Soooo you may have recently noticed my SPAM of posts about my recent trip to my favourite city on Earth. My wonderful boyfriend whisked me away for a little romantic weekend this Valentines and treated me to the most wonderful 3 days of wining, dining, shopping and exploring- all on a broke girls budget of course.
City breaks can be pretty expensive and pretty overwhelming to know what to do, where to go and how to save a bit of dollar while having the most wonderful time. So here I am ladies and gents, to give you my guide to the most wonderful city in the world (don’t try and fight me on this). I am here to give my guide to everything you need to do, eat and see on a broke girl’s budget.
Where to stay
First of all, accommodation can make or break a stay (and make or break your bank account). I personally find that on city breaks, we barely spend much time in the hotel itself. So going for a more budget friendly option is a game changer. But the hotel we stayed in Edinburgh? SERIOUS GAME CHANGER.
Adagio Aparthotels are situated on the Royal Mile and are the perfect option if you don’t want to waste your whole weekend’s budget on eating out. The aparthotels are exactly what it says on the tin- its a mixture of a hotel and an apartment, with the gorgeous ambience of a hotel with the amenities of an apartment. The hotel suit includes a hob, a fridge, a microwave and even a dishwasher so that you can come and go as you please and do whatever you want food-wise.
I find that food can be SO EXPENSIVE when you travel, so being able to buy and make your own meals is such a game changer. We chose to have breakfast, lunch and even one dinner in our hotel so that we could go all out on the cocktails later!
10/10 would recommend this hotel. I had never even heard of this style of apart-hotel before Alex opened the hotel door and shouted ‘surprise’ and I can’t think of another way I ever want to spend a city break.
What to do
So visiting Edinburgh comes with an abundance of things to do. We personally have visited once before where we did some typical touristy things such as going up the Walter-Scott monument and visiting the castle. Definitely up there with some of the best things to do in the city. But this time we did some other things we had wanted to but not had the chance before.
Weather depending- Author’s Seat really is an amazing experience. We were so lucky with the weather that we had on our stay- I mean clear skies in Edinburgh is practically unheard of! But climbing that hill is no easy feat. I can tell you now that the views are worth the calf-burn but bring plenty of water and give yourself plenty of time to climb it because it might take longer than you expected.
An experience that we are so glad that we did is the illusion museum, just at the top of the royal mile. It’s a 6 story townhouse which is filled with illusions, mirror mazes, amazing views and exhibits which are so cool! I would suggest coming here at night (or if the weather is poor) as its all indoors and was so much quieter when we went at about 7 at night. I have seen queues out the door for this so would definitely recommend not going at peak times as I don’t think you’ll have the same experience if it’s bustling with people.
The Princes Street Gardens are some of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Depending what time of year you are planning on visiting and, of course, depending on the weather, I would 100% recommend having a picnic in the park or even just going for a walk.
Jenners is the oldest department store in the world and definitely somewhere I would recommend popping into. It’s a mixture of a John Lewis/ Selfridges and Harrods but it’s insane architecture and gorgeous little cafe makes the visit totally worth it- also the no 1 stop if you want to visit the toy store!
Whenever I take a city break, one of my favourite things to do is just walk up and down the streets and just take in the culture- there are so many areas you can go to explore and take in a bit of the real Edinburgh culture:
- Morningside is great for some bargain hunting and charity shop shopping
- The Medows is a great place to take a picnic and just relax
- George Street is the ultimate highstreet if you are looking for something a little more luxurious
- The Royal Mile is the perfect tourist spot to get all your souvenirs and Scottish tablet
Where to eat and drink
The make or breaking point of any city break- finding the perfect places to eat. I usually find that Google is VERY unreliable when looking for places to eat and makes it almost impossible to find those hidden gems in the city. As I said before, we had a few meals in our hotel, but having visited Edinburgh a couple of times, I can recommend a few places to fuel up, or drink up, and keep you going on your adventure.
- The Grand Cafe- situated just off of the Bridge that links the Royal Mile to Princes Street, the Grand Cafe is a GORGEOUS stop for brunch. We popped in feeling rather delicate after a night of cocktails and their Scottish breakfast was the perfect hangover cure. The stunning interior and gorgeous architecture makes the visit totally worth it. Also the pancakes- 10/10 would recommend.
- Jenners- I know I have said this is a department store, but like all department stores their cafe is something to be proud of. Situated on Princes Street, the view from the Cafe looks over Princes Street Gardens and gives you a gorgeous view of the Walter Scott Monument. Also their eggs Benedict were to die for.
- The Fig Tree- just off the Royal Mile, the Fig Tree is the ultimate stop to fuel up and get fed. Their simple menu consists of baked potato, fish n chips, pasta, curry… and is reasonably priced. A great place if you want a quick lunch stop and continue on your way.
- The Witchery- also located on the Royal Mile, the Witchery is the place to visit when you want a fancy lunch that towers all other lunches. Their sophisticated menu is amaaaazing, but the prices do reflect that luxury vibe, so don’t go in expecting a budget meal.
- Copper Blossom- A great stop for lunch if you are looking for somewhere that can fill your belly AND your instagram feed. This place is situated between Princes Street and George Street. The gorgeous interior really does trounce all other lunch spots. #doitforthegram
- Contini- the most gorgeous Italian restaurant situated on George Street is a must visit for a nice dinner. The amazing interior is to be admired as you eat the gorgeous Italian food. Perfect for a romantic weekend with your beau.
- The Tower- somewhere a little pricer, The Tower is owned by the Scottish museum and situated a little way away from the main streets. The restaurant has such a luxury vibe and gorgeous ambience- and if that doesn’t persuade you then I am sure the view of the Castle will. You’ll be sitting in awe all night, I promise.
- The Grand Cafe- this gorgeous spot also offers an amazing evening menu. Although we did not stop there for dinner ourselves, I was definitely eyeing up the menu.
Now onto the good bit. Where to drink, drink, drink (or as the Scottish say it- get bladdered)
- Copper Blossom- if you are staying near George Street, this stunning place is really worth the visit. As well as the stunning interior, the cocktails are to die for.
- Tigerlily- again on George Street, a great place to have a few drinks and enjoy the bustling evening with the locals
- Tonic- located opposite Copper Blossom, this cocktail bar is a great stop for drinks, laughs and good music.
- Monterai- Our favourite place that we found on the Royal Mile. This restaurant/bar has the most gorgeous walkway through a lit up passage and the atmosphere inside is FAB. The bartenders were great (insert the selfie they took on my phone) and the drinks are GAWGEOUS.
I know that is an awful lot of information to take in, but I hope this guide has helped! If you are planning on heading to Edinburgh soon then please send me pics so that I can live vicariously through you.