We were in Edinburgh for a month, and we really enjoyed our time here. The weather was stunning: sunny, blue skies and clear. We barely had a handful of rainy days the whole time. Edinburgh was an important transitionary period for us: both Adam and I were finishing up contract work based back in Australia, so we did bits and pieces here and there, but mostly it felt good to slow the pace down, do lots of yoga, drink lots of coffee, and walk all over town.
Edinburgh is a great city for walking: the whole time we were here we used public transport within the city once. There's also a good range and distribution of tasty coffee. The art galleries and museums are top notch, and we greatly enjoyed wandering around both Old Town and New Town. Below I've listed our favourite places to drink coffee and grab a meal, and also our favourite things to see and do. If you have any favourites that I've missed I'd love to hear your tips!
Artisan Roast, 138 Bruntsfield Place - delicious brew, and a great selection of gluten free baked goods (um, salted caramel brownie). There are three locations around the city, our local was Bruntsfield.
Fortitude, 3C York Place - excellent coffee, cute interior, and very tasty treats (hazelnut, plum and polenta cake, I’m looking at you).
Wellington Coffee, 33A George Street - warm and cosy vibes in this below street level cafe. Excellent coffee. Scones the size of your face.
Northern Edge Coffee, Saturdays, Castle Terrace - at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Markets, the beans are roasted about 60 miles south in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Machina, 2 Brougham Place - choose from one of their two beans available for espresso. A great range of cakes and pastries, with vegan and vegetarian sandwich options.
Lupe Pintos, 24 Leven Street - Mexican Deli that stocks an awesome range of tortillas, corn chips, beans, etc. AND GUAC. Get the guac.
The Blackbird, 37-39 Leven Street - a very cute beer garden out the back, with a great range of ciders.
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market - 9am-2pm every Saturday on Castle Terrace. Awesome organic produce, coffee, breads and pastries, and traditional Scottish fare (think Scotch eggs and haggis). If you get there early it will just be the locals and you.
Mezbaan, 14-14A Brougham Street - South Indian Curries that were just around the corner from our flat. Super tasty curries and Adam loved the saffron rice.
Cafe Modern One, 73 Belford Road - in the Modern One building of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Some of the best food of our time in Edinburgh. Also with a very lovely garden.
Lovecrumbs, 155 West Port - very delicious and amazing cakes, with vegan and gluten free options. Shabby chic interior and good coffee.
Henderson’s, 94 Hanover Street and Cnr of Hutton St and Holyrood Road - there’s a deli, store, restaurant and salad table at Henderson’s - a totally vegetarian cafe with a tonne of vegan and gluten free options. We ate at the salad table where Adam had a killer Aloo Ghobi and my salad plate was enormous. Both were delicious.
Edinburgh also has a great selection of well-stocked health and natural food stores.
Arthur’s Seat - the steep and rocky remnants of an extinct volcano the sit just outside of Edinburgh's city centre. We probably took just over an hour to get up and down again. It's a great walk: the views are spectacular (as long as it's not foggy) and well worth the hike. We got a little lost in Holyrood Park before we came across that right track (there's not any signage once you're inside the park), but really enjoyed the walk. The morning we went up was cold, foggy and windy, so we had nearly the whole walk to ourselves. It's a little steep and rocky in some places, but as long as you take your time it should be manageable for most. Once you've made it down, head to the Henderson's near to Holyrood for a hot coffee and slice of their mean chocolate cake.
Union Canal - a very (very!) long canal that starts in the heart of Edinburgh. Walk as far as you like, and enjoy the company of swans and ducks.
Meadowlark Yoga, 43 Argyle Place - our yoga home while we were in Edinburgh. There are tonnes of class times and styles to choose from, and their cafe a few doors up served a mean almond milk flat white.
Scottish National Gallery - the Renaissance, Baroque and Roccoco collections are really lovely. The modern collection is housed across two buildings (Modern One and Modern Two) about 25 minutes walk away from the galleries at The Mound. Modern One and Modern Two are probably two of my favourite galleries that we’ve visited so far: walking through the grounds is lovely, and the cafe at Modern One has some of the best gluten free/vegan/vegetarian options I’ve seen (salads, soups, baked potatoes, cakes and pastries).
Scottish National Portrait Gallery - we’re history nerds, so walking around rooms of portraits of dead kings and queens is pretty up our alley. If that isn’t your thing, the building itself is worth a look around, including the jealous-inducing library. Like Modern One, the Portrait Gallery has a great cafe with lots of options for allergies.
Maison de Moggy, 17-19 West Port - Edinburgh’s cat cafe: coffee isn’t amazing, but it’s pretty great to pet the kitties.