How to spend the perfect weekend in Edinburgh


How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the few cities I've visited that looks magical even in cold and miserable British weather. I mean, if you choose to take a weekend break in the UK or a 'staycation' as we sometimes call it, you can hardly expect the Bahamas can you? And true to what plenty of people warned me beforehand, it really is that cold. I was certainly unprepared socks-wise - on Saturday I ended up buying a super thick pair from trusty TK Maxx to keep my tootsies warm.

But even in these conditions, Edinburgh is truly breathtaking. The city has a unique aesthetic that seems imposing, with dark and dramatic buildings everywhere you look. However, at the same time they're endearing and charming but the city feels incredibly polished. You really have to look out for all the small details, as references to its fascinating history are everywhere. 

Jack and I paid a visit for a weekend for a escape after the January gloom, and despite the cold and wet conditions, I enjoyed every moment, as there really is so much to see in the Scottish capital. I'll be providing some tips and advice on spending the perfect weekend away in Edinburgh so that you can see as much of the city as possible.

First day

Edinburgh is steeped in rich history, gruesome tales and legendary stories. One of the best ways to soak this up is with a walking tour. Sandemans offers a fantastic free walking tour of the old town, and is incredibly popular with tourists! I used to shy away from super touristy things like guided tours, until I went on an amazing free tour of Lisbon which took us round the whole city centre in about 3 and a half hours! 

It's such a great way to learn in-depth knowledge about the place you're visiting with people who know it better than anyone. The tour guides recommend booking in order to avoid being turned away on the day - and certainly do not turn up late! Even if you book, latecomer's places will be handed over to people who just turn up, so it's in your interest to turn up before the booked time to avoid disappointment. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour despite the incredibly cold and miserable weather!

Our tour guide, Erik, gave us so many interesting nuggets of history, as well as an overview of Scottish history. I worried it would be a bit too traditional history-focused until Erik started telling us about public executions, legendary tales such as a certain very famous cemetery dog and ghost stories (this was so up my street - I'm not revealing anything!). Then when you're free to continue exploring the city, you can keep all these fabulous stories and details in mind, that not everyone else will be aware of!

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh
Once you're finished with the tour of the city, stop off for lunch or a much-needed coffee by the Royale Mile, where the tour begins. We were spoilt for choice with a huge number of great coffee and lunch spots. For real coffee fans, I would 100% recommend The Wall Coffee & Design House - it was hands-down one of the best coffees me and Jack have ever had! 

Not to mention I couldn't get enough of this cosy and warm interior - if you can nab the bench by the window it's the most perfect spot for people-watching and sipping on the smoothest coffee ever.

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh
For shopping fans, there were plenty of indepedent and touristy shops in the old town - we did walk around the newer side over the bridge at various points during the weekend, but being honest, there wasn't much of interest to us as I'm not always keen to see shops we have back home when we're on holiday!

In the evening, we took a wonderful evening walk past Arthur's seat towards a cosy pub in a small village outside of Edinburgh and had a quiet meal. It was a perfect way to round-off our busy first day in the city! By this point, we'd seen much of the old town so not too much was left to see by Sunday, allowing to us to mooch a little and take in the beautiful city at a slower pace.

Second day

We were overjoyed to see that the sun came out for our final day in Edinburgh, which more than made up for the constant drizzle on Saturday. We woke up slowly, had our breakfast at the Airbnb and then headed again into town, with the aim to explore the pretty university area and actually go up Arthur's Seat (I would strongly recommend checking the weather before visiting - mud + shitty weather doesn't make for a good trip up the hill!). 

We started by walking towards the opposite end of the Royal Mile away from the Castle, which leads eventually to the foot of Arthur's Seat. Along the way we'd planned to grab a hearty lunch before tackling the hill, and we had a quick search on maps for a sandwich spot nearby. We found the cutest little Shoreditch-esque shop tucked away behind the Royal Mile, Gannet and Guga and stopping there for a deli-style sandwich was the best decision we'd made all day.

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh
How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh

The first sandwich was a spicy jerk sub with mango chutney. The chicken was juicy, and the red onion was crispy and zingy thanks to the insane chutney! The second was melt-in-the-mouth brisket of beef with cheese and gherkins (I took the gherkins out of course cause I'm fussy with food lol). We couldn't get enough of how fresh all the ingredients tasted, and how generous the portions were!

Me and Jack are big on eqaulity so we had one half each. They were both so wonderfully different and unique, even boiling down to the different bread we choose thanks to the lovely staff recommendations! We left the little café with our bellies full and ready to take on Arthur's Seat! I still dream about those sandwiches sometimes...

Walking from Gannet and Guga took about half an hour to Arthur's Seat - we were happy to be making the journey in the blissful sunshine! It didn't make it less muddy however; if you're planning to go up make sure you've got suitable footwear! We genuinely saw someone climbing in brogues... I mean come on.

The view certainly was spectacular once we reached the top. The queue to actually sit at Arthur's Seat seemed a bit pointless to us, when there's so many other amazing viewpoints dotted around just below, so we decided to chill there and take in the view!

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh
This was the most perfect way to round off our weekend in Edinburgh. Not long after we headed towards the airport to catch our flight! There's plenty of other toursity things we could've done during our visit, such as Edinburgh Castle, but with the limited time we had seeing it was enough for us. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Have you  been to Edinburgh before? What would you recommend to others for the perfect weekend? Let me know!

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How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh

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  1. I was looking at a booking a weekend break to Edinburgh recently and this is just the right post for me. Did you find it easy to get from th airport to the city centre?

    1. I would totally recommend it! Yeah there's a great shuttle which you can get straight outside the terminal which goes directly into the city centre - a single is about £4.50 and it takes about half an hour so really good!

  2. Everything looks so good and well photographed. I have never been to Edinburgh, but I might have to take a trip asap. Thanks for sharing.

    Seyi x