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City Guide: Edinburgh

The restaurants, bars and shops in Edinburgh are just as impressive as the striking surroundings. Here are a few of our recommendations for a weekend spent in a city that deserves to be explored.

Farmer’s Market
There is an excellent Farmer’s Market on Castle Terrace in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle each Saturday from 9am, a tremendous place to pick up your weekend supplies.

Brunch
The Pantry Farm Shop and Kitchen in Stockbridge, is a self-confessed food lover’s haven. The Pantry’s menu is constructed around the finest seasonal and local ingredients. The buckwheat pancakes are impossible to resist.

Shopping
After brunch, you will be ready to browse the shops, and Edinburgh will not disappoint. Begin at Dick’s in Stockbridge for menswear, accessories and home wares from small, independent and under the radar manufacturers. Stop by Walker Slater’s original store in Grassmarket for the best of Scottish tweed. Foodies will enjoy visiting Mellis, a great cheese shop and George Bowers, a fantastic butcher and game dealer, who according to Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal sells the tastiest chickens in Britain.  For more local fare opt for their in house haggis.

Lunch
When you have regained your appetite, Cafe Royal is an excellent lunch option. It is tucked down an alley off Princes Street, in a beautiful building, rich in history and brimming with stories – some of Chariots of Fire was filmed in this old institution – but most importantly the seafood is exceptional. Order the oysters.

Stained glass windows and an intricate ceiling at The Cafe Royal

Walking

Time to walk off lunch, and in Edinburgh, you are spoilt for choice. The many spires of the city and hills that surround it lend themselves to stunning vistas. You can visit the unfinished temples and monuments of Calton Hill, which were built during the Scottish Enlightenment, while gazing down Princes Street towards the castle. Or walk along the Crags, with its huge and sheer cliffs that are more dramatic than climbing Arthur’s Seat. Another favourite, if you are in Stockbridge, is a walk along the charming small stream, the Water of Leith, which winds through yet more dramatic cliffs and Victorian follies, up towards the Gallery of Modern Art.

Afternoon Refreshment
Anteaques on Clerk Street has an excellent selection of tea in the surroundings of an antique shop, where every teacup is for sale. If you need something stronger, the eccentric pub The Canny Man’s in Morningside will undoubtedly hit the spot.

Art, Book Shops and Vintage Clothing
Take a walk down Victoria Street into the Grassmarket for some second hand bookshops and excellent vintage clothing. The Open Eye Gallery on Dundas Street houses the work of young, contemporary artists alongside more established artists and is well worth a visit.

Dinner and Cocktails
In the cocktail bar, Bramble, we have found a kindred spirit. At Bramble making a drink is an art form, they take cocktails seriously and themselves less so. If you are in Stockbridge, visit the Last Word Saloon and drink in the atmosphere as well as the cocktails. For relaxed dining that showcases great Scottish food, the Scran and Scallie is hard to beat. If you are in need of a red meat fix, Bells Diner is our favourite spot for a burger.

The dramatic crags on the edge of the city - well worth a walk along.