2 days in Edinburgh makes for an ideal quick weekend break and an easy flight or train from London.
The city of Edinburgh is walkable, friendly and totally do-able in 2 days. If you have longer, you could most certainly use it as a base for day trips but with a great selection of boutique hotels, Edinburgh is a winner for a 2 day weekend break.
You can even find a dreamy luxury castle to stay in near to Edinburgh! I decided to stay at the Dalhousie Castle Hotel which was pretty special – see my review on this beautiful spot here.
Here’s my itinerary suggestions for 2 days in Edinburgh – take a look and let me know what you think!
First things first, breakfast is always needed before a day of exploring. I’d heard great things about Cairngorm Coffee Co online so we we made a beeline there for the usual (avocado). It can get quite busy but it’s light, airy and offers a really friendly local vibe.
Next stop, and just a brief 10 minute walk away is Edinburgh Castle! Possibly the most key site in the city and top of almost any visitors’ to-do list in Edinburgh.
Unfortunately, there’s often a queue for tickets but it doesn’t normally take more than 10 or so minutes.
Tickets are £16.50 for adults and most student/ISIC cards don’t provide a discount (I did try!)
You could easily spend an hour and a half (or more) to wander through the castle and all the rooms – there’s SO much to explore.
I imagine we could have lost around 3 hours there if we weren’t racing the setting sun!
I’ve been a few times and Edinburgh Castle is is definitely one of my favourite castles in the UK. Its views over the city are epic too.
Did you know that Edinburgh castle is built atop an extinct volcano that is more than 350 million years old?
From Edinburgh castle, walk directly straight down the hill and enjoy the stroll down the entire length of the Royal Mile. This leads towards the Palace of Holyrood House, but also passes by the famous Baked Potato Shop on the way – highly recommended for a warming Jackie P!
The Palace of Holyrood House sits just near the foot of Arthur’s Seat, which, in my opinion is totally unmissable on any trip to Edinburgh.
It’s a bit of a climb to the top and whilst it is quite rocky, it’s not too challenging and the view is just incredible. In one direction, you look out over the city and over to Edinburgh castle. In the other direction, the view stretches endlessly out to the sea and on a clear day, you can even see islands on the horizon!
Most Edinburgh visitor guides seem to estimate 2 to 2.5 hours to climb to the top and then down again. However, I think it is possible in around 1.5 hours and that’s with lots of photo stops. I visited in November and we found the evening’s cold air kept us moving at a reasonable pace.
As you can see, I was certainly lucky on the weather front.
Another brilliant Edinburgh location (and amazingly atop another volcano) is Carlton Hill, which offers the best sunset spot around and draws in the crowds every evening.
The city is not short on great restaurants and you of course can’t tackle too many with just 2 days in Edinburgh. I particularly enjoy Deacon Brodie’s Tavern on the Royal Mile. This pub is named after a local who was a ‘respectable citizen by day’ and a crook at night, which eventually led to his hanging!
The food is typical pub fare but the atmosphere is lively and the friendly Edinburgh locals make it a fun evening every time.
Stay in a luxury castle hotel near Edinburgh
You can read my full review of the Dalhousie Castle here but for now, check out the library bar!
There are plenty of lovely hotels in Edinburgh, but a quick Uber out to this magnificent medieval castle offers a very special and typically Scottish experience.
For breakfast, we headed to another lovely spot – one of the city’s Valvona & Crolla outlets. Excellent Italian goodies and rich coffees.
After this, we headed to the Edinburgh suburb of Stockbridge which is within easy walking distance of the city centre. It’s charming, atmospheric and on Sundays, the area hosts a lively farmer’s market.
I really love this pocket of Edinburgh. It’s not too far from the city centre but feels miles away from the tourists, with loads of lovely delis, independent coffee shops and cute insta-worthy corners! The architecture is so grand, and the streets blend so seamlessly with each other. Make sure to visit, even with just 2 days in Edinburgh.
Just along from Stockbridge is a beautiful walk along the Water of Leith to Dean Village. It is nearly always so quiet and serene -perfect for a slow Sunday morning!
New Town is another area in Edinburgh’s city centre. It’s particularly good for shopping and luxury hotels, as well as the location of the city’s popular Christmas Market.
The Royal Mile
Back to the most famous area of Edinburgh. Off the Royal Mile, you can spend hours losing yourself in the tiny laneways, hidden staircases and secret passages. It’s a real labyrinth and one that’s definitely worth getting lost in. Soak up the history!
2 days in Edinburgh makes for such a quick and pleasant break from London life. It really feels like a proper European break.
Do you have plans to go to Edinburgh soon? I hope this post on 2 days in Edinburgh helps in planning your future trips here or at least inspires you to visit this beautiful city!
If you’ve already visited, let me know in the comments if you have any more top tips or any feedback! I’d love to hear from you 🙂 x
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