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A local's guide to Edinburgh & the Lothians

Edinburgh City Guide

To help you get the most out of Edinburgh we have gathered up some of Edinburgh's best attractions from a local's perspective.  Here are some of the best known and most visited tourist attractions in Edinburgh but we have also tried to give a flavour of some of the lesser-known but equally attractive sites.

If getting caught up in the history and grandeur of it all is your cup of tea then a visit to Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace is a must. They sit at opposing ends of the historic Royal Mile that runs from Edinburgh Castle at one end (the crag) to the Queen's residence in the Capital, Holyrood Palace at the other (the tail). The Scottish Parliment is also situated here and if you're interested in architecture, it is worth a tour, or at least a nose around the exterior.

The Royal Mile also has some tourist treasures. The Real Mary Kings Close tells the story of historic Edinburgh in a 16th Century Close and along the Royal Mile multiple ghost tours can be found, although these are generally best experienced once it is dark!  During a stroll along the Royal Mile you'll see adverts a plenty for these ghost tours - some are tame enough and suitable for kids but others are genuinely scary!

  • Edinburgh centre
  • Edinburgh castle

For a healthy dose of culture visit the upcoming exhibitions in our National Galleries. The Capital has the National Gallery complex on the Mound, exhibiting some of Scotland finest but perhaps more traditional treasures; contemporary art can be found at the Modern Art Galleries on Belford Road, and both have excellent lunch time eateries. The independent Fruit Market Gallery (which also has an excellent cafe) may also be worth a visit just by Waverly Station.  Other notable galleries include the City Arts Centre on Market St., also by the station, the contemporary Collective Gallery on Cockburn St. and the photographic gallery Stills, also on Cockburn St. The National Portrait Gallery has recently re-opened after an extensive facelift and has received excellent reviews since and is on Queen St.

The Museum of Scotland on Chamber's Street has also just reopened after a major overhaul. The beautiful Victorian museum has a Scottish artifacts section housed in the large modern extension with imaginative displays and beautiful spaces. Across the road lies the historic Greyfriars kirk and the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, the wee dog that showed such loyalty to his master. Follow Candle Maker Row down to the Grassmarket and on to Victoria street for some wonderful independent shops, restaurants and pubs.

If the hustle and bustle gets too much then a trip down to the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, up Arthurs Seat or Carlton Hill or along the Water of Leith could make the perfect escape.  Pop up in to Stockbridge for tea, or make your way up to Thistle Street for some excellent local cuisine and an end to an exhausting day!

Eating out in Edinburgh

This is a quick list of some special places to eat out in Edinburgh.  If you're staying at Eastside Cottages and want to enjoy a drink in town then you could organise Scoot Ltd. to take you and your car back to your cottage again (we have friends who swear by them). Alternatively you could take a taxi.  For restaurant reviews go to the List Food Guide.

Evenings out in Edinburgh

Make a night of it and take in some of Edinburgh’s theatre, music and cinema.