Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the U.K. with their 12th century castle and medieval architecture found throughout Old Town. You can easily spend a weekend exploring the winding streets with their hidden alleyways and climbing up to mountain top viewpoints. Use this weekend tour as your guide to get the most out of everything Edinburgh has to offer.
Once you’ve checked in to your accommodation, head over to Grassmarket Square, situated behind the Edinburgh Castle. The Grassmarket features medieval architecture, fantastic artisan shops, and beautiful views of the Castle. Spend some time wandering through the small shops, like the Old Town Bookshop and Greyfriars Art Shop, which has been running for over 200 years! Just outside of the Grassmarket is Brewdog, a famous brewery that creates their own in-house craft beers that appeal to every kind of palate. Settle in to one of the booths for a refreshing beer and a delicious dinner. If you’re feeling a little adventurous after dinner, go on ghost tour with The Real Mary King’s Close tour company. They’ll take you around Edinburgh, showing you some supposedly haunted spots while also giving you a brilliant historical tour of Edinburgh and its intriguing architecture. From here, head back to your lodging to get some rest for a busy day tomorrow.
Start the day early with a hike up Arthur’s Seat, the large mountain that looms over the eastern part of the city. There are not many signs posted for the main trail, so the trick is to go left at the fork in the trail which will lead you up a winding dirt and stone stone step path. With this path, you’ll end up at the very top of Arthur’s Seat which offers jaw dropping views of the city. Take the same path down and make your way to the nearby Holyrood Palace, where the Queen of England stays when she visits Scotland. Wander through the State Apartments, the Royal Collection and Mary, Queen of Scot’s Chambers before heading outside to explore the ruins of the ancient Abbey.
Walk out of Holyrood Palace and head up the Royal Mile to grab lunch at the Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn St. Here, you can get a filling and delicious baked potato and even try vegetarian haggis! From here, head back up the Royal Mile, passing the beautiful St. Giles’ Cathedral on your way to Edinburgh Castle. At this 12th century Castle, you can explore the Great Hall, the Royal Palace, see the Crown Jewels, and even check out the old prison! Head back down the Royal Mile and turn down Byer’s Close, a little alleyway that leads to the New Steps which will take you down to the eastern Princes Street Gardens. Wander through the gardens towards the Scott Monument, which you can climb up to get beautiful views of Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle just up the hill.
For dinner tonight, make your way to Zest restaurant on N St. Andrew’s Street for some of the best Indian food in Edinburgh. After dinner, take a stroll through St. Andrew Square, then head back to your accommodation to rest for the night.
Explore one of the best hidden gems in Edinburgh at Dean Village, located on the northwest side of the city. Dean Village, located on the Water of Leith, features beautiful architecture which ranges in age from the mid 1100’s to the late 1800’s. Within Dean Village is the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which features a huge collection of modern and contemporary art as well as a large sculpture park. There are two buildings that comprise the Modern Art Gallery, both of which are well worth a tour. After touring the second building, wander around to the side of the building to the ancient cemetery next door. From Dean Village, head south to Grindlay St. where you’ll find the absolutely divine Mademoiselle Macaron. The café serves coffee, tea, crepes, and-of course-delicious macarons, making it a perfect place to stop for lunch before leaving Edinburgh.
Olivia is a travel writer currently living in Scotland, and spends her days exploring the country and all it has to offer. When she’s not out exploring, you can find her snacking on macarons and planning her next adventure. She has recently taken up photography and documents her travels on her Instagram, extraordinaryordinaryme.