Resting your head: Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
When it comes to chain hotels and anything with more than 10 rooms, it’s very easy to be lured into thinking it’ll be a sixties carpeted corporate shebang- but with the Sheraton, it’s anything but. With a huge spa (I may have taken advantage of the sauna), stunning modern bedrooms which boast breathtaking castle views and staff so lovely they’ll bring you a toothbrush last thing at night (ahem)- it was a wonderfully safe bet when staying in a new city. With it’s central location (it’s a 10 minute walk from the castle and Victoria street) as well as a short tram ride from the airport, we couldn’t have picked a better spot, and would definitely recommend the hotel for any first time visitors- I promise you won’t be disappointed!
1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR
Lovecrumbs was on my ‘to visit’ list long before we visited Edinburgh, and making the stop off on our evening on arrival was one of my better ideas, for sure! With it’s misty windows, window seats and warm orange glow- it’s easily one of the cosiest places to grab a cuppa and cake in the city. With cakes including Rose & Blueberry, Violet & Bramble and Custard Cream- it’s communal wooden tables are the perfect work spot too, so pull up a chair, switch on your laptop and cosy up- because this place is a complete gem.
155 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP
Another bakery- can you blame a girl? Before we’d even arrived at late lunchtime most of the fresh cupcakes had already flown out of Cuckoo’s, so we knew already it’d be a surefire hit. With a menu brimming with brunch, lunch and plenty of sweet treats- it’s a little more than a cutesy cake haven- but the perfect spot for lunch and catching up after an explore around the city. I ended up opting for a cranberry and white chocolate scone which was absolutely delicious, and Joe’s cupcake was gobbled up before I could even sample- so I think that was pretty tasty too ; )
150 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 5DQ
If you’re Air BnB-ing it, living in the city or simply just fancy a visit to one of the most happenin’ cheesy spots in town, this little gem is quite the treat. With rows of delicious produce, unique cheeses and everything in between this spot is a must visit for the inevitable shop front Instagram alone (and that’s before stepping inside too)…
6 Bakers Pl, Edinburgh, EH3 6SY
One of the first things I said to Joe after eating here was, ‘why can’t there be one in London?!’ In short, it’s my complete ideal restaurant. I’m a huge lover of Italian street food, and Civerinos tucked straight off of the Royal Mile ticked every box. With a menu including everything from pasta, pizza, small plates and the most incredible Nutella calzone I’ve ever seen- and a rustic communal dining space, it was one of my favourite places from the trip, I just wish it was closer!
5 Hunter Square, Edinburgh EH1 1QW
One of the top recommendations I had for Edinburgh, was of course Mary’s Milk Bar– a stones throw from our hotel and complete heaven for all things milky, ice creamy and chocolate based. With Mary being a gelato graduate (yup, that’s a thing)- she knows her flavours. With ice cream made fresh daily with local ingredients, vegan sorbets and hot chocolate also offered for a more warming treat, this place is a complete indulgence (and that’s without interior kudos).
19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
Playing Tourist: Calton Hill
If you want to experience some of the most breathtaking views of the city, then a visit to Calton Hill should be top of your list. With panoramic city views, and a handful of incredible monuments at the top, it’s the most idyllic spot to stop and watch the world go by, and I imagine even more stunning at sunrise too!
Edinburgh, EH7 5AA
I don’t really need to go into detail about why the castle is such a special place to visit in the city, but I assure you it’s worth your time! Plan it around a visit along the Royal Mile, and absorb some serious history. We accidentally timed our visit with the daily 1 o’clock gun exhibition which was quite something too.
Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG
Coming out of here, I can honestly say it was a miracle that I didn’t end up spending more money than I did. Never before have I fallen in love with so many unique illustrators and artists under one roof, and craved extra wall space in my bedroom so I could adorn their print on my walls. This little gallery and shop is filled with artwork, independent sellers (which include everything from jewellery to stationary) and plenty of prints in between. It sits happily in the middle of Victoria Street, which is absolutely worth noting down too!
42 Victoria St, EH12JW
A quaint book shop tucked along St Stephen Street, Golden Hare Books is the dreamiest independent shop- with walls filled with hand curated selections of beautiful editions of both new and old books, and everything from poetry, fiction to children’s classics too (I struggled to not pick up several copies of the beautiful illustrated kiddies books)!
68 St Stephen St, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ
If I was to ever open a shop, I’d like it to be just like Life Story; a home and lifestyle shop, and one of my favourite discoveries during our trip to the city. With the interior inspired by typical minimalist and clean Scandinavian design, and the shop selection sticking to a similar theme- there’s an artfully selected pick of the most beautiful stationary and home wares, sourced all from unique, creative and hugely talented independent designers across the country (and both local). Dreeeaaaamy.
53, London St, Edinburgh EH3 6EX
A little up from Life Story lies Coco Chocolatier, a small (but perfectly formed) chocolatier with some of the most delicious (and impressively packaged) chocolate I’ve ever seen. With flavours including Earl Grey and Bergamot (as well as a deliciously festive Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh) it was a complete treat (both metaphorically and literally) and not only did I easily complete my Christmas shopping here, but I also bought a few cheeky treats for yours truly too…
71 Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3RJ
Okay, so this shop is absolutely bad-ass brilliant. If you’re into independent jewellery designers a la Tatty Devine, awesome brands that are hard to find elsewhere (lookin’ at you, Stay at Home Club) and plenty of art and stationary to boot- Hannah Zakari has you covered. I feel like there’s such a lot of love for indie designers in the city which is hugely exciting and cool- and this is another must visit.
43 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QB
If you fancy doing some vintage shopping in a low-key, relaxed setting (with everything perfectly organised, and a small but well selected variety) then Pi.Ku.collective along Candlemaker Row is another shop worth a pop in! You may even find some jewellery, zines and home pieces too…
39 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QB