48 Hours in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a great place to be as we bid farewell to a wonderful summer and welcome autumn to town. This guide is designed to inspire a trip to the capital city. Fast paced with full days, given the current restrictions in place, you may wish to make your trip longer and enjoy a slower pace.
The infamous Scottish weather will keep you on your toes, so we recommend packing appropriately (bring a waterproof jacket) and comfortable shoes are also paramount as you will be walking a lot. We hope you visit Edinburgh to rediscover and fall in love with our most marvellous city.
You’ve arrived! Big energy and big smiles, you are ready to hit the town running and make the most of your time in the capital city, but first, let’s eat…Contini’s on George Street offer a delightful breakfast. Owned and run by a local family, located in a classic Edinburgh building, Contini’s is a perfect first stop in Edinburgh. Whether you want to keep it quick and light or settle into a big cooked breakfast this one-stop spot has it all.
Princes Street Gardens
Wander through Princes Street Gardens and see the divide between the old and new, helpfully dubbed the Old Town and New Town of Edinburgh City, The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character. Admire the skylines and colours and of course the magnificent castle, which is your next stop!
You can’t visit Edinburgh without seeing the castle close up, so make your way there and take the obligatory photos/selfies on the esplanade with the castle in the background. You can spend hours exploring the castle grounds, so to make sure you have time for other attractions as well we suggest you follow the shorter itinerary if you decide to go inside.
Walking tours of the Old Town
With so many grand and impressive buildings and sights to see, where do you start? With a walking tour of course! Whether you would like something solo and self-guided or a small group tour, there are great options from , and . This would be the perfect time to get to know a little more about the Royal Mile (which isn’t actually a mile long) and the closes meandering off it.
After a busy morning, you must be famished! Take yourself down Victoria Street towards the Grassmarket to find a traditional hearty pub lunch at The Last Drop or wander along George IV Bridge for restaurant options such as Ondine or Vittoria.
National Museum of Scotland
At the end of George IV Bridge stands the National Museum of Scotland with collections relating to Scottish culture, history, science, technology and natural histories set over 5 floors. It is easy to spend an entire day here! There are many museums nearby so choose well if you have limited time. Before you leave, ensure you visit the top floor, the roof terrace offers a spectacular view of the Castle!
If the sun is shining for your visit, take a stroll down the middle meadow walk. Be sure to stop at Soderberg for a coffee and pastry on your way to the Meadows. Here you will get to join the locals enjoying their green spaces and see one of Edinburgh’s largest parks. Make your way to the east end of the park and you will find Summerhall, an arts complex that has been home to breweries and veterinary clinics alike. Now home to the Pickerings Gin distillery, we highly recommend grabbing a drink in . On your way over, you’ll sneak a peek at Arthur’s Seat – tomorrow’s adventure…
After a full day of experiencing Edinburgh, you’re sure to be ready for dinner. Potentially the hardest decision to make on your trip, where to eat dinner? is an exceptional restaurant offering locally sourced Scottish cuisine hidden in the West End.
Edinburgh is awash with creepy historic tales and has quite a haunted history! Several companies offer chilling evening and late-night tours, including , and . Most ghost tours start between 8pm and 10pm.
Home from Home
After your first full day in Edinburgh, it’s time to head to your Dickins home from home. Providing private self catering accommodation in the city centre for over 20 years, we make every stay personal to our guests and would love to welcome you. Our three bedroom Fettes Row home is perfect for a family, the pillows are all fluffed and ready!
Start your day off early with a hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano for unparalleled panoramic views across the city, Firth of Forth and beyond. If you’re an early bird you might even catch the sunrise! Arthur’s Seat was described by as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”.
After your walk up Arthur’s Seat, you’re bound to be hungry! and have brunch menu’s to make you drool. Foodie tip: Smoov has recently launched a gelato stuffed doughnut that is almost too good to be true! Or and are perfect for a lunch bite. Oink is an Edinburgh institution, with three locations around town there is no reason to miss out on their pulled pork rolls.
Palace of Holyrood
Your next stop is Her Majesty The Queens official residence in Scotland, the Palace of Holyrood. The home of Scottish royal history. You can explore the magnificent historic and State Apartments, the romantic ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey and royal gardens. Additionally, the Royal Collections Trust host a changing programme of exhibitions, find out what’s currently on display .
St. Giles’ Cathedral
From the Palace, you can make your way up the mile to St Giles’ Cathedral, High Kirk of Edinburgh positioned at the heart of the Scottish capital. Founded in 1124, it is still a working church but also welcomes visitors to experience the history of the building. Regarded as the Mother Church of World Presbyterianism, St Gile’s welcomes visitors from all corners of the globe and is a must-see in our eyes!
Introduced in Britain in the 1840s, afternoon tea is perfect to placate hunger before your evening meal and after all of your gallivanting, you’re sure to appreciate the world-class afternoon tea at Colonnades at (reopening tomorrow!). Right next to St. Giles’ Cathedral, offering the finest seasonal savouries and decadent cakes served on bespoke silver tea stands. You will be guided through the various treats on your stand and help you choose from the extensive tea list. They’ll be able to recommend a tea that suits your preferences and will highlight our very own Signet Blend which is just delicious!
From here, we recommend taking a break from sights and activities to simply take in the city. Walk from the old town to new, spotting marvels of architecture, classic Edinburgh sandstone and monuments in between. A city steeped in history, you can learn something new around every corner. Make your way down the cobblestone streets towards Stockbridge, one of our most loved neighbourhoods.
Welcome to Stockbridge, a vibrant area with a village vibe on the Water of Leith. Here you will find longtime local shops and independents, along with charity shops and speciality stores. Some of the best cafes and trendy gastropubs can be found here too. Grab a coffee at to sip as you sightsee. St Stephen Street is a great place to start, with some of our favourite local shops Golden Hare bookshop, , and newly opened . There are a plethora of shops around the main streets of Stockbridge where you’re sure to find some memorable gems.
Why not take a stroll along the Water of Leith pathway towards St. Bernards Well? You may find yourself peaking out at Dean village, another much loved and very picturesque neighbourhood.
Time to tuck into some wholesome Scots food and we hope you’re still in Stockbridge! We highly recommend the , a leading gastropub, a venture from well known Scottish chef, Tom Kitchin or for something a little lesser-known, our personal recommendation is on Stephen Street. If you’re feeling seafood, the is a brilliant spot, with a social conscience too.
Cheers to travel
Your final night calls for cheers to Edinburgh and Slainte Mhaith is the Scots cheers to good health. If you’re looking for a locally brewed craft beer, you’ll find it at The Stockbridge Tap, for more refined pours, or serves great cocktails and wine lovers will feel at home at .
Stay a little longer?
We hope you enjoy your visit to Edinburgh, a magical city, and find our guide useful. Jam-packed with things to do so we recommend making your stay a little longer to see the most of our capital city. Our French feeling two bed apartment on Brunton Place is one of our most loved homes and make an ideal city base.