In December, I travelled to Edinburgh with the girls for a weekend away. This was my second time in Edinburgh, having originally published this post in 2017, when Stew and I spent two weeks travelling around Scotland.
I wanted to update the post with fresh photography that depicted a much sunnier Edinburgh this time around. Much of my recommendations have stayed the same, although I’ve swapped out Panda & Sons cocktail bar for The Pantry brunch. Both are excellent places to visit, and I’d still highly recommend Panda & Sons for a creative cocktail, but this time we went for brunch at The Pantry, and it was TOO good not to share!
So here are my highlights, my top 5 things to add to your list if you’re planning a trip to the Scottish capital.
Top 5 things to do in Edinburgh:
- Arthurs Seat
- National Museum of Scotland
- Edinburgh Castle
- Royal Mile
- Brunch at The Pantry
When we arrived in Edinburgh, the sun was shining and the temperature was mild, perfect conditions to climb up to the top of Arthur’s Seat immediately! We were unsure if we would have time to do it, but it was top of our list of attractions, and with weather so perfect, we decided to go for it. Located fairly close to the city centre, the initial walk up isn’t too bad, but it soon gets a lot steeper. I don’t know if we took a short cut, but we ended up climbing up a lot of steps, having to stop every so often to take a break! To get to the very top, you will need to climb over a few rocks, and up some very precarious steps/stones. So suitable walking shoes or trainers would be best – not heeled boots like I had on! However, the views are well worth the strenuous climb! You can see all over the city, right out towards the surrounding countryside and sea.
National Museum of Scotland
You may have seen this museum before on Instagram, its beautiful atrium is often snapped and is perfect for a rainy day. We had one of these on our final day in the city, and it was a great way to spend the morning. The museum’s collections are vast and lots of the exhibitions are child friendly. A great day, or half day, out for everyone.
The castle is a must! Other than Arthurs Seat, it’s probably one of (if not, the), most famous attraction of Edinburgh. It dominates the city and dates back to the the 12th Century. It’s steeped in history and is beautiful to look around. We tagged along on a free tour, which I’d highly recommend. The tour guides are extremely knowledgable and are happy to answer any questions. They keep the tours to small groups, so it’s easy to hear, and each tour lasts no more than 30 minutes, so you have plenty of time to explore for yourself too.
The Royal Mile is one of those ‘picture postcard’ streets of Edinburgh. Meander your way up this beautiful street, from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, right up to the castle. On your way up, you will find quaint pubs, souvenir shops and cute cafes. Stop off for a coffee, browse the shops and take photos at every opportunity!
Winner of The Food Awards 2017 Scotland, The Pantry is a beautiful cafe with a line out the door most days! Whilst the wait was cold on a December morning, they cater for their popularity with plenty of blankets to keep cosy. The queue is very much deserved too, with the menu boasting an array of incredible dishes. As we watched food come out of the kitchen, we were mesmerised by the smells and colours of each passing plate. The pancakes come highly recommended, but I opted for a savoury dish of roasted sweet potato, vegetables, yogurt and a drizzle of chilli to give it a kick. This packed a punch and was a great way to start the day.
The Pantry also happens to be located around the corner from Circus Lane, another spot you must visit. Especially if you’re after that winning outfit shot!
Have you been to Edinburgh? I’d love to hear if you have any other recommendations. Leave a comment below!