Edinburgh is a city of perfect contradictions. From the cobbled streets and quaint nooks and crannies of Old Town to the majestic architecture of New Town, the Edinburgh of today is a marriage of history and modernity, with a rich and diverse cultural identity that is always evolving, constantly unravelling and forever surprising even its most seasoned inhabitants. It is a haven of hedonistic fun: whether you find yourself haunting the cosmopolitan bars and shops of George Street, filled with the City’s sophisticated urbanites or stumbling upon the hidden Jazz Bars of the Old Town, Edinburgh guarantees you an abundance of entertainment in all shapes and forms. And because it’s so unashamedly good-looking a city – from its glorious castle to its mass of green spaces, you can never tire of just walking, perhaps aimlessly, around it as you greedily drink it all in.
True to its name, this outrageously fashionable hotel, located just off the Royal Mile, is decorated in the distinguished style of fashion house Missoni – with its bold lines, colourful hues and illustrious designs. Everything about this place is cosmopolitan and chic, making it your perfect city-break hotel.
If you are looking for a romantic retreat then look no further than this. Located just outside Edinburgh, the Sun Inn is a beautiful family-run boutique hotel that offers first-class food, drinks and accommodation. It has the balance between friendly hospitality and an elegant, smart ambiance just spot on.
Twelve Picardy Place
This Georgian townhouse is, quite literally, an oasis of luxury and sophistication sitting right in the heart of Edinburgh. Having won ‘Edinburgh’s Most Stylish Hotel’ at this years Scottish Hotel of the Year awards, it’s easy to see why. Throughout the interior is flawlessly beautiful and tastefully quirky. Its wine vault, edgy cocktail bar and STEAK restaurant mean you don’t have to stray very far for top quality food and drink.
Formerly a disused timber yard, and now a unique dining space, this is a stunning new addition to the Edinburgh culinary and offers a unique dining experience. With a regularly changing menu dependant upon local produce and artisan suppliers, Chef Ben Radford delivers on innovation, presentation and, most importantly, taste.
Word of mouth alone has ensured that this authentic and discrete Thai restaurant, nestled along Thistle Street, is a firm favourite amongst the Edinburgh foodies. For that reason alone, make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment, and trust me you don’t want to miss out on their thai green curry – it’s sublime.
This small and incredibly intimate restaurant is truly a hidden gem of fine dining in the centre of Edinburgh. Their menu is succinct and well crafted, with the ingredients always seasonal and the presentation nothing short of a work of art.
Tucked away at the very bottom of Broughton Street, this uaint vintage tearoom is a haven for sweet-toothed tea-connoisseurs alike. A drool-worthy selection of baked goods are made fresh everyday by the talented patisseries chef and owner Marie-Claire Semeraro. Their afternoon tea has been unanimously dubbed the best in Edinburgh and is a cut above the rest in taste, presentation and flavour combinations.
If you didn’t know about Bramble Bar, you certainly would never accidently stumble upon it, and that makes it all the more special. Hidden underground on Queen Street, this cocktail bar is small and intimate, with its candle lit corners making it the perfect first date spot.
This luxurious boutique hotel and bar is the epitomes of New Town chic. Inside is the perfect mix of elegant and fun, with coloured mood lighting and sumptuous décor proving the perfect surrounding to sample their impressive cocktail menu.
The Sheep Heid
Established in 1603, this small Duddingston inn is the oldest pub in Scotland. With its dark wooden interior, leather armchairs arranged around a fireplace and more board games than your childhood has seen, this is one of the city’s cosiest corners.
Over in Old Town sits a Jazz den of pure, unadulterated musical pleasure. A night spent listening to live music, drink in hand and surrounded by fellow music lovers is always going to be a night well spent. They don’t just play jazz too,
A bold favourite with the cool kids of Edinburgh, this is underground art and music at it’s very best. From hip hop, high-top clad nights to the more mellow reggae music, a night at this multi-media venue is guaranteed to make you sweaty, happy and craving more.
More of a gig venue than a nightclub, Sneaky Pete and his 200 capacity room host some of the best live music in town. With a strong loyalty to local artists, expect to see some of Scotland’s hottest exports such as Rustie, Eclair Fifi and Frightened Rabbit between these four walls.
Hidden away down the cobbles of Thistle Street, Covet has been making a name for itself as the go-to for women’s handbags, jewellery and accesories since it opened 5 years ago. With a whole host of original and stylish goods a world away from the high street, this is the perfect answers to birthday presents and personal splurges; it’s all in the name.
W. Armstrongs & Son
As a student in Edinburgh, you can’t help but frequently find yourself rummaging through the treasure troves of vintage goodies that are Armstrong’s. Whether it’s for a fancy-dress costume or a beautiful cashmere jumper, this is an Aladdin’s cave of fashion just waiting to be rediscovered and loved.
With regular exhibitions from local artists and illustrators, not to mention a fine selection of books and arty treats, the creatively disposed cannot fail to love and feel inspired in this edgy, arty shop.
This dormant volcano towers over the Edinburgh, providing a dramatic backdrop to the city’s Georgian town houses and monuments. Pack your walking shoes and climb to the top for panoramic views and a bracing hit of Scottish wind, sure to blow away any trace of hangover.
For those with less energy, the half hour stroll to the top of Calton Hill provides a small-scale version of Arthur’s views without the wind chill. The mound is also the setting of the anual Gaelic Beltane Fire Festival that cleberates the begining ofsummer complete with fire throwers and lashings of body paint.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
For one month of every year, Edinburgh sheds its air of calm and turns into tinsle town. The city’s population doubles in size during August as the streets fill up with actors, dancers, artists, comedians a hell of a lot tourists all hungry for a slice of arty action. This, for me, is the one time that Edinburgh provides the true buzz of a capital city with club lisences pushed later and more than a few options for a night out. Endlessly impressive and completely unmissable, look out for a week full of Fringe-related content.
Walk Around Stockbridge
Unlike London, Edinburgh isn’t big enough to stress you out to the point where you “simply must get out”. However, if a mini break from the city centre is what you’re after, then stroll around Stockbridge and its host of vintage shops and delis. The weekly Sunday market filled with local produce is the cutest way to while away the weekend.
The National Portrait Gallery
A recent facelift has left the National Portrait Gallery impressive on the outside and breath-taking within. All the big names are here – from Mary Queen of Scots to John Knox and Robert Burns. The cafe and gift shop are pretty great too.
Hit the beach, but not Portobello because it’s just not that nice. Take the ten minute train to Berwick-upon-Tweed instead and experience a town filled with independent galleries, second hand shops and lots of fish and chips.
Taxis ain’t cheap here and the tram construction works are never-ending. The best way to get around this hilly city is to walk so stretch out those calve muscles and come prepared.
An umbrella - believe the rumours. The weather up here is notoriously temperamental and it’s not uncommon for those clear blue skies to break into torrential downpour in the blink of an eye.
Written by Emma Winterschladen and Kate Hamilton
Original article published on suitcasemag.com