1. The Balmoral Hotel
We recommend staying at The Balmoral Hotel as not only is the hotel lovely and comfortable but, importantly if you’re only here for 48 hours, it’s right in the center of everything you want to visit… shops, restaurants, castles, monuments, parks, you name it... Moreover, the rooms are spacious, elegantly decorated and comfortable. Plus, they offer stunning views of the city. Our room looked directly onto Princes Street and towards the Sir Walter Scott Monument – an absolutely breathtaking view, particularly at nighttime when the city lights up against the dark sky.
Here are a few more things we love about the hotel:
2. Whisky Tasting at SCOTCH Bar
Arrange a whisky tasting session at SCOTCH Bar, where Whisky Ambassador Fraser Robson will take you through a selection of fine whiskies, complemented by specially selected snacks such as salted caramelized almonds and dark Valrhona chocolate to bring out the flavours in each whisky. Fraser’s extremely knowledgeable and, whether you enjoy whisky or not, the whole sensual and inquisitive experience of smelling, tasting and guessing is sure to captivate you. A great thing to do as a couple or with groups of friends.
3. Wander and Explore
Wander around the city, enjoying the breathtaking natural scenery, parks, bridges and more. There’s so much to see in Edinburgh and you can’t help but be impressed by the eclectic mixture of ancient walkways and traditional castles, combined with historical monuments such as the Sir Walter Scott Monument, which are somehow perfectly at ease with the modernity of being in a major city surrounded by shops.
4. Go Shopping
If you love shopping, you’ll love Edinburgh. There are so many shops to visit and, whether you’re looking for designer brands; high street brands; delicious Scottish whiskies, homemade jams and shortbread; or even hiking boots, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to stop off at Princes Street, Victoria Street and the impressive Jenners – it’s Scotland’s second oldest department store and if you love Selfridges you’re sure to love this too.
5. The Shore Bar & Restaurant, Leith
Brian Grigor, Head Chef at Number One restaurant, recommends popping over to The Shore Bar & Restaurant for a spot of lunch. He says ‘It’s my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh. Right next to the water. You can either sit in the bar or sit in the restaurant. I like to sit in the bar. They’ve got an open fire, it’s where the locals go and the food is really good. They do a dish there called ham hash cake, which is basically ham, potato cake which has been breaded, and a soft poached egg and hollandaise with a little bit of salad on the side. It’s spot on. I have it every time.’ High praise!
6. Edinburgh Castle
‘I feel that this should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit. It’s amazing – so full of history, architectural beauty and the views are breathtaking. Whoever you are, whatever your interests, you can’t help but be in awe’ says Stuart Massei, Head Concierge at The Caledonian’ Waldorf Astoria Hotel. ‘I’d also suggest booking a STGA (Scottish Tourist Guides Association) private guide to take you around the city. With a fast-track option in most queues and a limitless amount of information about ‘Auld reekie’, this is surely the best way to see the city.‘
7. Norn Restaurant
Stuart also recommends visiting Norn restaurant for dinner. ‘It’s a new Scottish restaurant where Head Chef Scott Smith has designed a menu full of flavour. The atmosphere is really warm and inviting and what’s particularly special is that the chefs bring your food to your table themselves and take the time to explain exactly what you are eating. It’s a great experience.’