Edinburgh City Guide
With the Fringe in full swing we’ve put together our definitive list of Edinburgh city’s highlights, helping you eat drink and be merry...if the world’s largest arts festival isn’t quite enough!
Image from The Middle Aged Man https://themiddleagedman.co.uk/
To line your stomach ahead of a day’s festivities, try breakfast at The Edinburgh Larder just off the Royal Mile. The menu is not only filled with locally sourced, seasonal and homemade treats, but many of their ingredients are foraged. The creators behind it also run foraging workshops alongside a range of other fun classes such as learning how to make preserves and bread.
For feline fans, Scotland’s first ever cat café, Maison de Moggy, is in New Town and the perfect place to unwind. Grab a cheeky slice of cake and a cup of tea in-between shows in the fine company of some fluffy companions.
Originally home to the grounds’ gardener, The Garden Cottage sits at the bottom of Carlton Hill in the Royal Terrace Gardens. The ‘scran’ is all cooked using sustainable produce and there’s an affordable five or seven course menu with wine pairing. The focus is on sociable dining and seated at long, communal tables, you can easily get to know the locals.
Heads and Tales is a dungeon-style bar and distillery with friendly knowledgeable staff, hidden away at the bottom of some steps on Rutland Place. They offer a GIY (Gin It Yourself) menu from which you can choose your glass, gin and descriptor (based on the chosen botanicals). There’s also a snacks and sharing board menu to help soak up the spirits.
No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without stumbling into (or out of) a whisky bar. The cosy and traditional Bow Bar has deservedly been awarded pub of the year twice and is top of the list with over 310 single malts to choose from, as well as a wide selection of CAMRA approved beers.
And if that’s left you wanting more than a wee dram, head towards the castle for an educational tour and a treat for the senses. The Scotch Whisky Experience takes you on a journey, explaining how whisky is made, as well as exploring variations in flavour and origin. The venue is home to the world’s largest Scotch Whisky collection and has its own bar and award-winning restaurant.
Not technically off-the-beaten-track but the rugged route to the summit of Arthur’s Seat delivers unparalleled panoramic views of the city that can’t be missed. You’ll need to take two to three hours out for the hike up this ancient extinct volcano but there are a number of options varying in levels of stamina required to reach the tip.
Go on a subterranean tour of the Royal Mile’s hidden 17th century streets, homes, and passageways where you’ll be intrigued by tales of plague and murder dating back 400 years. Ghost tours are a-plenty in the city centre, but this one is authentically steeped in history, offers an insight into Edinburgh’s blood-curdling past and is marvellously macabre.
For a retail therapy fix which circumnavigates the high street, have a wander through Stockbridge Market, a short stroll from the city centre and open every Sunday. Wares include handmade ceramics, vintage clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts and is a foodie heaven – it’s worth skipping breakfast to gorge on the wild venison lasagne.