There are hotels aplenty in Edinburgh but if you want to live like a local – then rent a luxey apartment in one of the city’s neighbourhoods.
Stockbridge is a definite go-to. A short stroll from city-central George Street, it’s a really cool, desirable area, perfect for a brief stay.
It is so stylish, but definitely ‘un-showy’. There’s a selection of beautiful apartments which are definitely interiors-mag ready in the grand Royal Circus. They make for a perfect weekend bolthole or a longer city-centre base, especially if there’s a group of you. These are available for rental from OneFineStay. But be careful, you might want to stay put in your Pinterest-perfect pad.
Thistle Street is home to The Bon Vivant, a fabulous, atmospheric champagne, wine bar and bistro. Loads of character and great food. Very close by is the acclaimed Café Saint Honore. This French-style bistro is Paris-goes-tartan, In a good way.
Gardener’s Cottage is a tiny communal-dining restaurant offering up the best Sunday brunch we’ve had. Try the ultimate beetroot Bloody Mary – dreamy! Food is from the gardens which surround the place and fish and meats are all Scottish produce, inventively served – it was one of AA Gill’s favourites and we agree.
Hemma is one of a number of Scandi-style bars that go under the Boda name. This light and airy spot is great for brunch post-Arthur’s Seat hike. The Boda bars are cool and quirky – and yes, you can try smorgasbord sharing platters.
New to Edinburgh is The Refinery on St Andrew’s Square – a very good spot close to Waverley Station for drinks and cocktails when you head up with your gang. Lounge on sheepskin-lined chairs, sip your sparkle and snack on a trio of fries.
Go to Timberyard for locally-sourced food and artisan ale in an industrial-chic former warehouse.
If you’re a fan of foodie markets, then Stockbridge Market on a Sunday morning takes some beating – amazing aromas mean you’ll think crepes, pulled pork and dim sum is a perfectly normal breakfast.
Beneath Edinburgh Castle on a Saturday morning there’s an impressive Farmers’ Market, too. Warm up with real Scottish porridge, eat hand-cooked potato crisps and buy treats for teatime.
Multrees Walk is your destination for the swanky stuff; drive away a Tesla, stock up on Nespresso or make it destination handbag at Mulberry and Michael Kors stores. It’s also where you’ll find an impressive Harvey Nichols (lots more handbags) and where you can ponder your purchases at the top floor restaurant and champagne bar – which has some of the best views in town out to the Firth of Forth.
George Street is where you will find high street favourites such as Anthropologie, White Company and a very stylish Jigsaw store. It’s worth a slight detour from here to Thistle Street – a quiet cobbled street with some lovely fashion independents.
Our top pick on Thistle Street is Biscuit Clothing & Living. Labels include Chiniti&Parker, Part Two and Pom Amsterdam. Find cool gifts, home treats and accessories.
In Stockbridge, indulge in Dick’s for very stylish, understated, quality clothing for men and women. J.Mellis is irresistible. You can buy platters and crackers then feast in the little upstairs room.
Fashionistas will love the new costume galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, but there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied – this is one great space for collections of science, technology, decorative art, design and fashion. Items include a rare glass sculpture by Picasso and a Harris Tweed suit by iconic fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
Take a bus or stroll to the waterfront district of Leith. Having served as the port of Edinburgh for hundreds of years, this once poor and working-class neighbourhood is now trendy. Its charming streets are filled with traditional pubs, restaurants and contemporary art galleries. It’s also home to the Royal Yacht Britannia – which is surprisingly interesting!