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Edinburgh is not the largest of cities but it does have a lot going on in it. There are twelve very unique neighbourhood areas in Edinburgh, each with its own special charm and charisma. Our local insider guide highlights the very best to see and do wherever you are in the capital.
Based in the Old Town and within a World Heritage site, the area is culturally and historically important to the city and jam packed with things to see and do. A ‘Scots mile’ long, and connecting two royal residences (the Castle and the palace of Holyrood House), it is also home to parliaments old and new, law courts, a cathedral and churches, and a vast range of visitor attractions, walking tours, shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. It is one of the capital’s most iconic Areas in Edinburgh
The Royal Mile offers the perfect spot to find that special souvenir of Scotland – you’ll find a range of items in your family tartan (and if you’re not sure which it might be, they can sometimes help trace your family name to find it), including kilts. You also have the chance to pick up a bottle of whisky from Royal Mile Whiskies or The Whisky Shop for that extra special something.
The Old Town is home to some of Edinburgh’s biggest and best attractions. Grab a selfie at the city’s most iconic landmarks, or uncover the capital’s hidden gems down one of our many wynds and closes. Attractions include: Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Museum of Edinburgh, People’s Story, Writers’ Museum, The Scottish Parliament Building, The Palace of Holyrood house & Queen’s Gallery, The Real Mary King’s Close and Scotch Whisky Experience.
The Old Town is so much more than haggis, neeps and tatties (although you will find plenty of that here, if you’re into that kind of thing). From cutting-edge fine dining to cosy traditional pubs and restaurants, the culinary scene in Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of the widest and varied in the city. You’ll find some of the very best of what Edinburgh has to offer when it comes to food and drink in the Old Town, no matter your budget.
The city centre offers residents an exciting fusion of shopping, dining and architectural splendour. Princes Street is a match for any city’s main shopping thoroughfare and there are few cities which can claim such a dramatic view.
A paradise for designer fans, stylish boutiques, high street fashion and everything in between. The New Town is a shopper’s paradise. This is where you’ll find some of Edinburgh’s best shopping experiences, from the luxury of Multrees Walk to the convenience and excitement of Waverley Mall, which frequently hosts events and entertainment.
The New Town is home to galleries and some of the city’s best attractions. Find panoramic views across the city and beyond from the striking, gothic Scott Monument or even higher up from the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill, both a short walk from Waverley train station. Art lovers are well catered for with the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery within walking distance of each other. The Georgian House, a preserved example of life in the late 18th century when the New Town really was ‘new’, is located on Charlotte Square, and a short bus or taxi ride will get you to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The New Town has some of the best food & drink offerings there is, reflecting the diversity of modern British cuisine. You can take a trip around the world from India to Spain, Italy to America, on to Asia and South America. Each street in the city centre has options to make your mouth water, so if it’s a quick bite to eat you’re after, or a long lingering dinner, you’ll find something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
As far as iconic areas go, they don’t come more legendary than Leith. A wholesale regeneration hasn’t robbed Leith of its earthy qualities. Enjoy the delights from curio shops to a diverse range of cafés, restaurants and bars. Edinburgh’s exciting new waterfront development and boasting the award-winning Royal Yacht Britannia. Discover the shops, restaurants and galleries in the popular shore area of Leith – one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Europe.
or the boutique and unique, visit Coburg House, a hub of artists, designers and makers, with a gallery hosting exhibitions and local artistry, along with a shop where you’ll find pieces crafted by more than eighty local artists.
The length and breadth of Edinburgh’s food and drink scene is represented here. From Michelin-starred restaurants to cosy pubs and vegan eateries, there’s no chance you’ll leave Leith hungry.
Of course, there’s Edinburgh Zoo, but there’s more to Corstorphine than penguins and pandas. If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the rugby, Corstorphine is a great place to stay with hotels, pubs and restaurants to cater to a range of tastes and budgets. It’s walking distance to Murrayfield Stadium, and there are several bus links into the city centre for trains or out to the airport if you’ve come from further afield.
If you’re looking for something very specific you may find it here. Corstorphine is home to a handful of specialist retailers, so if you have something particular in mind you will find what you need here.
A walk up Corstorphine Hill is the perfect thing to blow the cobwebs away on a weekend morning, and see some incredible views of the city and the Pentland Hills. he Zoo is perhaps Corstorphine’s most famous attraction, with everything from penguins to pandas, lions to lemurs, tortoises to tarantulas. There are lots of animal experiences, educational talks and tours, and plenty of outdoor space for kids to roam and explore.
St John’s Road, the main thoroughfare through Corstorphine, is home to dozens of pubs, restaurants and great local takeaways. Whatever your preference, and whatever the time of day, there’s something for everyone.
Home of Edinburgh’s beloved city farm, and Tynecastle Stadium, Gorgie and Dalry is a great destination for a wee day out with the family, or a pitstop to grab a delicious takeaway or a sit-in dessert. It is one of the capital’s most iconic Areas in Edinburgh
As well as a major chain supermarket, Gorgie is home to a few more niche grocery shops as well, clustered together by the railway bridge at Wheatfield Road. Visit the Polska Masarnia (Polish Butcher) for traditional Polish products, and Ya Kareem for Halaal meats and continental foods. There’s also Krishna Foods and Starlight Chinese mini market, so you can cater to a vast range of cuisines and tastes from your own kitchen.
LOVE Gorgie Farm This small city farm is a surprising thing to find in the middle of a busy city like Edinburgh. The farm has long been a place of escape and education for families around Edinburgh. You can visit and meet with animals including goats, cows, chickens, guinea pigs, ferrets, ducks and even a tortoise. As well as the farm there’s a café and an events space, so it’s perfect for a day out with the family.
Dalry is home to a number of small family restaurants and cafes for you to discover. For a coffee and a quick bite to eat, there’s loads of choice. Try the Saltyard – they have a play space for your little ones – or Chapter One Coffee Shop, who have a fully plant-based menu.
Explore miles of award-winning sandy beach, ice cream parlours, arcades and beach-side cafes and bars. The perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon, or even a winter one, if you want to blow away the cobwebs.
Portobello High Street is home to a mixture of high-street shops and independent shops, offering something for every occasion.
Whether it’s coffee and cake or a more formal occasion, there’s a mix of places to try out, both on the beach front and on the high street.
A paradise of charming cafes, specialist food retailers and charity shops full of vintage and designer fashions. Morningside’s most famous fictional inhabitants include Muriel Spark’s Miss Jean Brodie and Maisie the Cat. Meanwhile, Bruntsfield Links are a perfect spot for a summer barbecue, or to wrap up warm and watch the fireworks from Edinburgh Castle.
A day out shopping in Bruntsfield’s and Morningside is never wasted – there are dozens of shops full of exciting clothes and gifts, and delicious food and drink.
There are so many amazing cafes in Bruntsfield and Morningside it would take you almost three weeks to visit them all for lunch! Some are Edinburgh favourites like Artisan Cheesecakes, S Lucas for ice cream and breakfasts, Cuckoo’s Bakery, Artisan Roast, Soderberg for Swedish treats and cinnamon buns, and the inimitable Bross Bagels.
Maybe you fancy a boat trip under the Bridges, or maybe you’re happy to admire them from afar, with a glass of wine on a restaurant terrace. Either way, head to South Queensferry for the very best views of the Forth, along with great independent shops, a charming beach and harbour, and two nearby stately homes to explore. It is one of the capital’s most iconic Areas in Edinburgh
If you’re looking for a unique gift, there are lots of shops worth exploring.
With everything from Burrymen and Fair Queens to stately homes, this small town has a variety of attractions and events to keep you entertained all year long. If you’re keen to learn more about the history of both Queensferry and The Bridges, Queensferry Museum is a must. Whether your interest is social history, folk traditions or civic engineering, there’s something here for everyone.
A mouth-watering selection of the finest seafood and prime Scotch steaks is on offer at Samphire Seafood Bar & Grill. Situated within the stylish boutique hotel Orocco Pier, the relaxed environment is perfect for unwinding as you dine and gaze across the Forth.
Tucked away just behind Shandwick Place, the West End Village is one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems. At the very heart of the village lies both William Street and Stafford Street, where the colourful, stylish boutiques and some much-loved pubs and bars combine to create a bohemian feel to this part of Edinburgh. This is a delightful area to explore for both locals and visitors alike.
The heart of West End shopping can be found along in two picturesque streets, William Street and Stafford Street. This cobbled oasis of independent retailers and stylish boutiques features an eclectic mix of big brand and independent retailers.
If you fancy a bit of pampering, no visit to Edinburgh would be complete without experiencing a relaxing visit to The Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa. Offering fantastic dining and drinking options at their in-house bar and brasserie, One Square has an impressive variety of over 70 gins – including one of their very own!
Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic old town, behind the castle, the Grassmarket neighbourhood is one of the most vibrant, picturesque and lively areas of the city. A paradise of independent merchants, designers and artisans, the Grassmarket is simply bursting with some of the best shopping Edinburgh has to offer. The area is well known for being home to some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh as well as some of the most animated and eclectic bars.
Head to the Grassmarket, where 90% of the businesses are independent, and you’ll find a hub of vintage and unique clothing boutiques, jewellers and all kinds of quirky wee shops.
There’s even locally-made authentic medieval Scottish weaponry at The Knight’s Vault – which is also the only shop in the world licensed to produce official replicas of items such as swords and jewellery seen in the TV series Outlander.
There are more pubs and restaurants in the Grassmarket than you can shake a stick at! So if you’re visiting the area, take the time to explore all your options before you pick somewhere to settle in for the night, as we couldn’t possibly list them all here.
With its cobbled streets, elegant Georgian architecture, lush green parks & gardens and abundant mix of independent shops & restaurants, Stockbridge is one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods. Located to the north of the city, Stockbridge is just a short walk from the bustling city centre, and yet has it distinct and charming village feel. Whether visiting for the day or staying longer, this small but perfectly formed neighbourhood is packed with delights that’ll make you come back again and again…..
As well as the usual high street chains, Stockbridge is peppered with a fantastic selection of independent shops & boutiques. From jewellers & gift shops to second hand & gourmet food shops – all your shopping needs are covered in this walkable neighbourhood.
For its compact size, Stockbridge abounds with a variety of things to do and the neighbourhood has an action-packed calendar of family-friendly events.
Discover world-class collections of art and botany. Home to more than 5,000 items of 20th-century art, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a short walk from Stockbridge’s main street and is well worth a visit. Comprising two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, the galleries are surrounded by outdoor sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore, Rachel Whiteread and Barbara Hepworth while inside, you’ll find ground-breaking paintings from renowned artists such as Matisse and Picasso as well as a superb collection of works by Scottish artists such as Peploe, Fergusson and Paolozzi. Afterwards, re-fuel at either Café Modern One, which serves a selection of sandwiches, soup and cakes, or tuck into Italian classics made with seasonal and local Scottish ingredients in Paolozzi’s Kitchen. Glowing orange in the autumn and radiating with flowers in the summer, there really is nowhere quite like the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to enjoy a leisurely walk or have your eyes opened to the joys of nature.
For its small size, Stockbridge is packed with an array of mouth-watering places to eat. This buzzing neighbourhood offers something for everyone and every occasion – from cosy cafes for a morning pick-me-up to Michelin-starred delights that are perfect for date nights, all of which are within walking distance of the city centre.
We may be currently closed but if you require accommodation in the heart of Edinburgh then we recommend that you look at staying at one of our sister hotels which are all in the heart of the Scottish capital and within walking distance from the cities most iconic and most visited attractions.
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