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How to have a staycation in Edinburgh

VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
edited December 2016 in Scotland's cities and towns

One of my favourite things about this time of year is enjoying a staycation. I like to stay local around Christmas time so I don’t have to add travel stress to my agenda. Nothing quite like a few days off work and enjoying time in your own city while you’re at it!

Lucky for me, Edinburgh is a city filled with amazing food and drink, world-class festivals, history, culture, hidden gems and pop up shops just to name a few!

Here’s what I’d do over a weekend in Edinburgh, whether entertaining visitors or just enjoying the city myself and seeing it with fresh eyes all over again.  (Note: these tips work for guests to the city as well!)

Saturday morning

Start your Saturday morning with takeaway coffee, perfect for warming up the fingers while you walk. Edinburgh New Town has plenty of great coffee options, and you can check out our coffee shop thread here for more inspiration.

From here your walking tour begins! Make your way up to the Royal Mile via the Mound. Once you’re on the Royal Mile you can take in the sights and sounds (street entertainers and beautiful buildings galore!) before making your way up to Edinburgh Castle. As I’ve already been to the castle before, I like to just stop here to enjoy the city views on either side, as well as the impressive up close look at the castle. If you’re new to Edinburgh then I highly recommend going in as well!

After the castle head down to Victoria Street for independent shops on one of the prettiest streets in the city. At the bottom of Victoria Street is the Grassmarket, which was once a place for public executions (read more about it here) that also offers an awe-inspiring view facing back up to the castle. Last little sightseeing opportunity for your Saturday morning is right around the corner – Greyfriars Bobby and the Greyfriars Kirkyard where you can spot Tom Riddle (aka Voldemorts) grave!

Saturday afternoon

All this walking means you’ve surely built up an appetite. Make your way to Cockburn Street for a visit to the iconic Baked Potato Shop. If it’s sunny you can take your food away and pop down to the south side of the Princes Street Gardens to eat your lunch outdoors.

Now it’s time to get festive! The Christmas Market runs from November to January this year and provides hours of entertainment. From panoramic views of the city on the Big Wheel to braving a whirl on the 60 metre high Star Flyer, there are plenty of options to enjoy, including gluwhein, food stalls and even a Christmas tree maze!

Saturday evening

It’s time to wind down for the day. Check out our thread on the best bars in Edinburgh for some inspiration for where to settle in for the evening. Luckily we’re spoiled for choice with excellent food and drink options all throughout the city.

Sunday morning

Sunday mornings are for sleeping in and brunching. Whether you’re cooking at home or heading out for food, having good coffee and a leisurely morning are the key here!

Sunday afternoon

Right in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre is Arthur’s Seat, a great place for a Sunday walk and one of the best views across the city. After making your way up to the peak (251m above sea level!) head back down and across the Salisbury Crags (a series of 150 foot cliffs facing the Edinburgh skyline) to finish off the journey and perhaps snap a selfie or two!

Sunday evening

Time to reflect on your staycation, and what better way than tucking yourself up in a local pub with a pint and some hearty food to end the day. Head down Leith walk for pubs, restaurants and bars galore!

And there we have it – a 48 hour staycation in Edinburgh!

Tell me, what’s on your perfect Edinburgh staycation agenda?

Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 


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