6 Warm Places for Cold Days in Edinburgh
Winter is definitely upon us here in the capital and although Edinburgh may not have the saunas of Sweden or the hot springs of Iceland, there are plenty of warm and cosy places you can go when you’re feeling the cold. We have selected some of our favorites, so keep reading to find out where you can head to warm up this winter!
1. Glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Photos: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Glasshouses have long since been a place where people have gone to warm up during the colder months. It is said that in the Victorian era, folk who couldn’t afford to heat their homes would spend time among the palms.
There are 27 heated glasshouse zones at the RBGE with over 8,000 species of plants. The oldest among them, the octagonal Tropical Palm House, was at the time the largest of its kind in the UK and houses an incredible 200+ year old palm tree.
On a trip to the Glasshouses, you’ll see varying styles of architecture from 1834 up to 1978. Palms, aloes, cacti and more will delight and fascinate. From tropical humidity to the dry heat of the desserts, a range of warm temperatures is maintained in the various houses (with none falling below 10C). Hopefully spending some time among the palms will help put you in mind of your last summer holiday and help you forget about winter. At least for a little while…
Open from 10am-4pm every day. For more info visit RBGE’s website here.
2. Portobello Bath & Steam Rooms
Photo: Edinburgh Leisure
In 1901 Portobello Baths first opened on the famous promenade overlooking the beach. Now known as Portobello Swim Centre, it is still open to the public. With many of the original 19th-century features still in place, this historic centre sits among modern swim and fitness facilities.
Portobello Baths is home to Edinburgh’s only public Turkish Bath. The facility offers a choice of three hot rooms, a steam room and a relaxation area. For the brave, there’s even a cold-plunge pool to cool off in. The baths can be used on three settings, tepidarium (warm), calidarium (hot) and laconium (hottest), allowing the increasing warmth to have a therapeutic effect on the muscles. There’s also an aerotone – the forerunner to the modern jacuzzi – making a visit to the baths a unique experience.
Photo: The aerotone – Edinburgh Leisure
The centre also has two ‘hot baths’, which can be hired for use by people who may live in a home with only a shower. You can also warm up and get some exercise in the 25-metre, five-lane pool. Portobello Baths is the ultimate place to unwind and warm up.
For more info visit Portobello Swim Centre’s website here.
3. Pubs with Fires
Photo: The Sheep Heid Inn
Is there anything better than the smell (and warmth!) coming from a traditional fireplace in an old-world pub? We have selected three cosy and traditional Edinburgh pubs, all unique in their own way and all with toasty fireplaces to curl up beside this winter.
The Jolly Judge
Photos: @edinburghevermore & @fourchette.et.semoule
Hidden just off the Royal Mile, this pub is a real gem and feels like a little escape in the city. With low beamed ceilings and a log fire burning, the Jolly Judge has a warm and welcoming feel and is a lovely place to hide away on a cold winter’s eve.
There is something special about this favourite Edinburgh pub. It has a quiet and charming old-world feel and a relaxed atmosphere where people come to chat and catch up with friends. For the pub-quiz enthusiasts, Monday is their regular quiz-night.
Exceptionally well preserved, this intimate Victorian bar is full of interesting period features throughout. Though not in the most obvious location (tucked away in the New Town among grand Georgian surroundings) it’s worth seeking out.
This pub has an undeniable cosiness to it. Originally a Georgian coach house, it was converted in the early Victorian era. Today, you’ll find a warm atmosphere and over 50 malt whiskeys on offer as well as several real ales. Kay’s has a rich history and is widely regarded as Edinburgh’s premier cask ale-house.
There’s even a library in the back, smothered in traditional wood paneling and filled with old books. On cold days, you could set up a card game with friends next to the fire.
Visit Kay’s website here.
The Sheep Heid Inn
Photo: The Sheep Heid Inn[/caption]
Known as one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, this inn has been serving warming whiskies and mouthwatering meals since the year 1360. Located in the historic and charming village of Duddingston, the journey to the Inn is just as good as the destination.
Photo: The Sheep Heid Inn
This beautifully restored pub is filled with endless charm and character. Find a cosy corner to relax in or warm yourself up with a traditional game of skittles in their famous alley.
Visit the Sheep Heid Inn website here.
4. Golden Hare Books
Photo: Golden Hare Books
What better time is there to curl up with a good book than during the coldest months of the year? And what if we told you that there’s a fantastic independent bookshop in Edinburgh with a real fire? You read that right. At Golden Hare in Stockbridge, you can discover new books while warming up by the fire. It’s a restorative and warming activity for the mind, body and soul.
This welcoming bookshop is the ideal place to find your next book, with thousands of carefully selected titles and knowledgable staff that are passionate about reading. Have a quiet browse or a conversation with a friendly bookseller and get lost in the wonderful world of books while you forget about the cold outside.
Golden Hare was featured as our January competition, so it is no surprise that we are big fans of this inspiring shop. You can read our full post about Golden Hare Books here.
5. Royal Commonwealth Pool and Soft-play Area
Picture: Copyright Chris Watt
This well-known and truly loved Edinburgh institution is a great destination on a cold winter’s day. Not only does it have a fantastic pool but there are also rainy-day activities on offer for families.
Though not a Victorian pool, the famous Royal Commonwealth Pool has a rich history and has won several architectural awards. It is Edinburgh’s largest and only 50-metre swimming pool. From a casual dip to a fast-paced fitness class, there are plenty of ways to warm up in this world-class facility.
The centre also offers activities for families, such as their ‘Aqua Dash’. Join your young ones as they slide, climb and bounce their way through this thrilling inflatable playground on water. An activity perfect for energetic little ones and parents alike!
The Clambers soft-play area is also a good activity, where kids can explore freely and parents can supervise easily all within a securely gated area.
For more info visit Royal Commonwealth Pool’s website here.
6. Maison De Moggy
Some may soon be of the opinion that we have saved the best for last. Perhaps not an obvious choice for this list, it made perfect sense to us to include a place as heart-warming as it is cosy.
Awarded ‘Europe’s Best Cat Café’ by Easy Jet, it’s easy to understand why Maison has captured so many hearts. With a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere and some of the most scrumptious cakes you’ll find in the Grassmarket, this little slice of heaven will not fail to warm your soul on even the coldest of winter days.
From Ragdolls to Main Coons and Siamese to Persians, this adorable family of twelve is sure to steal your heart. Join them for playtime or get cosy and have a cuddle with your favourite feline while sipping on a delicious hot chocolate. A one-hour slot just isn’t enough and you’ll likely be planning your next visit before you’re even out the door.
For more info visit Maison De Moggy’s website here.