name popularly given to the oldest part of Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh

The Old Town of Edinburgh represents the historic core of the Scottish capital, built eastwards of the Castle Crag, along the Royal Mile to Holyrood. This article also covers the areas to the immediate south and west of the Old Town - Southside and Tollcross.

High Street, part of Royal Mile

Along with the New Town, the Old Town was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.

Get inEdit

The same information on getting to the New Town from other parts of the city by tram and train applies, but you'll have a steep uphill walk from Waverley station or Princes Street. For direct access into the Old Town, only a bus or taxi will do.

By footEdit

Most travellers are happy to explore the Old Town on foot, as there are lots of things to see on the way. Several streets in the Old Town are bridges, and so you may find the streets are not connected as you might expect from a glance at the map, and there are some steep slope and staircases between streets. The main layout of the Old Town is designed like a fish skeleton, so there are plenty of sidestreets and alleys (closes). Most streets are very small and steep, so be prepared for tough terrain.

By busEdit

North Bridge and South Bridge are very well served by buses, and you are unlikely to have to wait more than 5 minutes during a weekday daytime. The Mound and George IV Bridge has a reasonable service.

East-west bus services are less frequent, except along Lauriston Place. The Lothian Buses service 6 runs twice per hour from Hanover Street to Holyrood. The 2 runs four times per hour (weekday daytime) via the Grassmarket and Chambers Street. The Lothian Buses Skylink 300 runs 5 times per hour from the airport via Chambers Street and Canongate.

Get aroundEdit

Map of Edinburgh/Old Town


  • 1 Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, EH1 2NG, +44 131 225-9846. Daily Apr-Sep: 9:30AM–6PM, Oct-Mar: 9:30AM–5PM, last entry 1 hour before closing time. Royal fortress perched magnificently on a volcanic rock looming over the city. The castle has been continuously used for 1000 years and is in excellent condition. Highlights include the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish Crown Jewels) and the ancient St Margaret's Chapel. The audio tour is extremely detailed and worth hiring, providing both location-based and chronologically-based commentary on the castle. The Esplanade is the parade square in front of the castle, normally free to access in daylight hours, with good views of the city. The Edinburgh Tattoo and concerts are staged here, so access is restricted then, and views are cramped by the temporary banks of seating. Excellent tea room on site. Adult £17.00, child under 16 £10.20, concession £13.60, Young Scot and Euro 26 cardholders 10% discounts. Historic Scotland members free. Multilingual audio tour: adult £3.50, child £2.50, concession £1.50.    
  • 2 Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse, +44 131 556-5100, fax: +44 20 7930-9625, . Nov - Mar, Th-M 9:30AM - 4:30PM Apr-Oct Th-M (& daily Jul-Sep) 9:30AM - 6PM. Occasionally closed for official use, including for the "Royal Week" in early July.. The Palace is a royal residence, and hosts the Queen's Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection. The Palace is best known as the home of Mary Queen of Scots and as the site of the murder of Mary's secretary Rizzio, allegedly by her husband, Lord Darnley. Admission includes the palace gardens. There is a small garden on Abbey Strand to the north of the palace which you can visit for free. The Queen's Gallery is closed until 2024 for maintenance.. Palace £19.50 adults, £10.50 children - discount if booked in advance.    
The cathedral from the east
  • 3 St Giles' Cathedral, High St. (The Royal Mile) (between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse). Worship Su 9:30AM, 11AM, 6PM music; Visiting: M-F 10AM–6PM, Sa 9AM–5PM, Su 1PM–5PM. The historic City Church of Edinburgh is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh and takes its name from the city's patron saint. St Giles' is Presbyterianism's Mother Church and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the King). The building bears a distinctive crowned spire and was first officially dedicated in 1243, although a church probably existed on the site since before the 9th century. Free.    
  • 4 Old Parliament Hall (Behind St. Giles' Cathedral). This 1639 Old Parliament Hall is within the Parliament House which is home of the Scottish Supreme Courts. The hall is the location where the earlier meetings of the Scots Estates, or Parliament, took place, prior to the enactment of the 1707 Act of Union (of the Parliaments of Scotland and England).    
View from the North Bridge up to Calton Hill
  • 5 North Bridge. Offers spectacular views of the city skyline. It connects Old Town and New Town with Waverley Station just below.    
  • 6 Gladstone's Land, Lawnmarket (In the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile). 21 May–31 Oct: daily 10AM-3PM. It is a 17th-century Old Town tenement (known as a 'Land') decorated with period furniture. It has an impressive painted ceiling. £7.50 adult, £6 concessions.    
  • 7 Greyfriars Kirkyard (Off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge, close to the National Museum). M-F 10:30AM-4:30PM, Sa noon-4PM, Su closed. A very old graveyard that contains some impressive, ancient grave markers and fantastic views of the surrounding Old Town. Several graves are said to be the inspiration for character names in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. Many folk, of course, will be drawn here by its links to Greyfriars Bobby, that loyal little dog brought to worldwide fame by Walt Disney. Once you've seen the pooch's grave and the rest of the kirkyard, take a look at his 8 statue - rubbing the nose is said to bring good luck, though epidemiologists might disagree. Free.    
Debating Chamber, Scottish Parliament
  • 9 The Scottish Parliament (eastern end of the Royal Mile, opposite the Palace of Holyrood House), +44 131 348-5200, toll-free: 0800 092 7600. M F Sa and public holidays 10AM-5PM; Tu-Th 9AM-6:30PM (last admission 30 min before closing time); opening times may vary. A unique building, designed by the Spanish (Catalan) architect Enric Miralles, with a £431 million price tag which is much higher than the original back-of-an-envelope estimate. Very controversial among Scots, who consider it either a daring showpiece of postmodern architecture or a national embarrassment. The Parliament generally meets Tu-Th and you can watch debates from the Public Gallery. Ask for tickets at the reception. The First Minister's Question Time is normally on Thursdays noon-12:30PM. You need to reserve tickets in advance (up to 7 days). If you did not get a ticket, you are put on a waiting list if you arrive in person from 10AM on the day and might get access if other people did not show up. You can follow the question time from the Overspill Room while waiting. On non-business days (M F Sa) you can view the debating chamber from the Public Gallery without tickets. In the lobby area there are often exhibitions. Entrance to the building and all tickets are free.    
  • 10 Camera Obscura, Castle Hill. daily Jul-Aug 9AM-10PM; Sep–Oct 9:30AM-7PM; Nov–Mar 10AM-6PM (closed 25 Dec); Apr–Jun 9:30AM-7PM. Over 150 years old, the Camera Obscura focuses light from the top of the tower onto a large dish in a dark room below, allowing a 360-degree view of all of Edinburgh! The tower is also host to a fun and quirky gallery of optical illusions. Great views of the city from the top of the tower. Adult £15, student (with ID) or senior £13, Child (5-15 years) £11, under 5 free, carer for a person with disabilities free of charge.    
  • 11 Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AS, +44 131 550 7800. A visitor experience with interactive exhibits about the natural aspects (volcanoes, polar ice, rainforest) of our planet. £17.50 adults, £10.95 children (4-15), £15.20 concessions, free under 4 years.    
  • 12 Grassmarket. This is the area beneath and just south of the castle, a pleasant cobbled stretch of shops, pubs and eating places. Some are tourist-trappy - see "Buy" & "Drink" for specific reviews, but overall the place is a tribute to gentrification of what had been a depressing quarter of town. In the 1820s Burke & Hare lived here, preying on its denizens to supply fresh corpses to the anatomists. Until the 1970s it was the abode of derelicts and rough sleepers - then property values soared. Grassmarket is close to Usher Hall & Lyceum to the west; the 3 streets leaving it to the east lead up the Royal Mile, down into Cowgate and up to Greyfriars Bobby.    
  • 13 Dunbar's Close Garden (Cannongate, near the Christmas Shop). Small historic 17th-century physic garden. A quiet place to stop and have a seat away from the crowds.
  • 14 Canongate Kirk. Open May-Sep, services Su 10AM & 11:15AM. Church of Scotland church built between 1688 and 1691.    

Museum and galleriesEdit

  • 15 National Museum of Scotland, +44 300 123 6789, . Daily 10AM-5PM. Mixing innovative modern architecture with the best of Scotland's heritage, this is truly a must-see. The airy Victorian Grand Gallery, with its millennium clock tower (chimes on the hour), marks the central atrium from where the various exhibition halls branch off, covering Scottish and world history and culture, science, technology, art and design, and natural history. Dolly the sheep, the 12th-century Lewis chess pieces, and the breathtaking Animal World are just some of the highlights of a visit that would take many days if attempted fully. The 7th-floor roof terrace offers nice views over Edinburgh. Free, charges for some temporary exhibitions.    
  • 16 Anatomical Museum, University of Edinburgh, Doorway 3, Medical School, Teviot Place. Last Saturday of the month, except June, July, August and December. The Skeleton of William Burke is on display. Together with William Hare he killed at least 16 people in 1828 and provided them for dissection. The museum also shows life and death masks from famous scientists, politicians and murderers. Free entrance.
  • 17 St Cecilia's Hall - Concert Room and Music Museum, Niddry Street, Cowgate, EH1 1NQ, +44 131 650 2600. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa noon-5PM (opens at 10AM on Saturdays in August), Su M closed; last admission 30 min before closing time. St Cecilia's Hall is Scotland's oldest purpose-built concert hall and opened in 1763. It contains the University of Edinburgh collection of historic musical instruments (16th to 20th century) that focuses mostly on instruments no longer in use today. Concerts and other events take place in the concert room. Free entry.    
  • 18 Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, +44 131 650-2210, . During exhibitions, Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM closed between exhibitions. A gallery with changing exhibitions of cutting edge modern art. Even if the art is not to your taste, it is worth visiting due to its location in the Old College of Edinburgh University, a fine building built between 1789 and 1827 by Robert Adam and Henry Playfair. The Georgian Gallery has a Playfair interior and a mixture of Old Masters and modern installations. Free entry to all exhibitions.    
  • 19 Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street (behind Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station), +44 131 225-2383, . Galleries daily 11AM-6PM; cafe and bookshop 10AM - 6PM. The Fruitmarket Gallery aims to find the most appropriate way to bring artists and audiences together. It is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. Always free.    
  • 20 Surgeons' Hall Museums, Nicolson Street (opp. Festival Theatre), +44 131 527-1711, +44 131 527-1600, . Daily 10AM-5PM. The permanent exhibitions comprise of the Pathology Museum, the History of Surgery Museum and the Dental Museum. Not suitable for young children (under 10) as the exhibits include human remains. £6 adults, £3.50 concessions.    
  • 21 City Art Centre, 2 Market St (across the road from Fruitmarket Gallery), +44 131 529-3993. Daily 10AM-5PM, last entry 4:15PM. Four-floor gallery run by the city council with changing exhibitions. Charges for some exhibitions, but usually one floor is free.    
  • 22 The Peoples' Story Museum, 163 Canongate, +44 131 529-4057. daily 10AM - 5PM, last entry 4:15PM. A museum giving the local's view of life in Edinburgh over the last 200 years. Free.    
  • 23 Museum of Childhood, 42 High Street, +44 131 529-4142. daily 10AM-5PM. See if you can find your old toys in the collection, or maybe the ones that your grandparents had. Free.    
  • 24 Museum of Edinburgh, 142 Cannongate, +44 131 529-4143. Daily 10AM-5PM. Museum of Edinburgh's history. Free.    
  • 25 The Writers' Museum, Lady Stair's Close (near the top of The Mound), +44 131 529-4901. daily 10AM - 5PM, last entry 4:15PM. Museum about famous Scottish authors, focussing on Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. The museum is in a house built in 1622. Free.    
  • 26 National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, +44 131 623-3700. Exhibitions: M-Th 10AM-7PM; F Sa 9:30AM-5PM. A permanent exhibition of works from the John Murray archive and changing temporary exhibitions, usually about historic literature. The main library is a copyright library and you need to apply in advance to access the reading rooms. Free.    
  • 27 Stills Gallery, 23 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BP, +44 131 622-6200. Daily 11AM-6PM. Photography gallery with changing temporary exhibitions. Darkrooms and digital lab available to hire by the hour. Gallery free.
  • 28 Museum on the Mound, The Mound, EH1 1YZ, +44 131 243-5464. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 1-5PM. Museum about money, in the former Bank of Scotland headquarters. Free.    
  • 29 Dovecot Gallery, 10 Infirmary Street. M-Sa 10AM - 5PM. Tapestry studio and gallery housed in an old swimming pool (Infirmary Street Baths). There is a cafe, shop, and viewing gallery where you can look down on the tapestry weavers at work. free, charges for major exhibitions.    


  • Walk down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile is the backbone of the sixteenth century Old Town] and most of the buildings date from this period. Take the time to divert from the main route down some of the many small "closes" that run off the Royal Mile to each side. There are plenty of bars along the length of the Royal Mile, where you can relax over a pint of Edinburgh Ale and/or a classic single malt.
  • 1 Holyrood Park. Walk around in the park which is just east of the Old Town. Created by King James VI in the 16th century, it is like a Scottish landscape in miniature, containing Arthur's Seat, three lochs: St Margaret's Loch with nearby remains of an old chapel, Dunsapie Loch along Queen's Drive with great views of the sea in the background, and Duddingston Loch (see East), and the stunning Salisbury Crags.    
    • 2 Arthur's Seat. The extinct volcano to the east of the city centre offers fantastic views from its summit - and at only 251 m high the ascent isn't too strenuous.    
    • 3 Salisbury Crags. If a lighter stroll - compared to Arthur's Seat - is in order, a traverse along the Salisbury Crags on the Radical Road offers similar panoramas of the city.  

Shows and toursEdit

  • 4 Mary King's Close, Warriston's Close (opposite St Giles' Cathedral). daily 10AM-5PM. A slice of Edinburgh's medieval history, preserved since being closed over in the 18th century - watch out for the haunting. tours £19.50 - book in advance.    
  • 5 The Edinburgh Dungeon, 31 Market Street. The scariest attraction in Edinburgh featuring 11 shows and 2 rides about Scotland's horrible history: William Wallace, Mary King's Ghost, the cave of Sawney Bean, Burke and Hare and more. Online ticket price £19.76, on the day £21.95, 18+ 'Dungeon Lates' £25.00.
  • 6 The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill. Offers an interactive "tour" of the history and practise of Whisky distilling, complete with a rather sedate barrel ride. This is a good place to go if you want to sample whisky, as they have a very large selection (200+?) at a fairly reasonable price. Older whiskys tend to cost more and the rarest on offer can cost up to £50.00 per measure! The atmosphere is less pub-like than some might like as it tends to be fairly quiet. For basic tour £13.50 adult, £10.50 reduced.
  • Follow a ghost walk around the back streets surrounding The Royal Mile and learn about the sinister goings on of Edinburgh's past. These tours are generally excellent and are highly recommended.
  • Take a tour through the South Bridge Vaults which date back to 1788.
  • Free Tour of Edinburgh. Daily 10AM, 11AM and 2PM. There are free walking tours that set off periodically from the High Street Starbucks. They are in a variety of languages and take about 2-2½ hours, with a stop for lunch. Tickets are free, but the tour guides appreciate tips. Even with a generous tip for the guide, these are still a far cheaper way to see the city than most bus tours, and they give you a much more personal experience.

Music and theatreEdit

The Usher Hall, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Traverse Theatre are all located next to each other.

  • 7 Usher Hall, Lothian Road, +44 131 228-1155 (Box office). Box Office: M-Sa 10AM-5:30PM, open on Sundays and evenings if events take place. The main concert hall in Edinburgh which regularly features The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). It was completed in 1914 and funded by a donation from Andrew Usher, a Scottish whisky distiller and blender. The concert hall can seat up to about 2,200 people.    
  • 8 Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, 30b Grindlay St, +44 131 248-4848 (Box office). One of Scotland's largest producing theatre company. The theatre building dates back to 1883.    
  • 9 Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, +44 131 228-1404 (Box office). The Traverse theatre company is dedicated to new works.    
  • 10 King's Theatre, 2 Leven Street, +44 131 529-6000 (Box office). Mostly hosts major touring drama.
  • 11 Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, +44 131 529-6000 (Box office). Home of the Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera. It also hosts contemporary dance and ballet events and musicals.
  • 12 Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, +44 131 650-2422. The Reid School of Music (University of Edinburgh) offers free lunchtime concerts (usually starting at 1:10PM and lasting for about one hour and taking place at the Reid Concert Hall) at irregular intervals. Free.
  • 13 Monkey Barrel Comedy, 9-11 Blair Street, EH1 1QR, +44 131 460 8421. Shows twice nightly, from 7PM/7:30PM and 9PM/9:30PM. Intimate stand-up comedy nights with three or four diverse acts compered by the sharp and fearless Liam Withnail. Avoid front row if you don't wish to become the punchline! Order drinks and food for delivery at your seat. The pizza is said to be incredible, but don't count on any food being available. £6-8, students £4-6.


  • 14 Cameo Cinema, 38 Home St (Tollcross), +44 871 902 5723. Mainstream & alternative films, in remarkable surroundings. A much-loved venue that's well worth a visit.    
  • Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Rd, +44 131 228 2688. This went bust in Oct 2022. It's not impossible that another operator will take it over, but all screenings are cancelled.    
  • 15 Odeon Cinema, 118 Lothian Road, +44 870 505 0007. Mostly mainstream movies.


You don't need to go to the faceless chain stores and multinationals that line the main shopping streets in the New Town. Support local Edinburgh businesses and take home a fantastic and unique memento of your trip.

Victoria Street and the east end of the Grassmarket is where the Old Town's best shopping experience can be found. A clutch of independent business can be found here, and it is highly recommended that you avoid overpriced tourist traps on the Royal Mile and make a beeline for here.

  • 1 Red Door Gallery, 42 Victoria Street. Some of the quirkiest (and best) gifts in Edinburgh can be purchased here.
  • 2 Armstrongs, 83 The Grassmarket. A local institution, has all the vintage clothing you could ever want.

Cockburn Street (pronounced "co-burn") has many small alternative shops.

The Royal Mile especially the higher end near the castle, has many tourist-oriented shops selling Scottish souvenirs from postcards to whisky and kilts. These shops help reinforce stereotypes that a modern Scotland is trying to shake off. However there are also good exceptions:

  • 5 Cadenhead's Whisky Shop, 172 Cannongate. An independent bottler of whisky.
  • 6 Focus, 270 Canongate. A skatewear and skateboard store situated at the lower end of Royal Mile.

Other great shopping opportunities are the following ones:

  • 7 Edinburgh Farmers' Market, Castle Terrace. Sa 9AM-2PM. A variety of delicious food like freshly made burgers, hog roasts and local bakery products is offered, as well as Scottish produce such as cheese, beer, fish, meat and fruits/vegetables.
  • 8 Avalanche Records, 21 St Mary's Street. One of the city's best independent music stores. Support your local record shop!

The Pubic Triangle is usually best avoided, due to its proliferation of lap-dancing establishments, but during the day you can find a number of great shops here. It can be found at the intersection of Lady Lawson Street and West Port, near the western end of the Grassmarket. A gaggle of second-hand bookstores adorn this area.


You can find plenty of nice and affordable food options along and around the one long street called South Bridge, Nicolson Street and (further south) (South) Clerk Street.


  • 1 Kebab Mahal, 7 Nicolson Street. daily noon-midnight. Smarter than your average kebab shop, and an Edinburgh institution. "Diner" type establishment which serves kebabs as well as curries. Take-away or (limited) eat-in. Run by Muslims so there are lots of vegetarian options but no alcohol licence. Popular with students as it's close to George Square.
  • 2 Tempting Tattie, 18 Jeffrey Street. M-Th 11:30AM-8PM, F Sa 11:30AM-6:45PM. Baked potatoes (tatties) are also a Scottish staple. Some say the best in town can be found here. A tattie stuffed with one filling can be had for £5.50.
  • 3 The Baked Potato Shop, 56 Cockburn Street. lunchtimes. Baked potatoes with a range of vegetarian and vegan fillings, as well as vegan cakes. from £4.80.
  • 4 Oink, 34 Victoria Street (and also 82 Cannongate). This small eatery does one thing, the pulled pork sandwich, and it does it extremely well. No chips, no crisps, no sides, just pork, sauces and a roll. It's quite cheap, with £5 getting you a sandwich.
  • 5 The Original Mosque Kitchen, 50 Potterrow (just off George Square; entrance also from West Nicolson Street). daily 11:30AM-10PM. In the building directly adjacent to the Edinburgh Central Mosque. A classic student hangout, with chicken or vegetable curry available for around £6.
  • 6 Kampong Ah Lee - Malaysian Delight, 28 Clerk Street. Tasty Malaysian dishes such as Roti Canai, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Laksa, Rendang, etc. Most main dishes £6-8.
  • 7 The Piemaker, 38 South Bridge, +44 131 558-1728. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6:30PM. Has a wide range of delicious pies and pastries (mostly savoury). from £3.


  • 8 The Everest, 52 Home Street (Tollcross). This restaurant offers very good Nepalese and Indian food at moderate prices around £7 mains (excluding rice or bread).
  • 9 Petit Paris, 38-40 Grassmarket. Traditional French restaurant complete with chequered tablecloths and whitewashed walls. mains about £20.
  • 10 David Bann's Vegetarian Restaurant, 56-58 St Mary's Street, +44 131 556 5888. daily noon - 10PM. Imaginative and tasty vegetarian food. Some courses are suitable for vegans. Main courses cost about £15.
  • 11 Taxidi Greek Bistro, 6 Brougham Street EH3 9JH (Tollcross), +131 228 1030. W Th 3-11PM, F-Su noon-11PM. Excellent Greek food, not your stereotyped taverna.
  • 12 Thai Orchid, 5a Johnston Terrace. Thai food, with vegetarian options.
  • Ondine, 2 George IV Bridge EH1 1AD, +44 131 226 1888. Tu-Sa noon-10PM. Simple but excellent seafood.
  • Kanpai, 8-10 Grindlay St EH3 9AS (by Usher Hall), +44 131 228 1602. Tu-Sa noon-2PM, 5-10PM. They juggle up great Japanese food before your wondering eyes. Small portions and pricey, but memorable.
  • Timberyard, 10 Lady Lawson St EH3 9DS, +44 131 221 1222. Th-Su noon-10PM. Modern Scottish cuisine in a 19th century warehouse, with extensive wine list.
  • 13 The Bombay Bicycle Club, 6 Brougham Street. Average Indian restaurant offering the usual array of Indian and curry dishes. Attentive staff.
  • 14 The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge EH1 1EN. Temporarily closed. Consistently good coffee and light bites, cafe is full of university and creative types; JK Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter book here. And that alas is the problem: it's become part of the Potter circus, every half hour sees another coachload of tourists all craning for selfies and trying to nick the cutlery and scrawling graffiti in the loo. Prices, service and ambience have suffered accordingly, and Rowling has fled to a castle in the Highlands. In Aug 2021 the cafe suffered a fire and remains closed as 9f Dec 2022.
  • 15 Tanjore South Indian Restaurant, 6-8 Clerk Street EH8 9HX, +44 131 478 6518. noon-2:30PM, 5-10PM. One of the few Indian restaurants in Edinburgh serving South Indian food such as Dosas, Uttapams, Sambar, and other Tamil specialities. £15.
  • 16 MUMS Great Comfort Food (Monster Mash Café), 4a Forrest Road, +44 131 260 9806, . Classic British comfort food, like (veggie) haggis, fish & chips, sausage & mash, stews, or a fantastic (vegan) shepherd's pie. About £13 for a main.


  • 17 The Witchery Restaurant. Just beside Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery is a small, beautiful candle-lit restaurant with fantastic food, excellent service and a wonderful wine list. Even their bread basket is a standout.



There are many famous "traditional" pubs on the Grassmarket. Beware, however, many of these pubs are tourist traps and tend to be very popular with visiting stag and hen parties. Real Edinburghers tend to keep clear most of the time. The Royal Mile is another tourist trap, with many pubs here just not worth the bother. However, make time to visit The Jolly Judge on James Court, just off the Lawnmarket, and Albanach, which is on the corner of Cockburn Street and the High Street.

  • 1 The Jolly Judge, 7 James Court (Close to Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, near the Castle), +44 131 225-2669. Open daily, mid-afternoon until 11:30PM (later on weekends). Very small pub with a good selection of beer and whisky. One of the few pubs on Royal Mile worth visiting. Has free Wi-Fi.
  • 2 Doctors, 32 Forest Road. Offers good ales and pub food in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • 3 Sandy Bells, 25 Forest Road. Has live folk music every night.
  • 4 The Pear Tree. Offers a great beer garden for summer months, and a mix of university students and residents all year round. Or check out The Blind Poet next door.
  • 5 Bennets Bar, 8 Leven St (Right next to King's Theatre), +44 131 229-5143. A good old-fashioned pub that satisfies with cold beer on tap and tasty cheap food. Bennets also has a good range of real ale and the selection changes weekly.
  • 6 The Kilderkin, 67 Canongate, EH8 8BT, +44 131 556-2101. On Mondays they offer very good £1 pizza if ordered with a drink (one pizza per person only) from 5PM until stock lasts. They have a changing selection of four cask ales and a good range of whiskies (including some from the independent bottler Cadenhead's).
  • 7 The Bow Bar, 80 West Bow, +44 131 2267667. An unpretentious traditional pub with a large selection of whiskies, and a good choice of changing guest ales.
  • 8 Whiski, 119 High Street, EH1 1SG, +44 131 556 3095, . M-Th noon-late, F-Su 10AM-late. Probably more for tourists than locals, this is a one-stop shop for Scottish food, drink and music. Hundreds of whiskies available with bar staff able to advise novices. Live music every night from 9:30PM; if you're there for the music, make sure to sit in the front half of the room.


General debauchery can be found on the Cowgate which runs under the South and George IV bridges. Numerous clubs and bars line this street, which gets very, very crowded at weekends.

  • The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate. Also well worth a mention for travellers. A short hike down Holyrood Road towards the Scottish Parliament, this is a great café-style bar cum live music venue, with excellent club nights, especially the popular "Fast Punk Club".
  • 9 Cabaret Voltaire, 36-38 Blair Street. One of the city's most respected clubs, and also hosts regular gigs. Club nights are eclectic and cater to all tastes.

Other venuesEdit

  • 10 Dragonfly, 52 West Port. A trendy and well-hidden cocktail lounge just up the street on West Port, which is arguably the city's best bar. This does mean, of course, that it can often get very crowded.
  • 11 The Forest, 141 Lauriston Place (Tollcross), +44 131 229-4922. daily 10AM-11PM. Volunteer run arts cafe. Has Wi-Fi.
  • 12 The Jazz Bar, 1a Chambers Street (just off South Bridge), +44 131 220-4298. Open daily until 3AM. Edinburgh's famous, quadruple award-winning live music venue has a lovely warm internal ambience and wide-ranging audience demographic. Featuring a lot more than 'jazz', there's multiple back-to-back gigs a day, seven nights a week, with acoustic, jazz, funk/soul and other good music, to 3AM every night. A popular weekly feature is their Monday night 17-piece Big Band. Generally free entry before 8PM.
  • 13 The Liquid Room, 9c Victoria Street. One of Edinburgh's most established nightclubs. It plays host to both regular gigs and popular club nights. "Evol", which takes place on a Friday night, is a well respected indie night. For a cheaper, more student orientated indie night, try their Wednesday night club "Indigo".
  • 14 Slighhouse, 54 George IV Bridge. Cocktail bar and restaurant.
  • 15 Wash Bar, 11-13 North Bank Street (On the cusp between the Old and New Towns, situated near the top of the Mound). Popular with a slightly older crowd than you'll find in such a student-orientated city, it is quite a lively nightspot.


The Scotsman
Radisson Blu
Hilton Carlton
Jurys Inn


  • 1 Motel One Edinburgh Royal, 18 Market St, EH1 1BL, +44 131 220 0730. from £69.
  • 2 Budget Backpackers Edinburgh, 37-39 Cowgate. Regularly voted top 5 in the world due to its cheerful and friendly staff and modern amenities. It's a bit crowded and don't expect the internet to work. Dorms from £16, twin rooms from £27 per person.
  • 3 Euro Hostel Edinburgh, Darroch Court, St John’s Hill, +44 8454 900 461. In Cowgate, open every summer from the beginning of June until the beginning of September. Budget accommodation in 43 apartments used as student residences during term time. £19-50 per person per night.
  • 4 Riego Street, 1-15 Riego Street (Tollcross), +44 131 455-3722, . Offered by Edinburgh Napier University during summer only (semester break). Used as student accommodation throughout the rest of the year. Send an email or call for booking requests. Between 4 and 5 single rooms in one shared apartment. Linen, towels and WiFi included.
  • 5 Castle Rock Hostel, 15 Johnston Terrace, +44 131 225 9666. Large hostel, on the hill just below the castle. Dorms from £11.


  • 6 Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge, 77 South Bridge EH1 1HN. Reliable chain hotel, a welcome mid-range addition to the Old Town's accommodation. B&B double from £70.




  • 1 Central Library, George IV Bridge (opposite the National Library of Scotland), +44 131 242 8000. M-W 10AM-8PM; Th-Sa 10AM-5PM. The Learning Centre at the Central Library has 16 computers with free internet access, also MS Office applications. If there is no PC free when you visit it's possible to reserve a slot later that day. Free (Charge for printing), free WiFi.    

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Routes through Old Town
New Town  NW   SE  South EdinburghDalkeith

This district travel guide to Old Town has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and arrival info. Please contribute and help us make it a star!