The Dickins Insider Guide to Lauriston, Edinburgh
If you head south of Princes Street and Edinburgh’s Old Town you may stumble upon Lauriston. The area is sandwiched between the vibrant Grassmarket and the gorgeous Meadows, as well as being a stone’s throw away from the village-like suburb of Bruntsfield. Lauriston itself is relatively quiet but very centrally located, which makes it a great place to be based. But, don’t worry, there are so many wonderful areas and Edinburgh landmarks within walking distance to explore. To help you experience (and enjoy) Lauriston as a local, we’ve put together an Insider Guide to Lauriston. Let’s begin!
9am: Tea and Coffee
We can’t think of a better way to start your day than with a great cup of coffee or tea, so here are a few options in and around the Lauriston area. First, Machina Espresso (2 Brougham Place) is a welcoming cafe situated just off the Meadows, who specialises in coffee. Next, Lovecrumbs (155 West Port) may be famous for their delicious cakes but they also offer a wonderful range of hot drinks and breakfast options. Söderberg The Meadows (27 Simpson Loan) and Söderberg Pavillion (1 Lister Square) are also fabulous options. You’ll be able to enjoy a hot cuppa, and we’re sure you’ll be tempted by their freshly baked Swedish-inspired treats. Lastly, the Coffee Mill Cafe (54-56 W Port) is a great place if you’re looking to have a hearty breakfast!
10am: Morning Walk through the Meadows
What makes Lauriston such a wonderful location to stay in is its proximity to The Meadows. The large open green space is a popular spot amongst local runners, dog walkers, as well as families. The Meadows also boasts magnificent views of Arthur’s Seat – one of Edinburgh’s striking extinct volcanoes. The green space truly comes into its own during Cherry Blossom season. Cherry Blossom season often varies but it often occurs during May. It’s a real treat to witness the trees which line the various pathways explode into a vision of pink.
12pm: A Scrumptious Lunch
After all the walking and fresh air, you’ll no doubt be ready for a delicious lunch and we’ve selected a couple of wonderful options. To start with, if you missed out on Soderberg for breakfast, why not head there for a delicious lunch! If you’re in the mood for Asian cuisine, Nanyang (6-7 Lister Square) is a Malaysian restaurant located at the heart of the Quartermile development. Similarly, Ting Thai Caravan (8-9 Teviot Place) is only a short walk and serves up authentic Thai street food. Additionally, if you’re in the mood for pizza, Civerinos Slice (49 Forrest Road) is a fun lunch spot which also has delicious pizza!
If it’s a slightly chilly day, head along to Union of Genius (8 Forrest Road) – Scotland’s first soup cafe – for a hearty bowl of homemade soup. For the health conscious, Hula Juice Bar (103-105 West Bow) and Pumpkin Brown (16 Grassmarket) are passionate about serving up healthy options as well as vegan and gluten-free options!
1pm: Explore the Surrounding Area
The great thing about Lauriston is, as well as being an interesting area in its own right, it’s also within walking distance to various iconic attractions and hidden gems. It’s worth having a little wander through the Quartermile development to admire the beautiful restoration of Edinburgh’s Old Royal Infirmary. Across the road from the development, is one of Edinburgh’s grandest school buildings, George Heriot’s School. The school was built upon the death of George Heriot in 1624, who left around 25,000 Pound Scots – equivalent to several tens of millions today – to found a charitable school to care for the fatherless children of Edinburgh.
The area is also home to Edinburgh’s College of Art, where non-other than Sir Sean Connery (James Bond) posed nude as a life model before his big break! If you’re visiting during the summer months, the school’s degree show is well worth checking out. Moreover, we’d recommend walking to the Vennel (which is a set of steps leading down to the Grassmarket) for magnificent views of Edinburgh Castle and a wonderful Instagram photo opportunity. Edinburgh Castle is also just a short walk away!
A Spot of Independent Shopping or Stop for another Cuppa
Lauriston doesn’t have a vast array of independent shops, however, a few minutes walk brings you to Edinburgh’s book quarter. With a range of fantastic secondhand bookshops to peruse, such as Armchair Books (72-74 West Port), Edinburgh Books (145-147, West Port), and Peter Bell Books (68 West Port), it’s definitely a book lovers paradise. If vintage shopping is more your thing, Godiva (9 West Port), Herman Brown (151 West Port), and Armstrongs Vintage (81-83 Grassmarket) are fabulous places to have a rummage.
If you’re looking for something a little different to do, there’s the option to visit Edinburgh’s only cat cafe, Maison de Moggy. The cute cafe has a total of twelve cats! However, we’d recommend visiting earlier in the day as the cats do get a little sleepy and bored by the end of the day. If you’re still looking to do a little more shopping, we’d recommend taking a short walk to Bruntsfield. Where you’ll find a fantastic range of independent shops, places to eat, and gift shops. Check out our Bruntsfield Guide for more info.
4pm: Take in a Show or a Movie
If you feel like catching a show or a movie, there are several theatres near Lauriston. First, The Cameo (38 Home Street) is a comfortable art house cinema, located at Tollcross, which shows both independent and mainstream movies. Similarly, the Filmhouse (88 Lothian Road) is Scotland’s leading independent cinema, celebrating world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity. Filmhouse is also home to Edinburgh’s International Film Festival. Lastly, if you fancy a live show, The Kings Theatre (2 Leven Street), The Usher Hall (Lothian Road), Traverse Theatre (10 Cambridge Street), and the Lyceum Theatre (30b Grindlay Street) are all within walking distance and gorgeous venues to see a show at!
6pm: Dinner & Drinks
If you’re staying at one of Dickins’ self-catering properties, you have the wonderful option of heading home to cook up a lovely meal and enjoy a relaxing night in. However, if you’ve had a long day you may prefer to dine out and if that’s the case there are several fantastic options.
If you missed Nanyang, Civerinos Slice, or Ting Thai Caravan for lunch, all are open for dinner too. Next, Kanpai (8-10 Grindlay Street) is hugely popular amongst locals and has arguably the best sushi in Edinburgh. Additionally, The Timberyard (10 Lady Lawson Street) is a charming family-run restaurant located in an authentic brick warehouse.
Furthermore, the Grassmarket is only a short walk from the Lauriston area and has a host of great places to eat. For instance, head to The Mussel and Steak Bar (110 Grassmarket) for delicious seafood and Scottish Steak, Petit Paris (38-40 Grassmarket) for French cuisine, or Made in Italy (42 Grassmarket) for Italian food!
Lastly, if you’re looking for a traditional pub to relax in, we’d highly recommend Bennets Bar (8 Leven Street) which has been open since 1839 and The Last Drop (74-78 Grassmarket). Or for something a little more modern, visit Brewdog (50 Lothian Road) a Scottish brewery taking the world by storm with their punky attitude and happy beer. You’ll get to taste a variety of beers here and probably learn a thing or two about the brewing process.
Where to stay in Lauriston? Simpson Loan
If we’ve managed to sell you on staying in the Lauriston area, we have a host of gorgeous Edinburgh holiday lets for you to choose from in the Lauriston area. Take, for example, this stylish and spacious luxury apartment in Edinburgh’s prestigious Simpson Loan. If you like your home environment to be Scandi styled with clean lines and bags of comfort, then this stunning two bedroom home might be perfect for you!