Edinburgh Travel Guide

October 31, 2018
Stories,Travel

On to the final leg of our journey . . . Scotland, and more specifically, Edinburgh. It was my first time in Scotland, and I was very excited to explore the food and drink scene. We had yet to try any fish and chips on the trip (I know, I know . . . ) so that was at the top of the list. There were several cafes/bakeries I had in mind – the cafe scene in Edinburgh is amazing. Naturally Scotch would be making an appearance. I will say that despite all the talk about whisky, Edinburgh’s spirit of choice at the moment still seems to be gin. No complaints here!

View from Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Although I could feel the presence of tourism in Edinburgh, certainly more than in Manchester, it still felt possibly to immerse ourselves in the local culinary scene. There were plenty of bustling neighborhood bars and restaurants that lay just off the tourist path. It reminded me of San Francisco in that way.

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Just to note, my recommendations below are in no way comprehensive. The amount of good food and drink in Edinburgh was truly overwhelming. I suppose it just gives me a reason to come back! 😉

Circus Lane, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Speaking of which, If you’re planning a trip to the Northern UK, I highly suggest you also check out our recent guides to The Lake District and Manchester, as well as HonestlyWTF to read about Erica’s UK experience.

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

EAT

Twelve Triangles

I stumbled into Twelve Triangles one morning after spending a good 10 minutes staring at all the mouth-watering bread in the window. I ended up spending a peaceful hour reading and eating croissants. I cant’ wait to go back and try some of their tasty looking sandwiches.

Croissants from Twelve Triangles | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Twelve Triangles Cafe | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Newhaven Fish Market

Our first and only fish and chips of the trip  and it did NOT disappoint. The restaurant was bustling, clean, and overflowing with all sorts of fresh fish to choose from. Everything we ordered hit the spot. Highly recommended!

Fish & Chips from Newhaven Fish Market | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Newhaven Fish Market | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Newhaven Fish Market | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Bearded Baker

I stumbled into this tiny cafe and bakery by chance and was blown away by their donuts. I couldn’t choose between the white chocolate pistachio and the raspberry jam, so I just had to get them both! There seemed to be a steady stream of regulars passing through the door grabbing coffee or pastries for their morning commute. Apparently they make tasty bagels too!

The Bearded Baker | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Donuts from The Bearded Baker | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Gardener’s Cottage

I am still thinking about The Gardener’s Cottage. It just might be my favorite meal of the entire trip. We went for lunch, which was nice as it wasn’t too crowded, and the daylight actually helped contextualize its place within the gardens. After all, it really is an old gardener’s cottage, built in 1836 at the base of Calton Hill. The decor is simple, rustic, and seating is communal. The dining room is directly adjacent to the kitchen, and it was a treat to easily be able to watch the chefs as they prepped for service.

The Gardener's Cottage | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Food was beautifully seasoned and exploding with flavor, starting with the bread course – Quay Commons sourdough served with a beautiful potted kipper and diced apple. It was dangerously delicious!

The Gardener's Cottage | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Next up, we went big and ordered all three main lunch courses: artichoke tart with kale and carrot; cod with salt baked celeriac, remolade, and sea vegetables; pigeon with carrot, cauliflower and a red wine reduction.

The Gardener's Cottage | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with our meal at the Gardener’s Cottage. The food was wholesome, fresh, and flavorful. Every single component had a purpose.

The Gardener's Cottage | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Gardener's Cottage | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Mary’s Milk Bar

Absolutely loved this quirky little gelato spot in the Grassmarket. They’re known for their hot chocolate float (which we ordered, of course), but I’d also recommend a simple cone of their salted caramel gelato if available. A view of Edinburgh Castle from the shop is a nice bonus 🙂

Hot Chocolate Float from Mary's Milk Bar | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Mary's Milk Bar | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Edinburgh Castle | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Marshmallow Lady

For those of you with a SERIOUS sweet tooth (and I mean serious), the Marshmallow Lady has you covered.

The Marshmallow Lady | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Voyage of the Buck

Our last proper meal in Edinburgh, Voyage of the Buck ended our trip on a high note. We enjoyed an incredible crispy pig cheek salad with apple, chicory and blue cheese. They also happen to have a killer cocktail list!

Voyage of the Buck | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Other tasty morsels . . .

Love Crumbs

Love love LOVE the vibe of this little cafe. Such a cozy atmosphere, and their cakes are to die for!

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar

Excellent traditional Scottish fare – haggis, bangers and mash, sticky toffee pudding? Please and thank you!

Forage and Chatter

Forage and Chatter pride themselves in featuring Scottish cuisine comprised of locally-sourced ingredients. Sample menu items include: red deer loin with parsnip, chicory, and beetroot, and wild halibut with spelt, chanterelles, and sea vegetables.

Pinnies and Poppy Seeds

The handmade Scottish shortbread from Pinnies and Poppy Seeds is out. of. this. world!

Tasty Buns Bakery

Another lovely little bakery cafe with the most indulgent little treats (some of them made with booze ;)).

Fishers

If you’re searching for seafood, look no further than Fishers.

Oink!

Don’t let the seafood steal the show. Pig out on the pork at Oink!

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

DRINK

Lebowski’s

There should be one rule in life: When one encounters a Lebowski’s, one must enter and order a White Russian.

Lebowski's | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

White Russians at Lebowski's | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The White Hart Inn

Hard to pass up arguably the oldest pub in Edinburgh.

The White Hart Inn | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Maison de Moggy

Cat lover? Out of all the cat cafes we passed in the UK (there were surprisingly quite a few), Maison de Moggy was by far the busiest.

The Last Drop

Erica and I grabbed a couple pints at this traditional pub while wandering the Grassmarket.

The Bon Vivant

Charming little spot that offers tasty tapas-style small bites, inviting atmosphere, superb cocktails and a TON of wine!

The Devil’s Advocate

Awesome restaurant in Old Town with an impressive cocktail list, wine, aaand whisky!

Bryant and Mack Private Detectives

I felt right at home at this intimate speakeasy hidden away in the New Town. See if you can find it 😉

The Fat Pony

A comfortable little wine bar on Bread St. They’ve recently added a guest food menu in addition to their regular cheese and charcuterie.

Sunset in Edinburgh | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

STAY

Dunstane Houses

Honestly, I couldn’t be more impressed with this hotel. The folks from Dunstane Houses truly made us feel like family. I suppose it’s not surprising coming from this family-run, five-star boutique hotel. Each room in the Dunstane House has been tastefully refurbished, and styled in a way that effectually combines old and new.

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Hoy Suite at the Dunstane House.

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Each room is full of so many unique details, it would be fun to choose a different room upon each revisit. I enjoyed my time in the Scapa Suite, complete with copper tub and mirror bed!

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Perhaps my favorite part of the Dunstane House, and where Erica and I spent much of our time was the Ba’Bar. This all-day dining lounge and bar was so pleasantly relaxing, it was hard to ever leave.

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

After a day of exploring the city, we regularly spent our evenings enjoying a nightcap (or several) at the bar. They carry an impressive selection of rare/vintage whisky and artisan gin. In fact, Dunstane Houses just released their very own gin . . . Dun Gin :).

The Dunstane House | Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Scotch Whisky

Circus Lane, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

EXPLORE

Calton Hill

No surprise to see this famous Edinburgh destination on my list of recs. It’s breathtaking. The photos simply don’t do it justice. You owe it to yourself to catch a sunset up here. Also a great spot for people watching, as we saw professional photographers battling it out with selfie-happy tourists.

View from Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

View From Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

View from Calton Hill, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

On our way up from The Lakes we stopped at Lochcarron of Scotland, an active textile mill that manufactures high quality tartans. The Lochcarron visitor center offers tours of the mill, where we got to peek behind the weaving process. It was quite impressive to see all the looms in action (so loud!), as well as to learn all the history behind the manufacturing process. Check out more details on HonestlyWTF.

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

Lochcarron of Scotland Tartan Weaving Mill

The Water of Leith Walkway

Had such a wonderful time walking this lengthy walking/cycling path with Erica one morning. You’ll share the paths with runners, dog walkers, and students commuting to class. Don’t forget to check out the historic Dean Village along the way.

The Water of Leith + Dean Village

The Water of Leith, Edinburgh Travel Guide

Victoria Street

Charming little street lined with colorful buildings in Old Town Edinburgh, full of indie shops, boutiques, and even a few Harry Potter stores (if that’s your thing).

Victoria Street, Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

Edinburgh Travel Guide by HonestlyYUM

(Photography by HonestlyYUM. This post is sponsored by Visit Britain. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep HonestlyYUM up and running! Be sure to head over to HonestlyWTF to read about Edinburgh from Erica’s perspective.)

Conversation

I went to Edinburgh recently too and I absolutely fell in love with the city! I can’t wait to go back, and this post has some things that I wasn’t able to try, so thanks for the tips!

Yay!! That’s awesome, Danielle. What was your favorite part of the city?

What a lovely selection of places you visited! As an Edinburgh local I can say that you guys definitely managed to get to some fantastic places… and you’ve put a couple of places on my list to visit now too! Hope you had a great time x

Wow Stef, that means SO MUCH to hear coming from you!! Any other local recs you have would truly be appreciated. Feel free to list here in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Oh gosh…the photography! Each time I’d scroll to a new section I’d think, you couldn’t top the previous pictures, and yet you did. Just gorgeous. Am I jealous of this epic trip? Yes! But I’m also pleased that northern UK is now on my bucket list of places to visit…soon. Thank you Todd and Erica for sharing this adventure with us. Simply put: spectacular!

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