Fascinating history, bags of culture, gorgeous views, delicious food and drink – Edinburgh is one of those cities with a bit of everything and my first-timer’s guide to Edinburgh has everything you should see and do during your first visit. The Scottish capital is just bursting with charm and it’s manageable size makes it the perfect weekend city break destination.
We’re going to start our two day Edinburgh itinerary with a visit to the stunning Edinburgh Castle, which perches fantastically above the city, and offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city and surrounds. The castle is home to a variety of exhibitions and artefacts from Scottish history, including the Scottish crown jewels. The castle is also where the 1pm gun is fired every day, so if you do have a chance to be there for this then do, as it’s quite an experience.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is Edinburgh’s oldest and most famous street, running from the castle at one end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other (though did you know it’s 5900 feet as an old Scottish mile is longer than a modern one?). The Mile is busy and bustling and there’s always something going on – from street theatre to fire-throwing bagpipers. There’s churches, historic buildings, cafés and bars to explore, as well as all the tartan and shortbread shops you could ever need!
Follow JK Rowlings Steps
For Harry Potter fans, Edinburgh’s a bit of a pilgrimage site – it’s where author JK Rowling lived and is full of places that inspired her. There’s Victoria Street which became Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts-style George Heriot’s School. Some of the names on the graves in Greyfriars Kirkyard might look familiar too. You can also stop off for a drink in The Elephant House Café and Spoon Café where she wrote parts of the books.
From the medieval tenements, vennels and wynds of the Old Town to the elegance and grace of the Georgian New Town, Edinburgh thoroughly deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world. If ever there was proof that you don’t need to go far to find an exciting and memorable weekend getaway, Edinburgh is it. The recipe for a perfect short break is a destination that doesn’t take long to reach, is easy to get around, and one that offers plenty of charm, attractions and a generous sprinkling of world-class cuisine.