Hiking, History and Haute Cuisine in Edinburgh

Travel advisor Jane Henzerling with long blonde hair wearing a blue denim button-up
Curated By

Jane Henzerling

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  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Edinburgh

  • History

  • Local Culture

A city view of Edinburgh at sunset.
Curator’s statement

Edinburgh is filled with surprises – it just helps to know where to look. From the wilds of Holyrood Park, to the dark little closes between buildings to the array of incredible cuisine, Edinburgh is a place you can expect to find the unexpected. Keep your eyes peeled and let yourself wander.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Edinburgh

The Balmoral Hotel

Legendary hotel and landmark clock tower, The Balmoral Hotel is a regal and luxurious hotel that is a true love letter to Scotland.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel

Perched on the edge of a picturesque private garden in the New Town, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel blends traditional glamor with the Scotland of today.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

InterContinental Edinburgh The George

Dating back to 1881, this storied hotel offers all the luxuries of an InterContinental life in the heart of the Scottish capital.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

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Things to do in Edinburgh

A grassy mountain with Edinburgh city in the background.

Hike up to Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park and be rewarded with incredible 360-degree views. Hike down the other side of this striking mountain in the heart of the city and treat yourself to lunch, a pint, and a game of skittles at Sheep's Heid Inn in Duddingston. Be sure to stroll through the charming village churchyard.

Get yourself a taste of the royal life at the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the Old Town's Royal Mile. Dive into Edinburgh's history by exploring its graveyards. A guidebook (or actual guide) will help you make sense of the significance of the types of burial plots you'll encounter and how they relate to the culture and realities of the time. A visit to Greyfriars is a must and Cannongate looks like the setting for a fantastically creepy horror film.

Join an Auld Reekie Tour and gain access to the underground tunnels and vaults of Edinburgh. Listen to the stories of people who actually lived a subterranean existence in the bowels of the city. If you have time to go farther afield, head to the Highlands without having to drive on the left and navigate the region's steep, winding roads. Rabbie's Tours offers a range of day trips as well as multi-day excursions that take you to some of Scotland's best castles, distilleries and natural wonders.

Places to eat & drink in Edinburgh

Chocolate croissants at a bakery in Edinburgh.

Afternoon Tea

Treat yourself to afternoon tea at The Balmoral's Palm Court. It's one of the most elegant settings in the city.

Pub Fare

The Whiski Rooms offer a great introduction to Scottish fare and, of course, an amazing range of whisky to sample. Duck into World's End on the Royal Mile to sample haggis balls and exceptional cask ales.

Live Music

The Ensign Ewart's low ceilings, cozy vibe, and traditional folk music (starting at 9pm most nights) take you back to its 1690 origins. Nightly music sessions, chatty locals, and excellent ales make Sandy Bell's a quintessential Edinburgh experience.

Fine Dining

Dishoom on St. Andrew Square is worth the wait. Sip a unique cocktail in the Permit Room until your table is ready. The restaurant features inventive Indian cuisine and a bustling scene. Another St. Andrew Square gem, Cafe Royal boasts exquisite seafood dishes and a gawk-inducing setting.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Kelly Hendrix's guide, Culture & Adventure in Scotland: Edinburgh and Loch Lomond.

Travel advisor Jane Henzerling with long blonde hair wearing a blue denim button-up

Travel Advisor

Jane Henzerling

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Edinburgh.