The opportunity for me came up to live in Edinburgh for you a year…I say opportunity, The Boy got onto the Brewing and Distilling Masters course at Heriot Watt so being the loved up girlfriend I followed him up. I’m so glad I did. At first it was incredibly hard leaving friends and family but Edinburgh had so much to offer. So I’ve decided to do 48 hours in Edinburgh for all those looking for something to do. I’ve tried to add the links to most places (sorry if I’ve missed some!) to make it easier for you to book things. My main bit of advice regardless of the season –
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR RAIN COAT!!
Start your day nice and early at the Caffeine Drip – a South African Café and Bakery. The entrance is just the door but head down to be welcomed and seated. Do start early as this place is incredibly popular and fills up quickly! My go to is the French toast with bacon and maple syrup. It’s unbelievably filling and will give you fuel for the day. I naturally have a coffee but also highly recommend their smoothies. You definitely won’t be hungry if you eat all this.
Head up to Edinburgh Castle, its £16.50 per adult. Have a good walk around. There is a lot to learn here. Go to the Crown Room where, you guessed it, you’ll see the Crown, Sceptre and Sword of State which were first used in 1543 by Mary Queen of Scots! There can be a bit of a wait but it’s worth it. Look around the prisons (or vaults if you wish to use a nicer word!) that were used to hold prisoners of war during the 18th and 19th centuries. Then walk up to St Margret’s Chapel which is the oldest part of the castle. Take a minute, or two, to look over the edge and at the view, it’s breath taking!
Leave the castle and take the 1 minute walk to the Scotch Whisky Experience . If you have time and want to learn more about whisky (and remember you’re in Scotland so there is no E in Whisky!) take the tour where you will also get to see the world’s largest collection of whisky. Also the “ride” you start on is a bit of fun and an original way of learning about the process. If you don’t fancy this, head down to the Amber Bar. The ambience is incredibly touristy but the barmen will talk you through picking the perfect whisky. It’s great if you aren’t sure what you will like. My favourite is the Balvenie 14 year rum cask!!
Having had a couple of whiskies it’s time for a snack. Go to Lovecrumbs and get a coffee
and cake. It’s by far the best in Edinburgh, I took most people here when they came to visit. Opened by Hollie and Rachel in 2011 they have been rushed of their feet ever since. However, since then Rachel has stepped away, leaving Hollie to run the show. She’s doing a fantastic job, the cakes sell themselves and check out those signature swirls! They are expanding their menu from just cakes to include some savoury items too. Now fulled up on coffee and sugar head down to Grassmarket, which actually only has a market on on Saturdays but it’s a nice walk through. Head to your right and see Greyfriars Bobby, rub his nose for some luck before carrying on to the Royal Mile. If you’re a Harry Potter fan you can see the café where J K Rowling wrote the incredible novel, The Elephant Café. If I am honest don’t go in, it’s not worth it! Have a wonder down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood House and Arthur’s Seat!
The walk up Arthur’s Seat is a must. It can be a bit of hard work (I fell over, ironically
trying to avoid the smallest bit of mud!) but it’s worth it. The view up at the top is gorgeous. Be warned though, even though you are only 251m above sea level it can still get incredibly windy up there. On taking my sister up she mocked me for wearing a ridiculous coat until she got up there and realised why! We were nearly blown away. It’s perfect on a sunny day to just take a seat and watch the world go by.
By this point, it’s definitely lunch time! Head back down and go to Salt Horse. They let different people occupy their kitchen so check out there website before going to see what you can expect. The beer menu is also on form and regularly changing, having the choice of 12 different beers on draught. They do only serve schooners and thirds though. For some this is okay as they are high in strength but sometimes you really do just want that pint of beer. Head to their bottle shop after and pick up a few cans. Someone here will always be willing to help you pick something! The staff are incredibly friendly. And take a meander down to The Meadows. Time for a bit of a chill. Have your beers before heading back and getting ready for you evening.
The Dogs, on Hanover Street is a British cuisine restaurant with a quirky love of dogs. The food and wine are both great. The pork cheek to share is definitely worth a go. Take time to relax and take it all in. Don’t rush!
If you fancy a few more drinks go to the Lucky Liquor for a cocktail, don’t expect anything normal, it’s definitely not there thing! Then move on the Panda and Sons (I don’t want you to have to walk to far now between drinks, these are all within 5 minutes of each other), another quirky cocktail bar. This one is a bit more speak easy as it masquerades as a barber shop. Go for the Monet Talks, it’s bellinis with a twist! Be the artist as you use the “paint” (peach, mixed berry, melon, and kiwi coulis) and prosecco to create your own drinks.
After your busy first day time to relax a little! Go to Spoon for a bit more of a lighter brunch. It’s got a great atmosphere and the waiters are always willing to help with any dietary requirements. It’s a very bright open restaurant with a homely feel. The toilets are great, covered in old adverts – see if you can find any you recognise. They use top ingredients and the coffee is fantastic, what’s not to love!
Take a leisurely walk through town and down to the Water of Leith Walkway. Go via the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art . Remember to check out all the art, including the bits outside. It’s not massive but it’s nice to take a little mosey around, especially as it’s free you don’t feel as if you have to stay there all day. Also note that there are two parts to the gallery, one on either side of the road. Once you’re finished carry on down the Walkway to Stockbridge. If it’s Sunday you are there check out the Market. Pick up a coffee from the Steampunk Coffee stall, if you’re lucky their campervan will be there, before having a mooch round. There is a little of everything going on from crafts, to food, to of course alcohol! If there is no market take a walk around the boutique stores. For lunch take a quick 5 minute walk Smith and Gertrude and enjoy some cheese with wine pairing! If you don’t fancy more cheese head back into town and go to Checkpoint, it’s a nice walk to get there and the portions are massive!!
From here, go to Prince’s Street Garden via George Street and Prince’s Street for a wee bit of shopping. Admire the Scottish Monument and head up it if you’re feeling brave! From here go to the National Gallery. It’s full of some fantastic piece of classic art. You can lose yourself there all afternoon. Which is great if it’s raining! But again it’s free to get in so you don’t lose anything if you choose to only pop in for half an hour.
You’ve done a lot of walking by this point and hopefully seen some different parts of Edinburgh! Reward yourself with the Edinburgh Gin Tour . This time learn about the history of gin and how it’s made. They also give you a G&T at the end so why wouldn’t you go? Pick up one of their bottles to take home with you – the Cannonball or Classic are my favourites. If you do have more of a sweet tooth though, go for the Elderflower Liquor. Head straight up to dinner at the Huxley afterwards, literally, it’s located right above it! It’s the perfect place to put your feet up and unwind after all the steps you’ve taken in the last 48 hours!
I hope this has given you a good idea of what to do in the capital of Scotland. On a side note…I obviously have no idea where you will be staying so mix it up depending where you are based.
Also if you are there for longer I highly recommend the following…or try to squeeze more in if you can…or incentive to visit again!
Edinburgh Zoo – they have Giant Pandas!!
The Jolly Ristorante – great value for money, massive portions
Cuckoo’s Bakery – more great cake
Mary’s Milk Bar – if its sunny get ice cream, if its cold get ice cream float hot chocolates
The Potting Shed – great food in an unusal setting
The Hanging Bat – busy craft beer bar
National Museum of Scotland – amazing artefacts, great building, and head to the roof for another view
The Balmoral Afternoon Tea – want a treat, this is a must!
Leith and Portabello