You’re going to Edinburgh: Cheat-sheet for an American in town

You won’t believe how excited I am you are going to Edinburgh. It is probably my favorite city in the world and I was lucky enough to live there for 5 years. My food and drink recommendations might be out of date now as I haven’t been there for a few years but I hope they help.

Places to drink…

Let us start at the most important place – pubs. Edinburgh has an unlimited amount of fantastic pubs, one of the most famous is the teeny tiny Halfway House ( Another quaint place for a drink before dinner is Cafe Royal Circle Bar ( just at the east end of Princes Street. If you go there, look out for a famous American on the wall.

An cosy old favorite of mine is Cloisters Bar ( which is in part of a church.

Places to eat…

Good for breakfast is Peckham’s at Bruntsfield (

A good local place and a great chance to eat fresh, fashionable but unpretentious food is First Coast (

As far as I remember all the bars and restaurants on Victoria Street are nice but Maison Bleue ( is a standout option.

Renowned as an Edinburgh eating experience The Witchery By the Castle ( is an atmospheric place to eat and feel part of old Edinburgh. I think you can also stay there but I’ve only ever had the pleasure of eating there.

Things to do…

Beyond the obvious attraction of the Castle at the top of the Royal Mile I also really like the camera obscura ( as you get a great view of much of Edinburgh from the roof top level. Also in the same area is Mary King’s Close ( which is a ‘road’ of hidden streets below the Mile. I can’t be sure if the Camera Obscura is the same but if you want to visit the Close then you need to buy tickets in advance as there are timed tours and they quickly fill up. I think we brought tickets in the morning and went later in the afternoon.

For a trip further afield, if you have time, and for obvious reasons a personal favorite of mine, is the Royal Botanic Garden ( If you fancy some fenceless nature take a hike over Arthur’s Seat (,_Edinburgh) to Duddington and grab a pint or two at The Sheep Heid Inn ( which is very very old.

Places to stay…

I have stayed in a few of the places in here – Alastair Sawday’s Special Places ( and they are always traditional and unusual. There are a few in Edinburgh I believe.

Anyway, that is all I think. I hope you have a great time.


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