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Victoria Street shops and restaurants in Edinburgh Scotland

The Essential Edinburgh Guide

Edinburgh. The city that captured my heart before I even visited it. I have had a years-long love affair with this stunning Scottish city. Maybe it's my family heritage, maybe it's the warm people, maybe it's the excess of Harris Tweed and fried food, but there is something about Edinburgh that keeps drawing me back.

With my next visit coming up in September, I feel inspired to share some of my favourite spots in the city from my last visit.

So, here are a few of my favourite places to check out in Edinburgh!

Victoria Street

When it comes to photogenic spots in this stunning city, there are few that compete with Victoria Street.

The curved cobbled street is dotted with brightly coloured storefronts and restaurants and connects the Grassmarket area to Castlehill. It's the perfect spot to stroll along and get some lovely photos as well.

It's said that Victoria Street was J.K. Rowling's inspiration for Diagon Alley, so Potter fans can selfie it up on this iconic street.

I recommend making your way down the street slowly, popping in and out of shops. If you're looking for lunch, and you eat meat, stop by Oink for a phenomenal pork sandwich and stroll the bustling street.

See more reasons to visit this gorgeous street here!

Victoria Street Edinburgh Scotland
Victoria Street shops and restaurants in Edinburgh Scotland
Victoria Street shops and restaurants in Edinburgh Scotland
Victoria street in Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle should definitely be on your list of places to see in the city. It took me until my second visit to Edinburgh to go inside the Castle itself and boy was it worth it.

Edinburgh Castle The Castle is the highest point in the city center located at the end of The Royal Mile. Castle Rock is actually volcanic rock, and the castle sits on the plug of the large, thankfully extinct, volcano.

In its 1100 year history, the castle has also earned the title of the most attacked place in Great Britain, having been sieged 26 times. There has been a royal castle of some description on the site since the 12 century.

A ticket to enter the castle will set you back £19.50 for an adult and £11.50 for a child. It's worth seeing once for the views, the history, the military history, and the crown jewels, which are actually older than those in the Tower of London!

To find out more about the Castle and get tickets click here!

Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh Scotland.
Views of the city from Edinburgh Castle
Inner courtyard of Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh Scotland.
The Hesitant Adventurer at Edinburgh castle
Courtyard of Edinburgh castle

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is one of Edinburgh's most iconic sites. I'd say make your way over to see it, but it's pretty hard to avoid!

It's the central street of the Old Town and is loaded with pubs, tartan shops, souvenirs, and more. The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle all the way down to Holyrood Palace.

Spend some time strolling around, listening to pipers, and popping in and out of shops. It's a lovely street to walk along for people watching too.

If you're a whiskey fan, you can warm up in The Scotch Whiskey Experience. It's a great shop to visit and their bar is lovely and cozy, and you can visit without doing the tour if you prefer not to.

For more on The Royal Mile and planning your visit, click here.

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh Scotland
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh Scotland
Cashmere shop on the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh Scotland
The Royal Mile Edinburgh

If you're looking for a great spot for lunch or dinner on the Royal Mile, I recommend Deacon Brodies Tavern.

This cozy and welcoming pub serves up traditional Scottish fare and glorious G&Ts with different types of Scottish Gin. Full disclosure, I tried a few different ones during our multiple meals at this tavern and they were all amazing.

Fish and Chips at Deacon Brodies.
Meat pie from Deacon Brodies
Deacon Brodies Drink Menu
View from the window of Deacon Brodies

The Grass Market

Right in the heart of Old Town, behind Edinburgh Castle, you'll find the area known as the Grassmarket.

Originally, this area was a cattle and horse market, between the 14th and 19th century. Now, this is is a bustling neighbourhood all its own, with shops, restaurants, and accommodation.

Greyfriar's Bobby Bar is the perfect spot for some early food, pints, and people watching and it's near the Grassmarket. Stop by this pub and see the famous statue of Greyfriar's Bobby just across the street.

The Hesitant Adventurer at the Grassmarket, in Edinburgh
The Grassmarket Edinburgh, Scotland
Greyfriars Bobby Bar, Edinburgh
The Statue of Greyfriar's Bobby
Drinks at Greyfriar's Bobby Bar, Edinburgh
The Grassmarket Edinburgh
The Grassmarket Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh

The stunning and historic campus of the University of Edinburgh is a must-see on your Edinburgh visit.

A family connection to The University of Edinburgh drew me there the first time. My great great Grandfather studied Medicine at the University and I dragged my friends there during my first visit so I could see the archives and find his signature in their books. Thanks to Christine and Stephane who waiting patiently while I scoured old ledgers with a lovely archivist.

The University of Edinburgh Campus

Places Still On My List!

I know there are some MAJOR sites that I still have to see! On my list for this September so far are Holyrood Palace, The Edinburgh Gin Distillery, The National Museum of Scotland, and hiking Arthur's Seat.

There are also some restaurants I want to get to including a return trip to Bene's for some amazing fish and chips and Dishoom, an incredible Indian restaurant with locations in London I have been to.

Do you have a favourite spot in Edinburgh not on my list? Shoot me a message and let me know!

A HUGE Thank you!

My friend Christine was nice enough to help me round up some photos from my 2014 trip to Scotland. I visited and stayed with her during that trip and she was nice enough to expand my photos by sending me some. Thanks, Christine!

If you're heading to London on your UK trip be sure to see my blog post on the best London bakeries here!