The beautiful capital of Scotland that is Edinburgh has more trees than any other city in the UK, making it one dreamy city to explore. The famous Edinburgh castle is built on an extinct volcano and the city has more listed buildings than anywhere in the whole world. We explored the city over a weekend after a mere 5-hour train journey from King’s Cross to bring you our recommendations on all the places to sleep, eat, and drink.
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
Built in 1903 and formerly a train station, The Caledonian is about as grand as it gets, especially if you get a room with a view of the stunning Edinburgh Castle. The rooms are huge with all the luxury touches; silky sheets, bathrobes and slippers, a Nespresso machine, and an amazing shower and tub. Breakfast in bed delivered on a silver trolley; a feast fit for a breakfast-buffet-loving king.
Definitely check out the spa too, which has a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, treatment rooms and two separate fitness spaces. The Peacock Alley lounge, with its super high-ceilings and archways (where you can really see the building’s past life) is a perfect place to kick back with a cuppa. The restaurant, Grazing by Mark Greenaway, does an excellent Sunday roast too.
Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 2AB
Malmaison – St Andrew Square
The Malmaison is one of the newest hotels in the city having opened in early 2020 in the New Town on St Andrew Square. As with all of their hotels, the space has been given the Malmaison makeover with bold playful colours and draws inspiration from nearby Rose and Thistle Streets. The club rooms are huge, like New York loft apartment huge, with super king-sized beds and a monsoon rain walk-in shower, with Arran Aromatics toiletries. Breakfast in bed is pretty delightful with a basket full of treats, from cereals, croissants, jams, granola, and juices with the Nespresso machine coming in handy for the coffees. If you’re eating in, the Chez Mal Brasserie has plenty of choice – the murgh makhani butter chicken is bloody lovely. The Malmaison is super comfy with great staff on hand. For a hotel that had only just opened, they have their ship sailing on the right course.
Room prices start from £89 for room only in low season
22 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 1AY
New York-inspired Asian restaurant Noto, from chef Stuart Ralston, is in the heart of the New Town on Thistle Street and it serves up an eclectic menu of small plates come with hearty twists. The North Sea crab with white meat served inside the shell comes absolutely drenched in butter, with sourdough on the side. The game sausage roll with partridge and pheasant, and the katsu sandwich are both must-orders. A super fun menu with service that never drops a beat, what’s Noto to like?
47a Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY
Authentic Japanese comfort food is what Harajuku Kitchen is all about, with chef-patron Kaori Simpson cooking up traditional recipes that have been passed down the generations. And the food is AMAZING. The famous pork gyoza, one Kaori’s mother’s recipes, are genuinely one of the best things you can eat. The takoyaki, dough balls filled with octopus and cabbage with mayo, bonito and katsu sauce; the tiger prawn tempura; and the kara-age chicken, crisp from deep frying and served with daikon dare sauce are all excellent. With signature sushi, created with the help of chef Nobu, you really can’t go wrong here. Informal and super friendly, we’re a little bit in love with Harajuku Kitchen.
10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HS
Chef Robbie Mitchell, who’s spent time in Rick Stein’s Cornwall kitchen, is cooking up steaks and seafood at Stocks. Found at the top of Playfair Steps, the restaurants has a bit of a Parisian vibe and some great views too. The pork and haggis Scotch eggs on curry sauce, with their bright orange gooey centres and golden crunchy breadcrumbs are Scotland on a plate. Mussels fresh from the North Sea, in a white wine and shallot sauce, are spectacular, and you’ll want to get the creamy lobster thermidor if you spot it on the specials menu. Stocks is well worth the climb.
24 St Giles St, Edinburgh, EH1 1PT
Lucky Liquor Co
You can’t miss this place – the lit-up ‘liquor’ sign in the window is a beacon. The cocktail bar is super fun with banging tunes, table service and a menu that will have you googling ‘soor ploom’ to see what sort of shots these could be. The menu changes every few months so you’re sure to find unique creations, with added elements of theatre and borderline madness. We love it.
39A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 3NH
The worst thing about this cocktail bar is actually finding it – we only spotted the plaque on the wall down a set of stairs after walking down the street four times, so keep your eyes peeled. The best thing about this cocktail bar is that once you’re inside, it feels like you’ve stumbled in on a secret. It’s a dim little hangout with low lighting, bangin’ cocktails and a backdrop of hip hop and jazz beats. With a whole host of bartender’s choices and local brews on offer, it’s a winner no matter what your poison is.
16A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JE
Devil’s Advocate is a bit of a hidden gem tucked away in the Old Town. The super cool bar showcases local brews, like the excellent session pale ale Pilot’s Blonde, as well as an extensive whisky collection showcasing both Scottish and worldwide drams. With exposed brickwork, seating dotted around in cubby holes and a mezzanine, Devil’s Advocate is an interesting place to have more than a drink or two, and they knock up decent bar food too.
9 Advocate’s Cl, Edinburgh EH1 1ND