Edinburgh Travel Guide
Another trip; another travel guide!
My travels to Scotland were nothing short of amazing and I’m excited to share Part 2 with you: Edinburgh! Go check out Part 1, my Glasgow guide , if you haven’t yet.
At A Glance
Edinburgh has a different vibe than Glasgow. It is more lively and cosmopolitan from what I experienced. It may have been because Edinburgh is one of the top 10 places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Hogmanay was the highlight of this trip, so if you ever want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in an extra special way, consider Edinburgh for all the festivities! More on that later…
The Principal George Street was such a lovely hotel. Not only were the rooms beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean, but there’s also a great restaurant/bar and coffee shop right on the premises.
As you enter the Principal hotel, you are greeted by the quaint lobby with comfortable seating where you can relax with a cup of tea or sip on a glass of vino. It’s such an inviting space that I made it a point for some alone time to read and relax with a cup of chai from Burr and Co. which is connected to the lobby. Just order at the counter and a lovely Barista will bring your coffee right over to you.
The other highlight of this hotel was the Printing Press Bar and Kitchen. It’s a fun space to grab cocktails before dinner. Just one warning, many bars in Scotland don’t offer seating at the bar. You really just stand around the bar, or if you’re lucky enough you may find a hightop table or two that’s free.
Try the local beer. One of my favorites is the Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale.
Hands down my favorite meal of the trip was the Sunday Roast at Chop House in Leith. Leith is a small neighborhood about a 10 minute drive from the City Center in Edinburgh. You can get lots of different kinds of steak, burgers, and even fish, but you don’t want to go to Scotland without having a proper Sunday Roast. A local couple sitting at the table next to us gave us the tip to order extra gravy with our roast and this is a must. The gravy is made with the fat from the roast and it’s to die for. Order the olives and a glass of the Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Malbec. It is the perfect start to a perfect meal.
A little bit of a food education for you: Yorkshire Pudding aka a yorkie is not a pudding at all, but actually a popover made of baked unsweetened egg batter, typically eaten with roast beef. The one we had was fried in duck fat. WOAH!
The Gardener’s Cottage
If you want a special communal, yet intimate lunch, you must check out The Gardener’s Cottage. I could give you a review of one of the sweetest lunches we had during our trip, but Travel and Leisure does it better here.
If you visit during the holidays, you can’t miss the Christmas market that offers live music nightly, street food like crepes, German sausages and so much more. The mulled wine, or Glogg, is a must try if you love warm, spiced beverages.
See and Do
Edinburgh Castle. This is obviously a must see. But for my photog’s out there, you don’t necessarily have to go inside the castle to get great photos of it. There are great views from the Royal Mile and Princes street.
I found Edinburgh to be a very walkable city where you can stop and awe at the old architecture, various monuments and beautiful landscapes. Bring your comfy sneakers or walking boots as you’ll be trekking some hills and cobblestone roads along the way. Princes Street and George Street are the main drags, but I’ll give you a few that are off the beaten path below.
Victoria Street is known to be the most photographed street in Edinburgh because it is believed this was JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley! Take a stroll down cobblestoned Victoria street for cute shop windows, Harry Potter vibes and a good selection of bars and restaurants.
Rose Street runs parallel to Princes Street, but is much less commercial. There are some tea shops and restaurants down here. It was one of my favorite streets to snap photos in Edinburgh.
This was quintessential Scotland in my mind. It was everything I pictured a village in Scotland to be like when I dreamed of visiting.It’s just a short walk along the Dean River, but if you stray off the beaten path you can get a glimpse of some of the most expensive real estate in all of Edinburgh.
You know I couldn’t travel to Edinburgh without checking out the retail situation. Coming from New York, shopping here is obviously on a smaller scale, but I love the variety and quality of UK brands. You could also shop more common stores like Anthropologie, but here are a few of my unique finds when shopping in Edinburgh.
George Street Favorites
- Hobbs London. Wonderful for dresses, outerwear and classic pieces. I snagged this wool dress on sale and I am so happy with it. It’s great for work or play and it fits like a glove! (The color is more subtle in person)Wear it with a black turtleneck underneath and a pair of knee high black boots or black pumps and you’re good to go from office to drinks!
- Aspinal of London. Come here to treat yourself to a beautiful custom handbag.
- Pop in to the luxury department store, Harvey Nichols, to check out the beautiful designer items or maybe grab lunch at the Brasserie, cocktails at the Window Bar or dine al fresco on the beautiful terrace. Located in St. Andrew Square, this will only be the first stop amongst other high end designers like Burberry, Mulberry, Sandro and Holland Cooper. Enjoy!
When to Visit
As I mentioned in my preview, NYE is a fantastic time to visit so you can see Edinburgh in all its glory for Hogmanay! The weather was surprisingly mild. 40 degrees Fahrenheit was the average temperature, which was comfortable to walk around and tour the city.
Hogmanay is one of the top 10 destinations in the world to party for NYE. This includes a street party, a fireworks show and a VIP concert in the park. You can also do a torch walk on the Royal Mile on the day before New Years Eve to kick off the festivities! The city is bustling with tourists and locals ready to celebrate! But contrary to the craziness of NYE in NYC, it is definitely on a smaller scale, where you can comfortably get around and party without rubbing up on the person next to you!
Well that about does it for this travel guide. I had so much fun reliving my trip through this post and I hope you liked it too.
If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer all of your travel questions!