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City Break in Edinburgh

Ideas for a 48 Hour Staycation in Edinburgh notes from a first time traveller .

Edinburgh City is jam packed with things to see and do.

As a first timer visiting for only a short time it can be a bit overwhelming.

Where to start ?

Read on to find out


Fortunately the train stops smack bang in the middle of the the city

4 - 5 hours from Londons Kings Cross.

First class advance tickets worked out excellent value as we were feed and watered non stop all the way from London - all included in ticket price.

Edinburgh New Town crescent of houses  iron railings lead to front doors , Juliette Balconies
A crescent of houses - Edinburgh New Town

Getting about

Everywhere is easily reached and walkable in the City .

Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb lots of steps .

Edinburgh has two distinct areas -

Old and New, don’t be fooled by the names as both are full of historic buildings .

I recommend consulting a map to familiarise yourself with the different areas of the City before setting out to explore .

We brought this guidebook which had an insert old school map

which was invaluable.

Things to do

Galleries, Gardens, Shops, Historic Places and an abundance of to eat and drink !

Pub Culture is thriving here, look out for the ones offering live music .

Our pre planning lead us to downloading the app for

this a walking trail to cover the first day and to orientate us.

Free to download -

Hop over to - for more inspiration on places to see in Edinburgh .


The Royal Mile - St Giles Cathedral - bang opposite our apartment -

Magnificent stained glass windows.

Free entry .

The Milkman Coffee Shop


A pain au chocolate par excellence paired with a great coffee.

An Instagram Favourite.

Gladstones Land

This ancient house gives a glimpse into life in the city from 16 -1900's .

The Museum is set over three floors from the six of the house covering the lives and times of the residents alongside the changing fortunes of this part of the City.

From wealthy Merchants House, Edwardian Shop, and finally to Working Class Boarding House all are replicated to a very high standard.

Entrance fee payable .

Free - National Trust Members

Start point of the free walking trail - Old Town to the New Town - 1.2 miles.

Beware as it could take longer than you think to walk the route, it’s very photogenic.

Princes Street Gardens is along the route with the Scott Monument, dedicated to a Author Sir Walter Scott.

Usually visitors can purchase tickets to climb the steps for magnificent views but the monument is currently closed. Check the link below for updates

Rose Street - New Town

The Black Cat Pub


Friendly pub - large selection of whiskies and craft beers. We indulged ourselves with scrumpcious cheese and onion toasties with home made soup .

Live folk music .

Dean Village Edinburgh

Next we headed over to the historic Dean Village.

An experience not to be missed, chocolate box pretty houses in a conversation area.

West Bow - Victoria Street

La Barantine

Cake Break

Curved , Colourful and Cobbled Victoria Street is one of the prettiest in Edinburgh. Lots of interesting independent shops to explore, including a kilt makers and a Harry Potter shop

We couldn’t resist a Coffee and eclair at the local favourite

The Dome Restaurant

New Town - George Street

The Dome Restaurant


Recommended by a local couple as a Christmas Essential .

Food is excellent and Christmas Decorating is taken VERY seriously.

Booking Advisable .


Scottish National Gallery

Old Town - Cockburn Street



Great freshly home cooked wholesome food, in a cosy, friendly cafe.

Scottish National Gallery

Unmissable masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrant, Gainsborough, Constable and Turner.

If you love Old Masters this is a must.

Photographers this is a your dream location.

Free entry.

The Royal Residence of Holyrood Palace

A treat for history buffs and art lovers. The Palace has an impressive amount of rooms open to the public .

The free audio guide really made all the difference bringing the rooms "alive" with stories and pointing out details we would otherwise of missed. Most notable were the tales of Mary Queen of Scots.

The gift shop is well stocked with tasteful souvenirs.

Entry fees apply .

The Register Club - Cheval Grand Hotel

Afternoon Tea

After all that walking a rest for afternoon tea.

Sinking into the luxurious leather sofas we

devoured the treats layer by layer and lost an afternoon to indulgence .

The Register Club is like an exclusive private club, the original panelled walls have an air of old school elegance .

Grey Friars Bobby

Bobby is on guard next to the famous graveyard, Grey Friars Kirkyard.

JK Rowling took names for her Harry Potter Characters from the headstones in the graveyard.

Harry Potter Guided Walks are available which cover all the must see places .

Or plan your own tour of the sights -


We stayed at fabulous and newly refurbished

Serviced Apartments.

There is lots of this type of accommodation in the city.

Guests can enjoy free wifi, laundry service, and a concierge.

There was a free welcome hamper which included local cheese and pickles and a bottle of fizz .

We ate dinner on our first night at the in-house restaurant which is also open to the public.

The Old Town Chambers accommodation is similar to a hotel but typically with more living space and fully fitted kitchen .

The apartment we found to be comfortable , clean and stylish.

A home from home.

But with amazing Edinburgh Views to wake up to and everything we could wish for literally on our door step.

Writinh  Old fashioned Postcards from Edinburgh Scotland
Postcard Writing

We choose this location in the middle of on the Royal Mile as it is slightly quieter than the New Town at night.

The Royal Mile stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood.

Opposite is St Giles Cathedral and next door is the popular tourist attraction - Mary King's Close .

Other nearby attractions include National Museum of Scotland (0.2 miles), Bow Quarter and Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.

Have you been inspired to visit Edinburgh ?

The City has so much to offer 52 weeks of the year - vibrant nightlife , excellent food , culture and shopping. Festival and the Festive Season are inevitably the most popular times to visit, but I would urge you to consider choosing outside of these times away from the crowds .

For more information on the city visit


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