Edinburgh – itinerary for a long weekend

In my previous job I used to work regardless if it was weekend or bank holiday and now every time a have a spare moment, I prefer to do something new or visit a place I’ve never been before. We knew a bank holiday is coming so we decided to go to Edinburgh, which was a first for me but not Cristi who visited several times before.

Edinburgh signs

The buildings

Edinburgh impressed me since the moment I’ve got off the train with its old massive buildings around the train station. The Old Town center has a special flair to it. Another thing that amazed me was the roads that were on top of each other, and buildings that have entries to both. You enter on the ground floor and exit on the fifth. This might not be the something extraordinary, but it is the first time I saw it and it was pretty impressive.

Wandering on Edinburgh's streets

Edinburgh Castle

One thing that you cannot miss is the Edinburgh Castle. Whether or not you decide to enter is your choice, but there are plenty photo opportunities from the outside as well. If you plan on visiting more historical places across Scotland, check out the Explorer Pass for several days or for a longer period you might consider the Historic Scotland Membership.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle from outside

Viewpoint from the Castle

The Royal Mile

Have a walk along the Royal Mile, the main street in Edinburgh, which stretches from the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Along this you can find the Camera Obscura, St Giles Cathedral, Real Mary King’s Close and the Scottish Parliament. Besides these attractions, the Royal Mile is also full of souvenir shops left and right, from small trinkets to wool mills and whisky (spelt without an ‘e’ – whiskey is Irish or American).

Scottish man and a bagpipe

The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is also worth a visit if you have time to spare, containing collections about natural history, scientific and industrial technology, archaeology and decorative arts of multiple countries.

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat

Past the Palace of Holyroodhouse you can find Holyrood Park, with it’s highest point being Arthur’s Seat. If you plan on tackling Arthur’s Seat, allow several hours. It might not be a regular walk in the park (pun intended), but the view from the top is definitely worth it. While there, you can check out the St. Anthony’s Chapel Ruins as well.

Holyrood park

View from Holyrood Park

Arthur's Seat

Eating

And since you probably built up an appetite by now, make sure to try haggis, their national dish, made out of lungs, heart and liver of a sheep, mixed with onion and oatmeal, stuffed into a sheep’s stomach bag. It doesn’t sound great, I know, but it is delicious.

For dinner, stop by at the Outsider on George IV bridge. It is usually packed on weekends so make sure to reserve a table. If possible ask to be by the window – since the windows are towards the castle – especially appealing when dark and the castle is lit up.

Edinburgh Castle at night

Our accommodation was north-east of the center. The last morning we had breakfast at Serrano & Manchego, a Spanish restaurant upon which we stumbled while walking around the neighborhood. Now this might not be the typical Scottish pub/restaurant, but the food is great, so if you are in the area, make sure to give this one a try – you will not be disappointed.

 

Quick tips:

  • Don’t miss Edinburgh Castle – even if you decide not to venture inside
  • Walk on the Royal Mile which has everything – attractions, restaurants, pubs, souvenir shops
  • Take a bottle of water with you while you hike to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
  • Eat haggis, the Scottish national dish
  • Bring an umbrella with you

If you like it, pin it.

                Are you planning a trip to Edinburgh? Check out our itinerary for a long weekend and discover why Edinburgh is one of Scotland's most charming cities.

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26 Comments

  1. Simona
    March 13, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Great tips! The entry on ground floor and exit on 5th it is impressing actually, you don’t see it everyday so is not only your first impression. Is looking like a great place, I wish to visit it someday (for sure is on the list).

    • Oana N
      March 15, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      Hi Simona, I am glad I am not the only one finding this impressing. You can come to London first and we can go together to Edinburgh :).

  2. March 17, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    Great blog post! I’d love to do a weekend in Edinburgh and I still don’t know why I haven’t been when it’s only an hour flight away! Great pictures!

    • Oana N
      March 21, 2017 / 7:34 pm

      Annalise, I know – it was the same for me. We took the train and we were there in no time. I will definitely go back and visit more.

  3. March 18, 2017 / 4:49 am

    Edinburgh looks like a beautiful city from your photos. Love the walks, architecture and, of course, the castle.
    I’m glad you gave Haggis a go. When you know what’s in it, it’s a brave person who goes ahead with ordering, but it is worth it. So delicious.

    • Oana N
      March 21, 2017 / 7:35 pm

      Shona, I found Edinburgh to be a lovely city with plenty of things to see and do. Haggis is delicious although you might think is gross at first.

  4. March 19, 2017 / 9:33 am

    We love Edinburgh and have visited many times. Great post for visiting! #feetdotravel

    • Oana N
      March 21, 2017 / 7:37 pm

      Paul and Carole, I’ve been just once but I will go back for sure this year.

  5. March 19, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Edinburgh is one of these places that I have overlooked for many years because I have always wanted to venture further afield and explore far-flung destinations. I really need to visit Scotland soon though because it looks amazing and Edinburgh is such a beautiful city – love your photos from Arthur’s Seat – definitely somewhere I would love to go! Thanks for sharing!

  6. March 20, 2017 / 1:33 am

    Hi Oana – love this post! A long weekend in Edinburgh sounds dreamy. Until we can get there to make it happen, we’re enjoying your suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

  7. March 21, 2017 / 7:46 am

    We visited Edinburgh for my birthday for August bank holiday, and part of the City’s charm for us was simply sitting with the local people in a bar/pub and chatting to them (well, it was my birthday, so we were allowed to sip cocktails to while away the hours haha). King Arthur’s Seat is my favourite thing to do, you are right, the views are stunning and it’s just something everyone should do! Great guide! Hope you enjoyed your long weekend in Edinburgh #feetdotravel

  8. March 24, 2017 / 5:19 am

    I hear ya when you say you used to work every holiday and weekend. This is what I was doing until a few weeks ago and it feels like Im constantly missing out. Edinburgh seems like a great place for a weekend escape and I regret not travelling more when I lived in England. I would have loved to see the Holyrood park and the amazing views from the top!

    • Oana
      March 31, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      We don’t travel as much as we want to in U.K. Maybe now that spring is finally here we can go out London more often. Edinburgh is definitely a place I will return soon.

  9. March 24, 2017 / 10:49 am

    Amazing!! I love your photography so much! I still haven’t been to Edinburgh, which is a pretty poor show since I grew up in Leeds. I really need to get my act together because I’ve only heard amazing things about it!

    • Oana N
      April 2, 2017 / 6:31 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. Edinburgh is an amazing city worth visiting. I have been just once but I will return soon to discover more of it. Hope you will get there soon as well.

  10. March 24, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    Beautiful article on Edinburgh filled with great information and photos. I have never been to Scotland but this is one place I definitely want to visit. I would love to visit the castle and take a hike to Arthur’s seat for a great view. Great restaurant recommendations. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oana N
      April 2, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie. I definitely recommend the hike to Arthur’s seat from where you have a lovely view over the city.

  11. March 24, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    This is way up at the top of our list of places to visit. I especially love the picture you took of the castle at night, it must have been magical. I pinned this for later, I’m thinking of taking my Mom for her 50th birthday trip. 🙂

    • Oana N
      April 2, 2017 / 6:35 pm

      Hi Scarlett, I am glad you like Edinburgh. That picture was taken with my phone actually and I didn’t expect to be so cool when I pressed the button. Hope you can take your mom there, the castle is beautiful.

  12. March 25, 2017 / 6:28 am

    Edinburg is amazing! What a wonderful place to spend the long weekend. I specially loved the Edinburgh castles. The view of Edinburgh is gorgeous. Loved all the pictures.

    • Oana N
      April 2, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      Thank you, Sandy. I agree with you, Edinburgh is an amazing city and a perfect getaway destination. The view from Arthur’s seat is gorgeous indeed.

  13. March 25, 2017 / 10:33 am

    The view from the top of Arthur’s Seat is absolutely stunning – never heard of this place, looks like a must! The Edinburgh´s architecture is amazing, I´m sure I´d be quite impressed as well… Haven´t been to Scotland yet but it´s been on my bucket list for a while! Pinned for my future trips, thanks for sharing!

    • Oana N
      April 2, 2017 / 6:40 pm

      Thank you, Anna. The hike was long but in the end it was worth it, the view was stunning.Hope you will get to Scotland soon, I totally recommend it.

  14. March 26, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Your Edinburgh itinerary sounds lovely. We have to ask, how was the haggis, since you were brave enough to try? In pictures atleast it does not look particularly flavourful. We always try the local specialties, so we would definitely want to try it. 😛 #feetdotravel

  15. April 6, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    Wow the view at the top of Arthur’s seat looks awesome! Thanks to you we discovered a new place to go to when we will visit Edinburgh. Oana, it’s always a real pleasure to read your articles. We live the way you structured it and the layout! We found the tip section at the bottom if the article berry useful too! Keep up the good work! Patrick & Cecile from Travel4lifeblog

    • Oana N
      April 6, 2017 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you, Patrick and Cecile. I definitely recommend the hike to Arthur’s seat while in Edinburgh. I am glad to know you enjoyed reading our posts, we recently started to add the tip section so your feedback is appreciated.

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