Edinburgh may hold a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans, but you don’t need to have read a single word of JK Rowling’s to fall under its spell. Edinburgh is a pop-up book of a place - its charm is immediate. From its majestic castle perched on Castle Rock to its spiky gothic towers, a brilliant mix of mystery and magic radiates from its cobbled streets. Ready to explore the Scottish capital over a weekend? The following are a few recommendations if you’re spending a weekend in Edinburgh.
The Airlink Express 24/7 is by far the most comfortable and budget friendly way to get from Edinburgh airport to the city centre. Air-conditioned coaches offer free wifi and a return journey ticket costs just £7.50. The bus stops throughout the city with main drop-off/pick up stops at Princes Street and Waverley Bridge.
Fun and futuristic, Yotel’s super central location on Queen Street makes it the perfect base for discovering Edinburgh. Yotel has been designed with both tech savviness and a green conscience in mind. Stylish cabins are bright and minimalist featuring an electronically controlled ‘smart bed’ which can be tilted upright or flat at the push of a button. Lighting is motion activated, meaning lights switch on and off as soon as you step in or out of bed – genius.
There are also incentives for conserving water/skipping housekeeping if you’re staying more than one night - a £5 voucher which can be put towards food or drink orders in the hotel’s Kohi or Komyuniti restaurant venues.
BABA, George Street: Let BABA’s gorgeous middle-eastern inspired décor and chargrilled dishes transport you to a an exotic oasis. Located on George Street, BABA is a buzzing restaurant and bar serving delicious fruit-infused cocktails and mocktails, authentic mezze dishes and sharing plates - the perfect option if you’re dining as a group.
Lucky Pig, Lothian Street: This vegan-friendly ‘junk food’ fest ticks all the boxes if you’re after a guilt-free brunch or pre-drinks feast.
Castle Terrace, Leith: Located in Leith, the port district to the north of Edinburgh, the award-winning Castle Terrace specialises in serving the best in Scottish produce. A real treat if you’re exploring this side of the city.
Paradise Palms: Sip cocktails amongst leafy palm trees and neon lights in this lively Lothian Street bar and club venue - good times are guaranteed.
Sandy Bell’s: A local favourite since the 1920s, this traditional bar is famous for reviving Scottish folk music in the 1960s. A must visit if you’re looking to experience an authentically Scottish pub.
Frankenstein & Bier Keller: Great for groups flying in for a weekend, Frankenstein & Bier Keller is based in an old church building on George IV Bridge. Expect horror-themed décor, and an extensive range of German and continental beer. It’s a decent spot to watch a game on the big screen too.
Cranachan & Crowdie: Fill up on traditional tartan, shortbread and whisky at this Royal Mile emporium of Scottish specialties.
Paper Tiger: Pop in for a Paper Tiger chocolate bar and discover a beautifully curated collection of stationary, books, toys and greetings cards at this sweet little shop on Lothian Road.
The Dragonfly: Discover unique gifts and locally crafted pieces in this little gem on Broughton Street.
Edinburgh Playhouse: Catch a musical or show at Edinburgh Playhouse. The city’s largest theatre regularly hosts big name travelling musicals and dance shows from around the world. Tickets to matinees or evening performances can be booked online in advance or purchased from the box office.
Sneaky Pete’s: Prefer a more intimate gig? See the ‘next big thing’ play live at this legendary music venue. This ‘teeny, tiny, very loud’ venue packs in just 200 revellers and gigs are always a special experience.
Underground Walking Tour of Edinburgh: Discover the spooky side of the city with a tour of Edinburgh’s cellars. Not for the faint of heart, these torch-lit tours explore grizzly tales from the city’s past as well as stories of other-worldly sightings.
Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions: An extravaganza of optical illusions awaits at Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction. Instagram at the ready for the array of altered reflections in the maze of mirrors inside this magical museum, not to mention the panoramic views of the city that can be witnessed from the rooftop.
Edinburgh Castle Tour: Edinburgh’s iconic castle is one of the oldest fortified buildings in Europe. The whole area forms part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and famously forms the backdrop to the city’s Royal Military Tattoo performance which takes place in August each year.
Climb to Arthur’s Seat: How often do you get the chance to explore an extinct volcano on a city break? Arthur's Seat is a natural wonder which forms the main peak of Edinburgh’s group of hills. It's well worth the uphill trek – the reward at the top is a spectacular birds eye view of the city. And the name? Some say it was inspired by the legend of King Arthur. See, magic everywhere.
With so much to see and do, 48 hours may not be seem like quite enough time to see everything that Edinburgh has to offer, but at least it gives you a very good reason to plan a return journey. Planning to visit Edinburgh soon? Don't forget to include the hashtag #RyanairStories on your photos for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.