Where to eat, drink, sleep and shop in Edinburgh

Behind the splendid façades of Edinburgh’s buildings – a rich mix of old and new – lies a city that knows how to party.

Princes Street, Edinburgh



Eat on the go

Taste haggis, neeps, tatties and more on an Eat Walk Edinburgh food tour of the medieval Old Town and the Regency New Town. “Fresh haddock is in our DNA,” says the guide, “and we have 1.2 sheep for every person.”

Fit for a Queen

The royal yacht Britannia sailed 1.5 million kilometres across the Commonwealth and retired here, perversely in the secessionist Scottish capital, in 1998. The 1950s apartments offer surprisingly intimate glimpses of royal life.


Nira Caledonia

“You’ll like it,” says the cab driver as he pulls up at Nira Caledonia, on a wide cobbled street in New Town. “This is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets.” The honey-hued Regency t terrace houses a hotel with the air of an exclusive club. Its 28 rooms are furnished with chesterfields, oversized leather headboards and hand-printed wallpaper, while the public spaces are similarly moody and cosseting. Original cornices, skirtings and window boxes are juxtaposed with flatscreens and hot tubs. Fine Scottish produce (beef, venison, pheasant) meets the Josper oven at the hotel’s Blackwood’s Bar & Grill. 10 Gloucester Pl,

The Glasshouse

This is one of Edinburgh’s many repurposed churches. The 77 rooms, many with expansive views of the Firth of Forth, lie behind a sheer wall of glass that soars above a glorious Gothic façade. It’s little more than a caber’s throw from Princes Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, and the Edinburgh Playhouse, the largest theatre in the UK, is a neighbour. Enjoy a picnic hamper in the rooftop garden in the shadow of historic Calton Hill, peppered with Classical Greek-inspired monuments, or gather around a firepit in the hotel’s snug when the weather is dreich. 2 Greenside Pl,

Nira Caledonia


Weary of whisky? Down a G&T on the house after a tour of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery (1a Rutland Pl, “These are the two most important women in the building,” says our guide, patting the stills named Flora and Caledonia.

Behind a Victorian shopfront, The Jolly Botanist Gin Bar mixes its signature cocktail, The Jolly Botanist, with poppy liqueur and cranberry, beneath a painting of a bewigged Victorian gentleman explorer (“Show me gin, curiosity and bafflement” is the house motto). 260 Morrison St,


Victoria Street in Grassmarket is arguably the city’s best shopping strip, and certainly its most colourful. Boldly painted shopfronts line the cobbled street; drop by tweed specialist Walker Slater, or Oink, where each day a pig is spit-roasted and served with haggis and apple sauce. At the end of the street is vintage clothing store W Armstrong & Son, a 177-year-old Edinburgh stalwart that claims to be Britain’s largest vintage clothing emporium. Shoppers fossick through piles that might harbour 1920s flapper dresses, ’60s hotpants and 1980s leather jackets.


The Gardener’s Cottage

The name evokes earthy simplicity, and so does the blackboard menu at this restaurant in an old cottage, where diners share refectory tables. While the look verges on twee, the food is on-trend: Scottish flora and fauna (grouse, mackerel, watercress, elderberry) presented in novel ways. 1 Royal Terrace Gardens,

Scallops at Timberyard


There’s a Scandi austerity in Timberyard’s dining room – sawn-off tree stumps, bare bulbs, chunky tables, Midcentury chairs – and in its kitchen, where excellent produce is treated simply and flavours are boldly combined. A dish of sea trout, cockles and coastal herbs, for instance, is a ticket to wild western Scotland. 10 Lady Lawson St,

Dine with Stuart Muir

Chef Stuart Muir headed the acclaimed Harvey Nichols Forth Floor restaurant before launching this eatery. He serves hearty fare celebrating Scottish produce, including the likes of Borders lamb shoulder braised in East Lothian rapeseed oil and

served with tapenade. 10 Cambridge St,

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