Edinburgh may not be the largest of cities, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in lively atmosphere and a plethora of things to see and do. You could spend days wandering its quaint cobbled streets and exploring the nooks and crannies of this historical city. But if you're short on time, with only 48 hours to spare our guide of must-do things is guaranteed to help you get the most out of Scotland's cultural capital!
Welcome to Edinburgh!
It is difficult to find a city with Edinburgh's cultural pedigree, so it should come as little surprise that it has a reputation of being one of the UK's best jewels. The stunning capital harmoniously balances its historic Scottish past with the cosmopolitan feel of the present, resulting in an enthralling city full to the brim with culture, history and heritage. Explore the ins and outs of Edinburgh on foot and you just might recognize locations from Danny Boyle's infamous masterpiece "Trainspotting", as many of the film's scenes were shot in the capital. Visit during the month of August and you'll encounter a frenzied affair of hustle and bustle as Edinburgh is taken over by its world-famous Fringe Festival, promising music, comedy, theatre and more! But don't fret, whatever time of year you're visiting, Edinburgh promises to be bursting with events, activities and excitement.
Day 1 - Breakfast
What better way to begin your Scottish adventure in the capital than by having a hearty breakfast at The Balmoral, a historic venue which dominates Edinburgh's sky line. This iconic, luxury hotel located at No. 1 Princes Street radiates timeless elegance and traditional Scottish culture - you'll be welcomed of course by kilted doormen. Breakfast at The Balmoral, specifically at Hadrian's Brasserie, promises to be authentic in every sense of the word. The menu is full of fresh locally sourced produce, especially seafood, such as their coveted Balmoral smoked salmon. Other delicious delicacies on the menu include Scottish Pancakes and the famous Edinburgh tea.
Day 1 - Morning
We recommend spending your first morning in Edinburgh climbing the dramatic-looking Scott Monument located in Princes Street Gardens. This impressive feat of beautiful gothic architecture is the largest monument in the world dedicated to a writer, that being Sir Walter Scott, Scotland's renowned novelist, poet and playwright. Built in 1846, the tower is 200ft tall and is adorned with carvings of characters from Scott's literary work. You can climb the 287 steps all the way up the spiral staircase to the monument's summit. Although the walls become narrower and narrower as you ascend, the climb is 100% worth it because at the top you're exposed to truly awe-inspiring views of Edinburgh and its surrounding country landscape.
Day 1 - Lunch
Take a stroll down Candlemaker Row and you're likely to come across a crowd of tourists gathered around the statue of celebrated Skye terrier - Bobby. As the Edinburgh legend goes, this faithful hound became famous after his owner passed away and loyal Bobby refused to leave his graveside for 14 years until he himself died and was also buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. This sweet story is very much still remembered within Edinburgh's cultural history and the folklore of Greyfriars Bobby lives on in the form of this beloved memorial. Why not check out the statue for yourself and at the same time you can visit the nearby ?Greyfriars Bobby's Bar' for lunch, a pub named in homage of this sweet Scottish legend.
Day 1 - Afternoon
Just a stone's throw from Scotland's bustling capital city is Arthur's Seat, the tallest peak within Holyrood Park, which in is comprised of 640 acres of gorgeous Scottish countryside. Arthur's Seat is a popular hiking route, which is favored by locals and tourists alike that are seeking to escape hectic city life and bask in the oasis of calm that awaits then at the summit. Arthur's Seat, which is in fact an ancient volcano, is a climb of 251 vertical meters. It provides the most amazing panoramic views of Edinburgh and on a clear day (fingers crossed) you can see for miles. Arthur's Seat is famous throughout Edinburgh and indeed Scotland, but it's not just the Scots who are in awe of this impressive natural wonder. Arthur's Seat has featured in various literary works including Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.