If you’re seeking a culture-packed UK city break, look no further than a weekend in Edinburgh. Famous for the Fringe, Trainspotting and being the birthplace of Harry Potter, Edinburgh is a city brimming with harrowing history, incredible restaurants and fun activities for every type of tourist. Whether you're visiting on Burns Night, Hogmanay or on a hen or stag do, you're always going to find tons of fun activities and things to do. So without further ado, here’s our guide to the perfect weekend in Edinburgh, so that you can make the most of your stay in the Scottish capital.

Practical Information for Your Weekend in Edinburgh

When's the Best Time to Visit Edinburgh?

explore the cowgate during your weekend in edinburgh
Considering a weekend in Edinburgh? Here's a quick rundown of the best times to go:

  • Summer (June-August): Ideal for festivals like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but expect crowds and higher prices.
  • Spring (March-May): Enjoy mild weather, blooming flowers, and cultural events without the summer rush.
  • Autumn (September-November): Relaxed atmosphere, pleasant temperatures, and traditional Scottish festivities.
  • Winter (December-February): Magical holiday season with Christmas markets, Hogmanay celebrations, and cozy vibes.
  • Shoulder Seasons (April, May, September, October): Balanced weather, fewer crowds, and possible deals on accommodations.

Ultimately, if you can handle the weather, there's never a bad time to spend a weekend in Edinburgh. Just choose the time that suits your preferences and interests, and get ready for an unforgettable city break.

Is Edinburgh Expensive to Visit?

a woman sits on a bench during her weekend in edinburgh
Considering a weekend in Edinburgh? You might wonder about the costs. Here's the lowdown:

  • Accommodation: Prices for accommodation in Edinburgh can vary widely. A night in a budget hostel dormitory might cost around £20-£30 per person, while a stay in a mid-range hotel could range from £80-£150 per night. Luxury hotels in prime locations can exceed £200 per night.
  • Food and Drink: Edinburgh boasts a vibrant food and drink scene so you can imagine that dining out in Edinburgh offers options for every budget. A meal at a casual restaurant or pub might cost around £10-£15 per person for lunch, while dinner at a mid-range restaurant could range from £20-£30 per person. Fine dining experiences can cost upwards of £50 per person. A pint of beer in a pub typically costs around £4-£5, while a speciality coffee might be £2-£3.
  • Activities and Attractions: Many of Edinburgh's attractions offer free or discounted admission. For example, entry to the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery is free, while admission to Edinburgh Castle costs £17.50 for adults. Guided tours, such as walking tours or whisky tastings, can range from £10-£30 per person.
  • Transportation: Public transportation in Edinburgh is relatively affordable. A single bus or tram ticket costs £1.80 for adults, or you can purchase a day pass for £4.50 for unlimited travel. Taxis are also available, with fares starting at £3-£4 plus £2 per mile.

While Edinburgh can be pricey, especially during peak tourist seasons, it's still possible to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the Scottish capital without breaking the bank. With careful planning and budgeting, you can make the most of your visit to this vibrant Scottish capital without emptying your wallet.

Out Guide to The Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh: Day 1

Morning: Scran a Full Scottish Breakfast at the Edinburgh Larder
a full scottish breakfast should be enjoyed during a weekend in edinburgh
Kickstart your perfect weekend in Edinburgh with a leisurely breakfast at the Edinburgh Larder. We recommend trying a traditional Scottish breakfast, complete with haggis, black pudding, eggs, and more. This hearty Scottish meal will fuel you for the exciting day ahead and warm you up no matter how cold it is outside.

Walk the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile during the day - one of the best places to visit during a weekend in Edinburgh
Walk off your breakfast by taking a stroll up the Royal Mile. Lined with cafes, restaurants and tons of souvenir shops, the Royal Mile is steeped in history. As the destination for some of Edinburgh's oldest landmarks, stroll through the stretch in the early hours to take in sights like Tron Kirk, the Canongate and Parliament Square.

Explore Edinburgh Castle
View on Edinburgh Castle
At the top of the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh Castle. Home to legendary battles and sieges since the Iron Age, the iconic Edinburgh Castle has played a significant role in the 3,000 years of defending the city. If you’re not pressed for time, buy a ticket and learn all about it's fascinating history in greater depth. If you are, no worries, you can still take incredible photos of Edinburgh from above.

Stop for Coffee at The Elephant House
elephant house in edinburgh at night
For all the Harry Potter fans, your weekend in Edinburgh wouldn't be complete without a visit to The Elephant House. This charming cafe is where J.K. Rowling found inspiration while writing the early Harry Potter books. Sip on a cup of coffee or tea while enjoying the magical atmosphere and perhaps even jotting down some creative ideas of your own.

Make a Photo Stop at Greyfriars Bobby
Nearby to The Elephant House lies Edinburgh's favourite dog. Make a quick stop by Greyfriars Bobby for a memorable photo opportunity. This heartwarming statue commemorates a loyal Skye Terrier who guarded his owner's grave for 14 years. The legend has it that his nose is lucky, so make sure to give it a tap before you continue on your Edinburgh adventure.

Wander the Cowgate
edinburgh cowgate at night
Remaining in Edinburgh's old town, venture into the infamous Cowgate area, known for its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. This historic street is home to various pubs, clubs, and live music venues. Take a leisurely stroll through its charming lanes, discover unique shops, and consider visiting The Museum of Edinburgh or The People's Story Museum to delve deeper into the city's past.


Have Dinner at The Outsider
For an unforgettable dining experience, make a reservation at The Outsider, one of Edinburgh's renowned restaurants. Located just a stone's throw from the Royal Mile, this restaurant offers a delectable menu with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Whether you choose to savour Scottish classics or international cuisine, The Outsider's culinary offerings and panoramic views of the city from its terrace make it an excellent choice for a special evening. After dinner wander down the closes to find secret Edinburgh bars like the Devil's Advocate that offer a cosy, candlelit ambience along with innovative cocktails.

Admire the spectacular sunset at Calton Hill
spectacular sunset at Calton Hill
As the sun sets on your first day in the city, take it in with the best seat in the house. Only a 15-minute walk from Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill offers the perfect gram-worthy shots for your weekend in Edinburgh. You’ll be able to enjoy a bird’s eye view of iconic buildings and monuments.

Out Guide to The Perfect Weekend in Edinburgh: Day 2

Have Breakfast at Loudons
Start your day with a scrumptious breakfast at Loudons, a much-loved breakfast spot in Edinburgh known for its delicious morning offerings. Whether you're in the mood for a classic Scottish breakfast or a healthier option, Loudons has a wide range of dishes to choose from, including freshly baked pastries, hearty omelets, and delicious coffee. It's the perfect way to energise yourself for another day of exploration in Edinburgh.

Stroll through Princes Street Gardens
Princess Street Gardens Fountain
With a satisfied appetite, head to Princes Street Gardens for a morning stroll. This serene park, spanning the divide between the Old Town and the New Town, was once a loch before being transformed into a lush green space. As you wander through the gardens, don't forget to stop by the ornate Ross Fountain, where you can capture the perfect photo of Edinburgh Castle in the background.

Go on a Whisky and Folklore Tour
Next up on during your weekend in Edinburgh, for a unique perspective on both the Old Town and the New Town, consider joining a whisky and folklore tour, adding a touch of storytelling and history to your morning adventure.

Visit the Scottish National Gallery
Building of the Scottish National Gallery during a weekend in edinburgh
After your tour, wander over to the Scottish National Gallery — a minute away from the gardens. Characterised by Greek-style columns, the impressive gallery houses the entire history of Scottish art unravelled from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. While you can spend hours taking in the art, a short exploration is equally rewarding.

Stop for Lunch at Cranstons
For a delightful lunch experience, consider dining at Cranstons, a well-regarded establishment known for its quality food and warm ambiance. Choose from a range of traditional Scottish dishes that showcase local and seasonal ingredients.

Explore Stockbridge and the Botanic Gardens
spend a weekend in edinburgh by exploring stockbridge
After lunch, embark on an enchanting journey to Stockbridge, a picturesque Edinburgh neighbourhood known for its charming streets and unique boutiques. Take your time to explore the quaint shops and soak in the local atmosphere. Stockbridge is also home to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a botanical paradise that spans 70 acres. Stroll through the lush gardens, where you can discover an impressive collection of plants from around the world, including exotic species and beautifully landscaped areas.

Sample a Cocktail at Panda and Sons
As the day turns into evening, why not indulge in a special treat by visiting Panda and Sons, a hidden cocktail bar in Edinburgh? Located behind a disguised front as a barber shop, this secret establishment offers a unique and immersive cocktail experience. Step inside and be transported to the Prohibition era, with its speakeasy ambiance and creative cocktail concoctions. It's the perfect place to unwind and savor expertly crafted drinks in a charmingly clandestine setting.

Take In Countryside Sunsets At Dean Village
Street in Dean Village in Edinburgh during a city break
Now that you’ve explored the best the city has to offer, step back in time and wander through the cobblestone streets of the Scottish countryside. Situated on the banks of the Water of Leith, the quaint Dean Village was once a busy industrial hub, complete with hydro-powered mills. After soaking up the village atmosphere, pass by the leafy green Water of Leith Walkaway (a wildlife hotspot), before heading for dinner in the chic Stockbridge area.

Got some more time? Take a day trip from Edinburgh

Have time for one more quick adventure? There are loads of great day trips from Edinburgh! From the famous Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands to Stirling Castle, get the complete feel of the country with a quick escape. But our recommendation? Book a few extra nights in Inverness, the capital of the breathtaking Scottish Highlands for a true escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life or take a short train journey to nearby Glasgow.

Gift a Weekend in Edinburgh with a Travel Gift Card

Ever wondered how you can gift someone a holiday? Wonder now more thanks to our travel gift vouchers. Our Flightgift vouchers can be redeemed on flights with all major airlines including KLM, British Airways and Emirates and to hundreds of global destinations. Personalise your travel gift card with a photo and message and then choose from 3 fantastic delivery options:

  • Free worldwide priority shipping in the post
  • An animated eGift sent directly to the recipient's inbox within just 5 minutes
  • A PDF travel gift card that you can print at home and give to them in person

It's a personalised travel gift that empowers your loved one to explore the world, make new memories and ditch material items for more meaningful experiences. So what you waiting for? Buy a travel gift voucher for someone special today.