Things to eat and drink
- Places close to Waverley Station for when you’ve just tumbled off the train or airport bus and you’re starving, Gordon St Coffee on Market Street or The Milkman on Cockburn Street have great coffee, and Mimi’s Bakehouse at the City Arts Centre has good cakes and breakfast. On the Princes Street side, the Guildford Arms is beautiful pub with nice food and ales a’plenty.
- Mary’s Milk Bar in the Grassmarket has fantastic gelato with creative and tasty seasonal flavours, all with lovely views of Edinburgh Castle. Whatever time of year you’re visiting, go! The hot chocolate is ace, too.
- Joelato also does great gelato at Bonnie & Wild, the new fancy food court at the St James Centre.
- My favourite breakfasts are Loudons (New Waverly or Fountainbridge, book online as they’re very popular) or Edinburgh Larder Cafe, just off the Royal Mile.
- For good cake and coffee head to Lovecrumbs. The cake wardrobe has to be seen to be believed!
- Great burgers and shakes are at The Cambridge Bar.
- Superb coffee and lovely Scandi treats at Peter’s Yard.
- For cheap and cheerful sausage and mash try Mum’s Comfort Food in Forrest Road. Also nearby is the awesome Ting Thai Caravan.
- For a posh treat, try afternoon tea at The Balmoral hotel.
- Cuckoo do the best cupcakes.
- I like BABA for middle-eastern inspired mezze.
- Excellent pizza at Civerinos.
- Can’t beat the bacon naan roll for breakfast at Dishoom.
- I have a soft spot for Contini on George Street because it’s where I signed my book contact for Dietgirl! It’s a great old building and good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
You want things to do that aren’t just eating? Oh.
Things to do
- You can’t go wrong with the Hop On Hop Off bus tour to get you orientated – buses now leave from St Andrews Square
- Mary Kings Close is a fascinating underground adventure
- a walk up the famous Arthur’s Seat if you need to walk off some cake
- Take a quick walk up to Calton Hill – it’s in the middle of town with great views
- The Water of Leith is another great walk
- check out the farmers markets for local treats – Saturday at Castle Terrace or Sunday in Stockbridge
- a visit to any of Edinburgh’s fab galleries – all with free admission
- the Museum of Scotland is free and fab.
Where to stay
I love the new breed of budget-yet-stylish hotels that are popping up. Both of the Motel Ones are in great locations, as are the various branches of Premier Inn. I also like the wee Premier Inn Hub, now in three Edinburgh locations. Those tiny rooms as so cleverly designed. I also love the Eden Locke apartment hotel on George Street – it’s a bit pricier but good for a longer stay as you get cooking facilities, washing machine, even a yoga mat, plus the location is fab and there’s an on-site coffee shop and bar.
The rest of the country
Don’t forget the rest of the country – it rules!
If your time is limited and you don’t want to hire a car to explore the country, Rabbies and Haggis Tours offer great day or longer trips from Edinburgh, which can give you a good introduction to the highlights. If you’ve only got a day look for a tour that goes to Loch Lomond & Stirling, or Fife (good for Outlander fans). If you have longer, Skye and the Highlands would be my first port of call.
- Undiscovered Scotland is my favourite site for finding places to go and things to see.
- Love From Scotland is a great for travel ideas for Edinburgh and beyond
- If you’re going to Inverness, check out Highland Foodie’s extensive post of things to see, eat and do.
- Mess In The Ness for the Scottish Highlands
- Visit Scotland is the official tourism website