The Scotch Whisky Experience
Whether you’re already a connoisseur of the ‘amber nectar’ or just curious to learn more about Scotland’s national drink, you won’t want to pass up a visit to the home to the world’s largest collection of Scottish whiskies. The Scotch Whisky Experience offers a variety of different tours and ‘nosings’ to suit your tastes, and for something extra special, you could even arrange for a private tasting session hosted by one of the centre’s experts.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
As the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty the Queen, and once home to Mary Queen of Scots, it doesn’t get any more exclusive than The Palace of Holyroodhouse. The best way to explore is after-hours, on an exclusive evening tour, when the baroque palace is closed to the general public. Enjoy a glass of champagne while the expert guide talks you through the history of this magnificent edifice.
Whether you’ve had a hard day’s exploring or spent a busy morning shopping, a spot of light refreshment in the shape of afternoon tea is probably called for. You could enjoy a traditional tea at the Balmoral Hotel’s Palm Court, or head to the Forth Floor at Harvey Nichols for a more contemporary take on proceedings. Should you wish to combine afternoon tea with your sightseeing, then a few hours in the National Museum of Scotland can be followed with tea in the impressive Tower Restaurant, which boasts fabulous views across the city.
Edinburgh boasts a fantastic selection of Michelin-starred eateries to get your teeth into. In particular, down at The Shore in Leith you’ll find three within a few hundred yards of each other. The celebrated Martin Wishart’s flagship venue is here, as is The Kitchin, whose chef patron Tom Kitchin is a familiar face from TV cookery shows like Masterchef.
Dining out in Edinburgh city centre can be difficult – but only because of the sheer volume of terrific, high-class eateries to choose from. Notable highlights include the Michelin-starred 21212 and Number One at The Balmoral, while The Witchery by the Castle is the place to see and seen. It’s Edinburgh’s equivalent of the Ivy and everyone from Jack Nicolson to Catherine Zeta-Jones has dined there.
With an upbeat vibe and vibrant atmosphere, the Epicurean Bar on the ground floor of the Radisson Collection hotel near the Royal Mile is achingly cool. Here you can order aromatic infusions and colourful cocktails using home grown flowers and herbs from the hotel’s EvoGro hydroponic.
Rated as one of the world’s top 20 bars by industry bible Bartender magazine, Bramble is a subterranean hideaway and haven for the city’s trendsetters. Indulge your tastebuds with some of the finest concoctions you’ll ever taste and relax in the shabby chic surroundings.
From the Swarovski crystal-studded walls to the underlit, sound-responsive dancefloor, Lulu drips with decadence and luxury. Book one of their many table packages in advance to enjoy VIP entry, private seating area and a selection of premium champagnes and spirits served by your own personal barstaff.
When it comes to style, Edinburgh is home to a unique mix of designer brands and unique one-off boutiques. Multrees Walk is a dedicated luxury retail hub, home to a slew of top names like Mulberry, Louis Vuitton and Kurt Geiger. Nearby, on Thistle Street, you’ll find Jane Davidson, a trendy womanswear boutique, and footwear specialist Pam Jenkins - both considered by style bible Vogue to be the best in Scotland.
If you’re looking for a more bespoke service, or would like some fashion advice, then you can take advantage of a personal shopper service at both Harvey Nichols, and Edinburgh’s iconic, upmarket department store, Jenners.
Relaxation and Pampering
If you want to relax in style, then you really are spoiled for choice in Edinburgh. One of the main highlights is the fantastic One Spa thermal suite and pools. As well as indoor and outdoor rooftop hydropools, facilities at the £6 million centre include bio saunas, hammams, aroma grottos, a tepidarium and laconium and much more. They offer a large range of treatments to soothe and calm including a number of Ayurvedic treatments. Other top options around the city include Pure Spa and two-time winner of UK Salon of the Year, Zen Lifestyle, while most of the capital’s top hotels also have their own exclusive spas and treatment centres.
This is Edinburgh: Giving you inspiration for great days out and top things to do in Edinburgh.