Last weekend, Jill, our Production Manager, got married in a beautiful castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It was the first HOH wedding and most of us managed to make the trip to see the happy couple say their vows. Of course it was also a great excuse to take a long weekend and see a part of the world that most of us haven’t seen before. Without further ado, read on for our Edinburgh travel guide including the restaurants you can’t miss, places you have to visit and hotels you need to stay in.
Don’t be put off by the unusual name. The Dogs serves super tasty, hearty meals from the second floor of a converted town house on Hanover Street. We ate fresh artisanal bread and butter to curb our hunger and then chowed down on the most delicious braised ox cheek served with dark chocolate sauce (sounds weird, actually is just a very rich, meaty liquor) and horseradish mash, roast pork belly stuffed with oatmeal and bacon served with decadently chunky chips and gravy. For pudding we chose an intensely smooth lemon posset with oat and zingy ginger biscuit and shortbread, dark chocolate and cardamom mess with honeycomb. Everything was divine, the cocktails were great too and the price was seriously reasonable – about £60 for 2 people including 2 courses, bread, a cocktail and a soft drink.
Tip: Make sure to book in advance as it gets seriously busy at the weekend with most walk-ins being turned away.
The Apartment is located in the East of the city and serves an varied a la carte menu as well as a dirt cheap set menu at £12 for 2 courses or £15 for 3. We chose the 3 course set menu and ate sweet chilli squid to start, a fell-off-the-bone lamb shoulder and a summer veg bake for main and a rich chocolate tart with cardamom ice cream for dessert. Everything was completely delicious and great value for money.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go for a special occasion, you can’t go wrong with The Witchery. Located in close proximity to the castle, at the top of the Royal Mile, The Witchery has been created by tastefully transforming the rooms formerly used to hang witches (thankfully, hangings there ceased many decades ago) into an elegant fine dining institution. The menu hosts masterfully created, yet simple, dishes with quality ingredients such as game, haggis, Scottish seafood, British garden vegetables and local dairy produce. Everything on the menu is great but our particular favourites were the terrine of wild rabbit and cabbage to start, the Scottish seafood platter to share and the Witchery pudding selection (so you get to try them all!).
Make sure to check out the bar on the 4th floor of Harvey Nichols. The cocktails are delicious (the passionfruit one was a favourite) and the view to the sea is incredible. Visit at dusk to make the most of it.
This is the place the locals go on the weekend and if it’s good enough for the locals, it’s certainly good enough for us. It’s located in the social hub of the city – Hanaover St – and has a great selection of cocktails, spirits, wine and beer at reasonable prices (£7 for a cocktail, £4.50 for bottled beer).
Tip: This place is definitely after dark only so head in after 9pm.
As it was just a weekend (and there was a wedding to attend), tourist attractions had to be carefully selected. These are the places that we’d recommend making the effort for if you only have a day to explore.
- The castle
- The Royal Mile
- Princes Street Gardens (grab a sandwich and head here to while away the early afternoon
- Princes Street shops
- National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery
Hilton Grosvenor Edinburgh – Townhouse
A great 4 star hotel in the West end of Edinburgh. Only a 10 minute walk to the centre and located on a quiet, tree lined street, the Grosvenor Townhouse is a great option. Rooms start at around £150 a night and we were upgraded, since they had space, to a large room with 8 foot ceilings, a view of the park opposite and a bed that could sleep 6 comfortably. Breakfast is also excellent.
A lovely boutique hotel with cosy rooms and bohemian-meets-contemporary décor. Its location is ideal for the centre and Waverley station and the hotel puts on a decent spread for breakfast. Rooms start at around £200.
With a ‘z’. This is for the no frills, small budget traveller. Don’t be put off by its cheesy name, the rooms are newly decorated, it’s bang smack in the middle of town and the staff are friendly. Rooms start at around £50. No breakfast included in the room price but can be added as extra.