Home to dungeons, art, literature and really tasty whiskey.
Edinburgh is home to dungeons, art, literature and really tasty whiskey. The great thing is the affordability to eat, drink and stay in style. Mixing it with a local pub and lots of sightseeing, here’s a list of quintessential must-do’s whether you’ve got a week or a day in this historical gem.
In the order of appearance in the video:
1. SEE: Edinburgh Castle
The iconic landmark of the city is certainly Edinburgh Castle. The ancient fortress sits atop Castle Rock and it has been there since 2nd century AD’s Iron Age. Since David I during the 12th century, it has been the royal residence until 1633. After the 17th century, it was mainly used as military barracks. The castle has lived through Scotland’s most significant events, including: Wars of Scottish Independence and Jacobite Rising.
2. SEE: Royal Mile
Edinburgh EH1 1SU, United Kingdom (map)
It is on the Royal Mile where you’ll find this sound of bagpipes. Running from Edinburgh Castle to the Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile suggests that it’s one Scots mile long. Filled with shops, bars and restaurants, this is the busiest tourist street, even the best wanderlust of us can’t ignore.
3. SHOP: Royal Mile Market
I LOVED shopping at the Royal Mile Market. My friend Lewis has a friend who runs the market, and it’s a fantastic spot to souvenir shop. This traditional Scottish market is where you can find the best of Edinburgh’s independent arts and crafts.
4. EAT: Haggis
A true Scottish treat! Haggis is basically minced onions, oatmeal, spices, salt and stock encased in a sheep’s stomach along with a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. It’s hearty and filling, the perfect pub food!
5. DRINK: The Devil’s Advocate
Voted as one of the world’s best bars, The Devil’s Advocate features delicious and creative cocktails that highlight Scottish and world’s whiskies. Situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town, inside the Victorian pump house has a mezzanine dining area and the bar has 200 strong whisky shelf.
6. EAT: Chippy with chippy sauce
If you wanna do it like the locals, then grabbing a quick meal or late night snack at a Fish & Chip place is how it’s done.
7. DRINK: Secret Arcade
Secret Arcade is a Polish vodka bar which is perfect for those who want to switch things up a bit from Scottish whiskey. There’s more than 100 different types of vodka to choose from, the ambiance is low-key and fun.
8. DRINK: Scotsman’s Lounge
If you want one of the best live music nights in Edinburgh, then we’re sticking close to the Royal Mile at Scotsman’s Lounge. Everyday, there’s a music menu featuring local artists rocking out to tune so you can jam with a whiskey and coke in hand!
9. DRINK: 99 Hanover Street
Hosted the likes of David Beckham, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Jazzy Jeff, 99 Hanover Street is not only known for its tasty cocktails but ultra-cool vibes.
10. STAY: The Glasshouse
Making Edinburgh the perfect staycation city requires the perfect home away from home. The Glasshouse is such a unique hotel that features a stylish rooftop garden, contemporary bedrooms and best of all, it’s so centrally located that you can walk anywhere from here! This five-star luxury hotel is where you need to be!
11. SEE: Holyrood Palace
The official residence of the British monarch in Scotland has been the royal’s home away from home since the 16th century. At the beginning of every summer, Queen Elizabeth always spends one week here. The estate is open to the public throughout the year, except for when the Royal Family is visiting. Rumor has it that Bald Agnes’ (Agnes Sampson) naked ghost haunts the palace after she was stripped and tortured due to accusations of witchcraft in 1592.
12. SEE: Holyrood Park
A 10-minute walk from the Palace is Holyrood Park, which makes beautiful photos and a gorgeous walk. The park was a 12th century hunting estate for the royals. In the middle of the park is the famous Arthur’s Seat, which is the highest point in Edinburgh. There are exquisite ridges, cliffs, lochs and hills that make the royal park a definite must-see.
13. SEE: Calton Hill
Edinburgh, UK (map)
One of the main roads, Princess Street, makes a great walk toward Calton Hill and Holyrood Palace. From Waverly Station or the Balmoral Hotel, Calton Hill takes about 10 minutes of promenade on the east end of Princess Street. For the best view of Edinburgh, Calton Hill – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is also home to National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Steward Monument and a City Observatory. During James II’s reign in 1456, this area was meant for performing tournaments, sports and theater.
14. SEE: Scottish National Gallery
For any art fanatic, the best part about visiting any city in Scotland is the free admission at Scottish museums and galleries. Located right next to Waverly Park is the Scottish National Gallery, filled with Scottish collection of international and domestic fine art. Opened in 1859, the pieces start from the Renaissance period all the way to the beginning of the 20th century. Each room is elegantly displayed with massive paintings and sculptures, making the gallery a perfect escape from the constant rain in the city.
15. DRINK: The Old Bell Inn
When in Scotland, you’ve gotta find your own neighborhood pub. My favorite in Edinburgh is located in the south side. The Old Bell Inn fed me me very first haggis and it’s where I tried way too many different kinds of Scottish Tennent’s lagers. This is where you can chat up a storm with locals, or “southies” who have lived in the ‘hood all their lives and make friendships that last forever!