Edinburgh is a compact city, so you can squeeze a lot into a short break in Edinburgh. Book an Edinburgh hotel and explore Scotland’s multi-faceted capital in its medieval, Georgian and dockside quarters.
Edinburgh short break day one, morning
Start your Edinburgh short break in the medieval Old Town, a dense area of labyrinthine cobbled streets. Follow the Royal Mile where kings and queens rode between Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse, opposite the adventurous, fragmented Scottish Parliament building. Look out for street performers in the narrow lanes and pick up souveniers in the quaint shops. Walk up to Edinburgh Castle, the sturdy fortress hunkering from volcanic crags. Inside, check out Scotland’s opulent crown jewels glittering alongside the Stone of Destiny, coronation seat of Scottish kings, and the Dog Cemetery. Be prepared for the booming One O’Clock Gun from Mills Mount Battery.
Start: Canongate, Royal Mile
When hunger beckons head for a Grassmarket café for lunch or, in fair weather, enjoy a picnic at peaceful Princes Street Gardens. Locals love to relax with a newspaper or stroll its monument-studded lawns, with the huge floral clock accurate enough to set your watch by. On a rainy day, dip into the neoclassical National Gallery of Scotland, showcasing top Scottish painters like Raeburn, Ramsay and Wilkie. Southeast lies Holyrood Park, once royal hunting ground and now a rural wilderness with the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat, dormant for 350 million years. Climbing this 251 metre-high landmark rewards you with outstanding panoramic views of the city and sea.
After freshening up at your Edinburgh hotel, the city’s nightlife awaits. In the heart of the New Town, the shopping hub of Princes Street transforms into an area buzzing with evening activity. Sup on modern European cuisine and Michelin-star dining at Number One, which dishes up top Scottish ingredients like Borders beef, venison and local cheeses. If you have the energy, join locals for a wee dram and informal music sessions at Royal Oak bar.
Start: Number One, Princes Street