How to spend 2 days in Edinburgh, Scotland

So you only have 2 days in Edinburgh?

Are you struggling to choose the best places to visit and where to go first?

Look no further, I have you covered.

It can be hard to fit all Edinburgh has to offer into a weekend break but I am living proof it can be done, and done very well. 

In this post I have included all the attractions you can visit as well as a couple of food and drink suggestions along the way.

Edinburgh weekend break
2 days in Edinburgh

2 days in Edinburgh | Things to Do

Edinburgh Castle & Royal Mile

It’s the biggie - the one place on top of everyone’s list - further down on mine. Walk up Royal Mile and go to the castle - you wouldn’t have visited Edinburgh if you didn’t. Well ladies - I advise you don’t go any further than the entrance to the Castle, you read that right. For a whopping £25 you can pay to visit old rooms with antiques in and then more old rooms OR admire it’s beauty from afar and buy yourself a couple of cocktails instead. If you’re into castles then of course go for it but for me I passed and I am happy to admit it. Haven spoken to other locals they said it was a great call and to head up Holyrood Palace instead.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

The Royal Mile, £15.50 per ticket

As it tends to rain a lot in Scotland, it’s always wise to have a “rainy day” activities up your sleeve, enter Camera Obscura (but go regardless, seriously it’s worth it). How do I describe it? An interactive, magical, mind trip of the senses! Or an illusions museum. I like my description better. Yes a good three hours was spent giggling and wowing away - my mind was genuinely blown a few times. The Camera Obscura is a Victorian spying device - you’ll have to go to fully understand. Be warned - The Vortex Tunnel will bring up your recent meal: I still feel sick thinking about it.

Underground Ghost Tour 

£13+ per ticket depending on tour

I do enjoy a ghost tour, spooky goings-on ignite my inner child watching Halloween for the first time - you know the feeling. Edinburgh is riddled with horrifying tales from yester year and have more ghost stories per square mile than most cities - I mean was home to the infamous grave robbers; Burke and Hare. A quick confession - I booked Claire and I onto the wrong Ghost Tour - I dragged her to a theatrical tour which was very cheesy. I was hoping for underground and graveyards visits, we got a vibrating bus.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery 

If you are a Gin lover, you cannot pass up this tour! It was an absolute bargain considering I booked it last minute, we paid £10pp which included a brief lesson of the history of gin as well as a G & T to finish it off nicely. I mean I paid £10 for a gin cocktail so to look around the distillery, have access to exclusive gifts and have a tasty G & T to finish, is value for money.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery
2 days in Edinburgh Castle

2 days in Edinburgh | Where to Drink

The Last Word | 44 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge

For those who want intimate corners in candlelight

In Stockbridge I found a super cosy bar serving delicious cocktails. It is hidden but my goodness it was worth the hunt to find it. Claire and I snuggled in the single Chesterfield chairs by the open fire as the bartender served us cocktails based on our tastes. Perfect for the dreary, misty evening. 

Tigerlily | 125 George Street, New Town

For those who like to dress up and have a little something fancy

Inside this boutique hotel, is the Tigerlily bar - trendy, sophisticated with oodles of class. It’s always packed out of an evening which to me is the best sign of a decent I had The Livener cocktail which was so tasty and only cost £10 a glass. 

edinburgh in 2 days

2 days in Edinburgh | Where to go for Brunch

Urban Angel | 121 Hanover St

For those wanting all day Brunch and locally sourced ingredients

A popular destination for tourists and locals, serving all day brunch like Eggs Benedict and smoothie bowls, it was a winner in my eyes. Good food does come at a price...sometimes, we waited over 30 minutes for a table; which I wouldn't mind usually but we waited until we were starving to go there (our faults entirely) Make sure you get there in good time. 

Papii | 101 Hanover St

For those needing a solid breakfast

Another New Town staple, Papii offers a delicious range of breakfast options at reasonable prices. Don't be put off by the queue it goes quickly and be sure to check in case, people are waiting for takeaway coffee. I had the Eggs Benedict and a cappuccino and it was just what I needed to endure the rain!

2 days in Edinburgh | Where to have Dinner

El Cartel | 64 Thistle St, New Town

For those wanting a margarita fuelled dinner

I was recommended this Mexican Street Food extravaganza from a friend and boy did it deliver. I think the universe was looking out for us as we wrangled a table at last minute; it was absolutely heaving! The homemade Margaritas went down a treat but be warned they are super strong. The way I like them.

Smith & Gertrude | 26 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge

For those looking for a classy local jaunt

When I found Smith & Gertrude I was so excited as I love Wine and Cheese, even better when they are paired together. The staff here are so friendly and their knowledge of local produce was second to none, they even helped Claire and I avoid the real stinky cheese and gave us tasty alternatives.

Essentials for your stay 

Edinburgh Currency: British Pound or Scottish Pound

It's so easy to get from the airport. £14 for a return tram ride into the centre of Edinburgh. We got off at Princes Street which is the heart of Edinburgh and most hotels should be in walking distance. Trams run 24 hours a day and are frequent. A taxi is much more costly around £40 so save your money there really is no need.

Pack your coat, waterproof shoes and an umbrella, it rains a lot here and gets pretty chilly. 

Places to Stay in Edinburgh

Eden Locke Aparthotel | George Street | £

I absolutely loved this Aparthotel as it was so Scandi! Think pastel greens, pinks and greys. It has the ultimate bonus of Hyde & Sons Coffee Shop attached and you can buy most of the furniture from your room! The location is fab too, right in the centre of New Town where all the fun happens. 

The Principal | George Street | ££

Second on my list was The Principal again in New Town but close to all the action. If you want the luxury treatment then this hotel is right up your street. You cannot miss this Grade II, imposing building, especially at Christmas with it's magical exterior decorations.

The Balmoral | Princes Street | £££

The Balmoral would be my first choice hotel, however, it was fully booked the weekend we went (in fact most places were so book up well in advance). I believe the location is spot on, if you're lucky enough you'll have a room with a view of Edinburgh Castle!

how to spend 2 days in edinburgh