The Capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is spread over a hilly landscape covered with elegant Georgian and neoclassical buildings. Edinburgh Castle overlooks the city and is home to Scotland’s crown jewels as well as the Stone of Destiny which is used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. This is a city that tempts you to walk and stroll through side alleys and streets to discover every nook and cranny. Check out our exclusive insider’s guide for everything you need to know about travelling to Edinburgh.
When to Travel
Like many major cities Edinburgh can be visited all year round. Summer however brings with it the warmest temperatures from July and August, where the average high is at 19°C. The city may be most ideal during the second half of May and the first half of September, when no more than a light jumper or cardigan is usually required to stay warm, and rain is less likely. It’s worth noting that both sunshine and rain can be expected during any given month in Edinburgh and throughout the rest of Scotland, so always pack appropriately.
Winter is long in Edinburgh and although the temperatures are typically a degree or two above 0°C, it’s not as frosty as you might expect. The days while shorter and often grey offer the chance to save on airfare and accommodation, and to also enjoy shorter queues to key attractions as well as smaller crowds of tourists. Make sure you check attraction opening times and schedules ahead of your visit as some will be closed at this time of year.
Where to Stay
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, The Caledonian – Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian is prominently positioned in the city’s historic centre and offers the largest number of rooms with unobstructed views of Edinburgh Castle. Boosting 241 rooms and suites, this elegant Victorian landmark also features the United Kingdom’s only Guerlain Spa and an award-winning restaurant, Grazing by Mark Greenaway. A perfect base to explore Scotland’s capital, the iconic hotel is within walking distance of the Castle, the Royal Mile and the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Our Advisor Tip – Indulge in the Guerlain Spa with uniquely-tailored beauty and skincare treatments that draw on Guerlain’s long history of innovation and excellence.
The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel – Standing proud since 1902, the historic building’s majestic clock tower still dominates the Edinburgh skyline. Its clock is set precisely three minutes fast, to ensure residents never miss their train. In fact, the only day the clock is set correctly is Hogmanay for the city’s New Year celebrations. The Balmoral is the perfect home-from-home to discover Edinburgh and Scotland’s finest attractions. Whatever the season, the hotel’s dedicated Concierge team can open doors to some of the most unique experiences in Scotland.
Our Advisor Tip – From tickets to the world-famous Edinburgh Festival events to the hotel’s Tartan Butler Clan Tour, you’ll find the best of Scotland at your fingertips.
Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel – Perched on the edge of a picturesque private garden in the New Town, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel blends traditional glamour with the Scotland of today. Outside, a classical Georgian exterior stands as an ode to the past while inside, past the lobby, a glass-topped central courtyard is abuzz with activity as travellers unwind over gin & tonics, local professionals do business, and friends toast special occasions. The energy is so fresh and effervescent that you’ll want to bottle it and bring it home—but then again, it feels too distinctly Edinburgh to make sense anywhere else.
Where to Dine & Drink
An imposing and iconic castle in the background, an extinct city-centre volcano called Arthur’s Seat and the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe festival, is it any wonder that Edinburgh has been courting visitors for decades.
The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage – Perched on the top of Calton Hill, you’ll enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the cobbled city streets, spires and out toward the Firth Of Forth beyond.
Timberyard – situated in a beautifully converted, Scandi-inspired and candlelit brick warehouse just a few minutes from the Grassmarket enjoy ingredients carefully sourced from local artisan growers, breeders, producers, suppliers & foragers.
Southside Scran – The menu reflects a sincere passion for seasonal produce and a love of France and its cuisine. The Rotisserie grill in the room presents diners with a daily selection of meat, fish and vegetables. The bistro setting encourages guests to share side dishes and salads with the entire table for that special family and friend approach to dining.
Panda & Sons – Created as a place where all ages and all people would feel welcome whether it would be for one of our deliciously creative cocktails, wide range of craft beers or our extensive wine list. Hidden away the bar fuses the classic Prohibition style Speakeasy with a nod to the Vintage style Barbershop. Certainly worth a visit!
The Last Drop – Located off Edinburgh’s Grassmarket enjoys quite the notorious history with its macabre past is part of its draw. The name references the square outside, which was once Edinburgh’s hanging grounds. Don’t expect a sombre setting though as it retains much of its traditional character, with plenty of banter and great beers to try (plus an excellent selection of British and craft gins).
Sandy Bell’s – An icon and one of the major folk lore venues it screams tradition. Locals have been visiting since the ’20s and it played a major role in the revival of Scottish folk music during the 1960s. People come from all over Scotland, Ireland, the rest of the United Kingdom, and just about anywhere, as musicians or just to participate in a great night out.
What Not to Miss
When you think of Edinburgh, you might quickly conjure up images of castles and cobble streets or grassy hills, rowdy pubs and a sea of tartan. The reality is this ancient city has so much more to offer.
Calton Hill and the National Monument are found in Central Edinburgh and are marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With some of the city’s best views and for early risers, the best sunrises. Calton Hill is also home to many iconic Scottish monuments and buildings.
Holyrood Park and Arthurs Seat are a short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the heart of the city. Sprawled over 640 acre this Royal Park is adjacent to Holyrood Palace. At its highest point lies an ancient volcano called Arthur’s Seat.
The Royal Mile is peppered with a wonder of attractions such as The Real Mary King’s Close or the Scottish Storytelling Centre, historical sites including St Giles’ Cathedral and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city.
Edinburgh is the perfect place to start and end an impromptu weekend getaway with easy access by train to the picturesque seaside town of North Berwick, and the beautiful scenery of East Lothian.
For a tailored experience that showcases the best Edinburgh has to offer, plan your upcoming trip with @luxurylondonguy today. With over 20 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry, we offer insights and itineraries that take the stress out of travel, allowing you more time to decompress and discover new sites while you’re on the road.