#UniShorts: 3 Best Sports Facilities at Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has some of the best sports facilities in the UK, from Peffermill Playing Fields to the Pleasance Sports Complex.


Edinburgh University women's rugby team huddle before Varsity

The University of Edinburgh won the National Fitness Award for Best Education Facility in 2019 (photo by Dan Smith Photography/ Shutterstock.com)

Many prospective students might know the University of Edinburgh as one of the most internationally diverse institutions of higher education in the UK, with high scores for crucial ranking criteria like teaching quality and research output.

However, you might be less likely to realise that this university is also one of the absolute best in the UK when it comes to Sport and Exercise.

In fact, the university won the coveted National Fitness Award for Best Education Facility in 2019, cementing the fact that, when it comes to combining state-of-the-art facilities with Physical Education and Sports Science, Edinburgh is one of the best places around.

So what about the specific facilities on offer at the university? Here’s a quick and concise rundown of the top 3 best sports facilities at Edinburgh, from Peffermill Playing Fields to the Pleasance Sports Complex in the Old Town. 

Also, a quick note before we get into it: if you want a more in-depth guide to the best universities for combining sport and academics in the UK, check out this article we’ve just published.

  • Best Sports Facilities at Edinburgh: Peffermill Playing Fields and Sports Centre 

Peffermill is, for all intents and purposes, the hub of student sport at the University of Edinburgh. You’ll find two 3G pitches, which are made up of sand, rubber, and synthetic turf and are all-weather playing surfaces that are ideal for sports like rugby, football, and lacrosse. 

There’s also a state-of-the-art Platinum Cool Plus playing surface at Peffermill, which is an Olympic-standard pitch that’s used by elite-level hockey players across the world (and which was used at the Rio Olympics in 2016). 

Fans of a bracing and refreshing workout will appreciate the exceptional outdoor gym at the facility: the university actually worked with US gym and turf equipment company PLAE to develop a premium-quality gym space in the middle of the centre’s 100m sprinting track. 

  • Best Sports Facilities at Edinburgh: Pleasance Sports Complex and Gym 

One of the best sports facilities in Edinburgh is this incredible centre right next to Pleasance Courtyard and near to Cowgate, in the heart of the Old Town.

This Sports Complex is one of the finest of its kind in the UK: the gym itself includes a gorgeous circuit room (for bodyweight-style workouts), an inclusive Vaults Gym where anyone can develop lifting techniques, and a brand-new Eleiko Training Gym for high-performance, elite-level athletes. 

This centre also includes a number of top-notch indoor facilities: the on-site Sports Hall is used for basketball, volleyball, netball, and 5-a-side football. The hall also has American-style bleacher seating, meaning it can host a crowd of up to 500 people if necessary. There are also a number of squash courts on the main level of the centre

If you’re a fan of recreational and functional fitness, you’ll appreciate the weekly programme of events that the university puts on at Pleasance.

In particular, check out the Body Combat class on Monday evening (if you want to try something a little different) or the cathartic Stretch & De-Stress class on Saturday mornings for some mindful and relaxing movement. 

  • The Firbush Outdoor Centre 

One of the university’s unique selling points is this exceptional outdoor centre, which is nestled in between the small villages of Killin and Ardeonaig on the south shore of Loch Tay. 

The Firbush Outdoor Centre offers a number of outdoor Winter Skills courses for people who want to earn qualifications in technical winter walking and climbing in the snow and ice.

You can also learn how to sail via the RYA Dinghy Sailing pathway, windsurf with professional RYA instructors, and gain your Explore Award so that you can become a fully licensed paddler.  

If you fancy some time away from the city but don’t want to commit to taking a course, you can book yourself and your friends in for an adventure day at the centre.

During the winter months, you’ll be able to kayak, paddleboard, mountain bike, hike, and canoe, and in the summertime, you’ll also be able to sail and windsurf

Final Thoughts 

As well as being one of the top colleges in the UK for teaching quality, research output, and overall prestige, the University of Edinburgh has some of the best sporting facilities around, including: 

  • Peffermill Playing Fields and Sports Centre: if you play rugby, football, lacrosse, hockey or ultimate frisbee, chances are you’ll have all your training sessions and games at this state-of-the-art sports centre. 
  • Pleasance Sports Complex and Gym: this complex has exceptional facilities, with the Pleasance Gym in particular including everything you would ever want as a high-performance athlete. 
  • The Firbush Outdoor Centre: situated on the south shore of Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands, this special place gives Edinburgh students the opportunity to explore some breathtaking Scottish scenery for an affordable price. 

If you want more in-depth insights into the facilities that different UK universities have to offer, as well as advice on how to ace the university admissions process, get in touch with one of our team of experts at A&J Education to book a free consultation today.

Leave a Reply