How to spend a weekend in Edinburgh

After the year we’ve had, we’re all in need of a little escape. A bit of bustle, beautiful surroundings, great music, phenomenal food. Sound good? Well, luckily, Edinburgh has it all.

There are hundreds of ways to spend 48 hours in Edinburgh – this is just a collection of favourites from Team Native. Do check if you need to book in advance, as guidelines are still changing here and there.

Day One

Breakfast: Naked Bakery

(4 minute walk from Native Edinburgh)
Start your weekend in Edinburgh by feeling virtuous at this friendly neighbourhood vegan bakery. Go full-fat indulgence with sweet or savoury waffles, or even a plant-based full Scottish breakfast – don’t worry, you’ll work it all off on your stroll around the city.

After breakfast: Scottish National Gallery

(9 minute walk from the bakery)
While big international names like Vermeer, Botticelli, Velázquez and Titian might draw in the crowds, here it’s the Scottish art that really shines. The works of Ramsay, Raeburn, Wilkie and McTaggart will tell you the story of this extraordinary country and give you a whole new insight into Edinburgh’s unique spirit.

Lunch: Scottish Cafe & Restaurant

(In the gallery gardens)
Run by Victor and Carina Contini, this award-winning spot enjoys views of Princes Street Gardens and serves up regional classics like cullen skink alongside sustainably sourced favourites like fish and chips or afternoon tea. Always a good idea to book in advance – it’s popular for a reason.

After lunch: Edinburgh Castle

(7 minutes from the gallery)
Scotland’s most famous castle has been a royal residence and military stronghold since the 12th century, dominating the capital’s skyline with sweeping views of New Town and the Firth of Forth. It’s now home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and the National War Museum of Scotland, so pick up an audio guide and enjoy a few well-spent hours getting acquainted. Be sure to book.

Dinner: Six by Nico

(12 minutes from the castle)
Depending on when you come to stay, you can enjoy the taste of Mumbai or a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. That’s because Six is, quite literally, a new restaurant every six weeks. The entire concept of the place changes and you can see upcoming themes on the website. Booking is essential and a six-course tasting menu is just £32.

Drinks: Panda & Sons

(8 minutes from the restaurant)
Just a few doors down from your apartment is one of those places that always finds itself on the annual World’s 50 Best Bars list. It’s hidden behind a barbershop bookcase, which lends an air of speakeasy secrecy to the place, and cocktails are served with out-of-this-world flavour combinations and a healthy dose of flair.

Day Two

Breakfast: Queen Street Gardens

(1 minute away from your bedroom)
All Native Edinburgh guests have access to one of the city’s lovingly tended private gardens. Make a breakfast picnic in your apartment kitchen, take it outside and enjoy the lush, green serenity of this coveted haven from the city’s sights and sounds.

After breakfast: Princes Street

(3 minutes from your apartment)
It’s hard to believe that Edinburgh’s most famous thoroughfare was once a muddy swamp, with its first residents moving in around 1770. Nowadays it’s full of glittering modern stores and restaurants, but the history is right there between the glassy shop-fronts. Don’t miss number 95, now Hector Russell’s kilt shop, the last surviving intact Georgian town house, and Jenners the department store, built in 1895 in glorious Renaissance style.

Lunch: Ting Thai Caravan

(14 minutes from Princes Street)
If the retail therapy and historical highlights of Princes Street have made you peckish, take a leisurely walk past the National Gallery, National Library and National Museum to Ting, where you can feast on spicy fried delights and warming bowls of noodle soup, all lovingly prepared by some of the city’s best Thai chefs.

After lunch: Holyrood Park

(14 minutes from the restaurant)
If you hear “Royal Park” and think of topiaries and Victorian follies, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Holyrood Park. This unforgettable 640 acre green space next to Holyrood Palace is full of dramatic hills and crags and is home to Arthur’s Seat, the park’s highest point, which sits on the remains of an ancient volcano. The breath-taking view is a must-see for anyone new to Edinburgh.

Dinner: Tattu

(19 minutes from Holyrood Park, 15 minutes from home)
Decked with cherry blossom and koi carp frescos, this irresistibly Instagrammable restaurant guarantees a seriously stylish night out. The modern Chinese menu is full of striking fusions, like sashimi wontons, Asian pear sticky toffee pudding and chicken truffle shumai, and the ambience is enchanting.

Nightcap: Lucky Liquor Co.

(4 minutes from your apartment)
If you’re staying for the weekend, you won’t want to miss Sunday night at Lucky Liquor. Everyone brings their own vinyls and toasts the end of the week with an ever-changing menu of drinks and a relaxed, welcoming, fun-loving vibe. Best of all, it’s only four minute stumble down Queen Street to your apartment.

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