Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and famous around the world for it’s impressive castle and crazy New Year’s Eve parties. Edinburgh certainly knows how to celebrate Hogmanay (as the Scots call it), but there is a whole lot more to Edinburgh than meets the eye. Sure, there are some tartan shops and a heck of a lot of whisky shops, which are great if you are visiting, but what else is there to do? Here’s your Local’s Guide to Edinburgh:

Lay of the Land

Edinburgh’s city centre is split into the Old Town and the New Town and also has several outer areas including the upmarket but slightly bohemian Stockbridge, the beautiful Dean Village, which is hidden away and is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle, Leith which offers fantastic restaurants and cafes along the dockside, and Portobello which is like a hipster beach resort.  Pictured below is Deans Village, a little slice of peace and quiet away from the city.

A Local's Guide to Edinburgh

What To Do & See

If you fancy a bit of history there is no shortage. You can explore the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town where you’ll find free museums, St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle and cobbled closes and alleyways. Take a stroll down the picturesque Victoria Street for some quirky independent shops and the Grassmarket where you’ll find the world’s smallest pub. Find the market cross on the Royal Mile which is the meeting point for several free and paid walking tours of the city. You’ll learn about Edinburgh’s grisly past of witches and body snatchers, find some inspiration for Harry Potter and learn about Edinburgh’s famous writers and philosophers.

A Local's Guide to Edinburgh

Where to Shop

If your a fan of shopping Princes Street is the place to be. Lined with big named brands you can shop to your hearts content while enjoying views across to Edinburgh Castle.  Don’t forget to listen out for the One ‘o’ clock gun! You’ll find more upmarket brands up on George Square and Multrees Walk, if that’s your thing. Across in the Old Town, Cockburn Street is an eclectic mix of independent and funky retailers.

Where to Stay

With over 150 hotels, B+B’s and guest houses there is no shortage of places to lay your head, no matter the budget. There are three excellent youth hostels, two run by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association. If you want to (really) splash out The Balmoral is on Princes Street and is a celebrity favourite. I usually stay in one of the Apex hotels, I’m a big fan. The prices are reasonable, the decor modern and classy and you even get an apex rubber duck to take home!  You can search for great hotel deals in Edinburgh here.

A Local's Guide to Edinburgh

Where to Eat

There are restaurants and cafes everywhere in Edinburgh that cater to each and every market. Fancy something Scottish? Angels with Bagpipes on the Royal Mile, The Witchery on Castle Terrace or Scran and Scallie serve up local dishes with local ingredients. Chop Chop on Morrison Street does amazing Chinese dumplings and Bread meets Bread on Lothian Road serves proper American dishes such as poutine and grilled cheese.

Edinburgh is a city like no other. Not only does it have a fantastic atmosphere, a fascinating history, impressive architecture and loads to see and do it’s also the world’s leading festival city. With 12 first-class festivals every year, including the Fringe and the Royal Military Tattoo, there is never a dull moment and you’ll want to return again and again.

Want to read more?  Check out this post: Edinburgh in February

A Local's Guide to Edinburgh

Have you visited Edinburgh?  What else would you add to this list?

This guest post was penned by Nicola Holland.  Nicola is a Scottish travel blogger and freelance writer. Nicola travels Scotland, creating stories to inspire her readers to visit, including city guides, travel journals, accommodation and restaurant options and articles from the highlands and islands.  You can keep up with Nicola on her blog FunkyEllas Travel.

Are you a blogger interested in participating in my A Local’s Guide series?  Shoot me an email.

The hotel links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to book through the link I earn a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support to keep this site up and running! CC photo credit for header & Pinterest image: edinburgh 1 by Tim Caynes.

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