Edinburgh, a bustling city filled with fascinating history, delectable fine dining and magnificent buildings that of course make it a photographer’s dream. Not to mention that this gorgeous Scottish city has been voted time and time again as one fo the top cities to visit in the UK.
Last week, we were invited to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Edinburgh and the most enjoyable time exploring the area around us. Every one of the places I have listed below are a very close distance from our hotel and can be accessed mainly by walking (with the exception of Prestonfield House which is a short little ten minute drive) and give you a nice range of Edinburgh’s sights. I do hope you have the most wonderful time using my list of favourite little places as benchmarks for your trip to Edinburgh!
(20 min walk up the Royal Mile, 12 min drive)
Well you can’t come to Scotland and not visit the Edinburgh Castle! Located at the top of a hill, the castle offers sweeping views that over look the city. Tickets into the castle are around £18.50 per adult (£17 if you book in advance online), and is worth the trip if you are interested in Scottish History. There isn’t much in terms of royal rooms, but there is an interesting exhibition tracing the history fo the Scottish rulers including Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots and of course, the Scottish Crown Jewels, which are interestingly the oldest Crown Jewels in the British Isles. My favourite in that room was a ring from Queen Elizabeth that houses a pink diamond he size of a very large sugar cube.
Photo tip: For this photo, we came to the castle and did our tour just in time for sunset. The sun sets on the left side of the Castle so head to there just outside the entrance and snag your perfect sunset shot. This shot can be achieved without purchasing tickets to go inside.
(15 min walk, 6 min drive)
The Royal Mile is a long stretch of road that takes you from the castle straight into the city centre of Edinburgh. It is dotted with souvenir shops and restaurants which are housed in some of Ediburgh’s oldest buildings.. As you walk past, you’ll see from signs that some buildings are over decades old. It can be a bit touristy, but it is filled with some of the prettiest buildings, so be sure to enjoy and pop your head in all the shops. Grab some postcards, a tartan scarf and shortbread to munch on as you make your way up the Mile to the Castle, and back down again. This would be the place to hear some bagpipes as there are always musicians around playing them on this stretch. While you’re in the mood for strolling, try to find the Fudge Kitchen and sample some of their free fudge.Photo tip: I took this shot of the buildings near the end of the mile up towards the castle. There are so many nooks and crannies as well that drop off to an amazing view, so be sure to keep an eye out for those.
St Giles Cathedral
(17 min walk, 10 min drive)
This intricate Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Scotland can be found halfway up the Royal Mile. The outside is quite distinctive with it’s crown steeple and quite a sight to behold upon arrival. The most beautiful part is the gorgeous interior with it’s blue rounded arches so be sure to pop inside and have a look. A donation is suggested for full entry.
Photo tip: I managed to get this photograph just in the little corridor right near the entry and door as we didn’t have time for a full visit I can only imagine how much better the images would be if you managed to explore fully inside!
National Museum of Scotland
(18 min walk – 8 min drive)
One of Scotland’s main museums, the National Museum of Scotland is absolutely stunning and completely free! It houses an extensive amount of knowledge about everything Scottish and the building itself is very well laid out. I particularly enjoyed the section about the Scottish History, so if you’re interested in the history of Scotland’s conflict with the English at the times, take a look.
Photo tip: This room was shortly after the main entrance and photographed from the left hand side of the room, on the second floor.
(15 min drive)
One of my favourite favourite places in Edinburgh, this lesser known gem of a country estate is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever visited for dinner. It is a must if you want to have a romantic meal or just to enjoy some beautifully cooked locally grown and caught Scottish cuisine in an extraordinary country manor. Make sure you ask to take your aperitif and coffee in one of their many magnificent rooms dotted along the manor before taking your place at their spectacular candlelit dining room. Apparently if you visit during the day, you can get a chance to see some of their highland coos grazing in their grounds.
Photo tip: So many rooms to choose from, if you have time make sure to visit them all. This shot was taken in the whisky room.
Click here to book to stay a night at Prestonfield -> here!
Extra number six: Edinburgh Christmas Market
(12 min walk, 6 min drive)
If you manage to visit Edinburgh during the Winter months, be sure to check if the Christmas Market is on as they do it spectacularly in this city. The one we visited this year was hands down the best Christmas Market I have ever visited. The food was mouthwateringly good, be sure to try the Burgundy Ham, Grilled Salmon, Raclette with Sausage and Bailey’s Hot Chocolate. The rides are also great, my personal favourites were the Carousel, Dodgems and the beautiful Christmas Tree Maze. It was extremely well organised, with great music and happy glowing people. An absolutely gorgeous place to visit to get you in the Christmas mood.
Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, Edinburgh
1 – 3 Baxter’s Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AF United Kingdom
Coming home every night was a dream thanks to our gorgeous and comfortable room at the Courtyard Edinburgh. The hotel staff were extremely helpful with directing us to all of the above locations and the highlight of this hotel was 100% it’s walking proximity to the main collection of Edinburgh’s most beautiful sights. The rooms were fashionable and luxurious with its wood paneling and dim lights, and the bed extremely comfortable. Make sure you book yourselves in for a meal at their Lantern Restaurant for some delicious locally sourced food. They also feature a great selection of spirits; try the Edinburgh gin and taste some Scottish Whisky, as well as some very nice affordable yet tasty wines.
Room rates start at £110 a night for two, click here to book -> HERE