If you are planning short break to Scotland’s renowned capital our Edinburgh Guide can help you plan your visit. Steeped in history and rich with culture Edinburgh is a vibrant city full of outstanding sights, world class attractions and striking architecture. Granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its remarkable blend of medieval old town with the Georgian new town Edinburgh is a city not to be missed.
From the distinctive Edinburgh Castle, towering above the city, to the majestic Royal Yacht Britannia and the Scottish House of Parliament Edinburgh is full of amazing sites for you to discover. Whether planning a romantic getaway, family holiday or a city break with friends our Edinburgh guide provides an insight into all this wonderful city has to offer. During the day why not explore the array of shops on Princes Street, take a walk up to the legendary Arthur’s Seat or visit the city’s oldest attraction Camera Obscura.
A trip to Edinburgh would not be complete without seeing the amazing Edinburgh Castle, home to the world renowned Edinburgh Tattoo and the National War Museum of Scotland. With plenty of cafes and bars throughout the city you can stop and refuel before continuing on your way. Take a stroll along the Royal Mile home to many of Edinburgh’s oldest buildings, including the Palace of Holyrood House and the famed Mary King’s Close. When the evening draws in Edinburgh comes to life. With ghost walks, great theatre and a host of award winning restaurants, great pubs and chic bars Edinburgh nightlife is thriving. Need inspiration then the Edinburgh guide can point you in the right direction.
As one of The UK’s major cities, Edinburgh has many travel options for visitors in the city. Edinburgh Airport is the busiest in the whole of Scotland, flying to and from destinations all around the world. The airport also offers connecting flights to all UK airports. Travelling to Edinburgh by car is easy thanks to an extensive motorway system and well signposted tourist highlights. Arriving in the city by train is probably the easiest option, as regular service run from numerous stations in The UK and the East Coast line is the fastest intercity route in The UK. Although Edinburgh is a very large city, the centre and tourist areas are best travelled around on foot or by bicycle. The historical and architecturally interesting streets are most appreciated from the ground, although a very reliable and frequent series of bus services do run in the city. There is also a large selection of local train services that can take visitors further afield and out to The Lothian’s for more rural trips. Although taxi’s in Edinburgh can be expensive, they are very frequent and it’s a much easier way of travelling to your destination if you’re not so sure of your way around.
From arts & crafts to cutting edge fashion, designer jewellery to traditional Scottish kilts, shopping in Edinburgh is a fantastic experience. A great variety of shops reside in the city – some contemporary and housing high quality designer labels, others in elegant, historical buildings selling local produce and traditional Scottish wares. The Royal Mile, Princes Street and Grassmarket should be top of the list for any shopaholics visiting the city, as well as five shopping centres located around the outskirts. With so much variety, it’ll be hard to know where to start.
As one of The UK’s most popular cities, Edinburgh’s food scene has a huge variety of cuisines and eateries. The cosmopolitan city caters for everyone, from vegetarians to vegans, meat eaters to salad lovers and everything in between. There are the usual chain restaurants that never fail to satisfy, but the real highlights are the fresh seafood, traditional Scottish fares and numerous Michelin starred restaurants that are dotted around the city. Some boast ultra-modern interiors, others are built in 17th century mansions, but all of them provide some of the tastiest food you’re likely to find in The UK.
As well as numerous bars and nightclubs, Edinburgh’s nightlife is filled with cultural venues, comedy clubs and multiple live music hotspots where you can seek out the latest talent and even have a go yourself. The many theatres play host to some of the UK’s best shows and performers, and some of the biggest stars in the world hit the stage in this multi-cultural city. Thanks to its huge popularity with visitors from all around the world, Edinburgh’s bar scene has developed into one of varied styles. From upmarket cocktail bars to traditional Scottish pubs, there’s a great range of places to try out on your short break in Edinburgh. The city has fast become a nightlife hotspot and is now known for being one of the best nights out in The UK.
Edinburgh is a beautiful city, with a mix of traditional and natural landscapes combined with contemporary design and state of the art attractions, so whatever you fancy doing on your short break in Edinburgh, there’s guaranteed to be something for you to enjoy. With heaps of history, a trip to Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Edinburgh Castle and The National Museum.
Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most popular cities attracting thousands of visitors each year. Regular train services, excellent road links and a local airport make Edinburgh easily accessible by rail, road and air. Edinburgh Waverly is situated in the heart of the city and is the main station into Edinburgh, while Edinburgh Haymarket places you in the heart of the West End. From the city there are excellent links across the UK including many direct trains on the East Coast route. If you are heading from the North of Scotland, Edinburgh has excellent links to the M9 and M90. The main motorway access to Edinburgh is via the M8 which links directly to Glasgow, about an hour away, and connects to the M74 towards Carlisle and the rest of England. Edinburgh Airport sits just outside the city and is easily accessible via the M8 and the M9. There are many hotels at Edinburgh Airport, with some including long stay parking. As well as international flights there are around 40 flights a day to London, taking around an hour. With around 300 First Bus services throughout the Edinburgh area it is quick and easy to get around the Scottish capital by bus. There are also airport, city and night bus services run by Lothian Buses and multiple sightseeing, open top bus services that tour the city attractions. Edinburgh is a relatively compact city, meaning that walking from one side to the other or from one attraction to another is quite straight forward. Edinburgh is also a bike friendly city with many cycle lanes and bike routes as well as plenty of places to hire cycles to explore on your own. The compact city of Edinburgh is easy to navigate with most attractions within walking distance of each other. With regular bus services and multiple taxi ranks it’s easy to get around this magnificent city. There are many taxi companies in the city of Edinburgh that can be booked or picked up from the multiple taxi ranks across the city. To avoid un-reliable services check with your hotel in Edinburgh for their preferred service or have them book you a taxi.
Discover the streets of Edinburgh with a spooky ghost tour. See the views from the spectacular Edinburgh Castle.Discover the hidden streets beneath the city in Mary Kings Close. Take in a play at the fantastic Edinburgh Playhouse. See the beautiful views from the top of Arthurs Seat. Catch some hilarious comedy at The Stand Comedy Club.
With over 25 airlines offering flights to more than 100 airports in The UK, Europe and internationally, Edinburgh Airport is by far the busiest in Scotland. As well as regular UK connecting flights to the likes of London and Birmingham, Edinburgh is also a popular airport for flights to New York and Toronto. The airport is located 8 miles (12 km) west of the capital and has frequent transport links to the city centre. As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh enjoys easy access to the large motorway links that make their way up to and around the UK. If you’re travelling from the north of Scotland, for example, Edinburgh is only 3 hours from Inverness and just over 2 hours from Aberdeen. Journey times from England are just as good you can get to Edinburgh from Birmingham in about 5.5 hours, from Manchester and York in about 4 hours, and the city is just 2.5 hours from Newcastle. There are two main railway stations with close access to the city centre. Both Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Haymarket Stations have regular trains running from major cities across the UK, such as York, London and Manchester. Trains run on a regular basis and take around 5 hours from London. Edinburgh Waverley is the larger of the two stations, although Haymarket is more convenient for the theatres.
If you don’t fancy using public transport but need to get around a little quicker than walking will allow, why not cycle? The city council has invested in some off-road cycle paths and road-edge cycle lanes (although it’s not compulsory for motorists to stick to the lanes), the lanes ease the flow of cyclists during rush hours and make some roads safer. Cyclists can travel freely along bus lanes.
Most of Edinburgh’s taxis are black cabs, which take up to five passengers. When a taxi’s yellow “For Hire” light is on, you can hail it in the street. The basic fare, for the pick-up and the first 90 seconds of waiting time costs £1.60 (£2.70 between 6pm and 6am) each additional 45 seconds costs 25p. There’s a 20p charge for every additional passenger over two. Minicabs (saloon cars) are generally cheaper than black cabs and may be able to carry more passengers (specify when booking). Cars must be booked in advance. Reputable firms include Bluebird (0131 621 6666) and Persevere (0131 555 2323).
Buying a Day Ticket for Lothian Bus Services means you are able to travel wherever you want, as many times as you want and you only have to pay £3. First buses also operate in Edinburgh with around 300 services, however they are slightly more expensive. If you’re heading further afield, you can buy your coach tickets for UK and Scottish travel from the bus station in St Andrew Square in advance.
Founded by the famous fossil hunter who discovered “Lizzie”, the oldest fossil reptile yet discovered, this fascinating speciality shop has a wide range of minerals, gems, fossils and other geological gifts.
Set in a candlelit basement with wooden chairs and leather sofas, this restaurant is all about atmosphere. The food is an eclectic mix of European, North African and Far Eastern influences.
This New Town French bistro is a hidden gem, down a steep cobbled alley off the Royal Mile, with a changed-daily menu of market-fresh produce and a lovely little lunchtime sun-trap of an outdoor terrace. With a lofty glass-domed ceiling, pillared arches and a mosaic-tiled floor, the Dome Grill Room boasts one of Edinburgh’s most impressive dining rooms.
If you want to buy a designer dress without breaking the bank, have a flick through the racks at Greensleeves, which specialises in high-quality second hand clothes, handbags and shoes, many with designer labels. This mall houses all of your high street favourites alongside
Scottish heritage stores such as Gleneagles of Scotland. Dating from 1902 and named after Sir Walter Scott’s country house, the Abbotsford is one of the few pubs on Rose St that has retained its Edwardian splendour, with a grand mahogany island bar.
When driving, time your journey to avoid rush hour periods of 7.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday
Now open to the public as the Real Mary King’s Close, this spooky, subterranean labyrinth gives a fascinating insight into the daily life of 16th and 17th-century Edinburgh. The much-loved Dom is a delightful, independent, family-run four-screener in a 1938 art deco building.
When driving, time your journey to avoid rush hour periods of 7.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday
A paradise for searchers of new and second-hand vinyl, this place has thousands of records. If you’re heading to Edinburgh for the theatre, Haymarket Train Station is the most convenient
Fresh, seasonal, locally sourced Scottish produce is the philosophy that has won a Michelin star for this elegant but unpretentious restaurant.
If you’re heading to Edinburgh for the theatre, Haymarket Train Station is the most convenient
Armstrong’s is an Edinburgh fashion institution (established in 1840, no less), a quality vintage clothes emporium offering everything from elegant 1940s dresses to funky 1970s flares. This nostalgia-fuelled cafe continues to serve up classic British comfort food of the 1950s – bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips. But there’s a twist – the food is all top-quality nosh freshly prepared from local produce.
The historic Beehive – a former coaching inn – is a big, buzzing party-pub, with a range of real ales, but the main attraction is sitting out the back in the Grassmarket’s only beer garden, with views up to the castle. Filled to the brim with delicious restaurants, a cinema, nightclubs and health clubs, The Omni Centre has it all.
A palatial Georgian banking hall enlivened with fuchsia-pink banners and aubergine booths is home to this lively, child-friendly Italian bar and restaurant. The architecturally impressive Usher Hall hosts concerts by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and performances of popular music. The brooding, black crags of Castle Rock rising above the western end of Princes St are the very reason for Edinburgh’s existence. This rocky hill was the most easily defended hilltop on the invasion route between England and central Scotland, and is now the city’s most popular attraction. The rocky peak of Arthur’s Seat (251m), carved by ice sheets from the deeply eroded stump of a long-extinct volcano, is a distinctive feature of Edinburgh’s skyline. If you’re flying, the Lothian Buses Airlink service 100 can take/ bring you to the airport for around £3 each way
The brainchild of rhythm’n’blues pianist and TV personality Jools Holland, the Jam House is set in a former BBC TV studio and offers a combination of fine dining and live jazz and blues performances.
The menu here takes its inspiration from hearty Scots fare, ranging from hot buttered crab on sourdough toast to roast rump of lamb with haggis and mashed potato. Set in the 17th-century Prestonfield House, Rhubarb is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
Why not take your coffee and brandy upstairs to the sumptuous fire side sofas in the Tapestry and Leather rooms. If you’re flying, the Lothian Buses Airlink service 100 can take/ bring you to the airport for around £3 each way.
Home to Paul Smith, Jasper Conran, Hugo Boss, Joseph Tricot, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, Cruise is a haven of designer labels. Set above the foyer of the Traverse Theatre, this is a cool white minimalist space with polished oak and Danish designer furniture. The food is simple but skilfully cooked and presented.
A lovably eccentric pub, the Canny Man’s is made up of a crowded warren of tiny rooms that are crammed with a bizarre collection of antiques and curiosities. With high street names to very opulent designer stores, Ocean Terminal has something for everyone. Stocks a wide range of handmade crafts from developing countries, including paper goods, rugs, textiles, jewellery, ceramics, accessories, food and drink, all from accredited fair-trade suppliers. Scotland’s leading map specialist has knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to advise on their interesting range of original and facsimile antique maps, charts and plans of Scotland, Europe and the rest of the world. This atmospheric stone-lined vault houses Edinburgh’s most ‘alternative’ club, which eschews huge dance floors, an eclectic mix of DJs, live acts, comedy, theatre, visual arts and the spoken word. This mile-long stretch of lush grass crisscrossed with tree-lined walks was once a shallow lake known as the Borough Loch. Drained in the 1740s and converted into parkland, it’s a great place for a picnic or a quiet walk Any twinge of homesickness felt by members of Edinburgh’s Polish community is rapidly dispelled at this rustic haunt halfway down Leith Walk. The restaurant’s signature dish, ‘bigos’, is classic Polish comfort food. A divinely decadent boudoir designed to make shopping for lingerie a lush, leisurely experience. Located in the Scotch Whisky Experience, this whisky-themed restaurant manages to avoid the tourist clichés and creates genuinely interesting and flavoursome dishes. The McKirdy brothers – owners of a local butcher’s business established in 1895 – have cut out the middleman and now run one of Edinburgh’s best steakhouses. There’s a kids menu, and you can get a two-course early dinner (until 6.30pm) for £13. Lush leather sofas, red satin cushions, fetishistic steel-mesh curtains and dim red lighting all help to create a decadent atmosphere in this drop-dead gorgeous club venue beneath the Tigerlily boutique hotel. If you’re staying to the east of the city, this shopping mall is in easy reach of the A1 and houses the biggest names in fashion, hair and beauty. Broad, elegant Chambers St is dominated by the long facade of the National Museum of Scotland. Its extensive collections are spread between two buildings, one modern, one Victorian. Most sporting events, including athletics and cycling, are held at Meadowbank Sports Centre, Scotland’s main sports arena. On the western outskirts of the city, this shopping park includes popular fashion stores and over 1000 car parking spaces. Pass through the revolving doors on the corner of West Register St and you’re transported back to Victorian times – a palace of glinting mahogany, polished brass, marble floors, stained glass, Doulton tiles and gilded cornices. This cosy little restaurant, tucked beneath a 17th-century signal tower, is one of the city’s best seafood places. If you’re looking for some stylish spectacles, this boutique stocks the city’s largest selection of designer eyewear. This is a small bookshop for serious collectors buying and selling rare editions, with a good range of titles on Scottish subjects.  Studio 24 is the dark heart of Edinburgh’s underground music scene, with a program that covers all bases, from house to nu metal via punk, ska, reggae, crossover, tribal, electro, techno and dance. Edinburgh’s oldest Chinese restaurant, dating from 1956, is still one of its best. A no-frills, no-nonsense place, it offers an extensive menu of expertly prepared Cantonese and Peking dishes with classic favourites. <a title=”Royal Yacht Britannia | SuperBreak” href=”http://www.superbreak.com/themeparks-attractions/royal-yacht-britannia”>One of Scotland’s biggest tourist attractions,</a> she was the British royal family’s floating home during their foreign travels from the time of her launch in 1953 until her decommissioning in 1997. The Stand, founded in 1995, is Edinburgh’s main comedy venue. It’s an intimate cabaret bar with performances every night and a free Sunday lunchtime show. Red is a stylish, dimly lit, cellar-like venue with a bar that specialises in flavoured and frozen vodkas. Pretty much every night is a club night, with drinks promos during the week. Once a place for executions, the broad, open square, edged by tall tenements and dominated by the looming castle, has many lively pubs and restaurants for you to try. A spectacular subterranean club venue set in the ancient stone vaults beneath the South Bridge, the Caves stages a series of one-off club nights. A grand Victorian theatre located beside the Usher Hall, the Lyceum stages drama, concerts, musicals and ballet. Opened in 1913, Edinburgh Zoo is one of the world’s leading conservation zoos. Edinburgh’s captive breeding program has saved many endangered species, including Siberian tigers, pygmy hippos and red pandas. This restored theatre at the top of Leith Walk stages Broadway and West End musicals, dance shows, opera and popular-music concerts. This laid-back cocktail lounge is the hippest hang-out in the New Town. The drinks menu ranges from retro classics such as Bloody Mary and mojito, to original and unusual concoctions such as the Cuillin Martini. With its moored yachts, stately swans and whitewashed houses spilling down the hillside at the mouth of the River Almond, Cramond is the most picturesque corner of Edinburgh. It is also rich in history.  One of those places that easily earns the sobriquet ‘best kept secret’, Bramble is an unmarked cellar bar where a maze of stone and brick hideaways conceals what is arguably the city&’s best cocktail bar. This crowded cellar-bar just off the Royal Mile has live music every night till 3am, from rock and blues to folk and jazz. Open-mic night on Monday and breaking bands on Tuesday are showcases for new talent. Set in an impressive neoclassical building surrounded by a landscaped sculpture park some 500m west of Dean Village is the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The collection concentrates on 20th-century art, with various European movements represented by the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Kirchner, Magritte, Miró, Mondrian and Giacometti. Another 12-screen multiplex, with three ‘VIP’ screens where you can pay extra to watch from a luxurious leather reclining seat complete with side One of the city’s best traditional-style pubs serving a range of excellent real ales and a vast selection of malt whiskies. Elegantly draped in cream linen and candlelight, the Atrium is one of Edinburgh’s most fashionable restaurants, counting Mick Jagger and Jack Nicholson among its past guests. The cuisine is modern Scottish with a Mediterranean twist. Only a few minutes walk from Princes Street, the Royal Mile and Waverly Station, The Carlton Hotel is in a perfect location for discovering the city. This modern hotel has all the features of a grand Victorian building mixed with the comfort of modern conveniences. After a day discovering Edinburgh and the surrounding areas you can relax with a range of leisure facilities on offer at this fantastic hotel or dine in the incredible Bridge Restaurant. Like the shop’s name suggest, Howie Nicholsby has taken the kilt from kitsch to cutting-edge. As well as kilt suits, waistcoats and yes, sporrans, there are ranges for women and children. Exciting world-famous 3 day event to celebrate the New YearFrom vintage boutiques and Scottish souvenirs in Grassmarket to designer labels and high street fashion on Princes Street Edinburgh has it all. From fine French cuisine, authentic Indian dishes and traditional Scottish Haggis, Edinburgh is bursting with a wealth of different flavours from around the world. With many cafes, bars and restaurants, Edinburgh is the perfect place to try something new. The largest arts festival in the world hosting fan
tastic events and performancesBrimming with pubs, bars and nightclubs Edinburgh’s nightlife is a vibrant mix of live music and comedy keeping you entertained into the evening. Experience military music at its best in this iconic Edinburgh eventWhether you are looking for a trendy cocktail bar or a traditional pub Edinburgh is full of bars and pubs to suit all tastes. Honour Scotland’s patron saint in a festival of music, culture and heritageEnjoy getting into the festive spirit with Edinburgh’s fabulous range of events and attractionsBrowse our Edinburgh Guide and make the most out of your break. You’ll find tips and inspiration on the best attractions, events, restaurants and hotels in Edinburgh.Edinburgh Guide – A City Guide to Edinburgh – Superbreak