How to Spend 72 Hours in Edinburgh, Scotland

72 hours in edinburgh

72 Hours in Edinburgh

Being such a small city, Edinburgh is a great place to see in a long weekend. Despite its size, there’s always so much going on here and never a dull moment. Whenever we have friends and family come to visit for a long weekend, there’s always a set of key things we like to do. From showing them around the traditional old town and shopping at Grassmarket vintage shops, to taking a Sunday stroll into Stockbridge. I’ve put together a list of our top things to do in Edinburgh in 72 hours and suggestions on how best to fit it all in.

Friday: Beat the crowds and go shopping on a week day. Take a stroll along Princes Street and shop until you drop. Try Rose Street or George street for pubs and restaurants to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Saturday: Enjoy breakfast at Badger & Co, making your way to Grassmarket for a mornings shopping and sight seeing. From here you’ll have easy access to the Royal Mile and the Castle. Also check out Greyfriars Bobby and the National Museum of Scotland.

Sunday: A lazy Sunday start to the day, take a walk to Stockbridge and enjoy some street food on the market. Enjoy a stroll through the Water of Leith and explore the hidden beauty of the Dean Village.

The Little Things blog UK Edinburgh Food Review Lifestyle
The Little Things blog UK Edinburgh Food Review Lifestyle
The Little Things blog UK Edinburgh Food Review Lifestyle

Breakfast at Badger & Co

First things first, let’s start with some breakfast. One of my favourites in the city is Badger & Co. Their effortlessly cool surroundings have a great vibe to start your morning (or night!) and with such a creative food menu you’ll never struggle for something to take your fancy. Their prices are incredibly reasonable in comparison to places you might find elsewhere in the city and it always sets us up for a day’s exploring. You’ll find Badger & Co on Castle Street, just off Princes street. Great for an early morning spot of the castle too!

Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town
best vintage and boutique shops Edinburgh
best vintage and boutique shops Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Old Town: Grassmarket & Vintage Shopping

From here make your way over to the old town for some of the more traditional sites. Head down Lothian Road towards the Grassmarket to admire at the castle from the cliff face below. Check out the likes of Armstrongs and Godiva vintage shops for something unique. It’s on the Grassmarket where you’ll also find a street market on Saturday’s, and a vast array of pubs for the evenings entertainment with live music.

Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town
Edinburgh Old Town

The Royal Mile & Greyfriars Bobby

The Grassmarket is a great central starting point to split off to both the likes of the Royal Mile and Greyfriars Bobby. Pay a visit to the statue opposite Greyfriars pub and kirkyard, where you’ll also find the graves of bobby and his master. Stories on the wall here tell you more about their unique relationship, which has touched the hearts of animal lovers all over the world.

From here you can take a short walk up past the Elephant House on George IV bridge, where JK Rowling allegedly wrote parts of Harry Potter. The end of the bridge will lead you round onto the Royal Mile. At one end of the mile you’ll find Parliament and Holyrood palace, with the castle at the top end of the mile. Personally I find the castle to be most impressive from the base of Grassmarket, and standing at the front itself, which you can go right up to the gates of before paying. The admission price is expensive, and I don’t feel it was worth it, but if you have the time it’s something you could explore more of if you feel it’s worth it.

Winding back down the Royal Mile head down the wonderfully colourful and postcard perfect Victoria Street. It’s here you’ll find boutique shops and independent coffee shops as you head back to the Grassmarket. Be sure to stop off at Oink for a totally unique hog roast before it all sells out for some lunch!

The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh UK
The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh UK
The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh UK
The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh UK

National Museum of Scotland

Back on the Grassmarket, if you take a walk back up towards Greyfriars Bobby, opposite here you’ll find the National Museum of Scotland. Well worth dedicating a couple of hours to, the museum is a beautiful building inside itself. As well as being packed full of great artefacts and fun zones, the museum has a well known local secret of the roof terrace. Take the lift to the top and enter out onto the roof terrace for a view over the city like no other.

The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog
The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog
The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog
The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog

Sunday Morning Market in Stockbridge

Take things easier on Sunday’s by enjoying a walk to Stockbridge. An urban village within the city limits, Stockbridge is full of beautiful boutique shops and independent cafes. It’s here you’ll find the most picturesque street, Circus Lane, as it backs onto St. Stephens Church. Head into the charity shops along here to find yourself a bargain. At the centre of Stockbridge on Sunday’s you’ll also find the markets. Stop here for a look around the stalls, and get some incredible street food all from local artisan suppliers.

The Little Things blog UK Edinburgh Travel Dean Village
The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog
The Little Things UK Edinburgh Travel Lifestyle Blog
The Little Things blog UK Edinburgh Travel Dean Village

The Dean Village Walk

You can enter the Dean Village which runs alongside the water of Leith from various points in the city depending on where you’re staying. We live in the west end of the city so it’s nice to take the walk to Stockbridge, but you could just as easily take the walk out of Stockbridge from here too. The Dean Village feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and if you’re lucky St. Bernard’s Well might just be open too. Looking more like part of France with it’s turret style buildings overlooking the river, it’s a perfect place to un-wind after your busy sightseeing tour of the city.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh or are planning on making a visit? I hope this guide gives you lots of tips and ideas on the best things to check out in 72 hours. You can read more about my Edinburgh series – here.

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  • Oooooh, I am really hoping to get up to Edinburgh with my family before Christmas so this is super helpful! x
    Sophie Cliff

    • That would be lovely, the markets are looking so beautiful right now too! Hope you guys have a wonderful time x

  • I love your images. I am a Glasgow girl myself but this post shows Edinburgh in amazing light. Best Wishes, Iga http://www.igaberry.com

    • Thanks Iga, glad you enjoyed the post! I don’t get over to Glasgow enough, perhaps that can be next on my list! x

      • Glasgow is amazing! Especially during winter time when all gorgeous, sparkly lights are up. x

  • Hapinesswherever

    Spending a month in Edinburgh for my pop up which brings UK designer makers to the High St (17 Dundas St till 19 Dec, makers-friends.com) – will def try all the things you recommend! 🙂

    • Sounds fab, will be sure to pop by and say hello! Hope you enjoy your time visiting Edinburgh 🙂