of Duddingston, just east of the city. The grounds, designed by 3-time Open Champion Willie Park, feature the winding Braid Burn stream and stunning views of Arthur’s Seat.

  • Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society – One of the oldest golfing groups in the world, the Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society course is situated north west of the city and offers stunning views over the Firth of Forth. Despite the name, it is actually not a links style course, but a lush parkland with tree-lined fairways and beautifully manicured slopes.

  • Bruntsfield Links – Not to be confused with the Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society (above), this small 36-hole short hole golf course is located just across from the Meadows, one of Edinburgh’s best urban parks. It’s also one of Edinburgh’s only free public courses, and you can hire clubs at the Golf Tavern pub (just off the 19th hole).

Click here for information on other courses in Edinburgh.

East Lothian Courses

  • Gullane – This scenic seaside town is home to three fantastic links courses. The 7th hole of it’s no. 1 course is ranked by the PGA as the 5th most picturesque golf spot in the world. Just a 25-minute train journey from Waverly to Drem station, Gullane is the ideal place to experience the essence of Scottish golfing culture.

  • North Berwick – This classic links course is just a 45-minute drive or 35-minute train ride away from the city. The seaside grounds have played host to a number of historic matches, including the final qualifying rounds of the 2013 Open Championship.

  • Musselburgh Links – Considered the oldest golf course in the world, Musselburgh Links is only a short 15-minute drive from Edinburgh. Legend has it that Mary, Queen of Scots enjoyed a round of golf on the course back in 1567. The 9-hole course is open to the public year round.

Other East Lothian courses: Dunbar, Longniddry, Kilspindie, Craigielaw and Whitekirk.

Famous Courses

  • Muirfield – This unique links course resides on the outskirts of Gullane in East Lothinan. It’s home to the world’s oldest golf club, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and routinely plays host to the Open Championship.

  • Old Course at St. Andrew’s – This windswept, coastal course is one of the most important and iconic settings in golfing history. Dating back to the 15th-century and officially established in 1552, the Old Course greatly influenced the modern game of golf, including introducing the 18-hole standard.

  • Gleneagles – Just over 40 miles north of Edinburgh, these gorgeous grounds have hosted a number of prestigious tournaments over the years. Gleneagles’ résumé includes the PGA Cup, Johnnie Walker Championship, WPGA Championship of Europe and the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Tennis

DSC_0159Has Scotland’s own Andy Murray inspired you to take up tennis? Bring your racket and head to one of Edinburgh’s many courts for a game. Your options include:

  • Meadows Tennis Courts – On the east side of the meadows, next to the children’s play area, are 16 public tennis courts. The acrylic courts are open to the public year round and you can book a court through Edinburgh Leisure
  • Inverleith ParkTucked away in Edinburgh’s charming Stockbridge neighbourhood, north of the city centre, the sprawling Inverleith Park is home to four free, public tennis courts.

Other tennis courts near Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Peffermill Courts, St. Margaret’s Park and Craiglockhart Tennis and Sports Centre.

Running

From the spacious Holyrood Park to the always-popular Meadows, there are plenty of scenic places to run in Edinburgh. The city also hosts several running events every year, including:

  • Edinburgh Marathon Festival – With one of the ‘fastest’ marathon routes in Europe, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival attracts runners from across the globe. The annual event also includes a half marathon, 10k, 5k, relay race and kids’ races.
  • Edinburgh Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon – A tough, but rewarding, course with many pesky Edinburgh hills, this marathon features a different rock band at every mile marker. Leave your iPod at home and let the live tunes guide you to the finish line.

Other running events: Bupa Great Edinburgh Run, Seven Hills of Edinburgh and the Portobello Beach Race.

Murrayfield image by zoonabar via Flickr