Laura Mincher takes you on a short break to discover the local food and drinks, independent shops and gorgeous walks of Edinburgh.
One of my first memories of moving to Scotland was my train pulling slowly into Waverley station and seeing the majestic Edinburgh Castle for the first time. It’s a sight that to this day brings a smile to my face every time I visit, and I don’t think there’s a better way to start a trip.
The beauty of Edinburgh is that it can be discovered time and time again, giving its visitors a different experience on each occasion. With its beautiful landscapes, charming medieval streets that hide delightful independent shops and renowned restaurants serving divine dishes, there will be something for everyone in this fabulous city.
It can be explored at a quiet pace, sightseeing, eating delicious food and losing yourself in little shops, but there are bustling bars and restaurants to be enjoyed, too. On this occasion my husband and I decided to have a weekend break and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the capital.
Where to stay
Our home for the weekend was a stylish serviced By Mansley apartment, tucked away enough to feel tranquil, but also right in the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a stone’s throw from the train station and the famous George Street, which is filled with so many tempting bars and restaurants to choose from. For us, the beauty was how comfortable and well equipped it was, making our stay so enjoyable and carefree. With its modern décor, attention to detail and large rooms, it felt more like a home from home.
Prices from £99 per night in autumn/winter, from £129 in spring/summer.
Where to eat
For breakfast, the Dutch-influenced Greenwoods has a relaxed atmosphere and was the perfect way to start our day. The décor is striking and warm and the friendly staff welcomed us with a smile. The food was delicious and freshly prepared. I had poached eggs with warm, scrumptious sourdough bread and my husband had the veggie breakfast — which according to him, was perfect.
After a beautiful morning of exploring the Union Canal, we stopped at the Bridge Inn in Ratho for lunch, a family-owned restaurant in a picture-perfect setting. We loved the quality of the ingredients and the care that was put into the dishes. The beef brisket croquettes were out of this world — highly recommended.
For dinner, we opted for Italian restaurant Contini, an Edinburgh institution. What an experience — so glamorous and elegant, it made us feel we were part of a Florentine painting. We started with the arancini and the bresaola, followed by fresh pasta. Favourite of the night was the ravioli — covered in a rich sage butter and amaretti crumb. To finish, we had to order the panna cotta, which I still dream about to this day.
What to do
For stunning panoramic views of the city, head to Arthur’s Seat. The beautiful dormant volcano overlooks the city and it offers a fine vantage point. The walk took us around 20 minutes and, with Holyrood Park at its base, it was literally a walk in the park.
On our way back into the city, we decided to stop at one of my favourite gift shops — Mysa. Situated on Cockburn Street, this independent shop has so many little hidden treasures to buy for a loved one or to take away as a keepsake. I bought a beautiful botanical print that hangs proudly on my office wall and reminds me of our lovely trip.
As a bookworm, I also just had to stop and browse at Rare Birds Books (rarebirdsbooks.com) — a new, independent shop that celebrates female authors and offers a vast variety of genres. They also have a great book club where they send out the best books of the year.
We finished our day with a warm cup of tea, tucked up in the apartment’s comfortable bed, reminiscing about everything Edinburgh has to offer.