Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. By purchasing items through my links, it allows me to continue to create helpful free content for you to enjoy. Thank you for your support!
A Suggested Itinerary for When You Only Have One Day in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a city known for its rich history and stunning architecture, but it’s also a great place to have a delicious breakfast. Here are some of the best breakfast spots in the heart of Edinburgh that you should check out:
- The Pantry a cozy café serves up a variety of breakfast dishes, including classic Scottish breakfast, pancakes, and eggs benedict.
- Loudons, a trendy café, offers a range of breakfast options, including classic breakfast dishes, as well as vegan and gluten-free options.
- Urban Angel, a stylish café with a great selection of breakfast dishes, including granola, porridge, and breakfast sandwiches.
- The City Café is a classic diner-style café is a must-visit for breakfast lovers. They serve up traditional Scottish breakfast, as well as American-style pancakes and waffles.
In the heart of Edinburgh, there are numerous breakfast spots that are sure to satisfy your cravings, regardless of your preferences.
Visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle.
If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh, a visit to the Edinburgh Castle is a must. Here’s why:
- Historical significance: The Edinburgh Castle is one of the most significant historical landmarks in Scotland, having been the site of royal residence and military fortification for centuries.
- Stunning views: From the castle, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
- Fascinating exhibits: The castle houses a number of fascinating exhibits, including the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny.
- Interactive experiences: Visitors can engage in interactive experiences, such as firing a cannon or dressing up in historic clothing.
- Cultural events: The Edinburgh Castle hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals.
From Edinburgh Castle, take a stroll down the Royal Mile, where there are a few other nearby attractions that you may want to check out. Here are some suggestions:
- The Royal Mile: A historic street in Edinburgh that stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is lined with beautiful architecture, shops, restaurants, and landmarks such as St Giles’ Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament. The street has played a key role in Scotland’s history, and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
- St Giles’ Cathedral: Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, is a stunning example of medieval architecture. Built in the 14th century, the cathedral has been restored over the years, and features a mix of Gothic and Victorian styles. It is known for its intricate stonework, beautiful stained glass windows, and impressive vaulted ceilings. As the mother church of Presbyterianism, St Giles’ has played an important role in Scotland’s religious and political history.
- Holyrood Palace: A royal residence located in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland and has been used by the kings and queens of Scotland since the 16th century. The palace is open to the public and visitors can tour the state apartments and see the historic rooms where royal ceremonies take place. It is also known for its beautiful gardens and the adjacent ruins of the Holyrood Abbey.
there are plenty of great places to choose from. Here are a few recommendations:
- The Royal McGregor is a cozy and casual pub that serves up delicious traditional Scottish dishes, including haggis and neeps and tatties.
- Dishoom Edinburgh is a popular Indian restaurant that offers a unique blend of Bombay comfort food and vintage decor.
- If you’re in the mood for sushi, Kanpai Sushi is a great choice. They offer a wide variety of fresh and creative sushi rolls, as well as other Japanese dishes like ramen and udon.
- For a more laid-back lunch, head to The Grassmarket Cafe. This cozy cafe serves up hearty soups, sandwiches, and salads, as well as some of the best coffee in the city.
No matter where you choose to dine, you’re sure to have a memorable culinary experience in this vibrant part of Edinburgh.
Explore the charming neighborhood of Stockbridge
Browse the boutiques, museums, parks and grab a coffee at one of the trendy cafes. Here are some additional suggestions for things to do and see in the neighborhood:
- Visit the Stockbridge Market, which takes place every Sunday and offers a range of locally sourced food and crafts.
- Take a stroll through Inverleith Park, which offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and the city skyline.
- Check out the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which features an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art.
- If you’re a fan of literature, be sure to stop by the Writers’ Museum, which celebrates the lives and works of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Whether you’re interested in shopping, art, nature, or history, Stockbridge has something to offer everyone. So grab a coffee and take some time to explore this charming neighborhood.
After immersing yourself in the the beauty of Edinburgh, you’ll likely be ready for a delicious meal.
For a real dinner treat, book a table at The Kitchin, a Michelin-starred restaurant specializing in Scottish cuisine, and known for its high-quality dishes and exceptional service. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience, with a menu that showcases the best of Scottish ingredients and flavors. The restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere and attentive staff make it a must-visit destination for food lovers.
In addition to The Kitchin, here are some other great dinner options in Edinburgh:
- Ondine: A seafood restaurant located in the heart of the city. The menu features fresh seafood from Scottish waters and the ambiance is elegant and modern.
- The Scran & Scallie: A gastropub serving elevated pub food made with locally-sourced ingredients. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, with a focus on community and sustainability.
- Timberyard: A family-run restaurant in a converted warehouse. The cuisine is modern European with a focus on seasonal and foraged ingredients. The ambiance is rustic and cozy, with exposed brick and wood beams.
- Angels with Bagpipes: A restaurant located on the Royal Mile offering modern Scottish cuisine. The ambiance is romantic and intimate, with low lighting and a cozy atmosphere.
- The Gardener’s Cottage: A farm-to-table restaurant located in a historic cottage in Royal Terrace Gardens. The menu changes daily and is inspired by the seasons and local produce. The ambiance is cozy and intimate, with communal seating and an open kitchen.
Finally, end your day with a scenic walk up Calton Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and watch the sunset.
Calton Hill is home to several famous monuments and buildings, including the National Monument, which was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. In addition, the hill is also home to the Nelson Monument, which was built in honor of Admiral Horatio Nelson, and the City Observatory, which was once a hub for astronomical research.
As you take your scenic walk up Calton Hill, be sure to take in the stunning panoramic views of the city, including Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, and the Forth Bridge. If you time your visit just right, you might even be able to catch a breathtaking sunset over the city.
Make sure to plan your itinerary in a way that is convenient and efficient, so you can make the most of your time in Edinburgh.
Places to Stay
For those who are visiting Edinburgh for the first time, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay. With so many neighborhoods to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one will provide the best experience. However, after careful consideration, it’s clear that the Old Town neighborhood is the ideal location for those seeking a combination of history, luxury, and convenience.
Other Areas to consider:
- Old Town: This area is full of history and charm, with narrow streets and stunning architecture. It’s also home to popular attractions like Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and St Giles’ Cathedral.
- New Town: A contrast to the medieval Old Town, New Town is known for its Georgian architecture and wide streets. It’s a great area for shopping, dining, and nightlife, and also offers access to attractions like the National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
- Grassmarket: Located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket is a lively area with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shops. It’s also a great base for exploring the city’s medieval history, including the infamous public executions that once took place here.
- Leith: This area has a distinct maritime feel, with its historic docks and waterfront. It’s a great place to sample some of Edinburgh’s best seafood, and it’s home to popular attractions like the Royal Yacht Britannia and the lively bars and restaurants of the Shore area.
If you’re looking for luxurious accommodations in Edinburgh, there are plenty of options to choose from in the city that offer top-notch amenities and services. Here are a few options to consider:
- The Balmoral Hotel: Located in the heart of the city in the Old Town neighborhood, the Balmoral is known for its elegant decor, spacious rooms, and exceptional service.
- The Witchery by the Castle: Situated just steps from Edinburgh Castle in the atmospheric Old Town, the Witchery is a luxurious boutique hotel with uniquely decorated suites and a renowned restaurant.
- The Principal Edinburgh George Street: This stylish hotel is located on the bustling George Street in the New Town neighborhood, known for its upscale shops and restaurants. The Principal features elegantly appointed rooms and a rooftop terrace with stunning city views.
- The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa: Located in the financial district near the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the Sheraton offers spacious rooms, a full-service spa, and a rooftop hydrotherapy pool with views of the castle.
- The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian: This grand hotel is housed in a historic building that once served as a railway station, with opulent decor and modern amenities. It is located in the West End neighborhood, within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions.
Edinburgh boasts a diverse range of restaurants, offering cuisine from around the world.
- The Kitchin
- Number One at The Balmoral
- Restaurant Martin Wishart
- Castle Terrace Restaurant
- Angels with Bagpipes
- The Scran & Scallie
- Howies Restaurant
- The Table
- The Bon Vivant
- Ting Thai Caravan
- Mosque Kitchen
- The Piemaker
Foods to Try
- Cullen Skink
- Scotch Broth
- Arbroath Smokies
- Black Pudding
- Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties
- Caramel shortbread
- Dundee Cake
- Clootie Dumpling
- Tipsy Laird
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
Scotland is home to some of the world’s most renowned whisky distilleries, and Edinburgh is no exception. With over 20 distilleries, the city offers a diverse range of whisky experiences for both connoisseurs and newcomers to the beverage. Here are some interesting facts about Edinburgh’s whisky culture:
- The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can learn about the history, production and tasting of Scotland’s national drink.
- The city is also home to several exclusive whisky bars such as the Devil’s Advocate, where whisky enthusiasts can sample rare and aged whiskies from across Scotland.
- For those who want to take their whisky knowledge to the next level, Edinburgh offers a variety of whisky tasting classes and tours that explore the various regions, styles, and flavors of the beverage.
- The city also hosts several annual whisky festivals, including the Edinburgh Whisky Festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world to sample some of Scotland’s finest whiskies.
- Beyond its whisky culture, Edinburgh has a rich history and vibrant arts scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and festivals that showcase the city’s unique character and charm.
A great place to start your whiskey adventure is by visiting one of Edinburgh’s Distilleries:
- The Glenlivet: Known for its smooth and fruity flavor with a hint of spice, the Glenlivet is one of the most popular whiskey distilleries in Edinburgh.
- The Scotch Whisky Experience: A top tourist attraction, offering guided tours and tastings
- Glenkinchie Distillery: Located just outside the city, offering tours and tastings of their single malt whisky
- Holyrood Distillery: A new distillery that opened in 2019, offering tours and tastings of their gin and whisky
- Edinburgh Gin Distillery: Produces a variety of gins using locally sourced botanicals, with tours and tastings available
- The Caledonian Brewery: Produces a range of beers and ales, with tours and tastings available
- Johnnie Walker Princes Street: A new visitor experience set to open in 2021, offering tours and tastings of the famous Johnnie Walker whisky
- Summerhall Distillery: While not a whiskey distillery, this popular gin distillery offers tours and tastings of their award-winning gin and gin-making classes
Types of Scottish whisky you’ll find when visiting Edinburgh:
- Single Malt: Made from 100% malted barley and distilled in a pot still at a single distillery. It’s known for its complex flavors and aromas.
- Blended Malt: A mixture of single malts from different distilleries. It’s also known as vatted malt.
- Blended Scotch: A mixture of single malt and grain whiskies from multiple distilleries. It’s the most common type of Scotch whisky.
- Single Grain: Made from grains other than malted barley and distilled in a continuous still at a single distillery. It’s typically lighter and milder than single malt.
When it comes to whisky tours, there are a variety of options to choose from. Some of the best types of whisky tours to take in Edinburgh include:
- Guided tours of the distilleries themselves
- Whisky tastings at local pubs and bars
- Walking tours of the city that incorporate stops at various whisky shops and distilleries
No matter what type of tour you choose, you’re sure to come away with a deeper appreciation for Edinburgh’s whisky culture and the many different types of whisky produced in the area.
Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is known for its charming and elegant afternoon tea experiences. Many hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer traditional Scottish treats, such as scones and shortbread, along with a variety of teas. The experience often includes beautiful decor, fine china, and exceptional service, making it a delightful way to spend an afternoon in the city.
Here are some additional details about these top places for afternoon tea in Edinburgh:
- The Colonnades at the Signet Library: Another option within The Signet Library, The Colonnades offers a more relaxed atmosphere with the same exceptional quality of food and service. Their afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes, and a choice of tea or coffee. The setting is charming, with a glass roof that floods the space with natural light and allows for views of the sky above. Diners appreciate the peaceful ambiance and the chance to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in a beautiful setting.
- The Palm Court at the Balmoral: This iconic tea room is famous for its luxurious setting and impeccable service. The tea service includes a three-tiered stand of sweet and savory delicacies, along with a variety of tea blends.
- Mimi’s Bakehouse: This cozy and charming cafe is a local favorite for afternoon tea. The service features a delightful selection of cakes, scones, sandwiches, and tea. The cafe’s vintage decor and friendly staff create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
- The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant: Located within the Scottish National Gallery, this restaurant offers a unique afternoon tea experience with a Scottish twist. The service includes traditional tea treats, along with locally-sourced ingredients such as smoked salmon and haggis. The bright and airy atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Princes Street Gardens is a definite plus.
- The Dome: Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, The Dome is a grand building that has been beautifully restored to create a luxurious atmosphere. Their afternoon tea service includes a selection of teas, freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, and an array of sweet treats. The setting is opulent, with a stunning glass dome that floods the space with light. Diners appreciate the elegant ambiance and the chance to experience a taste of Edinburgh’s history.
- Eteaket: A modern tea room located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, Eteaket offers a contemporary take on the traditional afternoon tea experience. Their tea service includes a selection of loose leaf teas, freshly baked scones, sandwiches, and a selection of cakes and treats. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with a bright and colorful interior. Diners love the innovative flavor combinations and the chance to try something new in a fun and friendly setting.
Instagram-Worthy Photo Spots
Edinburgh is a city brimming with photogenic spots that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. If you’re looking for more Instagram-worthy locations, here are a few suggestions that might interest you:
- Edinburgh Castle: a historic fortress and royal residence that sits atop a hill and offers panoramic views of the city.
- The Royal Mile: a historic street that runs from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and landmarks along the way.
- Calton Hill: a hilltop park with stunning views of the city, including the National Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument.
- Circus Lane: a picturesque cobblestone street lined with charming cottages and colorful gardens.
- Victoria Street: a vibrant, curved street with colorful storefronts and plenty of photo opportunities.
- Dean Village: a quaint and peaceful neighborhood with historic buildings and a picturesque riverside walk.
- Stockbridge: a trendy and upscale neighborhood with plenty of independent shops and cafes, as well as a weekly farmers market.
- Arthur’s Seat: an extinct volcano and the highest point in Edinburgh, offering stunning views of the city and surrounding area.
- The Vennel: a narrow, winding alleyway that leads to a beautiful view of the city and the castle.
- Portobello Beach: a scenic beach town just outside of Edinburgh, with a charming promenade and plenty of photo opportunities.
How would you spend one day in Edinburgh? let me know in the comments!
How to Spend Three Days in Edinburgh Itinerary – Coming soon
Hi, I’m Haley, a Travel Advisor, and I’m here to help make your travel planning adventure easier. If you need any help along the way, please feel free to reach out to me, and I’d be glad to help you in any stage of your travel planning process!
To learn more about working with Haley or Next Vacation Travel Agency: Click Here