Start with a warming dram
Whisky is Scotland’s national drink, so a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience is a must for any whisky-lover. Take a swirling, bubbling barrel ride though a replica distillery and discover the secrets behind whisky making; learn about the aromas of whisky and match a Scotch Whisky to your palate; marvel at the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky (around 3,500 bottles!) and sample a dram of delicious Scotch Malt Whisky along the way.
Get inspired over coffee and cake
If you fancy a great cup of coffee and a cake, head to The Elephant House in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This gourmet coffee house was voted ‘best coffee house in Edinburgh’ by The List magazine, but that’s not it’s only claim to fame – it was in this very coffee shop that J.K. Rowling wrote many of the early Harry Potter books. Take a seat in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle and wait for inspiration to strike.
Meet the local producers
Tucked away by the Scottish coastline, Edinburgh is a natural larder full of great fresh produce. And there’s no better place to sample that produce than Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, where you’ll find everything from organic Scottish meat and fish to specialities including organic beer, liqueurs and chutneys. Find it on Castle Terrace next to Edinburgh Castle every Saturday.
Give the national dish a go…
If you’re going to sample the national drink of Scotland, it’s only fair that you try the national dish too. You won’t have to try too hard to find haggis, neeps and tatties (that’s turnips and potatoes to non-Scots) in Edinburgh, but locals and travellers will point you towards the Last Drop pub for a sample of the very best. And if you’d like to take some of the very best Scottish haggis home with you, visit the Macsween of Edinburgh shop.
…or try it with a twist
Maybe the whole meat and two veg thing isn’t quite your style and you’d like to try haggis made a bit differently? Step forward Illegal Jack’s and their tasty burritos. Choose from traditional fillings including beef and chicken, or keep it local with spicy Scottish haggis or vegetarian haggis. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a Scottish beer or cider.
Have a wee drink in a wee pub
Tucked away in a tiny street in the Old Town is a tiny pub called the Halfway House, ‘Edinburgh’s smallest and friendliest pub’. This small but perfectly formed gem of a pub is steps away from the Royal Mile, so the perfect place to stop after seeing the sights. Sample the real ales and freshly prepared, locally-sourced food and you’ll never forget the Halfway House.
Celebrate the best of Edinburgh’s food scene
With so much great local restaurants and produce to choose from, it’s hard to try everything on your trip to Edinburgh. Food festivals are the perfect solution – the best of Edinburgh’s food scene all at once. Don’t miss the annual Taste of Edinburgh Festival, where a selection of the best restaurants in the country dish up their finest food alongside 100 producers. And at the Edinburgh Foodie’s Festival local chefs share their kitchen secrets as they cook up a feast of local and seasonal produce in the chef’s theatre.
Relax with a WHISKI
After a long day of sightseeing, head to WHISKI Bar and Restaurant on the Royal Mile for a warming dram of whisky. With over 300 malt whiskies and blends to choose from, as well as Scottish lager, ales, craft beer and cider, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You’ll also get to sample live Scottish music – it’s on 7 nights a week.
Don’t miss tea time
If you’d prefer a cuppa over a dram, why not treat yourself to afternoon tea? Edinburgh is packed with great places to enjoy this very British ritual, but our favourite is the Bollinger Bar at the Balmoral Hotel. This place is an award-winning afternoon tea venue offering a selection of 20 exclusive loose-leaf teas accompanied by a variety of sandwiches, scones and cakes, or a glass of champagne if you’re feeling fancy.
Have dinner with the stars
Did you know that Edinburgh boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other part of the UK outside London? So if you’re looking for an award-winning dinner, you’re in for a treat. At The Kitchin in Leith, chef Tom Kitchin cooks with only the very best local and seasonal produce; Number One at the Balmoral Hotel has retained a Michelin Star for 10 consecutive years thanks to its innovative menu; and at 21212, chef Paul Kitching merges his modern style French cookery with New Town elegance.