How to Spend 48 Hours in Edinburgh
Located in on the east coast of Scotland, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK and a must see for any fleeting visit. Below is just an idea on how you can spend 48 hours in this beautiful city.
Breakfast at Urban Angel
Urban Angel has established itself as the best brunch spot in Edinburgh thanks to carefully sourced ingredients, including bread baked inhouse.
Customer favourites such as Eggs Benedict and French Toast are available alongside healthier options like smoothie bowls and fresh juices.
Visit Edinburgh Castle
A quick 10 minute walk from Urban Angel and you can find yourself at the entrance of Edinburgh Castle, a world famous icon of Scotland. Once a mighty fortress and defender of the nation, Edinburgh Castle is now a world-famous visitor attraction that dominates the city’s skyline.
The oldest part of the building was constructed in the 12th century, the castle currently houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One o’ Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.
Guided tours are provided by knowledgable castle stewards, there is an audio guide tour also available in eight languages, taking you on a tour around the castle, explaining its architecture and dramatic history. This guide is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin.
Book tickets here
Lunch at the Witchery
The Witchery by the Castle is a well regarded fine dining restaurant, quite literally next to the castle, showcasing the best produce from Scotland.
The restaurant is located within a collection of historic buildings and is open all day from noon. The 16th century oak-panelled dining room is lit by candles, offering a breathtaking old age ambience that transports you back to times gone by.
Visitors can enjoy dishes from an award-winning a la carte menu, including Scottish lobster, langoustines, beef, lamb and game, most legendary is the Witchery’s Angus beef steak tartare and even some haggis.
Book here – please note the dining rooms are open to over 10s only
The Royal Mile
Take a stroll down the Royal Mile, which runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Take a peek down hiddens alleyways that lead to the city’s underground world or pop into a cafe for a cup of tea or do a spot of shopping along the way
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Explore the Queen’s Edinburgh residence, standing at the end of the city’s famous Royal Mile. Holyroodhouse has been the principal royal residence in Scotland since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining.
Visitors can marvel at the 16th-century historic apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the State Apartments which are still used for official and state entertaining. These are open to the public throughout the year, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.
Tickets start at £17.50 per adult
Dinner at Noto
Inspired by his time living and working in New York City, acclaimed Scottish Chef Stuart Ralston offers dishes comprising fresh, Scottish produce, cooked with an Asian flair, and it works.
Whats on the menu. Small sharing plates with an Asian flourish, such as sesame prawn toast with katsuobushi, aubergine tonkatsu, kimchi and pickled ginger, and hand dived scallops, yuzu koshō with pumpkin. Plates are memorable and put together to be shared so guests can enjoy as much of the menu as they can squeeze in!
Don’t forget to book a table in advance so you aren’t left disappointed. You can do so here.
Breakfast at Loudons
With just 48 hours in Edinburgh, Loudons is one of the most well loved breakfast spots in the city and an absolute must for breakfast so there’s no surprise they have not one, but two locations, Fountainbridge and New Waverley.
The extensive breakfast menu includes a full cooked breakfast (veggie and vegan versions too), peanut butter and and dark chocolate pancakes with whipped cream and caramelised banana, and custard-soaked brioche with bacon and maple syrup.
Spend a morning in Dean Village
Just five minutes away from Princes Street, Dean Village is a beautiful oasis sitting on the Water of Leith. The village was once where the milling of water mills took place, something that visitors can still see evidence of today.
At the heart of the village is Well Court, the most iconic building in the village. This building was built in the 1880s and housed local workers who worked at the water mills.
Close by is the Dean Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art of which many of their exhibitions are free.
Lunch at the Painted Rooster
Grab a light lunch at the Painted Rooster, a fairly new establishment that already has a great reputation for their bagels, toasties, wraps and cake! Not far from Dean Village, the Painted Rooster is the perfect stop off before heading towards the afternoon’s activities.
Afternoon at the Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from city centre, offering visitors peace and tranquillity within 72 acres of stunning scenery.
This is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world, offering spectacular views of the capital’s skyline. The history of the garden dates back over 350 years and includes the Chinese Hillside, world-famous Rock Garden oand magnificent Giant Redwood trees in the Woodland Garden.
The garden is free to visit, except the glasshouses which are definitely worthwhile exploring despite this, inside is over 2400 plants from countries around the world including the Indonesian mountains, Australian forests, Arabian deserts and Amazon rainforest.
Sunset at Calton Hill
Calton Hill is the perfect spot to finish your 48 hours in Edinburgh, this beautiful viewpoint is all the more stunning with a sunset, a popular activity for both locals and travellers alike.
Take in views over the old and new town, Arthurs Seat and as far as the Port of Leith. There are a collection of monuments atop the hill, including the unfinished National Monument which was inspired by the Athenian Parthenon.
Dinner at Dishoom
A mere 7 minute walk from Calton Hill, Dishoom has become the city’s to go for curry with the restaurant packed out most nights of the week. Dishoom sits within a beautiful 1920’s Grade A listed building, that was once a warehouse for Forsyth’s departments store. There is an open plan kitchen on the ground floor and in the basement is a popular bar that stays late into the night.
Each Dishoom location has a hype around it and Edinburgh is no exception, there is no doubt in my mind that this hype is worth. Dishoom is based on the old Irani cafés of Bombay that peaked in the 1960s.
It’s definitely recommended to book a table as the restaurant can be booked out weeks in advance, click here to book.
The Real Mary Kings Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of hidden streets and spaces that the everyday people of Edinburgh don’t often see. Back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and its neighbouring Closes were once the heart of Edinburgh and some of the busiest streets.
These streets are now hidden away underground, shrouded in myths and mysteries, with blood curdling tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die. Research and archaeological evidence has revealed to us what life truly was like back in the 15th century.
Visitors and residents of Edinburgh can now experience a tour through the Medieval streets and listen to real-life fascinating stories along the way. For added atmosphere, do the tour at night time!
Guided tours start at £19.95 per adult and £12.95 per child, under 5s are no allowed on the tours.
Where to stay
The Dunstane Houses
The Dunstane Houses is a dog friendly hotel that offers 35 beautiful guest rooms across two buildings. Each suite offers something different, including roll top copper baths, four-poster beds, power showers and city views.
The property is home to a fantastic restaurant showcasing the best Orcadian and Scottish ingredients you can source, as well as the best self-declared beer garden in Edinburgh.
Prices start at £150 per night
Situated in a peaceful spot in Edinburgh’s New Town, Eden Locke is just minutes from the city’s most visited sights. 72 meticulously designed apartments sit behind a Georgian facade, each offering a space to live and work.
Each apartment has been decorated with a dusky, pastel palette with soft furnishings, a fully-equipped kitchen, superfast Wi-Fi, and a tranquil lounge downstairs.
Prices start from £110 per night
The Witchery by the Castle
Offering just 9, exclusive suites, the Witchery by the Castle is one of the most sought after addresses in the city. Each suite is individual and indulgent, oozing in glamour and luxury.
The Witchery restaurant has been an important part of Edinburgh’s food scene for years and is the main attraction. There is nothing minimalist about this place, think floating candles, gothic decor, oak paneling and antique furniture.
Prices start from £500 per night
Train bookings in Europe: Trainline
Car hire: RentalCars
Hotel bookings: Booking.com
Airport transfers: Kiwi taxis
Book trips and attractions: Getyourguide
Holiday home rentals: Vrbo
Spent many summers as a child in Edinburgh. Still one of my favourite Scottish cities. Try to revisit when we can. Miss the alternative shops that used make up most of Cockburn Street.