City breaks in Edinburgh
Book a short stay or weekend break in the Scottish capital
Edinburgh has always been a city of dramatic contrast. Rich in history, tradition and heritage, it is also a thriving, forward-looking capital known for its festivals, shopping and dining scene. Whatever your interests, a short break in Edinburgh is all you need to fall in love with this unforgettable Scottish city.
Start by exploring the picturesque streets and admiring the varied architecture – the entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and can be walked around during a weekend stay. The Old Town is an atmospheric, winding maze of medieval lanes and hidden courtyards; whereas the New Town is a masterclass in elegant, airy Georgian city planning.
Along the way you'll discover world-class museums, galleries and attractions, as well as beautiful gardens and plenty of green space. Ready for a break? Choose from cozy pubs, innovative cocktail bars and a host of food options, from casual cafés to Michelin-starred fine dining.
Plan your city break in August and you can also take in the renowned Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival, among others – or come at Christmas and New Year to enjoy festive markets and the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations. The Radisson Blu Hotel in Edinburgh, is located directly on the Royal Mile in the heart of the Old Town, putting you right at the center of the action – so you can spend your time and money on having a great time, rather than traveling to attractions.
Our top 3 Edinburgh attractions
- Edinburgh Castle
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- Mary King's Close
Our top 3 Edinburgh museums
- National Museum of Scotland
- National Gallery of Scotland
- Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Our top 3 Scottish foods
- Cullen skink
Use our Edinburgh map to see our pick of the top attractions
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover Edinburgh’s different areas
Best for history and attractions: Old Town
Explore the cobbled streets and winding closes of Edinburgh's atmospheric medieval heart, centered on Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. Here you'll find dramatic architecture, world-renowned attractions, great shops, cozy pubs and restaurants galore, as well as the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Best for Georgian elegance: New Town
A spectacular example of 18th-century town planning, the graceful New Town is a beautiful backdrop for some retail therapy or a stylish night out. The broad streets are lined with mainstream and designer stores, as well as trendy cocktail bars, upscale pubs and popular restaurants.
Best for picturesque shopping and pubs:
Technically within the New Town, this charming, village-like neighborhood has a personality all its own. Enjoy discovering chic specialty shops and vintage boutiques, or relax in a comfortable pub or bistro before joining the locals for a stroll along the peaceful urban river, the Water of Leith. There's also a weekly farmers' market on Sundays.
Best for quaint photo ops: Dean Village
A bit further along the Water of Leith, you'll find this picture-perfect area, full of fairytale cottages, bridges and former mill buildings. It's a tranquil place to wander and capture some winning shots for your Instagram feed.
Best for quirky shops and cafés: Bruntsfield and Morningside
Equal parts genteel, relaxed and student-friendly, these adjacent neighborhoods run alongside the popular city-center green space, the Meadows. Here you'll find theaters, galleries and beautiful boutiques, as well as colorful craft stores and inviting bars and cafés.
Best for fine dining by the water: Leith
Edinburgh's port area is now a neighborhood on the rise, with several Michelin-starred restaurants and a great selection of bars, bistros and coffee shops in historic buildings along the cobbled waterfront.
Best for theater: West End
An extension of the New Town, Edinburgh's West End is the capital's financial district. It's also home to several of its best theaters, including the Royal Lyceum Theater, the Traverse and Usher Hall. Take advantage of the many excellent restaurants nearby for a quick pre-theater meal.
Best for escaping the city: Holyrood
Technically more of a green space than a neighborhood; at the base of the Royal Mile lies the green expanse of Holyrood Park, surrounding the imposing peak of Arthur's Seat. Follow winding paths up and over the hills to discover lakes dotted with swans, ancient ruins and breath-taking views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Where to Stay
Book a Radisson Blu hotel in Edinburgh
City breaks can be full of surprises. Book your stay with Radisson Blu and look forward to exploring everything Edinburgh has to offer.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh
Discover the history and beauty of Edinburgh from this hotel located on the renowned Royal mile. In the heart of the capital's historic district, the hotel affords guests easy access to Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Elegant, well-appointed rooms offer individual climate control as well as Free high-speed, wireless Internet. An on-site restaurant serves fresh Scottish fare, while the hotel's fitness centre features a swimming pool and sauna.
© 2015 The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved.
Things to do in Edinburgh
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
- Edinburgh Castle: Dominating the city skyline, Edinburgh's ancient stronghold is a must-see. Inside you'll discover the historic State Apartments and Scottish crown jewels; St. Margaret's Chapel, the oldest structure in the city; as well as several museums and the moving National War Memorial. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: Less than 15 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, at the top of the Royal Mile.
- Palace of Holyroodhouse: The Queen's official residence in Edinburgh, this historic palace is surrounded by the green wilderness of Holyrood Park. Explore the opulent State Apartments, as well as the private quarters of Mary, Queen of Scots. You can also view art exhibitions at The Queen's Gallery and visit the nearby ruins of Holyrood Abbey. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: At the bottom of the Royal Mile, about 10 minutes' walk from the hotel.
- Greyfriars Bobby: A much-loved statue of the famous Skye terrier stands next to Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard where he supposedly spent 14 years guarding his master's grave. Directions: A 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Mary King's Close: Head underground to discover what life was like on this 17th-century street, forgotten for centuries after the City Chambers were built over it. It's a fascinating glimpse into a long-vanished world. Book a tour on official site.
Directions: Just 5 minutes up the Royal Mile from the hotel.
- Dynamic Earth: Discover the origins of our planet and the natural forces that shaped Scotland's landscape at this exciting, interactive science center. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: Just 5 minutes' walk from Holyrood Palace at the foot of the Royal Mile.
- Royal Yacht Britannia: Find out how the Royal Family once traveled the seas in style on board this luxurious floating residence. Visit above and below decks as you discover this iconic ship. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: Take bus number 35 from the Royal Mile or 22 from Princes Street.
- Scott Monument: This giant gothic spire – the world's largest monument to a writer – commemorates Sir Walter Scott, the author of books such as Waverley and Ivanhoe. Feeling energetic? Climb the 287 steps to the top and admire the spectacular view.
Directions: On Princes Street, overlooking the Princes Street Gardens.
- Royal Botanic Gardens: Stop and smell the roses – and thousands of other flowers, trees and shrubs – in this world-renowned landscaped garden. Explore themed zones such as the Rock Garden, Scottish Heath Garden and Peat Garden in a tranquil setting.
Directions: Take bus number 23 or 27 from The Mound, between Princes Street and the Royal Mile.
- Haggis: You can't come to Edinburgh without trying the national Scottish dish. Made of minced sheep's heart, liver and lungs mixed with oatmeal, suet, onions and spices, it's much more delicious than it sounds!
- Cullen skink: A type of rich seafood chowder made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions in a creamy base.
- Black pudding: A dark-colored, circular blood sausage made with oats and fat. A tasty accompaniment to many full Scottish breakfasts.
- Whisky: The "Water of Life" is Scotland's national drink. Try a wee dram to warm your bones on a chilly Edinburgh night.
- Cranachan: A traditional Scottish dessert made with oats, cream, honey, berries and sometimes Scottish whisky.
- Princes Street and George Street: Explore an array of boutiques, jewelers and vintage stores on the 17th century “9 Streets”. Picturesque and charming, it’s a great area for quirky finds.
Directions: A 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh.
- The Royal Mile: Stretching from the castle to Holyrood Palace, this famous cobbled street is the place to shop for good quality, traditional Scottish souvenirs, from Harris tweed and cashmere to whiskey, kilts and jewelry.
Directions: The Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh is located on the Royal Mile, just 5 minutes' walk from Waverley train station.
- Multrees Walk: Home to designer brands such as Mulberry, Michael Kors, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, this stylish street is also where you'll find Edinburgh's branch of Harvey Nichols.
Directions: Just off St. Andrew Square, 5 minutes' walk from Waverley Station.
- Thistle Street: Tucked behind George Street, this cobbled lane is the perfect place to hunt for cult fashion brands in trendy designer boutiques.
Directions: A 5-minute walk from Princes Street.
- Victoria Street: This charming Old Town street is packed with eclectic stores selling everything from locally-designed tweeds, candles and artwork to edgy fashion, homewares and more.
Directions: Off George IV Bridge, about 7 minutes' walk from the hotel.
- National Museum of Scotland: Recently refurbished, this spectacular collection covers everything from Scottish history to international art, design, technology, nature, fashion and more.
Directions: Just over a 5-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Royal Mile.
- National Gallery of Scotland: Explore Scotland's national art collection, which covers everything from Scottish art to historic Old Masters, Surrealism and more.
Directions: On Princes Street at the base of the Mound, about 10 minutes' walk from the hotel.
- Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art: Spread across 2 handsome buildings in a tranquil sculpture park, this branch of the National Gallery houses the nation's outstanding modern and contemporary collections.
Directions: About 15 minutes' walk from Princes Street, or take the Gallery Bus from the main gallery building on Princes Street.
- Museum of Childhood: Step into a delightful world of vintage toys at the world's first museum dedicated to the history of growing up. It's a great place to indulge in a bit of nostalgia – and maybe even spot some favorites from your own childhood.
Directions: A 2-minute walk from the hotel along the Royal Mile.
- Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Come face to face with some of the most famous figures from Scotland's history, as well as many of the ordinary people who have helped shape the nation and live here today.
Directions: On Queen Street, less than 10 minutes' walk from Princes Street.
- The Writers' Museum: Learn about the lives and works of 3 of Scotland's most well-known authors – Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson – at this intriguing museum set in a restored 17th-century home.
Directions: About a 6-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Travel in Edinburgh
All you need to know about the city’s transport
Edinburgh is a compact city, with most attractions within comfortable walking distance. By basing yourself at a centrally-located hotel, such as the Radisson Blu on the Royal Mile, you'll have many sights right on your doorstep – saving you time and money on transport, and helping you pack as much as possible into your weekend break.
With many obvious landmarks – such as the castle and the Scott Monument – visible from all over Edinburgh, it's simple to navigate around the city center on foot. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, though, as there are lots of hills and cobblestones!
For more spread-out attractions, Edinburgh's convenient public transportation system will get you there in style. Here’s everything you need to know about getting around Edinburgh:
The airport is about a 30-minute drive from the city center by car or taxi. You can also take the Airlink 100 express bus service right to Waverley Bridge, less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
If you have a little more time on your hands, the regular number 35 city bus also services the airport, and will drop you almost directly outside the hotel. Another option is the tram – the St. Andrew Square stop is just 10 minutes from the hotel.
Edinburgh city center is served by 2 main train stations, Edinburgh Waverley (just off Princes Street) and Haymarket (in the West End). Both have excellent connections to buses, trams and taxis.
Edinburgh has a very comprehensive bus network, as well as a tram line running between the city center and the airport.
There are a number of bus stops near the Radisson Blu Hotel – our staff will be happy to point you to the right one for your destination. You can purchase single or day tickets from the driver on boarding – you will need the exact amount, as no change is given.
The nearest tram stops are at St. Andrew Square and Princes Street. You must purchase your ticket from the ticket vending machine before boarding. Single, return and day tickets are available. The machine accepts card payments (with minimum spend) and coins (no change is given).
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and more
Top 10 Scottish phrases:
Although people in Edinburgh speak English, you may encounter some Scottish words and phrases that are unique to the local dialect. For example:
|Ken||Know||"Ya ken what I mean?"|
|Juice||Soda / pop (not fruit juice)||"Can I get a tin of juice?"|
|Rank||Disgusting, unpleasant||"Don't eat that, it's rank."|
|Chum||To accompany||"I'll chum you to the shops."|
|Messages||Grocery shopping||"I'm off to get the messages."|
|Blether||Chat, talk, gossip||"I met up with my pal for a good blether."|
|Dreich||Drab, dreary, grey||"What a dreich day."|
|Barry||Fantastic, wonderful||"That burger was pure barry."|
|Braw||Beautiful, great (similar to barry)||"What a braw view."|
|Bunker||Kitchen counter||"Put that plate on the bunker."|
Population: 498,810 (2016)
Currency: British pound sterling
Average cost of travel: A day ticket for the bus or tram is £4.00
Most defining feature: The dramatic hilltop castle
Average cost of a pint: £3.50 - £5.0
Top 5 Edinburgh facts and tips:
- Edinburgh's nickname is "Auld Reekie", which means "Old Smoky" – a reference to the many sooty chimneys that used to be found in the city.
- If you plan to visit Edinburgh in August, be sure to book well in advance – the city's population nearly doubles as people arrive for the festivals.
- Edinburgh Castle is perched on top of an extinct volcano.
- You'll see the terms "close" and "wynd" on many street signs. Both are narrow alleyways, although traditionally a close was enclosed and private, whereas a wynd was an open, public thoroughfare.
- Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have a fire department.
Edinburgh has a temperate climate, with mild summers and damp, chilly winters. Temperatures rarely exceed 20°C in summer, with lows around 0°C in winter. The weather can be quite changeable, however – it's not unusual to see 4 seasons in a single day!