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Edinburgh in 3 days

I will be traveling to Edinburgh for 3.5 days in mid April with my sister and nieces and we are looking for suggestions:
1. what part of Edinburgh to stay in - thinking Old Town because it sounds charming and seems to have more character and that is what we want, but wanted to look into other areas
2. Hotel recos - must be nice and clean and in a great location where we can walk around and explore - can be AirBnB, Inns - has to be reasonable in cost
3. What sites would you recommend seeing? We will probably not have a car so would need to be available via public transportation, or tours (although we do not love doing tours)
4. Non-touristy pubs and restaurants - more where the locals go - not too expensive as we are on a pretty tight budget
5. Nature - love nature setting so any recos on where and what - gardens, lochs, castles
6. Any NOT MISS areas or things to do?

Thanks!

Posted by
2529 posts
  1. what part of Edinburgh to stay in - thinking Old Town because it sounds charming and seems to have more character and that is what we want, but wanted to look into other areas.
    Yes Old Town is good but do consider staying to the southern side of the city, loads of B&B;s and small hotel but also lots of hotels like IBis and Travelodge

    1. Hotel recos - must be nice and clean and in a great location where we can walk around and explore - can be AirBnB, Inns - has to be reasonable in cost, see 1.
    2. What sites would you recommend seeing? We will probably not have a car so would need to be available via public transportation, or tours (although we do not love doing tours), Edinburgh is a compact city and easy to walk around all the main sites. http://www.royal-mile.com/ this will give you an idea of the main ones
    3. Non-touristy pubs and restaurants - more where the locals go - not too expensive as we are on a pretty tight budget Good luck most of us locals avoid the city centre due to high prices and hoards of tourists but I do like the Worlds End Bar on the royal mile but the drink prices are not cheap,might find a few locals but mainly tourists .
    4. Nature - love nature setting so any recos on where and what - gardens, lochs, castles.

Will you have time to go further afield ,if so take a tour is my recommendation, the Highlands, Borders etc.

  1. Any NOT MISS areas or things to do?

Grassmarket area,loads of pubs and often used by local but some of the places know how to charge,climb the Scott Monument, visit Our Dynamic Earth,Edinburgh castle is No1 Toursit site in Scotland, museums galore but the Edinburgh museum on the Cannongate part of the Royal mile is small and beautiful,the building alone is worth a visit best of all it is free.

Sights - St. gile's Church, Britania, the Castle, scotland national museum, Art Museum, Holyrood Palace, Arthur's seat, the underground tour. Much to do. If your food budget is tight, there are grocery stores (Tesco). There is also kebab joints and a Subway deli. Deacon Brody pub is nice - but on the touristy side. Walk downhill from the Castle for pubs. Also, there are some pubs on the side streets near the art museum. I think it was Rose Street. Don't quote me on that though. (New Town area). Bring a good rain coat with a hood.

Posted by
5668 posts

I have to say that I find almost all of Edinburgh charming. Of course, you don't want to stay in Ian Rankin location, but you won't find and B&B's there so no worries. New town was new in the late 1700's so bear that in mind. :) I've stayed off Dalkeith Road--beautiful views of the Salisbury crags. I've stayed near Calton Hill and enjoyed it's easy access to Princes street and the Royal Mile. I've stayed closer the Royal Botanic Gardens and enjoyed being out of the tourist area, but still and easy trip to Prince's Street or The Royal Mile. We did stay way out to the West of the castle time, and that was probably my least favorite location. But that was so long ago that my memory is unsure.

You don't need a car in Edinburgh. I always start at the Castle no matter how many times I go to Edinburgh. It's the views, it's the history. It settles me into the city. I love the Georgian House in New Town. It think it gives a marvelous view of life at the turn of that century! Gladstones Land will give you a view of medieval Edinburgh. The Museum of Scotland is wonderful. You start in ancient history at the bottom and climb to the 21st century on the top floor. Whisky Center was a bit funky and lovely intro to whisky. Check to see what exhibits are at the National Art Museum. I've seen some lovely ones. All the art museums are great. One thing to do is to walk to Stockbridge along Leith Water Walk and end up at the modern art museum. I do like the Place at Holyrood as well. If you're politically inclined tour the new Scottish parliament.

As for nature, climb Arthur's Seat if you have the proper weather. My favorite castle with a bit of a garden that you can reach be train is Stirling. It has marvelous history as well. If you just want to walk in hills a bit, you can take the train to Birnam / Dunkeld. There are some lovely walks and you can see the sweet little town that also has lots of history.

As for pubs there are so many. I like Sandy Bells for the music.

Posted by
183 posts

I stayed at the Holiday Express just down off the Royal Mile. It was clean, modern, ordinary sort of breakfast. Staff were very helpful. It was well located and cheap. Took the bus in from the airport.

David Bann is a really awesome modern restaurant very close by. Creative vegetarian. It's not a budget place, but if you want an interesting mini-splurge, take a look.

Posted by
13 posts

My suggestions based our visit to Edinburgh last June for 10 days:
1. We stayed in New Town and it had a very "neighborhood" feel.
2. http://www.edinburghnewtownapartments.com/edinburgh-apartments/. The owners were very welcoming and accommodating. Apartment was very clean, new and had a nice mini-kitchen. We cooked breakfast and about half our dinners there to save money buying our groceries at Sainsburys nearby.
3. Edinburgh Castle and Old Town and the National Museum of Scotland. Arthur's Seat was a bit of a hike but the views were fantastic.
4. Rose and Crown on Rose Street.
5. Definitely Dean Village and Water of Leith park. Hollyrood park near Arthur's seat was lovely. Calton Hill.
6. Water of Leith!

I forgot to mention the Queen's gallery. The Queen has a small, but impressive art gallery next to Holyrood Palace. It contains some of the artwork owned by the Royal family. It offers a nice audio tour included in the admission cost.

Posted by
237 posts

For our 3 days (or, to be accurate, two full days and 2 half days) we stayed at a lovely B&B (McCrae's) in the Canonmills area and found it to be a very nice neighborhood and a great location. It was a short walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens, a delightful stop, especially if you luck out with a sunny day. We were there in September so most of the blooming was done but it was still beautiful and made for a relaxing 1/2 day. We were also close enough to the Royal Mile that the walk was fairly easy--about 25 minutes I'd say. The highlights for us were Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles and Hollyrood Palace. We also enjoyed hiking up Calton Hill--the views from the Nelson Monument are quite something. As for dining, Cross and Corner was a nice little "gastropub" just a block or so from our B&B. It was recommended to us by our host because it was his favorite spot to eat and we found the food to be quite good. The prices were reasonable (at least by Portland standards), and they had some wonderful specials that came with a bottle of wine. We ended up eating there two nights in a row. From the conversations going on around us I would guess is that most of our fellow diners were folks who lived or worked in the neighborhood. Also--Oink, on the Royal Mile, has wonderful, inexpensive pulled pork (which you can have with haggis if you want to partake of local cuisine)--probably lots of tourists, but fun. Look for the pig in the window.

Posted by
4638 posts

Check the Stockbridge Farmer's market if you're there on a Sunday.

Also, don't miss the Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Grassmarket area. And... Calton Hill for amazing views of the city.

You may also enjoy the small Royal Mile market, housed within an old church with a beautiful stained glass window, where you'll find unique souvenirs.

You may find this post helpful to give you some ideas as to where to eat while in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a very walkable city, but if you get tired, you can always take one of the many buses: https://lothianbuses.co.uk/getting-around/journey-planner

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, enjoy!