Around 2 years ago, I visited Edinburgh, did all of the tourist stuff, wrote a blog post etc. And this Easter weekend, I did it all again – and if anything I love Edinburgh even more!
This time, we stayed slightly outside of the city centre, in the Stockbridge area. It’s a lovely little suburb, with a farmers market on Sundays, and lots of independent shops and most importantly pubs with good food. It was about a 30 minute walk into the centre, to the castle and the Royal Mile, which is no problem if you’re fine with walking (and hills. Lots of hills). We took a couple of Ubers when we were running late, but otherwise the calf muscles certainly got a workout!
Top touristy activities I’d recommend would be the castle (a must-see), Arthur’s Seat (if your legs can manage the extra hills), and probably Holyroodhouse Palace, which I didn’t visit on my previous trip but was definitely worth seeing. We also spent a good half day walking down the Royal Mile, popping into shops and stopping for (many) refreshments (mainly cider in the sun and cakes from Mimi’s Little Bakehouse – although not all at once!). Victoria Street is also definitely worth walking through, being the cobbled, eclectic inspiration for Diagon Alley. It’s also the home of some great restaurants, and great independent shops, along with the plethora of Harry Potter-themed gift shops which have popped up (less of a must-see to be honest).
There are laid-back pubs for drinks and decent lunches on every street, although Grassmarket is a nice place to wander down and sit outside on a warm day. There are also no end of good restaurants in Edinburgh – last time we went to Red Squirrel, which I’d really recommend. This time around, we visited a few more upmarket places, which were pricey but delicious. I believe there are a couple of Howie’s restaurant in Edinburgh, but we booked to visit the one on Victoria Street. It’s really lovely inside, and the food is spectacular. The Scran and Scallie in Stockbridge has been called the best gastro pub in Edinburgh, and I can honestly say that’s probably true – it was another massive hit. On our final evening, we went full tourist and visited the Witchery, which is worth dining at just for the decor; one room is Secret Garden themed, whilst the other is a full-on Gothic/Baroque mix up. It was a great experience, and the steak (Himalayan salt dry aged) was quite possibly the best I’ve ever tasted. For a special occasion or last-night celebration certainly, but one to be remembered. One of the best things about Edinburgh is that alongside these fantastic high-end restaurants sit individual, independent joints which are producing inventive and affordable eats and unique drinks. Check out The Boozy Cow for burgers, and Leo’s Beanery for seriously good brunch.
I’d strongly recommend Edinburgh, especially if you’re in the UK and have a long weekend to spare. Trains can be pricey but if you book in advance there are good deals to be found. We actually flew from Birmingham this time around, which was really simple and totally worth it. We stayed in a rented apartment via HomeAway this time around, but if you’re travelling light and not planning on spending much time in your hotel, I’d really recommend Premier Inn hubs – there are a couple in Edinburgh, and although the rooms are small, the price tag is too. A definite THIS IS success!