The sound of bagpipes whining in the distance, the waft of haggis seeping out of a rustic pub as you walk the winding cobblestoned streets after a light summer shower. Edinburgh may not be Scotland’s largest city, but the country’s capital is arguably the most cultural throughout this rugged country. Exploring Edinburgh is a must if you find yourself in this part of the world and with so much to see and do, it’s well worth saving a few days to make the most of ‘Auld Reekie’.
A visit to Edinburgh takes you on a tour of a city of several faces. From the bustling alleyways of old town, to the cosy boutiques and bars of West End, exploring Edinburgh takes in the old and the new. But there’s more than bars, shops and theatres in the cultural capital of Scotland. A walk in and around the city offers numerous opportunities to enjoy some of the stunning natural wonders Scotland is famous for.
So, whether you want to hit the art galleries, take in a show or enjoy the best mince and tatties in town – washed down with a fine scotch of course – Edinburgh is the city for you. Relatively small in comparison to other capital cities, it has a cosy atmosphere and is a welcome retreat from big city life – while enjoying all best bits of city living.
Where to Eat and Drink
The Scots are famed for their friendly welcomes and top rate hospitality. It comes as no surprise then, that Edinburgh is home to a huge number of fantastic places to eat and drink. From rustic pubs that have stood the test of time, to some of the finest dining experiences in the world, there’s something for any type of traveller.
For those looking to spoil themselves and try a range of some of the best whiskies in the world, ‘The Whisky Bar at the Balmoral’ is a must. Offering over 500 different single malts, blends and vintages from each of the 5 Scottish whisky regions, plus classic whisky cocktails and snacks, discover a world of whisky with a professional Whisky Ambassador.
When in Scotland, do as the Scots do and tuck into a tasty plate of haggis, neeps and tatties. Head for ‘Arcade Bar; Haggis and Whisky House’ for a real taste of Scotland and some of the best haggis in town. Don’t worry if you’re not keen on offal and sheep stomach – there’s plenty of other choices on the menu!
For cocktails, head underground to ‘Bramble Bar and Lounge’ for some of the best in the city. If a more rustic pub is more your style, check out ‘The Jolly Judge’, with its low ceilings, log fires and real ale. For craft beer, the ‘Hanging Bat’ is a fantastic venue with over 20 taps and a huge range of bottles.
Breakfast, brunch and coffee can be enjoyed at any number of superb cafes throughout the city. Stockbridge and Morningside are both stunning parts of the city that boast a variety of excellent cafes. Check out ‘The Pantry’ in Stockbridge for a modern twist on some classic Scottish breakfasts.
Visit Edinburgh’s Natural Delights
With a good meal in you and the effects of last night’s whisky and cocktail tastings slowly emerging, why not head out into the great outdoors? The Old Town and West End are lovely areas for aimless meanderings, dropping into boutique shops and cafes when the mood takes you – or when the rain starts.
The Royal Botanical Garden is also well worth a visit and is just one mile outside of the city centre. Enjoy great views over the city skyline as well as
Edinburgh Castle and discover a huge variety of plants. It’s free to stroll through the gardens and there’s a lot to explore, from the Giant Redwood Trees to the Chinese Hillside. The glasshouses are also fascinating and when you’re done, enjoy cake and coffee at the cafe – just beware of the friendly – but hungry – squirrels!
A climb up to Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh’s highest point – certainly gets the blood pumping and offers spectacular views. You may be surprised to find yourself on top of an ancient volcano – but have no fear, it’s long been dormant!
From volcanoes to the beach, head to Portobello and gaze over the turbid waters of the North Sea. Finally, the Water of Leith walk is perfect for a light stroll on a warm afternoon. This riverside walk takes in the Village of Dean and its intriguing cemetery plus a number of parks and public gardens.
Explore Cultural Edinburgh
For the culture vultures out there, Edinburgh is Scotland’s prime destination for art galleries, museums and theatre. The vast majority of them can be found within walking distance of one another, making for a relaxed day of sightseeing, topped off with a show. Head for the Royal Mile and wander towards the stunning Edinburgh Castle, taking in whichever museums and galleries take your fancy.
Head for the Edinburgh Playhouse to enjoy some of the world’s most popular Broadway shows, or seek out a smaller more intimate venue such as the St Bride’s Centre. This converted church has a fantastic atmosphere and plays host to a range of different types of events.
No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without checking out the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Complete with museums, events and intriguing historical displays, it makes for a fascinating day out.
There are a great many things to do in Edinburgh and one can explore this fantastic city for many years and still find new things to enjoy! It’s well worth taking your time and spending at least a few days in and around the city to really make the most out of your trip.
Enjoy the tastes of Scotland and the superb hospitality of the locals, as well as the many cultural activities the city offers. So, what’re you waiting for? Don your kilt today and hit the high road – you never know, you may love it so much you might never leave!