There are some cities around the world that just feel like they are begging to be explored, aren’t there? It’s hard to say that I’m anything but biased, but to
Edinburgh is a city of little villages, each with its own identity. So when Hotels.com asked if I would introduce people to where I eat and drink in Edinburgh I was excited to spend a couple of exploring. They do hotels in Edinburgh, I do some eating and exploring to share with you. Winner.
It’s possible to just stick to the big tourist streets in Edinburgh and see nothing but chains, but if you go a couple of streets back or walk an extra five minutes out of the centre there is so much to explore.
The West End
This is where the Georgian New Town reaches its edges – it’s also where cobbled streets and wide avenues sit side-by-side. There are lots of bars, restaurants and boutique shops in the West End ‘village’, and if you’re lucky enough to be here during rugby season prepare to walk down the street to the sounds of cheers from the pubs.
- For coffee: Cairngorm Coffee (also good for sandwiches and doughnuts…)
- For brunch or a pint: Voyage of Buck
- For watching the rugby: Teuchters
St Andrew Square and New Town
This is where you’ll find the top-end of Edinburgh nights out. St Andrew Square has also had a facelift in recent years with branches of Dishoom and The Ivy opening up, and more in terms of bars and restaurants. George Street is where you’ll find ‘Edinburgh’s wannabe Made in Chelsea set’ are, but if you hit Rose Street and Thistle Street either side of it, you’ll find quirky pubs and amazing cocktail bars. Whether you want a whisky in the Bon Vivant or its namesake in Bramble, this is where you want to go with your tastebuds at the ready.
- For brunch
: breakfastnaans from Dishoom!
- For cocktails: Bon Vivant or Bramble
- For a pint or pub food: The Queen’s Arms
Whether you’re here for the farmers’ market on Sundays, cheese shopping (there are three different cheese shops/delis – George Mews, Henri’s and Mellis’!), coffee shop-hopping, for a drink at one of the bars, stroll down the rive or to oggle at the gorgeous houses, Stockbridge is a must. If you’re a dog person it’s also almost impossible to walk down the street without stopping to talk to an adorable new friend.
Stockbridge is also home to my personal favourite street in Edinburgh: Circus Lane. If you do go for a wander down, be careful not to fall too much in love – a garage on this lane of mews houses will set you back £75,000. A two-bed house more like £600,000 to £700,000… It is beautiful though…
- To shop: Mellis’, George Mews and Henri’s are all worth stopping by
- For a glass of wine and cheese platter: Smith and Gertrude
- For a drink: Hector’s
Old Town – to pretend you’re in Harry Potter
The title says it all, really. This is where the boy wizard was first brought to the page and it’s not hard to see where the inspiration came from. It’s also the centre of the Festivals in August and home to centuries (literally) of history. From the grand buildings of the Castle and Parliament Square to leaning tenements and cellars and passages many layers deep, this is the Edinburgh of old cobbled streets to explore. It’s also quite touristy, so good for activities but with fewer opportunities for good food.
- Harry Potter exploring: Victoria Street (the original Diagon Alley)
- History: exploring the council chambers and closes either side of the Mile
- For a rainy day: the National Museum of Scotland – it’s got everything from natural history and ancient Egyptians to all the discovery and exploration Scotland has been a part of.
- For coffee: pop in to BrewLab, one of the coffee houses that kicked off Edinburgh’s obsession.
And there you have it – these are the places I would go if I was eating Edinburgh. Do you have a favourite spot or place you’ve always wanted to try? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.
In case it wasn’t already quite obvious, this post was created in collaboration with Hotels.com. The spending money was gifted to me by Hotels.com, but all views are my own. If you’ve got any questions about this, please get in contact.