Edinburgh: the guide

Dramatic natural setting, handsome architecture, world-class culture and excellent places to eat, drink and entertain – the Scottish capital never fails to impress


The Balmoral

An Edinburgh landmark, The Balmoral has elegant, high-ceilinged rooms, some with views of the castle. Facilities include a spa and several bars and restaurants to choose from, including the Michelin-starred Number One.

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

This four-star hotel on Princes Street has 184 smart, well-equipped bedrooms and suites. Wi-Fi and local calls are free and there’s a small spa (with pool, sauna and Technogym studio), an all-day restaurant and five meeting rooms.

Apex Waterloo suites

Deluxe suites at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

Fraser Suites Edinburgh

The Fraser’s 75 rooms, suites and apartments have boutique hotelstyle decor, swish bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and kitchen facilities. It’s in a central location (just off of the Royal Mile) and the on-site facilities include a laundry room, 24-hour gym and all-day bistro and bar.

Edinburgh Capital Hotel

Midway between the city centre and the airport, this is a business-friendly hotel with 111 modern rooms and free on-site parking. There’s a restaurant with a view, an adjoining fitness club (with pool) and a woodland park and nature reserve over the road, perfect for morning jogs.

Eat & drink

The Honours

At this younger, city-centre sibling of Martin Wishart’s Michelin-starred Leith restaurant, the food is still impressive, but a bit more budget-friendly. Expect elegant surroundings and an upscale French brasserie menu.


French brasserie cuisine at The Honours

The Kitchin

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin champions the best of seasonal Scottish produce. The surroundings are smart, the food excellent and if you’re really out to impress, there’s a private dining room that sits up to 20.


This Old Town restaurant is all about seafood. Eat in the restaurant, with great city views from its huge windows, or take a stool at the Oyster Bar and watch the chefs shucking shellfish in front of you.



The purpose-built Edinburgh International Conference Centre can cater for every size and style of event and has a host of awards under its belt. Its many varied spaces include the ultra-flexible Lennox suite, which (thanks to moving-floor technology) converts from flat floor to raked auditorium, arena or tiered cabaret mode.

EICC exterior

The EICC can cater for events large and small

Carlton Hotel

Just off the Royal Mile and a short walk from Waverley station, this four-star, 189-bedroom hotel has 10 meeting rooms, including the flagship Highland Suite, which can sit up to 240 people. A refurbishment is due to be finished at the end of the year.

St Leonard’s Hall

Once a school that was said to have been the inspiration for St Trinian’s, this University of Edinburgh-owned venue provides a characterful backdrop for smaller events. Within the grand baronial-style mansion are eight period rooms that can accommodate between six and 60 delegates.


Literary walking tours

As befits a UNESCO City of Literature, Edinburgh offers a number of literary walking tours. Follow in the fictional footsteps of Inspector Rebus, take a Harry Potter-themed trail through the Old Town or combine beer and books on an Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour.

Old town Edinburgh

Why not take a walking tour through Edinburgh’s Old Town?

Royal Yacht Britannia

Once a floating home for the Queen, now permanently moored in Leith, the Royal Yacht Britannia sailed over a million miles before being decommissioned in 1997. It’s well worth a visit, affording a fascinating glimpse of regal life afloat.

The Real Mary King’s Close

If you like unearthing the hidden history of a city, this is for you: a sunken world of streets that were built over in the 18th century. Guides regale visitors with spooky tales of abandoned plague victims and ghostly apparitions as they take you underground.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

Scotland’s spirit-makers are earning a reputation for great gins as well as whisky. This city-centre distillery offers three different tours, where you can learn about the drink’s history and even blend your own gin and take a bottle home with you.

Getting to Edinburgh

By air

Edinburgh Airport, eight miles west of the city centre, has flight connections to more than 120 domestic and international destinations. Bus, tram and taxi connections to the centre take about half an hour. Car hire is available.

By rail

Waverley station is a major stop on the East Coast Main Line between London (four and a half hours away) and Aberdeen (two hours). It also has frequent services to Glasgow (50 minutes) and other UK cities, as does the second central station, Haymarket.

By car

The A720 Edinburgh City Bypass provides an easy link to the many major roads that converge on the city, including the A1 south to England and the M8 west to Glasgow.

By bus/coach

The central bus station is on Elder Street in the New Town. This is the terminus for both local buses and National Express coach services.

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