There are so many reasons to visit Edinburgh: the stately historic architecture, the narrow cobblestone alleyways, the cozy pubs serving cold beer and warm hearty grub. The abundance of trendy coffee shops and designer boutiques, the funky art galleries and so much more!
If you are in any way interested in art, literature, theater or culture, Edinburgh is the place to be. This city is a culture-lover’s paradise. Many of the greatest writers of our time hailed from Scotland, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.
Also, Harry Potter fans can find the café where J.K. Rowling wrote the first draft of her epic book.
Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes were inspired by the moody atmosphere of the streets of Edinburgh (even though they took place in London).
In Edinburgh you will find more art galleries, stand-up comedy shows, poetry readings and other cultural events than you will possibly be able to see during your visit. It makes the right side of my brain tingle just thinking about it!
Edinburgh is also becoming a culinary and nightlife hotspot in the UK. New restaurants are popping up everywhere so you can eat very well during your visit to the Scottish capital. And, it’s hearty, filling, tasty food, so bring your stretchy pants!
Have a picnic in Princes Street Gardens on a sunny day
Stroll down Victoria Street and admire the pretty shops and boutiques
…or just wander through the streets and see what you can discover!
Best Places to Go Exploring
Edinburgh is divided into two sections, the New Town and the Old Town. The New Town dates back to the Georgian era, so it’s not really that new. However, it’s new compared to the Medieval Old Town.
The best part of the city to explore is the Old Town, because it is a lot of fun to get lost within the narrow alleyways, small courtyards and cobblestone streets. However, exploring the New Town is a lot of fun too, as the Georgian buildings are so stately and elegant.
If the weather is sunny, there is nothing better than having a picnic on the grass of Princes Street Gardens.
What to Eat in Scotland
You are in Scotland – so trying haggis is a must.
I know you might be a little disturbed by the description of what it is. Who would want to eat sheep’s lung, liver and heart minced with spices, onion, oatmeal, suet and salt and simmered in the sheep’s stomach? Trust me on this one, though.
Haggis is warm, rich and comforting and tastes delicious with “neeps and tatties” (mashed swedes and potatoes) and some whiskey gravy. Who knew random sheep innards would make me want to lick the plate?
Best Places to Drink in Edinburgh
When I think of drinking in Edinburgh, I imagine hiding from the grey and dreary weather in a warm and cozy pub and sitting next to the fireplace with a whiskey or a pint. The ideal setting for this is one of the many historic, dimly lit pubs with wooden beams and brick archways – like The Last Drop, the Sheep Heid, the King’s Wark or the Jolly Judge.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh
Hostels are always a good choice, given that they only cost about £8-£10 per night. If you visit during the popular Fringe Festival in August, though, prices skyrocket and you can expect to pay £20-£25!
If you can get a few friends together you might want to consider renting an apartment via Airbnb – splitting the cost will make it more affordable and you will be more comfortable in your own space.
Best Shopping in Edinburgh
Princes Street is the main shopping street in Edinburgh and it has all of your typical UK chain stores like H&M and Topshop.
If you want to pay exorbitant prices for souvenirs and cheesy touristic whiskey and kilts, head to the Royal Mile.
For unique and funky alternative shops selling funky clothing and accessories, stroll down Cockburn Street.
Events and Festivals in Edinburgh
Visit during August so that you can sample from the all-you-can-eat buffet of theatre, art, comedy and other entertainment at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is when the city really comes alive and there are thousands of performances to choose from. It’s what I imagine heaven will probably be like.