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24 Hours in Edinburgh: Summer Edition

IMG_3062With so many sites packed into a rather compact city, it can be difficult for those visiting Edinburgh to know exactly where to start and how to fit it all in!

It’s our mission at VieAmhor to help our guests live like a local in Edinburgh, so we thought we’d offer a simple guide on how to spend 24 hours in this spectacular city. We’ll take a look at the best way to spend a day in Edinburgh during each season, beginning with summertime.


Arthur' and shine! Get your morning off to a scenic start with a hike up Arthur’s Seat (or try Calton Hill if you’re in the mood for something a bit less strenuous), where you’ll be aptly rewarded for your hard work with some truly beautiful views of Edinburgh’s skyline and the surrounding sea. Before you set off, grab a coffee and a pastry at artisan coffee shop Brew Lab to ensure you have enough energy (and caffeine!) to make it to the top.

Feeling invigorated after your hike, head to Holyrood Palace and the nearby Parliament Building, before walking up the famous Royal Mile. While the iconic street is usually packed with people in the summer (particularly during the Festival), you’ll avoid the large crowds by getting there before midday. Along the Mile, you’ll encounter several historical sites, unique monuments and local street performers (see if you can spot some of our favourite Royal Mile sites). Of course, once you reach the top, the Edinburgh Castle serves as the grand finale to your Royal Mile tour. In any season, it’s a must-see for first-time visitors to the city.


Is it lunchtime already? Not to worry. Just down from the castle is the lovely Grassmarket, which boasts several fantastic restaurants with outdoor seating. Grab a pizza at Made in Italy or enjoy a hearty burger at the wee White Hart Inn. Of course, you could truly make the most of the summer weather and enjoy lunch in the Meadows, one of Edinburgh’s best picnic spots.

DSC_0603If you’re visiting during the Festival, the afternoon is also the perfect time to check out a free Fringe show at one of the many free Fringe venues scattered across the city. Otherwise, you can expand your knowledge of Edinburgh’s history, while also staying outdoors in the sunshine, by paying a visit to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard just off George IV Bridge. A number of notable Edinburgh figures are buried in the cemetery and JK Rowling famously used some of the names on its tombstones as inspiration for her characters in Harry Potter.

Having explored the sites of Old Town, you can cross over into Edinburgh’s New Town by walking down the Playfair Steps toward Princes Street. Treat yourself to an ice cream (go on – you’re on holiday!) from one of the vans parked outside the National Gallery (take a look around in there first, if you have the time!) and enjoy it as you walk left toward Princes Street Gardens. This beautiful, sunken city centre park once contained a loch, but now serves as a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s New Town. It contains several monuments, most notably the Scott Monument (in East Princes Street Gardens) and the Ross Fountain, an ornate feature which sits just below the Castle.


As the afternoon turns to evening and you start to get a bit peckish, walk back up the Mound, past the University of Edinburgh New College building and up toward the castle via Ramsay Lane. That will bring you right to The Witchery, one of Edinburgh’s most renowned restaurants, where you can enjoy a cosy, romantic dinner.

DSC_0579After dinner, walk down the Royal Mile and find the talented Acoustic Dave, who regularly plays in either the Royal Mile Tavern or the Scotsman Lounge (more about him here). Or, if the Festival in underway, head to the Udderbelly venue in the Cowgate or the Gilded Balloon in the Teviot building and watch a live comedy show of your choice. Around the back of the Gilded Balloon you’ll find a large beer garden and plenty of food trucks to keep you entertained into the wee hours of morning.

You can truly make the most of the Festival’s extended opening hours by catching a Late ‘n’ Live comedy show at the Gilded Balloon. With a reputation as the rowdiest comedy event at the Fringe, the daily late-night show features several comedians, one after the other, who must do their best to please an anarchic crowd of nocturnal hecklers and comedy connoisseurs.

Phew! You’ve done it. Your properly packed day in Edinburgh is complete. Time to head back to your city centre holiday flat and get some well deserved rest.

We hope you found this guide on how to spend 24 hours in Edinburgh useful – remember, many of our holiday apartments are located right in the heart of the city. Just a short walk from all of the attractions mentioned in this guide, VieAmhor Edinburgh apartments are the perfect choice for Edinburgh Festival accommodation. Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email.

Arthur’s Seat image by Richard Law via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Margaret Kay

Originally hailing from Seattle, Margaret has called Edinburgh home for just over four years. A freelance writer, she spends her time hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop – enjoying every angle of this stunning city along the way.

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