It’s been a few weeks since I visited Edinburgh and I’m still raving to anyone and everyone about how amazing the city is.
I spoke a bit about slow travel last year and it seemed to resonate with a few of you, so I decided to take the plunge and make Edinburgh my first ever slow travel trip.
For this reason I’ve decided to skip writing a step by step guide or detailed itinerary post for Edinburgh, and instead just chat a bit about my beautifully slow birthday weekend in Scotland’s capital city.
Read on to see what I loved the most, my recommendations and plenty of wintry, cityscape photos!
Read more: Cheap Eats Guide – Where to Eat in Edinburgh
We actually arrived in the city late on Friday night, so our first full day was Saturday 28 December. One day before my birthday!
As I was reviewing Point A Hotel in Haymarket we were treated to a free breakfast, so our trip kicked off with warm pastries, strong coffee and plenty of fresh fruit.
Our first stop of the day was Edinburgh Old Town, which was only about half an hour’s walk from our hotel. And most of the way, we had views of Edinburgh Castle.
We explored the Old Town, including Greyfriars Kirkyard (not forgetting the Greyfriars Bobby statue!) and Victoria Street. This was a highlight of the trip for me! This street is full of quirky cafes, witching and wizardry shops and seasonally decorated restaurants. It really does look like it’s straight out of Harry Potter!
Next we wandered along the Royal Mile, grabbing some pumpkin spiced fudge from The Fudge Kitchen and stopping to listen to the bagpipes on the way. This street is chaos, but you have to see it even if you have no intention of shopping!
Once we reached the end of the Royal Mile, we explored the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. We decided against buying tickets to go inside as the queue was probably an hour or more long, but you get to go a little way inside without paying. We also managed to time our visit with the 1 o’clock cannon.
We made our way down the hill with views of Princes Street Gardens, and stopped for lunch at Henderson’s on Hanover Street. We felt a bit lethargic after a heavy meal and a cider but continued on to explore the christmassy Royal Botanical Gardens just before they closed.
Just before heading back to our hotel to freshen up, we stopped off at the Edinburgh Christmas Market. I was so excited to see this and it didn’t disappoint! It was ten times bigger than I expected.
Our first dinner in the city was at El Cartel, followed by a fair bit of bar hopping. A few cocktails are a good way to warm up in cold weather!
Happy birthday to me! I turned twenty-five on Sunday 29 December, so our morning started with a some celebrations before heading out in search of food and coffee. We picked Bross Bagels for brekkie as it was close to our next stop; Dean Village!
Well, I thought we were going to Dean Village, but Darryl insisted on walking the wrong way and refused to look at Google Maps. I tried to intervene but he was having none of it. Turns out he was taking me to Bibi’s Bakery to pick up some surprise birthday cupcakes! My efficient self nearly ruined that one – oops.
When we eventually got to Dean Village, we spent about an hour exploring the winding roads and cobbled streets, taking in the (very!) fresh air and sound of the fast-flowing river. I absolutely loved it here, you cannot miss it!
We didn’t have tons planned for this day (especially as it was a slow travel trip) so we spent a couple of hours at the village’s nearby restaurant, The Brunch Club, warming up with a cappuccino and toasted flatbread with hummus.
We got a little glammed up for a birthday dinner at The Ivy and spent the final hours of my birthday eating great food and drinking far, far too much. We stopped at several secret bars on the way back to the hotel, which is such a unique thing about Edinburgh. You have to visit at least one whilst you’re there!
On our last day it was drizzling and we were pretty hungover, so we didn’t fancy cramming too much into our day. We looked at going to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery but they didn’t have any availability, so we decided to climb up Calton Hill for moody views over the city. A brisk walk always sorts out a hangover!
On our way to lunch we wound our way through more of the city that we hadn’t yet explored, before stopping off at Ting Thai Caravan for the most incredible, affordable Thai food.
We were getting ready to head back to the airport mid afternoon, so we took another walk through more of the city (there’s so much to see just on foot!) before collecting our bags and catching the Airlink bus.
Well I think it’s pretty clear that I absolutely loved it. The locals were some of the friendliest people I’ve met on a trip, every new corner is as beautiful as the last and the food we ate was out of this world (read more on that here!).
That said, because we wanted it to be such a slow travel trip, this meant that we missed out on visiting Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, doing any organised tours and climbing Arthur’s Seat. But these are all the things we can do when we visit next time!
What a city. Edinburgh, I’ll be back!
Have you been to Edinburgh? What did you love about the city?
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