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Top 5 Things To Do In Edinburgh

The last time we visited Edinburgh, we said we never wanted to return. It was a freezing January and everything felt a little bit miserable. We didn't research Edinburgh at all before we visited and just spent the time wandering around aimlessly waiting for something interesting to emerge. The only good things I remember from that trip were the Ibis hotel breakfast and eating affogato at Howies Restaurant

So, when Isaac suggested we return there for a second time, I was slightly shocked. I mean, we didn't 
like it there, right? Why bother to return? Saying that, it didn't take much convincing to get me to go. Some may say that I am super open-minded and willing to give anywhere a second chance but really I was just pretty desperate for a holiday (and very low on Instagram content).

This time, I decided to go in 100% and spent quite a lot of time trawling through Instagram, blog posts, and travel sites looking for things for us to do whilst we were there. And I soon discovered where we went wrong last time. First of all, we didn't have an itinerary (or even the slightest clue of where anything was) which meant we spent most of the trip around the centre in the same shops every British high street has or in random parts of the city where nothing was happening. And we went there by train (starting and ending a trip with an eight hour train journey is not the one). 

I can happily report back that this trip was amazing and I liked Edinburgh so much that I could have easily spent a whole week there without running out things to do and see.

Howies restaurant
Let's start this post off with arguably our favourite thing about Edinburgh: the lush food at Howies Restaurant. All in all, we have now had three meals at Howies and each came to around £30 or just under for two courses for two people. Despite the low price, this place is as close to 'fine dining' as I have ever gotten. The food is all locally sourced and really embraces its Scottish roots. But if you think it's all haggis all day, you'd be wrong. They have something for everyone. Isaac absolutely adored their cullen skink (like a fish soup/stew/thing) and I was pretty sold on their desserts (their brownie is insane - it comes with coffee ice cream and rum syrup). Oh, and their coffee was the kinda coffee that makes you go wow ok when you drink it. Basically, everything is delicious, well-made, locally sourced, and not too pricey. I wish they opened one on my street.

Victoria Street and Grassmarket
I am really into Instagram at the moment so if you say 'multi-coloured street of dreams' to me, I will probably be on the bus there - tripod in hand - before you even get to finish your sentence. So, Victoria Street was literally heaven for me. Everywhere you look, there are cute cafes and boutique shops selling everything from gifts and trinkets to handmade suits. And this continues out into the wider area of Grassmarket. This area has such variety and we loved wandering along these streets in the evening especially as all the restaurants were bustling with people. Hands down, my favourite part of Edinburgh.

Royal Mile
This is probably one of the busier parts of Edinburgh - but I totally get why. The Royal Mile is full of beautiful buildings. Everywhere you look there is a church or historic building to explore/have a selfie in front of. But probably the best thing about the Royal Mile is the shopping. There are so many little shops full of locally made tartan, kilts, and cashmere (which I really didn't know was such a big thing in Edinburgh).

National portrait gallery
Ok, let me admit a little something here, I am not usually someone who is that keen on things like museums and galleries. I much prefer wandering around the streets and learning about the history of life in a particular area and the history of the local, everyday people rather than looking at the artwork and other items made by rich people and owned by rich people. But I really liked the National Portrait Gallery. I liked seeing different genres of art that they displayed (especially the less traditional and more abstract pieces) but also some real classics like 'Monarch of the Glen'. And they had a bunch of things on for kids too. Definitely worth a visit - even if you don't really like galleries.

Edinburgh castle
This is a bit of an obvious one but it is something we didn't do last time (mostly because we're a bit tight) and actually really enjoyed this time. The views, first of all, were amazing (despite the wind) and I loved how different this castle is to other castles I have visited before. This castle is more a military base rather than a royal dwelling which completely went against my expectations. They have Prisoner of War cells that date back hundreds of years and the original graffiti still remains on the walls. They also have solitary confinement cells for disobedient soldiers - this was super interesting for me as I am a bit of a prison history geek (niche, I know). But the best thing about Edinburgh Castle was the tour guide (closely followed by the gift shop and whiskey tasters). I regret that I didn't remember her name but she was amazing - so fun and engaging but also very knowledgeable about the castle and the history. Definitely try to get a walking guide around the castle over paying for a headset.

What is your favourite thing about Edinburgh?


  1. I don't visit Edinburgh as much as I should, but mostly because I find it a bit too busy! If you go back again you should definitely visit Circus Lane, Stockbridge and Dean Village - they are super Instagram ;)

    Charlotte / Colours & Carousels

    1. Ooh I heard Dean Village is lovely! Definitely will keep these in mind when I next visit

  2. I am actually going to Edinburgh in a couple weeks so I am going to have to remember this blog post!

    Danielle xx

    1. Ah hope you have a great time! It's such a fun place to visit


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