The Ultimate Edinburgh City Guide To Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Trip To Scotland!
Being of Scottish descent, I’ve wanted to visit the land of my ancestors for some time now. I’ve seen photos and heard how beautiful the country is and my time in Edinburgh didn’t disappoint! We visited at the end of October, and all the Fall colors mixed in with the already stunning city is truly a site to see. The city is best explored on foot, so pack your walking shoes and get ready to fall in love with Edinburgh!
First, let’s start with how to pronounce Edinburgh so you fit right in. Most Americans mistake Edinburgh for ‘Ed-in-burG’ which is wrong. Others say ‘Edin-burrow’ which will get you by but it’s not the best. The locals say ‘Ed-in-b’ruh’. So brush up before you go!
Check out our ultimate Edinburgh city guide!
Where To Stay
There are lots of beautiful places to stay in Edinburgh depending on your price range and requirements. If you are looking for more of a luxury experience the The Principal Edinburgh George Street is definitely for you. The hotel is beautiful, the staff is very friendly and the rooms are fit for a queen. If you’re looking to treat yourself after exploring all day, hop in the amazing bath tub, throw on their comfy plush robe, and order up some room service. The hotel is just several blocks from the train station and Princes St, making it walking distance to lots of shops, restaurants and attractions.
If you’re looking for something more busy and right in the middle of the action look for a hotel on the Royal Mile.
If you’re looking for more of a boutique hotel where you can still feel pampered, the Hotel Indigo Edinburgh York Place is a great option. Within walking distance of major attractions like Calton Hill and Queen St Gardens, this cozy spot will have you feeling right at home after a day out exploring.
Read more: Our Stay at the Hotel Indigo in Edinburgh
What To Do
Edinburgh is full of things to do regardless of when you visit. There are lots of tourist attractions like The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh Castle and climb Calton Hill. Have you ever traveled and felt like you had to check off the “touristy” things? I definitely have, but in Edinburgh they are all actually worth it.
While climbing lots of steps up a winding staircase isn’t for everyone, I would definitely recommend giving it a try in the Scott Monument. This monument dedicated in memory to author Sir Walter Scott is one of the most beautiful buildings in Edinburgh, and for those brave souls who make it to the top the views are incredible. You can’t be a blogger and not go to this famous writers monument!
Edinburgh Castle is also a must visit to see the Crown Jewels and enjoy amazing views. There are lots of exhibits, shops and nooks to explore to keep you there in awe for hours.
The city is full of ancient history from one end to the other. After exploring the castle, walk down the Royal Mile and take all the shops and beautiful buildings in. The Queen herself (JK Rowling that is) was living in Edinburgh when she wrote Harry Potter and you will immediately understand her inspirations. Down every windy road is cute shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. I suggest taking your time, stopping for the Scotch Whisky Experience to learn all about how the Scots perfect their whisky.
After you’ve had a bit of Scot spirit, continue your walk down Royal Mile wandering into shops and stop at the Royal Mile Market. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find local markets. I love seeing local hand made crafts and unique finds all over the world. The Royal Mile Market is just that, vendors selling everything from jewelry, music, art, and clothing are housed in one location. You can even look up your family name and get a scroll printed with your family crest and background!
The Royal Mile continues down the hill with many stops you can make a long the way. If you continue walking you can eventually find the Palace of Holyrood House. Holyrood house is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. The Queen stays here one week a year when she comes to visit and it once also housed Mary Queen of Scots.
*Disclaimer, this palace isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it because I’m in intrigued by Mary Queen of Scots (thank you Reign) and you walk through her chambers and learn more about her life but the palace doesn’t take that long to go through so if you are interested in history and monarchs I think you will find it interesting. You can also walk through the remains of the exterior Abbey that was destroyed by a fire but is still beautiful.
If palaces aren’t your thing, there is still plenty to do in Edinburgh to keep you busy. I definitely suggest taking a stroll up Calton Hill at sunrise or sunset for amazing views of the city.
From the pubs to the shopping, beautiful architecture, parks and palaces there is truly something for everyone to enjoy and discover.
Where to Eat
Edinburgh is full of amazing little cafes, pubs and restaurants with a wide range or variety. We were exploring down Victoria St and found Hula, an amazing cafe with lots of fresh healthy options we were craving after several days of indulging in fish and chips. The avocado toast, acai bowl, vegetarian chili and coffee were exactly what we needed to refuel for more exploring.
I would recommend just walking around the main streets to find a cafe, pub or restaurant to stop in because you really can’t go wrong here. But if at the end of your long day you just want to curl up in bed, throw on your robe and order room service that’s definitely ok too! We had dinner at The Printing Press inside of The Principal Hotel George Street and the oysters, fresh bread and soups were just what we needed after a cold day exploring Edinburgh.
Of all the places we traveled in England, Scotland and Ireland, Edinburgh was definitely my favorite. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list and discovering everything amazing it has to offer for yourself!
What To Wear
We went in the fall/winter so it was a nice and cool with light showers during our visit. I’m not one for being hot so I like to do my city tours in the fall and winter. I definitely learned a lot about what to wear while I was there though. I even made a rookie mistake and had to stop and buy a jacket and boots while I was there. So you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made you a guide of what to wear.
Dress The Part
For The Gear
Have you been to Edinburgh? What were your favorites? Let us know below!
*Big thanks to The Principal Hotel Edinburgh George Street and Visit Scotland for hosting us!