Edinburgh is a weekend tripper’s delight. Easy to reach by air or rail, this compact, ancient city is perfect for a gloom-busting getaway.
The first few weeks of the year are an ideal time to go. Scotland is gearing up to celebrate Burns Night on 25 January, an annual celebration to honour the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns, when Edinburgh comes alive with celebrations of the local wordsmith.
A Burns supper can be as simple or as elaborate an affair as you wish. Just make sure it includes a traditional haggis, a stiff Scotch, and a recital of Burns’ poetry (Address to a Haggis is ideal). Bagpipes are optional.
As for what to do with the rest of your weekend, here’s Positive Luxury’s guide to the best of Edinburgh.
Where to stay
The G&V Hotel is the only five-star hotel situated on the historic Royal Mile, right in the heart of the Scottish capital. Choose from a selection of contemporary light-filled suites, which are decorated with works by local designers and artists.
It’s also home to 180,000 tiny guests…of the bee variety. The hotel rooftop houses three beehives, which support the local bee population and provide sweet, home-produced honey for guests.
What to do
A walk up to Arthur’s Seat is an essential if you’re visiting Edinburgh. An ancient volcano and home to a hill fort, the landmark is part of Holyrood Park. Scale the hill for beautiful, panoramic views of the city and the Royal Park.
Set high above the city on a rock, Edinburgh Castle is the perfect place to escape for an afternoon. Rich in history, its oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century, while the Hogwarts-esque Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510.
Pick up a coffee (sample the sustainably sourced beans at Artisan Roast) and hit the local boutiques after sightseeing. Scotland is known for producing some of the world’s greatest musicians, designers and artists, so it’s no wonder everyone has so much style. We recommend Those Were The Days to discover high-end vintage gems – from Chanel designer classics to iconic labels such as Mary Quant and Biba.
Where to eat
An Edinburgh luxury dining landmark, The Witchery is right next door to Edinburgh Castle, offering a carefully sourced menu of local fish and meat in an old merchants house. Make sure you book in advance – you’re unlikely to get a reservation on the day.
If the dinner rolls on late, The Witchery is also home to a quirky, gothic boutique hotel. Try booking a night in The Turret suite, with its oak-panelled rooms, deep rolltop bathtub and dramatic draped bed.
Gleneagles Hotel is a drive out of Edinburgh into the Highlands, but it’s worth the trip to visit Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred dining venue. The Andrew Fairlie restaurant combines French and Scottish cooking – his signature dish is a smoked lobster with whisky barrel chips.
For a glass of something special with your meal, opt for Positive Luxury brand to trust Krug Champagne – Fairlie is an Ambassador of this heritage champagne house.
What to pack
For a daytime exploring the city, wrap up warm in this chunky jumper from Ally Bee. Its fully-fashioned for minimal production waste in a knitwear factory in the Scottish Borders. Perfect for throwing over some black jeans and boots while exploring the city.
Good footwear is essential for walking through Edinburgh’s hilly streets. Opt for Pozu’s Piper boot in traditional British tweed and wool fleece lining to keep your toes warm if the temperatures drop. Add a skinny silk scarf from Chartwellandg for a bit of sophistication.
Come the evening opt for a timeless look with these drop diamond earrings from Garrard’s signature Albemarle collection. Try Maiyet’s chic jumpsuit for a modern twist to your evening outfit, paired with slick bespoke boots from Stivaleria Cavallin. Top it all off with a Maiyet cashmere wrap to add an element of relaxed glamour (it’s perfect for wrapping up on flights, too!)
Wind down before bed with the travel-friendly essentials kit from AEOS. The ethical skincare brand uses its own-grown biodynamic spelt oil with jojoba, sweet almond and rosewater to keep skin soft and glowy.
If you enjoyed this, you might like to read Low-impact, High-End Travel: How to Vacation with a Conscience.