Starting with a sincere sentiment, I genuinely get chills thinking about how much I adore this gorgeous city. Every single inch of this place is filled with historic tradition, an energetic and sophisticated crowd with a quirky, come-hither allure of quaint corners and charming views.
Quick backstory... Two dear friends and I were in Ireland for St. Paddy's Day this last March. With so much to see already, we were unsure if it was logical to try to include a quick trip to Edinburgh among our already overly estimated itineraries. On a whim we decided to do so, unknowingly that this adventure would become a story we'd never stop talking about and a place we'd love to visit again (and again, and probably again after that and then again.)
I should probably add that this destination is absolutely a sacred ground for Harry Potter fans, so my opinions might be slightly biased. Sprinkled with HP inspired gift shops and memorabilia, in addition to cobble stone streets and old-charm medieval architecture, this place is an adult playground for Potterheads who are interested in immersing themselves in the very place J.K Rowling constructed and established her inspiration for the series.
My only regret while visiting was not getting the chance to stay longer! So if you can allocate more time to explore here, I would highly recommend so.
So without further ado, if you find yourself with only 48 hours in EDINBURGH here's a thoughtful list of recommendations and must see's for your next trip!
1. EDINBURGH CASTLE
Start your morning here. The Edinburgh Castle has played a critical role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence and as a military stronghold. Take the scenic drive up to this historic, medieval fortress. As you approach the top make sure to take in the panoramic view of the entire city, because the scene from above is breathtaking and downright heart-stopping. From there, buy your tickets and make your way through the grounds of this 14th century palace where you will have the chance to walk through The Great Hall and get close to the Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny (admission prices range from 10-17£ depending on age, time of day etc.)
Looking for the perfect breakfast and/or brunch hotspot? PAPII is the place. Located on the corner of Hanover and Queen Street, this cafe is home to the most delicious "Eggs Papii" (Eggs Benedict) and other house made specialities. Nestled in a very small yet intimate nook, a wait is most likely expected for this local joint....but I promise it is worth every second. With Mediterranean influences, from-scratch ingredients and a whole lot of local flare, the food is fresh and our experience was divine! When you go, try a variation of their Eggs Papii, homemade waffles with fresh berries and breakfast paninis. Your heart (and tummies) will be happy!
3. ROYAL MILE & VICTORIA STREET
The Royal Mile is one of Edinburgh's most colorful tourist attractions with no shortage of history, locally owned shops and interesting architecture. With so many storefronts to explore and places to eat, I think it would be entirely too easy to spend nearly an entire day (if not more) walking these enchanted streets. Not to mention, with structural similarities to many prominent scenes described throughout J.K Rowling's wizarding world, some believe Edinburgh's Grassmarket area served as inspiration for Diagon Alley. And for those Harry Potter enthusiasts, take a 4-minute walk to Merchant Street where you'll stumble upon the famous Elephant House, where J.K Rowling was known to spend much of her time writing her early novels.
4. AFTERNOON TEA
With artisan scones, posh sandwiches and delicate little pastries amongst a warm pot of tea (either traditional or herbal infused) there’s nothing quite so "quintessentially British" as an afternoon tea experience. After a full day of sightseeing, we were in need of a place to unwind and recharge. So in a stylish fashion we headed over to The Colonnades at The Signet Library.... and I cannot quite imagine a better way to experience our first tea expedition! There are different price packages starting at 34£ per person, all of which come with your own pot of tea and both a savory and sweet pastry tray. The dining hall is centered in an old historic library which makes for the most picturesque background and ambiance. Not to mention, the pastries and finger foods are all handmade and seasonally constructed, so the menu changes often and the flavors are one of a kind. For a peek into our tea time adventure, take a look below!
5. HONORABLE MENTIONS