48 hours in Edinburgh

Make the most of a weekend in Edinburgh for the first time with our guide to the best places to visit, eat and drink over 48 hours. We’ve included a mix of heritage, history, entertainment and relaxation to help you explore Scotland’s capital city.

Day one

Morning

Arrive with comfy shoes and lots of energy. It’s easy to make your way from the airport by tram or to take a short walk from Haymarket or Waverley train station to any of our Edinburgh hotels.

Unpack and take a stroll to visit Calton Hill just along from Apex Waterloo Place Hotel. A short climb and you’ll be amazed with 360° views of the city.

Afternoon

Head up to Edinburgh’s trendiest shops and bars on George Street. Shop ‘til you drop in stores such as Jenners, make your way over to Harvey Nichols in St. Andrew Square or indulge in the designer stores on Multrees Walk, the list of places to shop is endless.

An afternoon of shopping deserves a treat. Pop in to Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, just off Princes Street, for a delicious Afternoon Tea and a glass of Prosecco to relax.

Evening

Whether you’re staying with us in the West End, New Town or Grassmarket, take some time to relax and unpack before dinner. Edinburgh is packed full of restaurants for all tastes. From Mediterranean to Indian to Chinese and Italian, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

One of our favourites is The Witchery on the Royal Mile. The restaurant is unique and daring, delighting taste buds with Scottish ingredients until late each night. Much loved by locals, The Witchery offers fine Scottish dining and is known for its exceptional service.

The Royal Mile includes a variety of ghost and history tour companies. After dinner, check out The Real Mary King’s Close or take a Mercat Tour. Both offer award-winning guided tours exploring Edinburgh’s hidden and haunted past.

Day two

Morning

After a cosy night’s sleep in an Apex bed, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. Our Apex breakfasts are all-inclusive including a wide range of tasty continental and cooked items – the best fuel for a day exploring. If you’re up early, take the bus down to Leith (number 35 opposite Museum of Scotland near Grassmarket or number 22 from outside St. James’ Centre at the back of Waterloo Place) and enjoy brunch at Mimi’s Bakehouse with an award-winning cupcake or tray bake as a treat.

Catch the number 35 bus back up into town and get off opposite Whitefoord House, this takes about 20 minutes. From here, take a hike up Arthurs’ Seat, Edinburgh’s dormant volcano! At 251m above sea level, this moderate climb is rewarded with stunning views of the city and the Forth River. Leave a few hours in your schedule to make your way there and enough time to climb then appreciate the unforgettable views.

Afternoon

An afternoon spent exploring Edinburgh’s Old Town is not to be missed on your city break. Visit Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The Castle is a famous icon on a World Heritage Site and includes guided and audio tours, lots of interesting history and even a Crown Jewel shop. Venture out on to the Royal Mile to visit traditional Scottish shops and boutiques and choose a souvenir to take home.

Evening

Celebrate on your last night in Edinburgh with a trip to the theatre. Whether you’re with the girls, family or on a romantic break the Edinburgh Playhouse offers a variety of shows year round. Previous shows have included The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia, tickets are available at atgtickets.com. Mamma Roma just across the road offers a delicious and reasonably priced pre-theatre menu with friendly, fast service to make sure you’re on time for your show.

After the show, stop in at one of Edinburgh’s trendy bars for late night drinks, here’s our suggestions of cosy bars with traditional open fires. We love the wide selection on George Street, but our favourite is Hoot the Redeemer on Hanover Street, between George Street and Princes Street. This quirky 1950’s style funfair offers alcoholic ice cream and a make your own cocktail machine!