Edinburgh City Guide

Edinburgh completely stole my heart away. Before visiting, I had very strongly wanted to see it in gloomy weather, which it generously supplied when I first arrived. The rain-stained façades of the buildings, the darkened rock upon which sits Edinburgh Castle, and the cobblestone streets deserve white-grey skies, a humid chill in the air, the static feel of more oncoming rain.

But then it also surprised me. It gifted me with blindingly sunny days and showed me just how glorious Edinburgh is when under a crisp, blue sky. If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s this: under any type of weather, this city was a joy to visit and explore.

To see

Edinburgh is a very walkable city (even in the rain!), and it’s easy to group places to see by area to maximize efficiency. There are quite a few hills, but I didn’t personally encounter any that were too steep. And honestly, I mention this list below, but the whole city was almost overwhelmingly charming. Edinburgh is pretty everywhere you go.

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Victoria Street

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Cockburn Street

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Calton Hill

Circus Lane

Circus Lane

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Dean Village

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The Vennel

To do

National Galleries and Museums in Scotland have free admittance, which helps a great deal if you’re planning your visit on a budget. Outside of that, prices are fair, with a visit to Edinburgh Castle being a bit steeper (I paid 17,50£ for my ticket), though as it is an entire complex with several galleries and museums included in the visit, I also think this is fair.

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St Giles’s Cathedral

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Edinburgh Castle

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The Writers’ Museum

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Scottish National Gallery

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Royal Botanic Garden

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Saint John the Evangelist

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Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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National Museum of Scotland

To eat

Vegetarians rejoice! I had absolutely no issues finding places to eat while in Edinburgh — I actually left out some places that I’d had on my list!

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Byron

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Franco Manca

Red Squirrel Haggis

Red Squirrel (veggie haggis!)

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Rabble

Wahaca

To drink (coffee)

Chilly Edinburgh just begged for cozy coffee stops while wandering around, and it helpfully obliges with so many options — seriously, I still have so many saved that I couldn’t possibly have fit into my trip even if all I’d done had been coffee shop hop.

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Artisan Roast

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The Milkman

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Lovecrumbs

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Burr and Co

To shop

Edinburgh is full of cute independent shops and cozy bookshops, which are a joy to visit even if you don’t have the money (or the space) to bring the entire store back home with you. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, boy, do they have you covered.

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John Kay’s Shop

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The Boy Wizard

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Museum Context

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W Armstrong & Son

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Miss Katie Cupcake

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Eden

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Mr Wood’s Fossils

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Golden Hare Books

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Topping and Company

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Waterstones

Hannah Zakari

Pie in the Sky

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