Edinburgh happens to be one of my favorite cities in Europe. My first time visiting the city was several years ago for Hogmanay. Where I experienced the most memorable New Year’s party of my entire life. Hence, having the opportunity to revisit again, during a different time of year (early autumn), was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
Edinburgh is world renowned for its medieval Old Town, neoclassical buildings and iconic castle. However, did you know that the city has an underrated (or more like a burgeoning) food and drink scene? Fancy a whisky tour? How about some nibble around town. Let’s see what Edinburgh has to offer visitors.
Edinburgh Food and Drink Tour
Welcoming cafes, trendy restaurants, traditional pubs and fascinating whisky & gin distilleries await those who wander around the city. The perfect place for a whisky tour.
With a few days to spare in the city I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be part of several food and drink tours that should not be missed by first time visitors to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Eat Walk Edinburgh
Let’s start with food! With Eat Walk Edinburgh I joined the Canongate three hour guided tour covering on foot a decent section of the lower part of the Royal Mile. We popped in and out of cafes, restaurants and shops sampling numerous tasty treats. And dishes while spending the rest of our time meandering through closes (Scots for alleyways).
Highlights of the tour included sampling mini haggis sliders and smoked sheep cheese. Moreover, Scottish Highland cream fudge and pickled herring paired with beetroot salad.
I loved the blend of tasting classic Scottish dishes with a contemporary twist, along with some of the fusion cuisine that is emerging in the city. In terms of drinks, having an opportunity to down some Campbelltown Loch Scotch blended whisky and sip on some local stout beer were highlights.
As great as it was learning about the food, drinks and history of the city, my favorite part was having an opportunity to interact with the owners of the various establishments we visited.
Talking one on one with folks so passionate about what they do really enhances your appreciation of what it is that you’re eating and drinking.
Furthermore, almost all of the products are locally sourced. You’re supporting locals farmers, producers and small business owners.
The hardest part of this tour for me was self-control. The food was simply that delicious. My wardrobe was not loose enough to accommodate all of the extra calories.
In this video you’ll see our entire experience with Eat Walk Edinburgh
Edinburgh Gin Distillery
I’m going to start off by being really honest. Not all vineyard and distillery tours are that interesting. In the past I’ve suffered through some tours where my guide has droned on with facts and figures. Furthermore, production techniques and quotas without any immersive activities or back and forth conversation.
Fortunately, our tour of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery was nothing like that! Our guide Abby entertained us with fascinating tales related to the Edinburgh gin craze. Before having us sniff and identify some of the botanicals used to make gin. We then moved on to the gin den to crack open some bottles.
This cozy little cave offered an ideal social setting for us to consume various types of gin. I found myself surprisingly enjoying some of the stronger variations on offer. We ended getting so cozy inside of the gin den. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon inside of its confines.
I’m glad they didn’t have a time limit. Otherwise, we would have likely been kicked out.
Join us by watching this video to see what it is like to take Edinburgh Gin Distillery Tour
Whisky Tour in Edinburgh
Whisky tour anyone? Before we move forward let’s get something straight; it is ‘whisky’ without the ‘e’ here in Scotland. Visiting The Scotch Whisky Experience was easily one of the highlights of my entire time in Edinburgh. One of the best and most humbling parts of the tour was the sensory perception test.
Ten tiny glass jars with scented cotton were passed around the room. Hence, our job was to try and identify the smell and write it down. Well, let’s just say I’m not going to quit my day job of travel blogging and making videos anytime soon. Scoring a pathetic 2 out of 10, it was time to redeem myself in the blender’s room.
With single grain, Highland, Lowland, Islay and Speyside it was time to get creative and make our very own blend. I ended up calling mine ‘Sam I Am Shazzam’ with the idea that it was strong and sophisticated much like its creator 😉 Yeah, a bit of stretch there for sure. At the end we had our expert guide do a blind taste test.
Guess who won? Not me, but Audrey! At least, now we know we have career options as blenders in the future. To top things off we then visited the impressive collection of whisky on the wall. Incredibly, 3,384 bottles from around the world were on display. With the oldest bottle dating back to 1897.
For collectors this was literally the ultimate collection. You could spend hours just glaring at the labels.
Burn Off The Food and Drinks With Adventure Travel In Scotland
So you’ve stuffed your beak for days on end in Edinburgh, Scotland!
What are you going to do about it?
Here are some suggestions for burning it all off.
Edinburgh, the majestic Scottish capital, is a city of grandeur, steeped in a rich history that spans centuries. It is known for its exquisite architecture, world-class museums, and diverse cultural offerings that attract visitors from all over the globe. However, this city is more than just a hub of history and culture. It is also a playground for adventure seekers, offering a plethora of thrilling activities that are sure to get your heart racing.
One of the most breathtaking experiences in Edinburgh is the climb up Arthur’s Seat, the imposing extinct volcano that dominates the skyline of Holyrood Park. As you ascend this formidable 251-meter high hill, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the city and its surroundings. The climb can be challenging, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you reach the top is second to none.
For those who crave an underground adventure, Edinburgh is home to a vast network of caverns and tunnels that offer an extraordinary and exhilarating experience. One of the most intriguing locations is Gilmerton Cove, an enigmatic system of hand-carved underground passages that were believed to have been used as a smuggler’s hideout in the 18th century.
If you’re looking for a thrilling indoor activity, rock climbing is a must-try. Edinburgh boasts several indoor climbing centers that cater to all levels of climbers. These centers provide a controlled environment for climbers to push their limits and hone their skills.
For a more relaxed yet equally enchanting adventure, cycling through Edinburgh’s picturesque countryside and historic streets is a perfect option. With several bike rental shops in the city, and a variety of guided tours available, you can experience the city’s beauty in a unique and memorable way.
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, white-water rafting on the River Tay is a must-try activity. Located just an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, the river offers a thrilling and scenic ride through its rapids, catering to both novice and experienced rafters.
Edinburgh’s appeal extends far beyond its historic and cultural heritage. It is a city that beckons you to explore its adventurous side, enticing you with a myriad of adrenaline-fueled activities that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.
Quirky Accommodations In Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh, why not make your stay even more memorable by opting for a quirky accommodation option? Edinburgh boasts a range of unique and unusual places to stay, from traditional castles to trendy lofts and even a former church. Here are a few suggestions for quirky accommodations in Edinburgh:
- The Witchery by the Castle: Situated right next to Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery is a luxurious, Gothic-style hotel with ornate, theatrical rooms featuring four-poster beds, tapestries, and antiques. Each room is individually designed and named after a Scottish historical figure or literary character.
- The Knight Residence: This stylish apartment complex offers luxurious and spacious accommodations with a home-away-from-home feel. Each apartment is equipped with a full kitchen, living area, and bedrooms with high-quality linens. Some of the apartments even come with a private balcony or garden.
- The Edinburgh Grand: Housed in a former bank building, The Edinburgh Grand offers a unique blend of luxury and history. The hotel features stylish apartments with high ceilings, elegant furnishings, and plenty of space to spread out. The building’s original features, such as the marble staircase and banking hall, have been carefully preserved.
- The Glasshouse Hotel: This stunning, contemporary hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city center. The Glasshouse features modern, minimalist rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views of the city skyline. The hotel also has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, perfect for enjoying a drink in the evening.
- The Church Hill Rooms: If you’re looking for something truly unique, The Church Hill Rooms might be just what you’re looking for. This former church has been transformed into a stylish and modern accommodation with sleek, contemporary furnishings and plenty of natural light. The rooms offer stunning views of Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, and the city skyline.
Edinburgh is a city of contrasts, where history and modernity meet at every turn. Choosing a quirky accommodation option can be a great way to fully immerse yourself in the city’s unique character and create a truly memorable experience.
More Food and Drink Tours in Edinburgh
Embark on a culinary adventure through the vibrant city of Edinburgh with a variety of food and drink tours that will tantalize your taste buds and immerse you in the rich history and culture of Scotland. From traditional Scottish dishes to modern fusion cuisine, there is something for every palate.
Experience the ultimate foodie tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town, where you will be taken on a journey through the city’s historic streets to explore the best food and drink it has to offer. Discover hidden gems and sample a range of delicious Scottish delicacies, including haggis, neeps and tatties, and whisky. Learn about the city’s culinary traditions and the history behind each dish from knowledgeable local guides.
For the beer lovers, Edinburgh has a thriving craft beer scene and what better way to explore it than on a beer tour? Visit some of the city’s top breweries and learn about the brewing process, taste a range of unique and flavorsome beers, and experience the lively atmosphere of Edinburgh’s pubs and bars.
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the chance to indulge in Edinburgh’s famous desserts on a dessert tour. From the iconic Scottish shortbread to the delectable tablet, you will sample a range of mouth-watering sweets and learn about their origins and importance in Scottish culture.
For a truly unique experience, embark on a whisky and chocolate tour, where you will discover the perfect pairing of Scotland’s national drink with rich, velvety chocolate. Taste a variety of premium whiskies and learn about the art of pairing whisky with chocolate from expert guides.
No matter which food and drink tour you choose, you are sure to have an unforgettable culinary adventure in Edinburgh. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant food and drink scene and discover the rich history and culture that surrounds it.
I hope you didn’t read this article on an empty stomach! Which of the three tours tickles your fancy the most? Have you visited Edinburgh? Planning on going to Scotland anytime soon? Heading to the Scottish Highlands for an adventure? Fancy a plate of Haggis for lunch? How about a heaping plate of tatties? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below.