Going away for a weekend and want to avoid the usual tourist traps? Uncover the hidden secrets of Edinburgh including the bits locals usually keep for themselves, with this ultimate local guide.
Why Go to Edinburgh
Edinburgh has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by the castle and the neoclassical New Town. The contrast of these two historic areas, each featuring many important sites and historic nooks and cranny’s is what gives the city its unique character.
The Witchery by the Castle
The Witchery oozes magical charm from it’s exterior which makes you want peek down at diners through it’s little windows. Seeing tourists feast heartily in the candle-lit oak room whilst icy winds are hitting you on the royal mile will instantly make you want to venture in. For the price you are paying for the setting, not the food. I did enjoy the set festive menu but I wouldn’t go back again. The wine list is OK. The staff are nice. If you can afford to go and soak up the atmosphere then do, alternatively go and sit in a cosy pub to get that snug feeling.
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NF
La Petite Mort
Focusing on Scotland’s finest suppliers, La Petite Mort’s head chef Neil Connor fuses delicious European dishes with hearty Scottish flavours. The set lunch and the a la carte dinner menus are excellent value for the quality of the food. Take a wrong turn on the way to the loo, and you might just end up in the ornate Victorian Bennett’s Bar, a preserved ‘jug-bar.’ A sealed area is where woman and children used to sit back in the day while the menfolk drank. Located in Tollcross, The Blackbird bar pretty much opposite La Petite Mort, has a roomy outside with heaters making it suitable for most Scottish seasons.
The Blackbird Bar 37-39 Leven St, Edinburgh EH3 9LH. Open 10am – 1am.
The Stand Comedy Club
Funny comedians, hangover friendly nachos, enthusiastic staff and reasonably priced drinks all make The Stand great! They even hold free shows at lunchtime. A five minute walk away is Bramble Bar who do delicious cocktails. It’s not easy to find but listen out for the music, follow your ear and you should find the door.
The Stand 5 York Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EB
Bramble Bar 16A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JE, UK
The Best Time of Year to Visit Edinburgh
New Years’ Eve along with the Fringe festival, is the best time to visit Edinburgh. On December 31st a huge party takes over the city featuring different stages with live bands and fireworks every hour from 9-12pm. Tickets are £25, and you can take your own alcohol so planning in advance is well worth it to save some dosh. If using one of the entrance’s near Princes Street be prepared for it to be extremely crowded with people pushing from all angles, this is only temporary as once you get to a side street it will feel much more relaxed! If going in a large group suggest a meeting point so you don’t get separated. Dress for the weather and wear wellies if you have them – mainly for the portaloos!