Edinburgh captivates and fascinates those who visit it: its charm, its countless monuments, its ghosts and myths or the warmth of its inhabitants will satisfy the visitor in search of authenticity. One tip: let yourself be enchanted by the Scottish capital!
Whisky, walks and local products
Start your stay with a guided tour of the city at 10am, with New Edinburgh Tours for example. For 2h30, you will see its legendary buildings and its mysterious little streets. Les Convenantaires, les Lumières, Harry Potter, Greyfriars Bobby, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and many others will also be there. In addition, it is free or almost free, since the staff is paid for tips.
At lunchtime, Edinburgh Larder, on Blackfriars Street, is a small pearl with fresh and excellent Scottish local produce. Loch Arthur cheese, Galloway jam, Heather Hills honey and Pelham meat delight tourists and regulars.
In the afternoon, head to the Scotch Whisky Experience to discover this unique industry at the heart of Scottish culture. You will learn how whisky is produced, the characteristics of its regions of origin and the best ways to enjoy it. Don't overdo it, as you will have to finish your afternoon at the National Museum of Scotland to immerse yourself in the history and richness of the country. It is a museum of a thousand treasures that emphasizes Scottish heritage in particular. As you come out, take a Greyfriars Kirk jump to greet Bobby, the most faithful dog in Scottish folklore. It is also in the cemetery of this church that J. K. Rowling is said to have found some names for his famous saga Harry Potter. Then go up to the Royal Mile by the Grassmarket, an old execution square still very lively and lined with pubs, and the picturesque and colourful Victoria Street, which has the particularity of being built on two levels.
In the evening, if your visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience has inspired you, book a table at Amber Restaurant for dinner and enjoy the best selection of single malt at an unbeatable price. The menu is traditional and features many Scottish classics. Finally, to finish up on an authentic pub in the area, go have a pint at the Jolly Judge. Hidden at the end of an alley on the Royal Mile, it is quite ignored by visitors and very friendly
Castle, museums and pubs
On the second day, be at the castle as soon as it opens at 9:30 am, in order to avoid large crowds. You will easily spend the morning there. You can start your exploration with a guided tour included in the ticket. The views of Edinburgh from the ramparts are magnificent and the history of the building is a real novel. Don't miss any corner, from prisons to the dog cemetery, Mary Stuart's room and St Margaret's Chapel, designated as the oldest building in the city. The three museums on site are also worth a visit to better understand Scotland's military past.
At noon, go down the Royal Mile to pick up something to eat at the Baked Potatoe Shop, the excellent gourmet potato shop. The fillings are vegetarian and vegan but very imaginative and succulent.
It will then be time to cross the North Bridge to New Town. The panorama over the whole of Edinburgh is superb. In one look, one marries the castle, Calton Hill, Balmoral, Arthur's Seat, Princes Street Garden and the two faces of the city. Go straight to George Street, past Scott Monument, to appreciate the elegance of the neighbourhood and the genius of its architect, James Craig. This street is surprisingly quiet and its buildings, like its statues, are an ode to good architectural taste. The intersection with Castle Street is particularly pleasant for its views of Castle Rock. From here, return to the bustling Princes Street, whose facades respectfully turn to their medieval neighbours. Art lovers can continue at the Scottish National Gallery on the Mound, where high quality paintings from all over Europe are on display. Shopping fans will prefer the many street addresses and the two shopping malls at its end. End at the top of Calton Hill, where the view of the capital and its contrasts is breathtaking. This hill seems completely timeless with its small temples and monuments that have earned it the title of Northern Athens.
In the evening, treat yourself to an evening under Victorian gildings, with a dinner at the Dome and a historic pub such as Abbotsford, Guildford Arms, Café Royal or the Standing Order, which has one of the largest selections of real ales at low prices. The district is also a perfect place for crawl pubs steeped in history
Greenery, modern art and a change of scenery
On the last day, leave the hyper-centre and head to West End to Dean Village. Its name comes from the Scottish Dene, which means deep valley. There was here, as early as 1128, a community of millers who maintained up to eleven mills and ran a prosperous and crucial business for the entire city. It is a special place in Edinburgh, like the Water of Leith River that flows through it, whose banks have been transformed into a romantic and green promenade for everyone's leisure. Venture there for a few moments to enjoy a walk away from the hustle and bustle. On the way, you may see St Bernard's Well, a small neoclassical temple dedicated to the health goddess Hygieia, which was built in 1788 on a spring with healing properties. It is also in this part of the city that the National Gallery of Modern Art is located, the Mecca for lovers of modern and contemporary art. Whether you are unconditional or just curious, it would be silly to deprive yourself of it, all the great names from the end of the 19th century to today are present: Matisse, Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, the Surrealists but also sculptors such as Louise Bourgeois, Anthony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth or Henry Moore.
Then have lunch at the Indigo Yard Gastro Pub, in a quiet driveway overlooking Queensferry Street. This will take you back to the centre, its public transport, and give you the opportunity to eat good pub food with excellent beers. The terrace is very pleasant in summer.
In the afternoon, if these are your last moments in the capital, you have a lot to choose from. From Queensferry Street, you can walk to the Royal Botanic Garden. You will extend your morning bucolic and artistic pleasures in this garden of Eden with plants from all over the world, where you can also find the Inverleith House, the original site of the Modern Art Gallery, which still hosts temporary exhibitions. You can also take a bus to Leith, the historic port of the city. There is a completely different and renewed atmosphere. Historic pubs are surrounded by Michelin stars and the mythical Royal Yacht Britannia, the floating embassy of the royal family, is moored at the foot of the Ocean Terminal, the largest shopping centre in the area. If you are interested in exotic animals, take the bus from Shandwick Place to Edinburgh Zoo, famous throughout the country for its Chinese pandas. Finally, if you regret not having had time to go to the Highlands, climb the old Arthur's Seat volcano in Holyrood Park: an unforgettable experience!
In the evening, a good traditional meal in a restaurant of your choice and a live music session in the pub seem to be the perfect way to bring home a last good memory
When? When? Edinburgh can be visited all year round, but it is from May to September that the season will be most pleasant
Getting there. Whether from Paris or the province, France is very well connected to Edinburgh by plane
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