Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital and largest city, is a bustling, cosmopolitan city. The Royal Mile, the main tourist strip that runs from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace teems with locals, students, and tourists alike, each hurrying along the cobblestoned streets.
There is plenty to do in this northern European capital, from viewing the Crown Jewels at the Castle to getting the best view of the city from the highest vantage point. There’s also plenty of the craic – the Gaelic word for fun and entertainment – in the many bars and restaurants around town. Here is a two-day itinerary to ensure you don’t miss the best in this charming city.
8:00am: Fortify yourself for the day ahead with a full Scottish breakfast at Edinburgh Larder, on Blackfriars Street. Complement the steaming eggs, hash, and sausages with a strong pot of black tea.
9:30am: Walk down the Royal Mile toward Holyrood Palace. Originally constructed as an abbey in the 1100s, it wasn’t until the 1660s that the Palace as it is today was restored. Open daily for tours, admissions fees apply.
11:30am: Pick up some takeaway fish n chips from Benes and cross the square between the Palace and the Scottish Parliament. Hike through the Queen’s Gardens to Arthurs Seat for the best view of the city. Enjoy lunch up here.
2:00pm: Stroll through the Princes Street Gardens on your way into the National Galleries. Located just off Princes Street below the Royal Mile, the Gardens are the unofficial divide between New and Old Edinburgh. The National Galleries feature the works of the masters, as well as more contemporary exhibits. Admission is free.
4:00pm: Just outside the Galleries is the Scott Monument. Those wanting a 360˙ view of the city and surrounding countryside should climb the 287 steps to the top.
5:00pm: Make your way into the West End for an indulgent afternoon. Browse the many independent shops or stop in for an afternoon cocktail at Heads and Tales, the home of Edinburgh Gin.
8:00pm: Enjoy a hearty dinner at Timberyard, an old converted warehouse below Edinburgh Castle on Lady Lawson Street. They use fresh and local ingredients, growing what they can and otherwise provisioning from other local sources.
8:00am: Spend your morning on the waterfront. Leith, Edinburgh’s old shipbuilding centre and port, is now a booming town in it’s own right. Breakfast at Roseleaf, one of the city’s best cafes. Take a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in Leith at Ocean Terminal. Have morning tea and fresh baked scones onboard in the Royal Deck Tea Room.
11:30am: Make your way back into the city centre and head to the top of the Royal Mile and spend a few hours at Edinburgh Castle. Home to the Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, and Mons Meg, among many other exhibits, this is an must-do in Edinburgh.
2:00pm: Pick up a tasty, late lunch at the Elephant House, on George IV Bridge, made famous by JK Rowling. They serve yummy homemade pizzas. Their pastry selection is outstanding as well; get one to go. Across the street is the National Museum. It’s free admission, and definitely worth stopping in. Also nearby is Greyfriar’s Bobby.
4:00pm: Head back to your hotel for a little R&R or do some shopping along the Royal Mile. Full of kitschy tourist shops and woolen mills, there are some gems hidden here.
6:30pm: Enjoy an early pub dinner and some cocktails at The Potting Shed, on Potters Row near the University of Edinburgh.
9:00pm: Meet your tour guide at the Mary Kings Close for a ghostly tour of the warren of underground rooms that make up the Close.
An action-packed tour of Edinburgh, this two-day itinerary will ensure you don’t miss out on the major attractions in Scotland’s beautiful, old city.
Photo by photphobia