Even in the winter months Edinburgh is a popular destination for visitors but this is particularly the case in the summertime with festivals taking place across the city, most notably The Edinburgh Fringe. The city centre becomes a constant hive of activity with tourists coming from across the world to explore this gorgeous city and watch the street artists, admire the sites and enjoy a drink in the sun (weather of course permitting).
If you’ve visited Edinburgh before and are looking to avoid these tourist hot-spots (particularly around the Old Town of Edinburgh) have a read of my alternative guide to Edinburgh.
DISCOVER LEITH DOCKS
Leith has not always had the best reputation (Trainspotting, I’m looking at you) but it is now a hugely up-and-coming area and does have some lovely spots that are largely unknown to tourists. Far enough away from the city centre but still popular with the locals, Leith Docks has a relaxed and all together slower vibe than that of the Old Town. If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a few pints on a Saturday night with some pals, then Teuchters is a great shout. Vibrant atmosphere, occasional live music and well priced drinks, it’s easy to unwind in this lively bar. If coffee (and cake) is more your thing, why not try the Hideout Cafe at 40-42 Queen Charlotte Street? Small, cosy and steamy, this is one of the loveliest coffee shops in Edinburgh.
EXPLORE LOTHIAN ROAD
Just off Prince’s Street, towards the West End of Edinburgh, is Lothian Road. A fairly popular place with students, this road has so much choice in terms of places to eat and drink. For a quick bite to eat, why not try The Red Squirrel or the Beer Kitchen? Or if you’re looking for a good bar, try Brew Dog or The Caley Picture House (this is possibly the most glamorous Spoons I’ve ever stepped foot in), which serves cheap and cheerful food and drink.
A short ten minute walk from Lothian Road is West Port road, which has some of the best bookshops in Edinburgh on it. A particular favourite of mine is Armchair Books, which is filled from floor to ceiling of hundreds of books- old and new. Perfect for a rainy day!
TAKE A STROLL THROUGH THE MEADOWS INTO MORNINGSIDE
Morningside is one of the more affluent areas in Edinburgh and is a lovely retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. It is home to some of the best charity shops in Edinburgh – you are bound to find an absolute bargain in one of these many, well-stocked shops. It’s a fairly small town so can be easily explored in just a morning after a stroll through The Meadows (a green park which is the perfect spot for having a BBQ with friends). Morningside also has some of the nicest coffee shops, including Karine Epicerie Fine Patisserie -the sandwiches are exceptional here!
HEAD TO THE BEACH
If you’re looking for somewhere a little further afield, check out North Berwick, which is in the former royal burgh in East Lothian, Scotland, and is a beautiful seaside town – particularly on a warm, summer’s day. It’s just over 40 minutes on the train from Edinburgh Waverley Station, making it an ideal day trip option!
Where are your favourite escapes in Edinburgh? I’d love to hear from you!