A FIRST TIMER’S GUIDE TO EDINBURGH

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Edinburgh – a perfect weekend escape from London, only four hours on the train or a short flight! The capital of Scotland holds the perfect mix between history, nature and food, what more could you want for a weekend away?

 

Walking through New Carlton Burial Ground on route to climb Arthurs seat

 

There is so much to see in do in the old town of Edinburgh and it can be rather overwhelming when you see a city for the first time. I have put together a list of the must see views, food not to miss and the best cocktails in town to ensure you make the most of your time there.

 

EPIC VIEWS

ARTHURS SEAT

A cute little walk hosting incredible views all over to city and out to the seaside. The route takes around 1.5 hours and only requires a comfortable pair of shoes, some water and a camera, of course! There are many stops along the way, so you will always be able to grab a photo free of people in the background (always a win in my books).

 

 

Top Tip: There are a bunch of different routes to the top – make sure to head down a different way to the way you went up! Have a look at the paths on google maps before you head off.

 

CARLTON HILL

A Perfect spot for a picnic one of those rare, sunny days! Sitting just above the headquarters if the Scottish Government, it is around a 20 minute walk from the city centre. There is plenty of greenery to sit on and not only has great views of the city centre, but is also home to the National monument, City Observatory and the old Royal High school – plenty of old monuments to sit and admire over some cheese and crackers!

 

A frosty winters morning on Carlton Hill, getting ready for the Hogmanay festival

 

Head down Carlton Hill to the other side and you will come across Hollywood Palace – the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland. Not only has this place house Queen Elizabeth II, it has hosted multiple Kings and Queens since the 16th century, so head on down and get a feel for what it would like to be royalty!

 

 

EDINBURGH CASTLE

Head on up the hill off the main stretch and you will find this magnificent castle etched into the side. Known for more than its beauty, Edinburgh Castle is full of rich history and holds the Stone of Destiny. Back in 1950 a bunch of Scottish student managed to sneak this huge stone out of Westminster Abbey. Somehow, a few months later it turned up in Arbroath – a small town in Scotland and has today made its way to the Edinburgh Castle.

Added bonus: The base of the Castle is also THE Perfect place for a sunset snap!

 

Head to the stairs off King Stables Road for this sunset view

 

 

BEST COCKTAILS IN TOWN

Hoot the Redeemer

Located just by the main train station, it is the perfect place to end (or start) your trip! Behind a fun-filled door, this bar has a great selection of wines, craft beers and even alcoholic Ice-Cream (trust me, give it a go!).

Panda and Sons

Disguised as an Old Barber shop, this secret bar holds an insane cocktail list filled with everything from ‘poison vials’ to dry ice smoking drinks!

 

Dragonfly

A more relaxed bar just off the main market square perfect to sit back of an afternoon and look through your great photos from the day!

 

 

FOOD THAT CAN’T BE MISSED

THE ELEPHANT HOUSE

Definitely a huge tourist attraction but for all of the right reasons – It is the birthplace of Harry Potter! J K Rowling used to sit in this cafe, overlooking Greyfriars Krikyard while writing the first drafts of our favourite books. If you head over to Greyfriars kirkyard, you can even find Tom Riddle’s Grave! Make sure to check out the toilets – they are filled with fan paraphernalia.

 

P.s. The Carrot cake does not disappoint!

 

Top Tip: Head in early for a morning coffee and snack whilst avoiding the tourist mobs.

The Scran and Scallie

Located in a small suburb just out of the city centre, is a very affordable restaurant run by the Michelin Star team behind The Kitchin . Not only do they have a delicious range of hearty pub food, but they have some great tasting platters of beer and welcome dogs inside!

 

Top Tip: Head around the area of Stockbridge and make your way down to the river and follow it along, checking out the adorable houses lining the banks. It’s a perfect place to stroll away from all of the tourist areas.

 

Last, but not least, Haggis Nachos!

Want to try the local food with a modern twist? Try Haggis Nachos at The Black Bull Bar (don’t knock it ‘til you try it!) If you happen to be there on a nice day, this restaurant along the Grassmarket has a great outdoor area to sit and enjoy the sun, food and a beer!

While you’re along the Grassmarket, try out The White Hartan authentic Scottish pub with live Scottish music everyday, great food and is supposed to be the oldest pub in Edinburgh!

 

 

There you have it – the must-see’s when spending a weekend in Edinburgh. Keep checking out this area for more city guides, as well as tips and tricks on how to fit in travel!

by Shelley Doherty   (@shortstories.travel)

p.s read more from Shelley on her blog on in my travel section

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