A three-day escape is the perfect length of time to create a memorable trip to Scotland’s capital. With an abundance of things to do in Edinburgh, you’ll leave yearning to return. Check out our guide to a long weekend in Edinburgh.
Any travel stresses during your journey to Edinburgh will soon disappear as you set foot into this stunning city. First port of call: drop the bags. Note: If you’re arriving before check-in opens at 3pm, Village Hotel will be happy to store your luggage so you can start enjoying your trip to Edinburgh.
Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh (£)
Being only just over a mile away, a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect activity to begin your cultural journey. Gaze and learn about the abundance of flora in their garden’s Living Collection, home to some 34,000+ plants including 3,000 rare and endangered plants. The enticing landscape will encourage you to take a step back and take in all the nature on offer. The Glasshouses are a spectacle in themselves, and either the Garden Terrace Café or Gateway Restaurant provide the perfect spot for lunch. Seasonal themes run throughout the year meaning that if you’ve already been before, it’s well worth arevisit. Entry to the Gardens is free, whilst only adults pay £7 access to the Glasshouses.
The options are endless when it comes to dinner in Edinburgh, from casual dining to something a bit more special. For your first night’s dinner, we recommend the following.
The Ivy on the Square, 6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (£££)
World-famous plush eatery, The Ivy, is well known for catering to the London elite, and their Edinburgh restaurant is equally worth the visit. Offering a refined menu of classics, ranging from a traditional Scottish fish and chips to a “Himalayan salt wall dry-aged” rib-eye there is something on the menu to cater for all tastes. Accompanying your meal is an extensive drinks menu, boasting exotic cocktails and an exclusive Ivy Craft Lager.
If a more family-friendly option is preferred:
La Favorita, 331-325 Leith Walk, Edinburgh (££)
For something a little more casual and family-orientated, this authentic Italian restaurant is the ideal place to go. With pizza being the big seller, and Time Out naming it the best in Edinburgh, you can’t go wrong. Pastas, calamari and risotto are just a selection of what’s on offer. A designated children’s menu and activity pack will ensure they are just as well accommodated to.
A leisurely stroll back along Princes St will let you take in the sights of the city at nightfall. Bask in the beauty of the Castle and the surrounding architecture before getting a good night’s rest before Day 2.
After a well-deserved rest in the Village Hotel, you’ll be up bright and early to tackle your second day in the city. First though: fuel. Offering an extensive and well-prepared breakfast buffet, the hotel has you sorted for the day ahead.
Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh (££)
No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without the obligatory trip to the famous Edinburgh Castle. It would be recommended to carve out at least 2 hours of your time to fully enjoy this historic experience. The 12th century spectacle is host to some significant pieces of history, not to mention the Crown Jewels and the Royal Apartments of which Mary Queen of Scots birthed King James VI. Be sure to take a look at Mons Meg, one of the largest medieval cannons in the world. Whilst there, the sights across Edinburgh are unparalleled and definitely a focal point of the trip. Being the most visited tourist attraction in Scotland, it can often get crowded and activities are well worth booking in advance. Adult tickets are £18.50, with children being £11.50 and those under 5 go free.
TIMBERYARD, 10 Lady Lawson St, Edinburgh (£££)
An artisanal, industrial-chic restaurant which is popular with locals. This hidden gem offers elaborate dishes using the finest ingredients. The family-run restaurant has an extended team of growers, breeders and foragers to ensure that all food on offer represents the finest of Scots produce on offer. Having triumphed a multitude of awards, including the “best restaurant in Scotland 2017” from the national restaurant awards, a lunch here will not be a disappointment. Children are welcome here, however, there is no designated menu and even those easy to please might be a little sceptical.
Grassmarket, Edinburgh (£)
Prefer to not have a set itinerary? A stroll down from the castle will take you to the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh’s Old Town. A tourist attraction in itself, the cobbled streets and band of independent stores and cafés will place you right in the heart of it all. Bursting at the seams with traditional Scottish culture, it would only be appropriate to visit one of the many lively and bustling establishments offering classic ‘pub grub’. In the Grassmarket area there is many to choose from, however, the Fiddler’s Arms is particularly well-known for its hearty food offerings. Despite providing a modern twist on traditional Scottish food, their ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’ is still a must-try. Looking for something a little lighter? Hula Juice Bar offers fresh, made-to-order juices, smoothie bowls and the inevitable avocado toast.
Shopping, Princes St, Edinburgh (££)
Without a doubt, Princes St is the best area for shopping in Edinburgh, all within perfect view of the castle. Offering a variety of stores, from traditional high street stores to the likes of Louis Vuitton and Burberry, there’s something for everyone. The Waverly Mall, at the top of Princes St, is a good place to start. Once finished, a short walk slightly uphill will take you to St Andrews Square. This is home to the high-end designers and where you’ll find top tier department store Harvey Nichols. From there, take a stroll down Princes Street to find all the big high street names.
Relax at the Village Spa
Taking in all the sights and parading through the city can be exhausting, and it is important to ensure you enjoy a proper break whilst on your trip. That being said, the Village Spa offers pure escapism of the hustle and bustle of the city. With an extensive offering of spa treatments using premium products such as ESPA and St Tropez, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re in safe hands. Our experienced therapists will help you relax and revitalise ahead of your last night in Edinburgh. From body treatments to make up, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Spa not your thing? Relax in our plush lounge with a Starbucks coffee to prepare for the evening.
Kyloe Restaurant & Grill, 1-3 Rutland St, Edinburgh (£££)
After a busy day, Kyloe is the perfect destination to indulge in a quality steak experience. With all beef sourced from select Scottish farms and dry aged for a minimum of 28 days on the bone, Kyloe certainly won’t disappoint. Offerings include the finest classic steak selections alongside a mammoth 28oz sharing porterhouse. There’s also an abundance of sides, including lobster mac and cheese and a skirlie mash.
After a busy day, enjoy either of these exciting locations for a well-earned drink.
The Devil’s Advocate, 9 Advocate’s Cl, Edinburgh (£££)
Heading back to Edinburgh’s Old Town, this unsuspecting bar is hidden in a narrow close. With the décor featuring exposed wooden beams and bare brick, this cosy bar is filled with character. Being in Edinburgh, we recommend trying some of the finest Scotch whisky on offer, and what better place to do so. According to Time Out, “if it was food it would have a Michelin star”. Not exclusive to whisky, the cocktail offerings are unparalleled. This place is bound to be a favourite.
Cold Town House, 4 Grassmarket, Edinburgh (££)
After a few drinks at the Devil’s Advocate, a short walk through Grassmarket will lead you to Cold Town House – a more casual and vibrant place where you can let your hair down. This trendy space has recently opened after significant refurbishment to what was formerly a church. Known for their exceptional craft beer list, they also host an excellent live entertainment roster. Featuring live music, comedy and failing all else, live sport, you won’t be bored here.
Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh (-)
A fantastic way to start your last day in Edinburgh, a hike up Arthur’s Seat – the extinct volcano that overlooks this magical city. The roundtrip walk up the hill will take approximately two hours. Given the stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh from the rocky summit towers, we think it’s definitely worth it. Many myths surround these landscapes – some even believe that the hill is actually a sleeping dragon! Legend has it that the dragon ate so much livestock that it lay down one day and never woke up again. Take the hike up and you can decide for yourself.
Hemma, 75 Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh (£)
Hemma is the perfect stop for brunch after a walk-up Arthur’s Seat. This Swedish café boasts an award-winning menu, and even better homemade cakes. Featuring traditional brunch menu items, from their ‘proper’ Edinburgh breakfast to a healthier and colourful curried lentil salad. Whatever you choose, you’ll find plenty cosy snuggle areas to recover from the hike. Perfectly situated near the top of the royal mile.
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh (££)
Step off the Royal Mile and into the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions – a place to get lost in the magic. The attraction consists of several floors, each of which contain tricks and illusions which will not only surprise you but leave you wondering how. Work your way up the World of Illusions to reach the Camera Obscura on the roof. The mechanism is likened to a projector, which uses the light from the outdoors and directs it onto a viewing surface in a darkened room. This was a particularly popular attraction in the 19th century and this one in Edinburgh is one of the oldest visitor attractions in the city. Tickets are £16 for adults and £12 for children, with under 5s going free.
So, there you have it – a weekend packed full of activities. You certainly won’t be stuck for things to do in Edinburgh. If you’re still looking for somewhere to stay during your trip, our Edinburgh hotel has everything you need in one place – stylish rooms, a pub and grill, a gym, spa and Starbucks, plus we’re conveniently located just a short bus ride into the centre of the city.