Edinburgh in Context: Insider Tips For a Perfect Stay

We recently started offering walks in Edinburgh. The history of the city is so rich and fascinating, a gateway to the rolling hills of Scotland. We have asked out docent Maggie to give us some suggestions for places to stay at, restaurants and books to read..everything you need to enjoy your visit to Edinburgh! For more information, see our Edinburgh walks.

Edinburgh Hotels

There are literally hundreds of hotels and B&Bs in Edinburgh to cater for all tastes and prices and we have suggested a few upmarket ones (normally called ‘boutique’) which we know personally, some of which tend to be over-looked. There is also the list which includes various chains and rates them by popularity.

The ones I suggest are central apart from Malmaison in Leith which is only a 10 minute bus /taxi ride from the centre with its atmosphere by the docks and near arguably the best restaurants in the city (3 x Michelin starred).

Ten Hill Place (Old Town, stylish 4* in a combination of old and new buildings)

The Howard 32-6 Great King Street (heart of New Town, discreet 5*)

The Glasshouse (whizzy modern 5* between Old and New towns) 2 Greenside Place

Parliament House Hotel (smart boutique 3* in old buildings near Calton Hill)

The Bonham, 35 Drumsheugh Gardens (up-market 4* traditional  Victorian townhouse in the West End)

Radisson Blu Hotel (on Royal Mile large with lots of facilities but can be noisy and chain-like)

Edinburgh Restaurants

Again we have chosen a range of ones which we know and like from what is now a vast choice. These go from the very expensive The Witchery to a modest, but famous Edinburgh institution, Henderson’s.

Fishers, 1 The Shore, Leith (wonderful fish restaurant by the docks)

A Room in the Town, 18 Howe Street (Scottish and French good value, fairly basic)

Café Marlayne, 76 Thistle Street (good French food from a small kitchen)

The Witchery by the Castle (atmospheric on Castle Hill but pricy)

Hendersons of Edinburgh, 94 Hanover Street (long –established vegetarian, good atmosphere but fairly down to earth)

The Dogs, 110 Hanover Street (trendy, cheap, slightly weird place. It has a piscatorial counterpart, Sea Dogs in Rose Street))

In addition, for those who may be tempted, there are now five restaurants with Michelin stars.

We have chosen these from our own library which give a fair range from quite academic  (‘Capital of the Mind’) to more whimsy ( ‘The Town below the Ground’). All are in print and available in paperback. If you are interested in literature, Edinburgh is the perfect place to be: numerous novelists and poets either are from Edinburgh or write about the city. Here are some names : R.L. Stevenson; Muriel Spark; Robert Burns and the more recent Ian Rankin; J.K. Rowling and Alexander McCall Smith all of whom combine to make this the first  UNESCO City of Literature.

‘Holyrood and Canongate, a 1000 year history’  by Patricia E Dennison pub Birlinn

Capital of the Mind’ (how Edinburgh changed the world) by James Buchan  pub John Murray

‘Auld Reekie, a literary companion’ an Edinburgh anthology selected by Ralph Lownie pub Mainstream

The Scottish Enlightenment’ by Arthur Herman pub Fourth Estate

The Town below the Ground’ by Jan-Andrew Henderson pub Mainstream