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2 days in Edinburgh

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!

Breakfast

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.

2 days in Edinburgh

Delicious coffees and breakfast at Cairngorm Coffee Co

Edinburgh Castle

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?

2 days in Edinburgh

Standing in front of its magnificent entrance

2 days in Edinburgh

Wandering through Edinburgh Castle’s grounds

2 days in Edinburgh

Some of the castle’s incredible rooms

2 days in Edinburgh

2 days in Edinburgh

Looking out over the city

Arthur’s Seat

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.

2 days in Edinburgh

Looking towards the bottom of Arthur’s Seat

2 days in Edinburgh

Starting the hike up the volcano with a city view behind!

2 days in Edinburgh

Sun setting over the stunning landscape

2 days in Edinburgh

The view out to sea

2 days in Edinburgh

Perfect lighting made for a special climb!

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.

Dinner

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.

2 days in Edinburgh

Enjoying the hotel’s amazing library room

2 days in Edinburgh

The castle matched every childhood fantasy!

2 days in Edinburgh

A real life Scottish castle!

Exploring Stockbridge

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.

2 days in Edinburgh

One of Stockbridge’s beautiful crescents

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!

2 days in Edinburgh

Overlooking the river

2 days in Edinburgh

The quaint streets of Stockbridge

2 days in Edinburgh

2 days in Edinburgh

Walking along the serene Water of Leith

New Town

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.

2 days in Edinburgh

Christmas in New Town

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

Beautiful Edinburgh

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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48 Comments

  1. Amber
    January 30, 2017 / 3:49 am

    Gorgeous photos! I want to go here! I’m a huge fan of history so being able to explore those castles would be a blast.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you! Oh awesome, me too! There was so much to explore and there definitely aren’t too many castles in the world perched on top of a volcano! Claire x

  2. Kaylie
    January 30, 2017 / 4:14 am

    Looks like such an amazing place!! Enjoyed reading about your trip. 🙂

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Thank you! And yes, it really is 🙂 Claire x

  3. Donna
    January 30, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    What a fab article! I love Edinburgh and know it really well, you did it proud! Beautiful photos x

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Ah thanks, that’s so lovely to hear! 🙂 I could go back and visit again already, it’s such a special place! Claire x

  4. Tina
    January 30, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Great photos & pinned a bunch to my “castle” board … thanks & definitely someplace to visit.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Oh lovely, thank you! I hope you get to the city soon, it’d be the most magical trip! Claire x

  5. tara
    January 30, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    I want to explore a castle. I have always be fascinated by castles

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Me too – you’ll have to pop this one on your bucket list! Claire x

  6. LaDonna Dennis
    January 30, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    Wow your trip looks amazing. I would love to see parts of the world identical if not here!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Thank you, it was pretty awesome and so inexpensive! I hope you get to Edinburgh then someday! 🙂 Claire x

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:53 pm

      Thank you, it was pretty awesome and so inexpensive! Claire x

  7. Emma
    January 30, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Brings back some great memories! I was there for four years when I studied at Edinburgh University (10 years ago). I love that city – it’s so historic, love the castle and the Royal Mile and I have very fond memories of trekking up Arthurs seat to watch the sun rise! Thanks for the throwback!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Seriously? Wow I’m so envious! On a previous trip I visited the student areas and went to some coffee shops and loved it! I definitely could have studied in this city! And you’re welcome! Arthur’s Seat at sunrise sounds like something for a future visit! Claire x

  8. Anne Yedlin
    January 30, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    First off, Happy Anniversary! You guys look like you had a blast. I have always wanted to stay and explore a castle, unfortunately there are non around here that I am aware of. Great pictures, love the view and you look great together!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      Oh thanks 😀 Go us! And yes, we definitely did thank you! I reckon you’ll have to plan a future trip to visit a castle then 🙂 Claire x

  9. Melanie Smith
    January 30, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    WOW! Your pictures are incredible! I love that place, it looks so magical. You two look so beautiful as a couple. I will check your instagram to see more about your trip.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Oh wow thank you for your kind words!! Tehe thanks, I’ll pass that on to George! It is just such a nice city for any sort of break really, it offers it all! 🙂 Claire x

  10. Joely
    January 30, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    THIS – this is EVERYTHING! This is my DREAM vacation! Breathtaking! Oh and you look ADORABLE in that photo of yourself.
    That fireplace is unbelievable!
    So many things to comment on lol.
    Like that second image of Edinburgh with the colorful buildings!
    And the waterway photo. GAH!
    I have to go!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Oh thank youuuuu! Yes you definitely have to go!! The fireplace was amazing, I never wanted to leave. It felt like a film moment but I didn’t have a book to look awesome with, so I just sat on my phone! Felt like such a book-reading room! Claire x

  11. Sarah-Louise Bailey
    January 31, 2017 / 1:09 am

    I wanted to see the castle myself and explore and imagine a life in the past where I became a queen. lol

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Haha, go and live that out! You can stay in some of the suites in this castle where they have suits of armour and four poster beds! Claire x

  12. The Travel Ninjas
    January 31, 2017 / 5:16 am

    Wow you had an amazing time in just 48hours. Edinburgh is gorgeous. We can’t wait to visit ourselves. Thanks for blazing a trail showing how much you can do in a short time.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Oh brilliant, glad to hear you have plans to go in the future! It’s definitely a really manageable city in 48 hours – especially if you plan it out! i’ve been before at Halloween too and that was awesome too! Claire x

  13. Annemarie LeBlanc
    January 31, 2017 / 6:51 am

    My cousin lives in Edinburg and although I travel to Europe once in a while, I never get a chance to visit him in his home. I have to make plans next time. There is so much to see. Such a beautiful, beautiful place!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Aw, yes you definitely must try and visit him next time! It is a beautiful city any month of the year! Claire x

  14. Elizabeth O.
    January 31, 2017 / 7:37 am

    There’s no doubt that Edinburgh is worth going to, especially if you love touring Castles! I think it’s awesome that you got to stay in one too. This trip is so awesome!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you and yes I know!! i’ve always wanted to so we saved to make it possible! Thanks for your kind words!
      Claire x

  15. Hra
    January 31, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Its seems you had ana amazing time there ! i love your photos! Edinburgh is awesome!! 🙂

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      thank you and yes we really did! i can’t wait to go back! Claire x

  16. Marissa
    January 31, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    I wish I could travel. Its hard to get around the world with a family of 6.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Ah i can imagine. Maybe in a few years time it will become possible for you 🙂 Claire x

  17. MishyV
    January 31, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    First of all, I love your beanie! Second, that place where you stayed looks like from fairytale! And third, now I want to go to Edinburgh even more! I’ve always wanted to visit this city and now I just have to! Glad you had such a nice trip :))

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      Tehe thank you! It’s from Cotton On in Australia, like $5! Thanks for your kind words, glad to hear I inspired a little more wanderlust to visit. You’ll have to go! Claire x

  18. Bethany Stout
    January 31, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    This looks amazing, I have to visit here sometime.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you and definitely! Claire x

  19. Karlyn Cruz
    January 31, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    That place is really stunning! It looks like a fairytale place and I love all your photos.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! Claire x

  20. Victoria Heckstall
    January 31, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    I’m sure you had a fun adventure, those photos are breath-taking!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      Thank you! Was an easy city to take good pics of! 🙂 Claire x

  21. aziel
    February 1, 2017 / 1:56 am

    Sounds like you had a great time there and a wonderful experience, I want to go there soon.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      February 1, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      We definitely did! I hope you are able to make plans to visit in the next year or two then 🙂 Claire x

  22. Stacey
    February 2, 2017 / 1:20 am

    What an amazing trip! It looked like you all had a wonderful time. I love cheap flights, they can make some of the best spontaneous trips!

  23. Lisa Rios
    February 2, 2017 / 4:17 am

    Sounds like a wonderful trip to celebrate your wedding anniversary. The Edinburgh Castle is just beautiful and all these pictures so gorgeous and inviting that I would love to go for a visit so sooner!

  24. Aduke Schulist
    February 2, 2017 / 4:53 am

    What an amazing trip. I love the pictures you got with the selfie stick

  25. Tasha
    February 2, 2017 / 6:01 am

    WOW!!! Those views are absolutely stunning! Oh how I would love to travel there to have my own opportunity to stay at a castle.

  26. Anosa
    February 5, 2017 / 3:02 am

    Indeed a one of a kind experience! I love the castle experience, it has a magnificent view! I also liked the library feels picture! Sure you had really an awesome experience.

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