3 Day Ultimate Itinerary For Edinburgh

3 Day Ultimate Itinerary For Edinburgh

Over the early May bank holiday I headed up to Edinburgh to enjoy the unexpected sunshine and show Luke around the city that I’ve fallen in love with over the past few times I’ve been lucky enough to visit. As it was Luke’s first time we decided to try and see as much of the city as possible so here’s my itinerary for a three day long weekend in the city.

Day 1

I much prefer getting the train from London to Edinburgh as I find that once you’ve got to the airport, checked in and everything time wise it isn’t much different and the train is comfortable, you don’t have to worry about luggage constraints and it takes you straight into the city. We opted for the 7am train from Kings Cross which reached Edinburgh Waverly at 11.25am.

Haymarket Hub Hotel

Once you reach the city grab a train over to Haymarket to the Haymarket Hub Hotel which is opposite the station and the perfect central location to cover your weekend in the city. As trains leave to Haymarket every few minutes you’ll be at your hotel dropping your bags by 11.45pm at the latest. The tram is the easiest way to quickly get around the main parts of the city and it’s just £4 for a full day travel card so jump on the stop outside your hotel and get off at Princes Street ready to head to Waverley Bridge to exchange your Trip Advisor Royal Ticket.

Once you have all your tickets head over to the Castle just along the royal mile where at 1pm you’ll see the cannons being set off. This used to be a sign of the time to sailors and ships out in the water but is now down out of tradition. Most castles did a timing at midday and had to fire twelve rounds but Edinburgh Castle changed the time to 1pm in order to be savvy and save money on cannon fire which is very clever.

Edinburgh Castle

Once you’ve heard and seen the cannons head to the Castle Cafe for a light lunch before joining on the walking tour around the outside of the castle. I love these walking tours as you can find out so much more about the area that you wouldn’t know from just walking around and they’re much more interactive than the audio guides. After the walking tour head inside to see the crown jewels and admire the city view before leaving to walk down to the other end of the Royal Mile at about 4pm.

At the other end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood House which is the royal residence in Edinburgh. Both the house and the gardens are beautiful and the audio guided tour will take about 90 minutes in total and it’s a great way to seeing how the Royals live in the residence which is still used to this day.

royal ticket

You’ll finish at Holyrood house around 6pm so head up the Royal Mile and settle down for a good dinner and some drinks at one of the many restaurants availavle. At 8pm head to the Mercat Cross next to St Giles Church for the evenings Ghost Tour which will take you around the cities streets, underground into the vaults and over to the Canongate Graveyard. Tales of murders, witches and torture will fill your evening before you head back to your hotel on the tram at 9.45pm.

Day 2

After a good sleep and a hearty breakfast grab a tram to Waverley Bridge to jump on the green majestic hop-on, hop-off city bus tour at 10am which features a live guide around the central parts of old and new town and takes around 90 minutes. Stay on the whole tour to get a great snapshot of the city and when you’re done at midday head over to Mary’s Milk Bar for a lunchtime ice-cream, I recommend the peacon and cinnamon.

marks milk bar ice cream

After your pit stop jump on the longer hop-on, hop-off bus which is the blue tour which goes further out of town. Sadly this tour doesn’t feature a live guide but you can plug in to the audio guide to hear more around the city and further out. When the bus gets to the Britannia Yacht around 1pm jump out and head towards the enterance as it’s time for lunch aboard the yacht.

There’s a lovely cafe on the top deck of the boat where you can sit and have lunch before starting your audio tour around the boat which was once used as The Queen’s Royal residence. This is one of my favourite things to do in the city as it’s so interesting to see all the royal rooms done up as they would have been back when the boat was in use.

edinburgh views

Once you’re done on the boat around 4pm head outside to the bus stop and get the hop-on, hop-off bus back into the town centre of Edinburgh and spend a little bit of time picking up some souvenirs and items from the shops. You can’t come back from Edinburgh without some tablet fudge which is so tasty, some traditional shortbread and either some whisky or gin as both are big in the city. If you head back to Princes Street you’ll come across an all year round Christmas shop which has some of the cutest decorations so I’d recommend getting a personalised one to remember your trip by.

At 5.30pm start walking over to Queen Street to find Bramble Bar which is hidden down some stairs and if you didn’t know it was there you’d definitely walk straight past. It’s a lovely bar which is cozy and has a great affordable range of cocktails and spirits so spend an hour or so just relaxing.

stockbridge gin

At 7pm start walking over to the Stockbridge Restaurant where you’ll enjoy an incredible meal before heading back on the tram to your hotel.

Day 3

Chances are you’ll be feeling pretty refreshed after your more reasonable nights sleep last night so after breakfast you can check out and get the hotel to store your luggage ready to pick up later when you head home.

Start your final day in the city around 930am by heading over to the Scott Monument which is next to Waverley Bridge and Station and is the largest monument to a writer; Sir Walter Scott. You’ll have seen the monument at lots of points over the past few days but this morning it’s your chance to climb it right to the summit and get some beautiful morning views out over Edinburgh.

scott monument

At 1030am start walking back along Princes Street to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery to enjoy a morning tour around the small working distillery right in the city centre. The Edinburgh Gin you’ve seen all over the city (and probably back home) is made right here and you’ll get a chance to learn about the history of gin, how it’s made, the process and botanicals which all ends in a gin and tonic tasting which is the best way to start a day.

At midday head outside and get the train over to Edinburgh Zoo for the final stop of your trip. I’m a huge zoo fan and this one is pretty great as not only is it the only place in the UK you can see Panda’s but it’s so spread out meaning the animals all have quite a lot of room to roam around and be as natural as possible in their habitat. A lot of research and conservation projects are done from this zoo so it’s really trying to educate the world about the animals they have and the habitats they come from.

At about 4pm head back on the bus to Haymarket where you can collect your bags, stock up on snacks for the journey home and jump on the train at about 5pm ready to slowly make your way back to London.

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3 Day Ultimate Itinerary For Edinburgh

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22 Comments

  1. May 22, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing your itinerary with us. I’m off to Edinburgh with my sisters next weekend so this has come in so handy!

  2. May 22, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Oh my goodness how much did you get up to over three days! I would absolutely love to go to Edinburgh one day and I have to say the castle would definitely be on my list.

  3. May 23, 2018 / 1:10 am

    I went to Edinburgh with my best friend in November and I was amazed by how beautiful the city was. Our hotel was just a minute away from where you took your first photo actually 🙂

  4. May 23, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    What a great itinerary! I’ve not spent much time in Edinburgh; I think a visit is overdue!

  5. May 23, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    I have never been to Edinburgh but it is on my list go sometime soon. Mostly because of the castle and the scenery looks awesome.

    Thanks for Sharing

    John M

  6. Danielle
    May 23, 2018 / 3:40 pm

    We are thinking of going to Edinburgh this summer. The castle looks like it is a must!

  7. May 23, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    I love visiting Edinburgh! I’ve yet to visit Mary’s MilkBar though – I’ve heard their milkshakes are REALLY good.

  8. May 23, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    That is a beautiful castle! I just love castles. The ice cream looks great too:)

  9. May 24, 2018 / 10:31 am

    I love your itinerary and the things you guys got to do, I have not been to Edinburg in years and it was always for church.

  10. May 24, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    I had my very first and super brief visit to Edinburgh last year to go to a gig, but definitely want to go back especially after seeing your itinerary.

  11. May 24, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    Wow cool itinerary! You got to do a lot of things that’s pretty cool, and Edinburgh looks like an amazing place to visit. I have never been to Edinburgh but would love to visit someday 🙂

  12. May 24, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    Looks like you had such a wonderful and packed itinerary in Edinburgh. I have not been there but reading your post, I definitely want to head there at some point as it looks like there is so much to do there.

  13. May 24, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    I’ve been to Edinburgh once for work and I had about a day to explore. It’s a beautiful city and definitely one I want to return to again. I’ve bookmarked this for future reference.

  14. Fatima
    May 24, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    Sounds like you had a great holiday! I’ve been to Edinburgh but I would definitely like to go there again in summer. Last bank holiday weekend, I was at the Isle of Wight. Have you been there?

  15. May 24, 2018 / 11:21 pm

    I’d love to make it up to Scotland for a visit one day. Everyone always tells me how great it is! Thank you for sharing your itinerary with us, Rhian. I will bookmark it for if I ever get to go to Edinburgh for a few days 🙂

    Louise x

  16. May 25, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    That ice cream looks like just what I need in my life right now! I’ve never been to Scotland, I don’t know why but it looks like it’s way worth it! 🙂

  17. May 25, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    I have wanted to go to Edinburg h for so long yet have never had managed to organise something. I honestly didn’t realise the train was that quick so it may be I need to plan a weekend away soon. Love the idea of Marys Milk Bar and the Gin Distillery!

  18. May 25, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    I haven’t been to Edinburgh in a while and would definitely love to visit Scotland again. I think a summer long weekend would be perfect!

  19. chichi
    May 27, 2018 / 6:04 am

    i have been to edinburgh once and loved it, we thoroughly enjoyed the hop on hop off bus tour!

  20. May 28, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    I’ve been in talks with friends about going to Edinburgh so this is perfect right now. I was interested in going but didn’t really know what I wanted to do there but the hop on hop off is definitely a must

  21. May 28, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    I love Edinburgh! I’ve only been with work so I didn’t get a chance to explore properly but it’s definitely somewhere I’ll visit again. This itinerary is pretty spot on!

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