48 hours in Edinburgh is certainly not enough as the beautiful capital of Scotland has got so much to offer. However, it’s a great start to see the best and the most important parts of Edinburgh or to experience a little bit of the Scottish lifestyle. We went to Edinburgh on a Friday night and stayed there until Sunday evening, therefore, I will share our 2 day itinerary with you and what not to miss while you are visiting this city.
GREYFRIARS BOBBY BAR
I heard a lot about Bobby before visiting Edinburgh and it was something I wanted to see the most as I’m a big dog lover and stories like Bobby’s make my heart melt. As we arrived in Edinburgh late in the evening, after a long day at work, we wanted a quick, delicious and noncommittal dinner in our comfy clothes. I researched Greyfriars Bobby Bar beforehand and their comfort food was something we wanted to go for.SATURDAY
During our visit in Edinburgh, we stayed at Motel One Edinburgh Princes which is located opposite Waverley train station, therefore, we started our Saturday morning bright and early with a stroll alongside Princes street.
Our first stop of the day – Scott Monument. Not only because it looked stunning on that sunny but cold Saturday morning, the monument, built to remember Edinburgh’s greatest writer Sir Walter Scott, was surrounded with hundreds of poppies. The composition next to the Scott’s Monument looked breathtaking and we took our time to walk around and read some of the beautiful notes on Tartan hearts.P.S. At the time of travel I was not aware that you can actually climb it! I would have loved to climb up and have a look at Edinburgh from another angle. You will have to climb 287 steps up, so it might not be for everyone but if stairs do not frighten you, go for it.
NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND
The National Galleries of Scotland is just a few steps away from Scott’s Monument, hidden in between Edinburgh’s Waverley train station & Princes Street Gardens. You will never be able to miss out the building because of its neo-classical looks and big pillars. Despite the building’s majesty, the best is yet to come when you walk inside. The National Galleries of Scotland hold the works of many great artists such as Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Anthony van Dyck, Rembrandt, Vermeer and has one of the most impressive collections of fine art.Could it get any better? Well, actually, it can because the art gallery is free to enter and there’s plenty of exhibitions and events held on a regular basis.
PRINCES STREET GARDENS
Princes street gardens was one of the first places I visited when I came to Edinburgh for the very first time. In good weather, there’s no place I’d rather eat my lunch than here whilst chatting to my travel companion and mesmerising seasonal floral displays. The public park is a great place to relax or spend the last few hours of your stay in Edinburgh, as it is so nearby Edinburgh’s train station. It gets really busy in summer months with people coming down for a picnic, a lunch break of just to read their favourite book.
Interesting fact: Princes Street Gardens divide the Old and the New Town of Edinburgh.
ST GILES’ CATHEDRAL
When you start exploring Edinburgh, you realise how close everything is. We managed to explore almost everything just by using our feet and not even once jumped on a bus. Now St Giles Cathedral was on our way to Greyfriars Bobby and after reading about it, I wanted to pay it a visit. The church dates back as far as the 14th century and it has been one of Edinburgh’s religious points for around 900 years. Today, St Giles’ is known for its crown-spired architecture, stained glass windows and notable monuments.The cathedral is free for all and it also has a gift shop and cafe inside if you would like to stop here for a little rest. If you are after some more history of the church or panoramic views over Edinburgh, St Giles’ organise guided rooftop tours. If you visit it outside of summer season, be aware that tours are only available on Saturdays & Sundays at a cost of £6 per person.
BRUNCH @ BRUNCH EDINBURGH
We are a very predictable couple when it comes to breakfast & brunch. I’ve got my favourites and my partner’s got his. Therefore, we were looking for a place that would cater to both of our needs and would still be pretty close to other places we wanted to see in the afternoon and there were many of those.We found a wonderful and pretty busy cafe on George IV Bridge street, called Brunch, and decided we will give it a go. It’s not a big place but the fact that everyone was stopping in made us want to see what the fuss was about! I opted in for my usual eggs benedict with salmon and a pot of peppermint tea. My partner went with a bacon sandwich and hot chocolate. It was pretty cold outside that day so hot drinks kept us warm! What I loved about Brunch was its menu. It offered traditional brunch options as well as breakfast burritos, gluten free pancakes and a variety of pastries. Moreover, you could have swapped your hot drink for a smoothie or a shake with vegan options available!
GREYFRIARS BOBBY AND GREYFRIARS KIRKYARD
Despite our late visit on a Friday evening, I wanted to come back and see Greyfriars Bobby in daylight. It is only 1 minute walk away from Brunch so straight after our brunch this was where we decided to go. Long story short, Greyfriars Bobby is one of the most loved residents in Edinburgh. He is not a famous Scottish person but a little Skye terrier who was made famous by various books that even Disney created a film based on his story. Why? Bobby looked after his owner’s grave for fourteen years after he passed away.Now if you are a mad fan of dogs like myself, Bobby’s grave is right in front of the entrance of the Greyfriars Kirk. Make sure to go there and have a walk around. You’ll be able to find his owner’s grave there too.
After we’d seen Bobby, we walked back up towards Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. We visited a few shops on the way with fresh Scottish produce (I’ve never seen so much tartan in one street), Christmas decorations at the Nutcracker Christmas Shop and delicious fudge at the Fudge Kitchen. If you are a little hungry or thirsty by this point, there’s a great variety of eateries and coffee shops around – pick whatever you like!
After we strolled around the Royal Mile, we walked towards Edinburgh’s most popular attraction, Edinburgh Castle. The castle has been home to royalty for hundreds of years and today it is a great place to learn a bit more about Scots. Depending how much you’ve got planned for the day or how much time you spend in Edinburgh, you could plan a trip to the castle at a certain time of the day. Yes, it does get busy and most people who choose to visit Edinburgh go inside the castle too.Worth knowing: Tickets are not cheap to enter the castle and cost £16.50 for Adults & £9.90 for children. To save yourself time, purchase your tickets online.
The view from Calton Hill is one of the most Instagrammable ones. I am sure you’ve seen a few pictures on Instagram from there without even knowing it. We chose Calton Hill before going back to the hotel to get ready for dinner because it was close to our hotel and it took less time to conquer than Arthur’s seat which we decided to visit on Sunday. Once you are there, you will find National Monument, reminising Athen’s Parthenon, and Nelson Monument.If you have time and want to see the city from above, go up the Nelson Monument, I did and truly enjoyed it. It only costs you £3 and has pretty good views of Edinburgh.
DEEP FRIED MARS BARS
Yes, you’ve got that one right. It’s some sort of tradition in Scotland to have a deep fried Mars bar. It’s that big of a deal that I would dare to state it could potentially be an unofficial dish of Scotland. Since 1995 it’s been served in various fish & chips places as a novelty item until it’s got the attention of press who made deep-fried Mars bar – the new black.As we were walking back from Calton Hill to our hotel, we googled & found Cafe Piccante to be just a few steps away from our location. I couldn’t say NO to that, could I? Now let me tell you this, it’s not glamorous or a good looking dish, neither it has some ‘deep’ flavours but it was an interesting thing to taste and I even thought it was not as sweet as a regular Mars bar!
DINNER AT ISHKA EDINBURGH
We planned our Saturday night dinner to be fancy and we chose a place that you would need to dress up for. I need an excuse for those heels in my luggage! We chose the new restaurant in town, called Ishka, and I was very pleased with my choice – the food was exceptional and something we would like to repeat again soon. To find out my full review about Ishka, please click here.
COCKTAILS AT GEORGE STREET
After our delicious dinner, we went down to George street. During the day, George’s street is a place you want to be when shopping as it has got a variety of designer and jewellery shops. During night, the street presents a great variety of restaurants, bars and cafes to suit everyone. We decided to spend our night at our two favourite bars in Edinburgh – Tigerlily & The Dome. Both places are very stylish and offer a great variety of drinks. Be aware, it does get really busy on a Saturday night but if that does not bother you, they are definitely worth a visit.
BREAKFAST AT THE DOME
The Dome is my favourite place in Edinburgh because it always feels special, majestic and their customer service is beyond amazing. We didn’t go there for dinner this time, therefore, we decided to visit Dome for our Sunday breakfast. As we visited Edinburgh in November, it was already fully decorated for Christmas and felt very festive. Something out of Home Alone movie set for sure. As I mentioned before, we are very predictable with our breakfast. I once again had a salmon bagel with eggs and my partner had a bacon bun. Tea & hot chocolate to follow. We wanted to see quite a lot of things before leaving for Newcastle, therefore, we ate our breakfast pretty quick and off we went again.
On our way to Arthur’s seat, we walked towards Victoria street as I’ve seen a lot of beautiful pictures of colourful houses and little quirky cafes on Instagram and I wanted to check it out myself. It is said that Victoria’s street is one of the most photographed streets in the Old town of Edinburgh and I can see why. The street goes down in a lovely curve shape and has a very charming feel with a lot of tiny shops and cafes stopping not only tourists but locals alike.
HIKING ARTHUR’S SEAT
Arthur’s seat was never a question on our list. It looked spectacular every time we read about it and was something I passionately wanted to conquer. My partner is afraid of heights but I’m pretty proud of how well he’s done and I was a bigger knee shaker once we reached the top! Now you can go up from either left or right side and if I could give you a tip, I would tell you to go around using the left side of Arthur’s seat as the road is easier to walk on to and is not as steep as our chosen one was. We thought we were fit but Arthur’s seat took us by surprise and made us shattered. However, the view from the top paid off as it was spectacular. I bet it would be even prettier if you went up to wait for a sunrise. It’s pretty cold up there so make sure to wrap up! Sunday Afternoon
SHOPPING AT JENNERS AND PRINCES STREET
Now usually I don’t do any shopping when I travel. I always want to see more of the city and experience local things rather than walk through shops of the same brands I could get in my own city or online. However, my partner wanted a coat he couldn’t get in Newcastle and Edinburgh store was showing it in stock so we took time out to buy it for him. Whilst I was not interested in any regular shopping, I wanted to buy some shortbread. I managed to find what’s been said on the internet as one of the best shortbreads by Shortbread house of Edinburgh which later on proved to be truly delicious.So if you want to buy something special for yourself or someone else, check out Jenners, Edinburgh’s most famous department store which was founded in 1838. It’s right on Princes street with many other shops around in case it’s not for you.
DINNER AT BREWHEMIA
After a very hectic and busy Saturday, we took Sunday a bit easier and enjoyed more strolls around central Edinburgh rather than trying to see it all. As our train was meant to leave Edinburgh in the evening, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat before our departure. Brewhemia was a beautiful restaurant we noticed walking on Saturday and as curious as we are, we made a plan to come back here for our Sunday dinner. First of all, it looked very stylish and something we would normally like. Secondly, it was a few minutes away from the station so we wouldn’t have to rush for our train afterwards.Now at Brewhemia I discovered my new favourite alcohol based drink – A Flying Scotsman which is a gin mixed with Irn Bru and a slice of cucumber. I want A Flying Scotsman now every day! The food menu is very traditional European/British mix of burgers, hot dogs, meat & fish dishes. I chose their regular Scottish beef burger and my partner went for a hot dog. Both of us enjoyed our food and I wouldn’t mind coming back again. And as we went there on a Sunday evening, we got to experience what Brewhemia is truly about with its live band, laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff. Good end to our weekend trip to Edinburgh!Have you ever been to Edinburgh? What was your favourite thing? Share your experiences with me!If you would like to find out more about my travels, please don’t hesitate to follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook !