Finally, my local’s guide to Edinburgh is here! There’s nothing I love more than sharing my favourite places in this beautiful city. So… I made a map! It has all my favourite places to eat, shop and take the perfect Instagram (because I might know a little bit about that…!) and it’s mobile-friendly so you can access it on your phone while you’re out and about wandering Edinburgh’s cobbled streets (skip to the bottom for the download link).
The map has 5 sections (shopping, cafés, food & drink, museums & galleries and Instagrammable locations) so you can personalise it depending on what you’re looking to see or do. I’ll be keeping the map updated with any new openings and discoveries so it should always be the perfect companion for planning your trip to Edinburgh!
I would highly recommend all the places on this map (they wouldn’t be on there if I didn’t really love them!) but I’ll put a few highlights for each section below too. So, without further ado, please read on for my local’s guide to Edinburgh…
Well, it wouldn’t be my guide if I didn’t include the best bookshop in Edinburgh now would it? I’ve written before about how much I love Golden Hare Books but please go and see it for yourselves. Bookworms, you won’t be disappointed!
The chicest Scandi lifestyle shop selling the most gorgeous range of homewares, jewellery, stationery and books. It’s my go-to place for birthday presents. Follow them on Instagram at your peril (you will want to buy everything they post!)
Ostensibly a framing shop, Curiouser also stocks a beautiful, thoughtfully-selected range of gifts, books and cards. I never buy gift cards from anywhere else and am always popping in to see what’s new. They have two shops; one in trendy Broughton and the other in lovely Bruntsfield so you’re never really far away from gift shop heaven.
Wellington has to be one of my favourite cafes in Edinburgh. Do yourself a favour and order a hot chocolate, grab a window seat (if you’re lucky.. it’s a tiny wee place!) and enjoy the world’s most delicious handmade marshmallow.
Delicious afternoon tea, scones, baking and an incredible selection of artisan teas. Eteaket is a tea lover’s paradise!
Artistan Roast is a bit of an Edinburgh institution. It’s so hipster it hurts (in the best way) and the make the most incredible gourmet coffee. Their cakes are delicious too and it’s well worth a visit. They have cafes in Stockbridge, Broughton and Bruntsfield.
Food & Drink
The Outsider has some of the best views ever of Edinburgh Castle. There’s an amazing table right in the window and, if you get lucky, you’ll be treated to a frankly breathtaking view (see image below) during your meal. The food is delicious and the restaurant has a lovely relaxed vibe.
Mary’s Milk Bar
I could rave about Mary’s Milk Bar all day. Amazing handmade gelato in an adorable retro setting right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. What more could you need?
Locanda di Gusti
A new discovery for me but I’m so glad to have found this gorgeous Italian! Wonderful, authentic Italian food in a lovely, warm atmosphere. Book a table, it’s tiny and places go quick!
Museums & Galleries
The National Museum of Scotland
A heaven for history buffs, this incredible collection charts Scotland’s history throughout the ages. They run an inspiring programme of events and exhibitions and I’ve lost hours happily wandering the museum’s many floors. They also have a fantastic roof terrace with unparalleled views across the city – keep an eye out for the lift to the very top floor!
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
For starters, the portrait gallery is housed in one of Edinburgh’s most incredible buildings so it’s worth going inside just to admire the architecture. The gallery explores different aspects of Scotland and Scottish history, told through a wealth of portraits including a few familiar faces like Mary Queen of Scots and Robert Burns. Perfect for a rainy day.
The Georgian House
A lovingly restored Georgian townhouse right in the centre of the New Town’s gorgeous Charlotte Square. The Georgian House once belonged to the wealthy Lamont family and was the home of John Lamont of Lamont, his wife and their family of five children – one of whom was called Georgina! There’s a lovely video screening on the top floor which the guides encourage you to watch first. It’s well worth watching as it breathes life into the whole building as you tour the rooms and descend from the lofty upper floors to the servants quarters below. Very Downton Abbey indeed.
Okay, I’ll admit, basically everywhere in Edinburgh is “Instagrammable” (it really is the prettiest city) but these are a few key locations for the perfect ‘gram….
Circus Lane is possibly Edinburgh’s most-photographed street, but with it’s tiny mews houses and cobbled street, it’s easy to see why. It’s worth visiting early in the morning or later in the evening when the crowds have dissipated.
An iconic and often Instagrammed view of Edinburgh Castle! The Vennel is often busy with tourists seeking the best view of the castle, so try and time it right to avoid the crowds – again, early morning or later in the evening is probably your best bet!
Just 5 minutes from Princes Street, Dean Village is a gorgeous little corner of Edinburgh. It used to be an old milling village and it still has an aura of calm about it. It’s a little oasis right in the city centre – and it happens to be incredibly picturesque too!
How to Download my Local’s Guide to Edinburgh Map
If you’d like to save the Local’s Guide to Edinburgh map on your phone (so you can check it on the go!) you can download it here. The link will open in the Google Maps app—open the menu to select “Your places” > “maps” then choose “A Local’s Guide to Edinburgh“. Click on “View Map Legend” and check the boxes next to the layers you want to see or deselect the ones you’re not interested in. *please note: you’ll need to be signed into Google Maps for this to work!*