Reading: The Many Faces of Edinburgh

The Many Faces of Edinburgh



The view from Arthur’s seat, an imposing peak in the centre of the famed Holyrood park, firmly supports that notion. But from edge to edge the Scottish capital is rarely the same city twice. The architectural marvels and medieval monuments that define the Old Town are in stark contrast to the ultra-modern Scottish Parliament (once referred to as the “Marmite of Architecture” for its ability to both offend and delight palates). However, Edinburgh is not a city that is trading solely on its good looks. Hidden amongst its wynds and closes (narrow lanes) are a myriad of new galleries, innovative restaurants and, boutique hotels. It’s no wonder that the literary classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drew inspiration from the city’s split personality.

For A Damn Good Dram

No visit is complete without a trip to the countryside. Draw straws to pick a designated driver, pile into your rental and start your whisky pilgrimage. Want to try your hand at blending? Put your name down for the Malt Master tour which includes a whisky tasting, a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to create your very own single malt in the Sample Room. If you’re in the spirit of giving, Glengoyne’s gift shop is one where friends will genuinely thank you for a souvenir (unlike that kitschy shot glass from Cuba). Double down on your favourite bottles, (we chose the award-winning Teapot Dram), one for nursing at home and one for winter emergencies.

Located: A81, Glasgow Metropolitan Area


For The Leader Of The Pack In Food

You can’t throw a cobblestone in Edinburgh without hitting a Michelin star restaurant. But after a spirit-fueled evening, an elaborate tasting menu doesn’t have the same bite as simple, salty fare. The space feels like a restaurant in pubs’ clothing. Rabbit terrine and deviled lamb kidney are served swiftly on mismatched crockery. Portraits and statues of dogs run rabid, as though patiently waiting for leftovers (though there won’t be, guaranteed).

Located: 110 Hanover St.

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Check-In To A Regal Address

This boutique hotel, brainchild of Michelin star chef Paul Kitching, is not only home to one of the best restaurants in the UK, but one of the best night’s sleep (but with only four spacious hotel rooms in the place, you’ll be lucky if you snag one). If you’d like the emphasis to be on rooms rather than the restaurant, book your stay on a Sunday or Monday (when the restaurant is closed) to feel like you’re the king of this sweeping Georgian townhouse. Pour yourself a glass of sloe gin and curl up in your window seat to take in the impressive views of Calton Hill. A word of warning to the clumsy and the overpacked: there is no elevator on the premises. Rates starting at $179 a night.

Located: 3 Royal Terrace


For Instant Chemistry

If you were seduced by one too many scotches the night before, nothing will perk you up quite like the high-octane, single-origin roasts from this trendy spot. For true coffee nerds they also offer expert-led training courses for those looking to perfect their technique in selecting beans, roasting and looking your most intellectual (not hungover) whilst sipping your brew.

Located: 6-8 S College St.


For Clandestine Cocktails

On street-level, this speakeasy is boldly masquerading as a barbershop. Those looking for a cheap trim will leave fuzzy and disappointed, the 25¢ haircuts advertised in the window are also part of the façade. Beyond the shop, down a set of stairs and through a door, disguised as a bookcase, is a prohibition-style bar – hard enough to find when you are sober. Sip expertly crafted cocktails surrounded by fellow would-be ruffians. One of the only barbershops where you leave looking more disheveled than you entered.