Bank holidays are the perfect time for us Brits to plan a long weekend getaway, to escape from home and go on a mini adventure. Edinburgh lends itself perfectly, being only a short and cheap flight away (if you book early enough) with all the city’s main attractions easily reachable by foot. August bank holiday falls on the 27th this year, making it just in time for the last weekend of Edinburgh Fringe Festival activities! If that's not reason enough for you to go, then the city's fascinating history, beautiful scenery and quirky, underground bars make it a winner in our books. Read on for a breakdown of the best way to spend a bank holiday in Edinburgh for August 2018…
BREAKFAST AT BELUSHI’S
Our Edinburgh hostel is nestled right in the heart of the medieval Old Town so you can roll straight out of bed and be right on the doorstep of plenty of incredible sights. What better way to start your weekend than with a cooked Scottish breakfast at Belushi’s? If you book through our website it’s even included in your room rate! Even better.
Stroll 10 minutes down the road from the hostel and you’ll find the city’s most iconic attraction, Edinburgh Castle . Take a tour and learn about its medieval history or simply wander around at your own pace, discovering the castle’s rich past for yourself. It’s truly breathtaking and an absolute must, especially if this is your first visit to Edinburgh.
A BITE TO EAT AT EDINBURGH FARMERS’ MARKET
Every Saturday from 9am until 2pm, the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market sets up on the Castle Terrace. Wander down after you’ve explored the castle and marvel at what’s on offer, from delicious venison to classic Scotch eggs. Or if cheese is your thing, the selection you’ll find at this market is heavenly. It’s not huge so it won’t take you too long to get around unless you fancy stopping for a coffee at one of the stalls.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The Scottish National Gallery is a must visit if you’re into art and history. It boasts the most impressive collection of paintings in Edinburgh, from the Italian Renaissance to French Impressionism. You’ll find work by the likes of Monet, van Gogh and Renoir displayed here but what tops it off is that entry won’t cost you a penny!
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STROLL THROUGH PRINCES STREET GARDENS
Opposite the gallery are the beautiful Princes Street Gardens with blooming flowers and one of the prettiest views of Edinburgh Castle that you’ll get in the city. Stroll through, stop for a picnic on a sunny day and check out the tall, black building - Scotts Monument. It’s a Victorian Gothic building created in memory of Scottish author Sir Walter Scott and is the largest monument to be dedicated to a writer in the world.
CHECK OUT EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL
You're in Edinburgh, and the Fringe Festival (the biggest arts festival in the world) is on. You CANNOT not head to a show! Read up ahead of your trip about the best shows that are on this weekend and buy your tickets before they sell out. It's the last weekend of the entire 3 weeks of festivities, so it'll be full of people buzzing around and making the most of the final shows. There's a lot going on at this festival, so and you'll be all set!
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DINNER AT ARCADE BAR, HAGGIS AND WHISKY HOUSE
If you’ve arrived in Edinburgh as a haggis novice, it’s time for this to change as there’s no better place to experience the local delicacy than in the Scottish capital. The Arcade Bar, Haggis and Whisky House in the Old Town is a top choice to try the old speciality with classic ‘neeps and tatties’. Trust us, it’s much tastier than it sounds. If you’re a real haggis sceptic, why not test your taste buds on their ‘haggis nachosa’? That’s nachos topped with haggis to you and I - a potential revolution.
DRINKS AT HOOT THE REDEEMER
Take a 10 minute walk (probably needed after all that haggis) from the Arcade Bar to Hoot the Redeemer for some seriously good drinks and cool, vintage vibes. You’ll have to head underground for this one, going down the narrow staircase and through a mysterious door masked by a fortune teller’s booth. Expect boozy ice cream from a vending machine, alcoholic slushies and an amazing selection of crazy cocktails along with the cool, young crowd this place attracts every weekend without fail.
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Get a good breath of fresh, Scottish air after a couple of drinks in Hoot last night on a climb up Arthur’s Seat. The dormant volcano is the highest of the peaks that edge the city (don’t worry, it’s not THAT strenuous), so make sure you pack your camera as well as your walking shoes for the most rewarding views of Edinburgh when you reach the top.
LUNCH AT OINK
We can’t get enough of Oink on Victoria Street (one of the , by the way). Just feast your eyes on their food and you’ll see what we mean. Famous for serving up the best pulled pork roll in the city, this cheap and drool-worthy cafe is the perfect place to pop into to fill up after your hike.
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ST GILES’ CATHEDRAL
Check out St Giles’ Cathedral around the corner from Oink. Not only is it one of the most important religious structures in Scotland, but it’s also an absolutely stunning piece of architecture that you just have to go and see. Head inside for free to see the amazing Thistle Chapel and intricate stained glass windows. You don’t need a lot of time to visit this attraction but you’ll definitely be glad you did so.
SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE
Whisky, you either love it or you hate it. But if you’re a lover, you are in for a treat. Scottish whisky is world renowned so on a trip to Edinburgh you can’t miss out on the Scotch Whisky Experience . For £15.50 you can take the one hour ‘Silver Tour’ which includes an introduction to the world of whisky plus a tasting session. Prices go up from here for different types of tours, but for whichever one you’d like to take part in, just remember to book well in advance!
If you’re not into whisky, maybe you like gin. The Edinburgh Gin Distillery is another great option to fill a few hours of your afternoon.
Or if you’re not up for an alcoholic drink, head to Mary’s Milk Bar for the most delicious hot chocolate float in Edinburgh!
SUNSET AT CALTON HILL
On a clear day, Calton Hill is undoubtedly the best spot in Edinburgh for an amazing sunset. Head up with some snacks and a blanket and relax on the grass after a packed out day of walking and whisky. From Calton Hill you’ll be able to see Edinburgh’s medieval skyline and point out everything you’ve ticked off from this list so far!
DINNER AT PIZZERIA 1926
We reckon you could do with a pizza (and a glass of wine) after all the ground you’ve covered today, and Pizzeria 1926 is where you wanna go. The family-run pizzeria is loved by locals and tourists for tossing up some of the most authentic Italian pizzas in Edinburgh, made only from the freshest ingredients possible. You’ll be shocked at the affordable prices, too!
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS OF EDINBURGH
After breakfast at Belushi’s and check-out at 10am, put your bags in a locker and make the most of your last day in Edinburgh. The Royal Botanical Gardens make for a lovely, relaxing morning after a couple of days of touring the city’s history and climbing hills. The gardens have an amazing collection of flora and fauna, with spring and summer being the perfect time to visit. See the famous rhododendrons in bloom and gorgeous lilacs take over the flowerbeds. When the sun is shining it makes this place even more special.
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LUNCH AT THE HALFWAY HOUSE
The Halfway House sits, of course, halfway up the stairway from Waverley to the Royal Mile. This quaint and characterful Scottish pub has a simple and traditional menu, but this just means that all the thought and love goes into these dishes, making it some of the most delicious AND affordable food in the city. You don’t want to miss out on a meal here.
CHECK OUT THE LAST OF THE FRINGE FESTIVAL
The 27th August is the last day of Edinburgh's Fringe, so you can't leave before having seeing one or two of the final acts! Head to the Royal Mile where you'll find most of the street performers putting on free shows for Fringe-goers - they're usually amazing!