“But Edinburgh is a mad god’s dream.” - Hugh MacDiarmid
Edinburgh started off as a small cluster of huts surrounding the entrance to the Castle. Over time it has grown and expanded swallowing up several other little communities as it grew. Many of these neighbourhoods still retain their own sense of style and identity. Here are some of the spots we recommend you visit during your stay.
Leith – Edinburgh’s Port
Port, pubs and Trainspotting.
Leith, as made famous by the film “Trainspotting”, is one of Edinburgh’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. Packing everything from Royal yachts, to Michelin star restaurants, to craft beer bars as well as many independent shops. Because of this you will find plenty to fill your time. Throughout Leith you will find bars and pubs well worth a stop off. From the trusty old watering holes, to modern bars full of retro arcade games such as the bar Mousetrap. Because many bars offer live music as well, spending a night in Leith is a must for your time in Edinburgh.
If you’re looking to eat or drink head to “The Shore”, a bustling hub in the heart of Leith. With the water of Leith flowing past on its way to meet the Forth you’ll find stunning views and restaurants to match. Certainly The Kitchin
, a Michelin star restaurant in an old whisky warehouse. But there are also local favourites like
. Leith is a wide-ranging area so there is something for every taste and mood.
Finally, docked at the port next to Ocean Terminal, is the Royal Yacht Britannia
. Formally the Queen’s floating royal residence, the 412ft yacht is now a museum and open to the public. One of Edinburgh’s most popular attractions, so this really is worth a visit.
Edinburgh’s Notting Hill. Markets, a lovely river pubs and restaurant.
Stockbridge is full of independent art galleries, jewellers and shops. Its winding streets are bursting with colour. As a result, it’s possibly the most picturesque region of Edinburgh. Circus Lane is well worth a visit as you explore the surrounding quirky shops and cobbled streets. A great photo opportunity with a stunning backdrop. Because of this it is often on peoples "Instagram" tick list spots.
A short walk from Stockbridge you will find the Royal Botanical Gardens
and the National Gallery of Modern Art
. Both are must see attractions during your visit. You can easily spend a full day exploring, and still not see everything they have to offer.
Stockbridge is bustling with creativity, with a market every Sunday morning that is definitely worthy of a visit. It is the perfect place to relax for a few hours in a nice cafe. Most people who spend any time here fall in love with its truly unique charm.
Just a lovely village now absorbed by Edinburgh.
Dean Village used to be a town in its own right, however is now part of Edinburgh. You will find it tucked away under the Dean Bridge. Which is why many of Edinburgh’s visitors miss this hidden gem. Dean Village sits on the banks of the Water of Leith offering unique views of Edinburgh. You will find the views alone more than justify your visit. As you explore the river you will find St Bernard’s Well. Another beautiful spot for you to discover.
As you spend time here, you will appreciate the natural beauty more and more. This gorgeous village is a photographer’s dream. You will find another stunning view around every corner, as cobbled streets run along the riverside. So, it’s no surprise this is popular place for locals to stay. Mainly a residential area, you won’t find many restaurants or bars. Thankfully you are not far from Stockbridge which has plenty of food to offer.
Because it sits on the river it is the perfect place to start exploring the Water of Leith. This winding walk through the city will lead you through some of its most vibrant areas. As you stroll through the stunning scenery you will pass Stockbridge, The Shore finally finishing in Leith.
This gorgeous old village is a must see on your visit to Edinburgh. Dean Village is one of the best photo spots in town and is certainly one you don’t want to miss.
The original Edinburgh, Edinburgh’s Old Town is the medieval heart of the city.
The Old Town is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace and is the centre of the Old Town. You should certainly visit the Royal Mile, and explore the many streets and alleyways coming off it. Because down these small closes you will discover more secrets of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
The Old Town is home to many of Edinburgh most famous sites. As well as the Castle and Palace, the Old Town hosts St Giles Cathedral, with its gorgeous stained-glass windows. Entry to St Giles is free, with a small donation requested if you want to take photos. Likewise, Greyfriars Kirk also sits proudly in the Old Town. Here you can find the statue of the famous dog Greyfriars Bobby, with both his, and his masters graves also here.
You will find a wide range of museums within the Old Town. From the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street to smaller museums like the Museum of Childhood as well as the Peoples Story. All of which are worth taking time to explore. The Old Town comes alive at night as the many restaurants and bars begin to fill up. You can find some of Edinburgh’s best pubs in the Grassmarket also along the Cowgate. There is often live sports and music in many of the bars. Because of this you will always find a good atmosphere.
There is always something to entertain you as the Old Town is still one of the busiest parts of Edinburgh. There will certainly be something for everyone. From walking tours, to whisky tastings and Castle tours there is plenty to discover.
Our theatre and arts district also boasting some lovely bars and restaurants.
The West End hosts some of Edinburgh’s best theatres, bars and cinemas. Along Lothian Road you will find the Usher Hall
, Royal Lyceum Theatre
as well as the Traverse Theatre
. During August these venues host to a range of shows in Edinburgh’s International Festival
. A cultural hub with everything from classical music and ballet, to pop and rock concerts. There is always something going on in the West End.
Do you like cinema? Want to grab an autograph? The West End also plays host to the Edinburgh International Film Festival
. Founded in 1947 it is the world's longest running film festival. Further more it has hosted many film premieres. These include; Bladerunner, Alien and Back to the Future. This has resulted in many star guest appearances. Noticeably Jenifer Lawrence, Ewan McGregor and Sir Sean Connery. Do not miss this festival if you are in Edinburgh when it is on.
As well as the glitz of Edinburgh’s festivals. The West End also has the
Edinburgh Gin Distillery
. Established in 2010 this local distillery, has become something of an Edinburgh icon. With multiple awards to their name this is well worth a taste. And where better to taste it than at the distillery. Within its walls you’ll find a well-stocked bar where you can sample a wide range of gins. You can also take a tour of the distillery and craft your own unique gin to take home. Whether you are a gin expert or a beginner this is well worth a visit.
There is no shortage of food and drink options in Edinburgh’s West End. Whether you are looking to sample a signature cocktail or a perfectly cooked steak you can find it here. Check out Panda & Sons
if you are looking for a great atmosphere and try one of their cocktails. With plenty of new ideas to choose from and variations on classics you’re sure to find something up your alley. If the Edinburgh gin distillery didn’t fully scratch your gin itch then head to the Jolly Botanist
and check out their incredible range of gins and beers.
As old as the 1760’s, it’s not so new and full of things to do.
The second half of Edinburgh’s UNESCO world heritage site is the New Town. It is also the bustling city centre. Full of shops, bars and green open spaces the New Town has a very different feel to the Old Town. At the heart of the New Town is Princes Street Gardens undoubtedly one of the best parks in the city. A former loch, these gardens are a lovely place to rest and enjoy some peace. Inside the gardens you will find the Scott Monument
. You can climb the 287 steps (288 if you count the step into the ticket office) to the top for great views. However it is not for those scared of heights or the claustrophobic.
In the centre of the New Town you will find the
Royal Scottish Academy
as well as the Scottish National Gallery
. These two art galleries house some of the greatest art in the world. Here you will find works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh and many more. The galleries are free to enter, with small fees for some temporary exhibits. Undoubtedly a must see in Edinburgh.
If you’re looking to shop in Edinburgh, the New Town definitely has some of your best options. With Princes Street and Rose Street playing host to well recognisable names like H&M and Apple. Also in the New Town is Multrees Walk
. A modern purpose-built pedestrian shopping street full of designer shops. These include Tesla, Harvey Nichols, Boss, Kurt Geiger, Pandora and more. Moreover in 2021 a brand new shopping complex the St James Quarter
After exploring the art galleries and shops you could probably do with a drink especially if you have been up the Scott Monument. Rose Street and George Street are both bursting with bars for all tastes. From rock bars like the Black Rose
, to cocktail bars like TigerLilly
. You’re certain to find somewhere you’ll love. There are many late-night bars and clubs so you can keep exploring deep into the night and into the morning.