A visit to Edinburgh is not complete without a walk along its most charming street, the Royal Mile. As the main thoroughfare in the city’s Old Town, the Royal Mile is hard to miss. However, with so many shops, pubs and restaurants packed along the famous street, it can be easy to miss the places that are truly worth a visit. Though the Mile has its share of ‘tourist traps’, it also offers plenty of genuine, local hotspots. Check out our picks for where to eat, drink and shop along the Royal Mile:
Angels With Bagpipes
Named after a famous sculpture that sits in the adjacent St.Giles Cathedral, Angels With Bagpipes is a wee cosy restaurant with food that’s simply heavenly! It offers classic Scottish cuisine, kicked up a notch in flavour, presentation and overall quality. From hearty dishes like the creamy Fish Pie and the Orkney Sirloin to lighter options like its Warm Leek Tart and Stone Bass Farfalle, dinner at Angels With Bagpipes will leave you happily satisfied (but resisting the urge to lick your plate clean!).
One of Edinburgh’s most highly revered restaurants, loved by locals and tourists alike, The Witchery truly has it all: a warm, romantic ambiance, world class service and, of course, fantastic food. Situated just near the entrance of the Castle, the restaurant is elegant, but not pretentious with a menu that’s stylish, but full of depth. Now in its fourth decade of operation, The Witchery is more than just a restaurant; it’s an Edinburgh landmark with an established reputation for excellence.
When our guests ask us where to go for live music, we always recommend the fantastic Acoustic David. Dave is a talented guitar player with a unique, soulful voice that lifts the songs you already love to a whole new level. He performs regularly at The Scotsman Lounge and the Royal Mile Tavern, both ideal places to grab a pint and enjoy some live tunes. Visit his Facebook page to find out when and where he’s playing during your visit. And tell him we say hi!
While, by all appearances The Advocate is just your typical Edinburgh pub, there’s just something special about the atmosphere there that makes it stand out from the rest. With live music from 9pm every Friday night, it’s the ideal place to kick off your weekend and mingle with locals, as well as other visitors to the city. If you’re interested in a bit of healthy competition during your stay, The Advocate runs a great pub quiz on Sundays starting at 9pm.
The Canons’ Gait
Located further down, at the quieter end of the Royal Mile, the Canons’ Gait pub is the perfect spot for beer and whisky connoisseurs looking to try out the best Scotland has to offer. If you’re looking to enjoy a quiet pint (in a chilled glass), there’s no better spot along the Royal Mile than the Canons’ Gait. The pub also offers free comedy shows during the Fringe (look out for our upcoming blog post on the different free Fringe venues), so be sure to check it out if you’re visiting Edinburgh during the Festival.
St. Giles Cathedral
This stunning building, located in the center of the Royal Mile, greatly contributes to the majesty of Edinburgh’s skyline. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, St. Giles Cathedral is named after the city’s patron saint and is the main site of worship for the official Church of Scotland. In addition to its religious significance, the Cathedral is a spectacular representation of ornate, 14th-century architecture and, more recently, 19th-century stained glass.
Mary King’s Close
One of the famous attractions included in our ‘I-Spy the Royal Mile’ game, Mary King’s Close is supposedly one of Edinburgh’s ‘most haunted’ sites. Whether you’re a believer in ghosts or not, a tour of this once-bustling side street is guaranteed to spook even the most serious skeptics.
The People’s Story Museum
Located inside the historic, category A-listed Canongate Tolbooth, built in 1951 to collect tolls from travelers coming into the city, The People’s Story Museum offers a unique perspective of Edinburgh’s rich history as told by the people who lived it. For history buffs interested in learning a bit more about Edinburgh’s fascinating past, it’s a must-see.
If you fancy being right near the action during your stay in Edinburgh, we offer holiday lettings right on the Royal Mile. Our collection of Royal Mile apartments include out flat on Lawnmarket, our 2 bedroom Royal Mile apartment, our Royal Mile Mansions apartment, our St. Giles apartment and our Advocate’s Close apartment. Any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!