Best guide to Edinburgh

Autumn. It’s that time of the year when the broadleaves start blushing and we curl up inside with warming candles. It is also the perfect season to make a trip to Edinburgh and Scotland – the birthplace of Harry Potter. Here are some great things to see and do during your fall vacation in Edinburgh!

Where to stay?

Macdonald Holyrood hotel

Located at the very end of the main street, right next to the highlights of the city. This is a great option for an accommodation in Edinburgh. Comfy beds, spacious rooms with a spectacular view of Arthur’s Seat from the Window. In the morning awaits a hearty and steady breakfast with home cooked sausages, toast, fresh juice et cetera. The staff is professional and polite and serve top notch cocktails in the hotel bar. I definitely recommend this hotel!

A room with a view

Nature

Arthur’s Seat

Our neighbor and a part of the Holyrood Park, and once upon a time a volcano. A pleasant 45 minutes hike from bottom to top makes a great morning excursion. The effort is worth while, because at the top you can overlook the whole city. Pretty majestic!

Some autumn foliage

Architecture

The Royal Mile and the castle

Edinburgh is UNESCO World Heritage listed, and it’s easy to understand when you’re strolling along the Royal Mile – the capital’s main street. The architecture is simply magnificent and it almost fools you to believe you’ve entered the Harry Potter world for real. Especially considering that the Hogwarts lookalike castle – the star of the city is evident wherever you walk. You’ll also find some of Edinburgh’s best pubs and restaurants around the Royal Mile.

Where to eat?

Fazenda

A steakhouse with a twist. Just an amazing place to go to for the meat lover. This place does not only serve awesome food, the concept of the restaurant is also a unique experience in itself. You start off with a huge sallad buffet, picking out your favorites. You do want to leave some room for what will come next, so even though the sallad buffet makes you drool, be gentle with the portion size. What now follows is waiters coming to your table with all kinds of juicy chunks of meet straight from the grill. You choose anything you want alongside with fresh French fries and vegetables from the barbecue. Build up an appetite and go eat as much as you want at Fazenda. I promise you won’t regret it. Inform the staff beforehand for vegan options. https://fazenda.co.uk/edinburgh/

The Canon’s Gait

Cosy place with local cuisine with the national dish Haggis always on the menu. I had the “pie of the day”, and ate a lovely leek and chicken pie with a perfect crust and creamy filling. This place also offers good local beers. Located right at The Royal Mile. This place also have Scottish live folk music during some nights of the week if you’re interested in that.

Where to drink?

The hanging bat

A paradise for the beer nerd with a great choice of home-brewed IPA’s, Ales and Lagers. This hipster hide out with its long-bearded and knowledgeable bartenders is the perfect place for a great pub night. Innovative and inviting interior. Probably the best beer in Edinburgh!

The Waverley pub

A really nice gem for listening to some live Scottish folk music. Grab a beer, have a seat and enjoy the creative musicians improvising in front of you. Prepare to be swept away by bagpipes, banjo, violin, guitar and some haunting acapella song in Gaelic. This is also a great place to hang out with the local crowd.

Markets

Stockbridge market

Gloat in various delicacies from all over the world at this lovely outdoor market. The market is open every Sunday from 10-17. While you’re here don’t forget to take a stroll in Stockbridge, a less touristy district of Edinburgh with a youthful atmosphere to it.

Grassmarket

Same market, different location. Every Saturday from 10-17. Close to The Royal Mile and next to nice cafés and lunch places. Also right next to Victoria street, which is said to be the inspiration for the Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies. A kind of mysterious and magical place and a must-visit when in Edinburgh.

Some great cafées

Made in Italy

An Italian café at Grassmarket. Almost makes you believe that you’ve suddenly been transported to Rome. The café is run by Italians and the coffee here is as one might expect really good. Indulge yourself and order a warming cappucino and a pizza slice. Or for a hot day, a refreshing and creamy gelato.

Deacon’s House café

A really cute lite coffee place close to the castle. Treat youself with a nice cup of coffee and some delicious sweet pastry. A perfect place for reading a book, maybe Harry Potter?

What else is there to do?

Dean Village

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the charming area of Dean Village. Close to Stockbridge, which makes it ideal to combine the Sunday market with a stop at Dean Village. A 40 minute walk from The Royal Mile where you walk alongside with the river of Leith. Bring your camera and photograph the picturesque stone houses and lush gardens. Make several stops and make sure to treat yourself with some coffee and snacks. This serves as a great midmorning activity. Not convinced yet? For more reading about Dean Village, check out the awesome blog Earth Trekkers.

Free ghost tour

A unique and fun way to get to know Edinburgh better. Join the free ghost tour and learn something about Edinburgh’s spooky past. Don’t expect to be scared, because then it might disappoint you. Rather see it as an interesting an different kind of activity and take advantage of the fact that it’s free. Our guide Rory was an excellent and slightly eccentric guide with some pretty impressive theatrical skills. He made sure to give us plenty of laughs during the walk. He finished the tour by kindly asking us to rate him at TripAdvisor, but preferably not as a previous tourist, with the words “Rory ruined my holiday”.

Reading tips

A vaccation is a great time for catching up with some reading. I personally enjoy to read local authors and books set in the landscape or cityscape I’m in. Obviously the Harry Potter books serve some great reading when in Edinburgh. However the books might be to clumsy to bring. Another author I’d like to recommend is the Scottish writer Peter May. Read The Blackhouse and dive into the Scottish culture and soul, solving mysterious murders together with the main character. A pleasant read.

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