This was my first ever trip up North, to Scotland – and I fell in love. Like seriously. We walked many stunning streets, ate lots of delicious food, had plenty of gin and mulled wine, and stayed in the cutest airbnb. It was such an amazing weekend away with some of my fave girls – you can’t beat a girls trip! I’m already dying to go back. Here’s why…
Where to stay…
I highly recommend doing airbnb, especially if you’re heading up with a group of friends. I’ve done airbnb a few times now, and it’s always been so simple and easy. It’s great having a place to yourself too, you can come and go and chill out all together. We made the most of it on the first night and ordered in takeaway, something you don’t necessarily do in the same fashion in a hotel.
The airbnb we stayed in was SO cute! Minimalist, bright and airy with plenty of foliage it was the perfect Instagram spot for a group of bloggers. Yes, there were a couple of photo shoots which happened before heading out! It was super central too, only about a five minute walk to the train station, and it’s not overly pricey (from £100 a night). The host let us check in late, and was friendly and helpful on arrival too. I would definitely recommend this spot if there’s four or more of you heading up!
The view from the front window of the Airbnb..such a fab location!
Where to wander…
It felt like you could pretty much wander anywhere in the city, and stumble across some of the cutest little cobbled streets and quaint shops. But there are a few spots you HAVE to stroll to…
The Castle…a wander up to the castle is a must. Not only to see the castle itself (we admired from the outside) but for the views out across the city too!). It’s fantastic.
Circus Lane…we actually stopped here for everyone to grab a photo too! It’s a popular little spot because it’s so sweet…living along here would be the dream!
Dean Village – a beautiful location along the river. You wouldn’t think this was part of the city. It feels like you’re on an adventure in the middle of nowhere. A cute location for a walk!
Where to visit…
Edinburgh’s Christmas…the Christmas market! Filled with stalls, bars, Christmas treats, rides, ice skating and a silent disco, it’s THE spot to visit to get in the festive spirit. We popped along for a mulled wine (or two), which we enjoyed on the roof terrace looking out over the rest of the market. What a spot! We also took a little stroll through too, taking in the Christmas bustle. I only wish we had more time here. I came away feeling super festive.
The Dome…with the most amazing Christmas tree. This is one of the most magnificent bars I’ve seen at Christmas! It’s filled with twinkly lights, and so many Christmas decorations, including an incredible Christmas Tree above the bar. Another spot which is a must-visit at this time of year. Pop in for a drink or two!
Hoot the Redeemer…a quirky, edgy basement bar with fab cocktails and music. It does get busy at the weekend, but it’s a great little cocktail spot. They looked pretty cool too…mine had a fish floating in it. Not a real one, don’t worry!
Where to brunch…
Checkpoint was a fantastic brunch recommendation by one of my colleagues. It has a simple interior, almost like a stripped back canteen giving it a not so special feel. The service was friendly, accommodating and helpful – they even offered to take a photo of the group as we were taking pics of the food.
The brunch itself was pretty amazing. The Winter squash dish I tried (with cavolo nero, harissa yoghurt and eggs) was something else, so flavoursome. The shakshuka went down extremely well, and the potato gratin (with chorizo, tomato butter & a duck egg) was super delicious. The coffee was fab too – so smooth. A great start to one of our days exploring – and my fave spot of the two! With breakfast dishes priced between £4.50 and £7.50 it’s really well priced too!
The Pantry was brunch stop two – it really is all about the brunch! The Pantry doesn’t take bookings so you do need to queue for a table. We waited about 45 minutes for a table for 5 on the Sunday we visited, and it was worth it.
Service was ok (not as friendly or efficient as Checkpoint) but food was fab. I had the porridge special, with braised pears, ginger syrup and coconut yoghurt and it was the best porridge I’ve ever had. So creamy and thick, and the toppings added so much flavour!
The V-guy (Veggie haggis, crispy halloumi, smoked paprika and thyme roasted tomato, confit mushroom,tattie scone, free range egg on sourdough and Heinz beans) was fantastic too. The veggie haggis a hit with all. The Sunshine on Stockbridge (Sweet potato, plum tomatoes, grilled courgette, guacasaca, free range poached eggs and poblano) was also a fab choice – everything super fresh and tasty! With dishes between £6.50 and £11.25 it’s a little more pricey than Checkpoint too, but we really did enjoy this on our final morning.
We had a fantastic dinner at The Bon Vivant. It’s a cosy restaurant with next level service (super friendly), and delicious food. The menu is pretty small, offering more options for bites/snacks than mains – but the mains all looked ttasty. Although there was only one veggie option. The appetisers are a must. Small, individual bites, ensure you order at least a couple per person. All mains went down a treat. The salmon dish which was so tender and flavoursome. The dishes aren’t huge, so we did get some Parmesan and truffle chips too which I highly recommend doing too! We tried the house wine to accompany our meals, which was beautiful.
With bites at £2, mains between £13 and £18, and bottles of wine starting at £22, it’s pretty reasonable for such a fancy dinner spot.
And there you have it…my round-up of some of the best spots (discovered so far) for a festive weekend in Edinburgh. I fell in love and I definitely want to head back again next November to help me get in the festive spirit. It’s such a magical place.
Have you been or are you planning on going?