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Plan Your Edinburgh Holiday: Best of Edinburgh

What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
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Explore Edinburgh

History, culture, and non-stop festivals—Edinburgh is jam-packed with things to do around the clock. An easy way to get to know the city is by taking a long walk around the centre to see the World Heritage Sites in Old Town, trendy shops and restaurants in New Town, and a handful of museums and galleries in both. Take a break for afternoon tea and scones at a cosy tea room or duck into a traditional pub to grab a bite and a drink. And if you do find yourself at a festival, the city’s got tons: from live music performances in the summer to traditional Burns Night celebrations honouring the poet Robert Burns (complete with bagpipes, haggis, and whisky), in the winter.
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Essential Edinburgh

How to do Edinburgh in 3 days

From a striking castle to whiskey tastings, plus spooky night tours
Read on

Traveller Guides

Eat your way through Edinburgh at any budget

It doesn’t matter how often I return to Edinburgh; there’s always somewhere new to eat. The city of seven hills has everything from lavish tasting menus and Michelin-starred restaurants to cafes and fast food joints. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in the same restaurant twice. Here’s my guide to the high-end eateries and the low-tier takeaways.
Samantha Priestley, Yorkshire, UK
  • Wedgwood The Restaurant
    2,452
    This small and intimate restaurant on the Royal Mile served my partner the best venison he’s had to date (seriously, he still talks about it). We ordered from the a la carte menu rather than choosing the tasting menu, but it looked so good on other tables that we regretted not getting it. The staff here is kind and attentive. Our helpful waiter even told us where to go in town to buy our favourite cheese from the cheese board.
  • Wahaca Edinburgh
    1,211
    We had lunch at this Mexican place behind the rows of High Street shops while we waited for our train. It’s perfect for a fast meal. They serve street-food-style Mexican dishes, the service is quick, and the food is good. We ordered tacos, quesadillas, and the crispy cauliflower bites, and everything was tasty.
  • Number One at The Balmoral
    1,941
    We were lucky enough to stay at the iconic Balmoral Hotel for a few nights, but you don’t have to be a guest here to dine in their Michelin-starred restaurant, Number One. The tasting menu has seven courses that include local dishes ranging from langoustine from the Isle of Skye to Roe deer from a nearby estate. You can also request a three-course dinner menu ahead of time if you prefer.
  • Hummus
    57
    Don’t be fooled by the name of this cute little café in the Morningside neighbourhood of the city; they serve much more than hummus! That said, the hummus here is the best I’ve ever had, and if you do like a simple bowl of hummus and some flatbread, you’ll be in heaven. It’s a Lebanese café, so they also serve tabbouleh, falafel, and spiced cakes. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
  • Dean Banks At The Pompadour
    350
    Upstairs in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel is The Pompadour, a Michelin-starred restaurant. There’s a bit of a nautical theme, which we liked, and the menu is seafood-heavy. The 10-course tasting menu includes an Arbroath Smokie and Blue Finned Tuna but also a vegan menu. Go for the wine pairing, or delve straight into the long list of whiskeys with the Whisky Flight Experience.
  • The Alchemist Edinburgh St James Quarter
    303
    This bar and restaurant in New Town creates unusual and bizarre cocktails that arrive in the kind of containers you probably used in chemistry class. But they also serve good bar food that works perfectly for a night out or lunch. They serve a collection of dishes as varied as their cocktails - mostly Asian-inspired and including Tempura Hake and Katsu Curry, though you can also choose a simple chicken in a basket or a steak.
  • The Cellar Door Restaurant
    1,664
    Edinburgh gets busy on weekend nights, and we stupidly hadn’t booked anywhere to eat dinner. We walked into The Cellar Door, not expecting any luck, but the manager kindly seated us by the bar upstairs. While downstairs was busy, upstairs was quiet and suited us perfectly. I had the spring rolls to start, followed by roasted carrot risotto. They do a six-course tasting menu with a wine pairing, which I’m definitely getting next time.
  • Cafe Miro
    357
    We had half a day in the coastal area of Portobello on our last visit to Edinburgh, and we stopped for a quick lunch in Miro’s on the Prom. It sits opposite the beach, on the promenade, and serves light bites and cakes. We ordered the haggis fritters, which are a must-try while you’re in Edinburgh. There’s a laid-back seaside atmosphere in this quiet café, but it does get busy on weekends.
  • Monteiths
    1,648
    Down a side street off the Royal Mile, Monteith’s is underground in the basement of the building. We had small plates at the bar on our first visit and returned a second time for the venison loin and the mushroom and goat’s cheese Wellington. The food is impressive, but the atmosphere makes it unique. The cosy low lighting, tartan upholstery, and intimate bar area bring home the hidden basement feeling.
  • Holy Cow
    355
    We stopped here for a quick burger for lunch before visiting the Surgeon’s Hall Museum. If you’re vegan or have someone vegan in your party, this is a top-quality café that serves the best vegan burgers I’ve tried in Edinburgh. The burgers all come with chips, and you get a lot of food for the money, but leave room for the cheese-free cheesecake; it’s not to be missed.

Edinburgh Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Edinburgh

Christian W

Edinburgh is a phenomenally popular destination, with around 3.5 million people visiting every year. Even so, thanks to the city's complex history, topography, and layout, much of it stays well off the beaten path. As a result, it's easy to see amazing sights while leaving the crowds behind!

Teamkarma

Edinburgh is full of surprises, lot of historic things to find, nice romantic restaurants, great night life, and a cheeky smile on every corner; The city centre is a very easy place to navigate by foot, it also has very good transport links, bus, tram, trains, it also has very good airport connections. If you are not sure what you are looking for you can always stand at the top of the castle for a fantastic panoramic view over the whole city.

JamzyW

Edinburgh is a truly cosmopolitan City that has something for everyone. The City is relatively small, so it is easy to get around and see a lot in a few days.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Edinburgh Airport is the main airport that services the city. Airlink bus service runs between the airport and Waverley Station, which is within walking distance of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town.

train

Trains run by LNER (formerly Virgin trains) depart from London regularly and often make stops at major cities along the way.

bus

Edinburgh Bus Terminal welcomes long-haul coaches from various destinations throughout the United Kingdom, including London, Manchester, and Glasgow. Major operators include Megabus and National Express.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting Edinburgh from overseas, see if you need a visa using the following website: https://www.visitscotland.com/about/practical-information/passports-visas-customs/

When is the best time to visit?

Scotland is a country that’s prone to rain; showers can strike and last all day even during the summer months. To maximize your chance of dry skies, visit during the month of May, when daylight hours last longer and rainfall sees its annual low. Average daily temperatures in May are highs around 14 C/58 F and lows around 6 C/44 F.

May, along with September, also sees fewer crowds and lower prices outside of the UK’s school summer holidays.

For one of the world’s best comedy festivals, visit Edinburgh in August, when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival sees millions of visitors come to the 3-week-long jaunt. Other festive celebrations include Burns Night at the end of January; the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August; and the raucous Hogmanay New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Get around

bus

Public buses are regular and easy to use and travel all around the city—the exact change is required for your journey.

tram

Edinburgh has a tram system that services stops from York Place in the city center to the airport. All trams are wheelchair accessible and have Wi-Fi onboard. To plan your journey, visit https://edinburghtrams.com.

taxis and ride share

Taxis in Edinburgh may be hailed on the street. Minicab services offers advance bookings. Rideshare services such as Uber and Talixo are readily available.

driving

There are seven park and ride schemes operating in and around Edinburgh, which all you to park outside of the city center and then catch a bus in. There are also multi-storey car parks through the center, including at Waverley Station and Holyrood Road. For more information on parking, check out the following link: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/homepage/10449/parking-spaces

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

What are the voltage/plug types?

230 V/ 50 Hz. Plug sockets are type G. For plug types, you can reference the international guide: https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/

What is the currency?

Pound Sterling (GBP)

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Tipping isn’t generally expected in Scotland but it's appreciated for great service.

Hotels

A few pounds for anyone helping with your bags and a few pounds per day of your stay for the housekeeping staff is appreciated.

Pubs

10 percent would be appreciated, but isn’t expected.

Taxis

Rounding up to the nearest pound should suffice.

Tour guides

It is customary to give at least five pounds for a short tour or 10 percent of the bill for longer, more extensive tours.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Public transport

Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat, and stand to offer seating to pregnant women or someone with a disability.

Spitting

Spitting is considered rude in any public setting.