Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the UK. It has such a nice mix of beautiful old architecture and cobblestone streets but doesn’t miss out on all the shops and restaurants and atmosphere of a busy modern city. It is the perfect size to walk around and explore and is great to visit at all times of the year. I’ve compiled a 24hour guide packed to the brim with things to do, places to see and things to eat because there’s so much on offer. With Edinburgh being only a 2-hour train journey from Newcastle, it’s perfect for a day trip. For this specific guide I would recommend a Spring/Summer visit due to the amount of time spent outside however, any season would be great.
First things first, after arriving in Edinburgh, the best thing to start your day is breakfast/brunch. One place I love to go to is Hula, based in the Grassmarket which is a beautiful area to explore after you’ve eaten. Hula is a small café offering a wide ranging menu filled with healthy options. We had the avocado on toast which was amazing and fresh green juice. They also offer lunch poke bowls which I would love to go back and try one day. It is also environmentally conscious with no plastic and locally sourced food.
After food, walk up to Arthur’s seat, an ancient volcano 251m above sea level. When my friends and I decided to do this, we went under the pretence from many travel guides that it’s an easy hike. Although it’s not especially challenging, it does require a lot of effort and time. It is worth it though. The views from the top over the city really are beautiful, especially on a sunny day.
After a long walk, lunch is required. Vittoria’s on the Bridge is a really nice Italian restaurant with a beautiful interior and friendly staff. They have a menu filled with pizza and pasta and their tiramisu is amazing.
Take the afternoon exploring around the castle and visiting many of Edinburgh’s independent book shops. We explored a number of them including Golden Hare books and Topping and Company booksellers. If you are interested in history, you could also explore inside Edinburgh castle, or just look around outside. If you have time in the afternoon, the National Gallery of Scotland is free to enter, sitting below the castle it is great to explore if you enjoy art, and even if you don’t it’s still interesting to look around. A great stop for ice cream is Mary’s Milk Bar, now popular due to Tik Tok, this ice cream shop always has extensively long queues in summer and offers peculiar flavours. We enjoyed sitting by the green below the castle and eating ice creams on summer afternoons.
For an evening meal, I would highly recommend Topolabamba. This Mexican restaurant offers a variety of dishes including tapas, quesadillas, burritos, and lots of tequila-based cocktails. We ordered lots of different small plates and shared them between us which I would highly recommend.
For the evening, one activity I have never actually done in Edinburgh, but have always wanted to, is a ghost tour. They advertise them all around the city and I think it would be perfect activity to end the days with a group of friends.