Last weekend my boyfriend and I took a mini trip to Edinburgh and I thought I’d share some of the pictures I took! We had the best few days; sightseeing, eating/drinking way too much and enjoying the sunshine. I first visited the city years ago with my mom and have been dying to come back ever since. It’s just as wonderful as I remembered!
The Fringe had been cancelled this year for obvious reasons, but the city still had an amazing buzz about it. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. After all the stress these past few months it was so nice to be able to take a little break and enjoy our post-lockdown freedom (safely, of course).
What to See
Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcano located in Holyrood Park. At the top of its 251m summit you have the most spectacular views of the city. We trekked up early Saturday morning – it was a lot more strenuous than I thought it would be (I fell over more times than I care to admit), however, it’s 100% worth it! Allow around two hours for the climb and remember to wear comfy shoes. Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast or a strong drink afterwards – trust me, you’ll have earned it!
You probably recognise the curved hill and colourful store fronts of Victoria Street from Instagram/Pinterest – it’s one of Edinburgh’s most famous tourist spots. It’s said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley, so it’s no surprise that you’ll come across countless Harry Potter-inspired shops here (of course, I had to go in every. single. one.)
If the weather’s good, be sure to grab a seat outside one of the many quaint cafes and watch the world go by for a while. It’s a good idea to book, however, as unsurprisingly it gets pretty busy!
We didn’t visit the castle this time round but its definitely worth a trip if you’ve not been to Edinburgh before. There’s so much to see you could easily spend all day there (although a couple of hours will suffice if you don’t have much time). Every afternoon (except for Sundays) the famous ‘1 o’clock gun’ is fired, a tradition that has been carried out since 1861.
The castle is also another amazing spot to see views of the city, so remember to take your camera.
Dean Village is a peaceful, medieval-esque haven located just 10-15 min from Princes Street. It’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of a bustling city when you’re here – it’s so serene. My boyfriend and I both agreed this was our favourite part of the trip; we loved wandering the cobbled streets and admiring the beautiful buildings and gardens. What I would give to live in one of those fairy tale cottages!
Circus Lane is another location you probably recognise from Instagram. With its elegant mews houses and flower-adorned doorways, it’s fast become a photography hot spot. We liked it so much we visited twice – again, it’s the perfect place to go for a quiet walk if you fancy a break from the busy city centre.
Where to Eat
My boyfriend and I are total foodies so we loved looking up places to eat and drink around the city. Due to Covid, booking was mandatory for most restaurants (which we expected) so we had to be organised! Usually I like to explore when I’m away and ‘stumble across’ places – doing research was less spontaneous in that sense but it meant we were able to seek out some real gems.
LEO’S BEANERY – 23A Howe St, EH3 6TF
Leo’s Beanery is located on a quiet street in Stockbridge, just a 2 minute walk from Circus Lane. It’s a charming, family-run cafe serving breakfast, coffee and cakes. It was recommended to us by a local so we knew it would be good. We came here on Sunday for brunch with Joel’s friends and it was indeed delicious! I had the eggs royale but the banana bread looked amazing too.
THE BRUNCH CLUB – 13A Melville Pl, EH3 7PR
Here’s one for anyone wanting a boozy morning meal! Joel and I needed a stiff drink after our trip up Arthur’s Seat so we enjoyed a couple of espresso martinis with our breakfast. The overall vibe was very similar to Leo’s Beanery, albeit a little quieter. Both the food and service were excellent.
THE ELEPHANT HOUSE – 21 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EN
Another must-see for all you Potter buffs – any fan will be aware that JK Rowling penned some of her books whilst sipping hot chocolate at The Elephant House. We stopped here for coffee and cake on Sunday afternoon and found it surprisingly quiet; I had expected to queue but we got a table straight away. It was so surreal to sit and know that pages from my favourite series had had been crafted within those very walls. It’s been on my bucket list for ages so it was wonderful to finally be able to visit. It’s worth going to see the toilets alone – honestly, they’re insane!
CONTINI – 103 George St, EH2 3ES
Contini is a stunning Italian restaurant in the heart of New Town. With it’s delicious menu, beautiful interior and friendly staff, it’s the perfect choice for a Saturday night dinner. It’s a little on the pricey side but nice for a special occasion or if you’re feeling fancy.
KIMPTON CHARLOTTE SQUARE HOTEL – 38 Charlotte Square, EH2 4HQ
Such a pretty place for food and/or drinks! We walked past on Friday night and both liked the look of it, so we booked a table for the Saturday. Out of the hotel’s three restaurants; The Garden was by far my favourite. The decor was so stunning – I could have stayed there all night!
THE BROUGHTON – 46-48a Broughton St, EH1 3SA
The Broughton was a bit of a hidden gem for us. Located just a short walk from Princes Street, it had a relaxed ambience, elegant decor and all the charm of a cosy, country pub. We came here after Contini for dessert and a bottle of wine. I went for sticky toffee pudding which I could easily have eaten twice over! The mains looked delicious, too.
COLD TOWN HOUSE – 4 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU
Cold Town House is 100% worth a visit, not just for the rooftop view of the castle but for the amazing atmosphere. This was one of the places we knew we wanted to go so we booked a table a few weeks prior. By this point we were both beat and were about to start the long drive home so we just had a couple of cokes each. It was bliss to rest our feet, gaze at the view of Old Town and reflect on our lovely weekend.
THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE – 9 Advocate’s Cl, EH1 1ND
This was another place we decided to book a few weeks prior to our trip as someone had recommended it to us. Tucked away down a cobbled alley in Old Town, The Devil’s Advocate is a quirky bar with an extensive selection of cocktails. It was super cosy and atmospheric; we loved it!
They also serve food – we didn’t eat as we had reservations elsewhere for dinner but the menu looked delicious.
Have you been to Edinburgh? x