Edinburgh is my storybook town. With its iconic castle in the centre, the cobblestones and winding streets of old town, the elegant Georgian structures of New Town, and the luscious gardens in between. Oh and don’t forget to walk up Arthur’s Seat, our very own defunct volcano. Need I mention that it’s Jo Rowling’s place of residence, where all seven Potter books were penned? There’s so much to see, so let’s start by stumbling through the gothic charm of Old Town.
Start your day with the perfect view.
Start at Edinburgh Castle – even if you don’t go in for the complete tour, it’s worth seeing the structure up close, and also the magnificent views that its hilltop entrance provides of the beautiful cityscape.
Wander (and Shop) your way down Victoria Street.
My favourite street in Edinburgh is curvy like a turret’s spiral staircase, and happens to be dotted with some great local boutiques for affordable art prints at Red Door Gallery
, fabulous fitted Scottish wool pieces at Walker Slater
, and the most soothing scents at the Isle of Skye Candle Company
. Not far away in the Grassmarket area are Hannah Zakari
, which carries the most quirky-cute jewelry and the BEST greeting cards, and Godiva Boutique
, home to some amazing independent designers with a vintage room in the back (At the very least, visit Godiva for the zebra-unicorn mural inside).
Break for tea and cosiness at Lovecrumbs.
Perhaps my favourite place in the city
will not disappoint your sweet tooth, serving a variety of seasonal bakes daily, displayed in an antique wardrobe (you heard me right). The atmosphere is like a midsummer night’s dream, with creative seating options including at a piano and in the window.
Sit on Comfy Tartan & Try the Local Cuisine.
I call it Scottish Chic – rustic and cosy with plenty of tartan pillows. There are three great options in Old Town depending on your budget and what you fancy. For Scottish cuisine (and chocolate workshops), try The Cellar Door
. Around the corner and, as the name suggests, Under the Stairs
, feel like a local by finding this tucked-away venue, with a range of yummy cuisine and cocktails. For self-proclaimed “industrial chic” book a table at the magnificently chill Timberyard
, where you are served an artisinal multi-course feast in this former warehouse.
Princes St Gardens
Utterly gorgeous all year round, this luscious green space is a peaceful break between Old and New Town urban-ness. Sip Pimms in the summer, ogle the foliage in the autumn, listen to the bagpiping Santas in winter, and smell the roses in spring.
Take Part in the Festivals.
Edinburgh is the “Festival City”, so there is always something
thematic and wonderful going on. Visit in August for the infamous International Festival & The Fringe. There are more performances going on than it is humanly possible to attend, with nearly every establishment converting into a theatre venue. Wander down the Royal Mile and pick up a Fringe guide, or, to be honest, just see anything at Summerhall
. To get your performing arts fix in the off-season, try the Traverse
, home to some great black box spaces, and “a Play, a Pie, & a Pint” lunchtime shows.