Packed with great museums, iconic landmarks and lots of historical significance, Edinburgh is a great place for a break away. But, did you know you don’t always have to go into Edinburgh itself to enjoy what it has to offer? If you’re only here for a short while there are lots of great things to see and do all across the city. We’ve put together a guide on how you can see the best of this Scottish city in one day- all at a purse-pleasing budget.
What could be a better way to start the day than seeing the sunrise and inhaling a breath of refreshing sea air? Portobello beach boasts fantastic landscape views across the Firth of Forth and beyond to start your Scottish staycation. With an award winning 2 mile stretch of vast sandy beach paired with lots of characterful Victorian and Georgian buildings and a beautiful promenade to match, Portobello beach is perfect for catching the first rays of the day or taking a leisurely stroll with the scenery beside you. If you want to save some cash, take your own breakfast and find a spot nearby to tuck in, or if you fancy a local treat pop into one of the many beach-side cafes, or check out the breakfast options at our hotel before you set off.
After your refreshing start to the day, head over to Beecraigs Country Park which is approximately 40 mins from Portobello Beach by car. Being the largest of the Lothian Country Parks at an impressive 370 acres, there is a lot to see and do here to please anyone – and the added bonus is it’s free. Red Deer, Highland Cows and Hebridean Sheep amongst other native Scottish breeds call this beautiful park their home and you can see these lovely creatures and even one or two of their babies as you venture round the park. Beecraigs also has various activities throughout the summer and winter months, from ranger tours and walks, to a ‘festive forest’ experience from early December.
While Beecraigs is great for an all day activity, for some the prospect of cruising along the River Forth for an hour or so can be too tempting to miss. With multiple tours available exploring various parts of the River Forth which meanders around the Edinburgh and Lothian areas, Forth Boat Tours will leave you spoilt for choice. The start and end point for these tours is at Queensferry which makes for a convenient pitstop from Portobello if you want to squeeze in a relaxing river cruise before you go wandering the length and breadth of Beecraig Country Park. Tickets for the tour start at £15 for an adult, £14 for a concession and £8 for children between 5 and 15 with under 5’s going free.
Whether you’ve spent your whole afternoon wandering the landscapes at Beecraigs, or cruising along the River Forth soaking in the sights and the history of the area, you’ll want to end your day in a memorable way and how better to do that than going on a free ghost tour around Old Edinburgh? Start at Edinburgh’s High Street and creep your way through the shadowed streets with your guide as you explore the dark side of the city; from legendary myths, to some truly disturbing (and quite gory) tales of murder, witchcraft and plague.
After your tour, it’ll be time to eat. If you fancy carrying on the theme of your ghost tour, Frankenstein’s in Edinburgh’s Old Town has a monster theme and serves some frighteningly good drinks, dinners and desserts to please the whole clan. Dine if you dare!
For something more relaxing after your action-packed day, The Queen’s Arms, situated below the cobbled streets of Frederick Street, will serve you right. Pick from a generous selection of dishes made from authentic Scottish produce, and sip some cracking handpicked cask ales from local Scottish breweries. There are also kids menus on hand so your little royal can dine in style.
Remember, a trip to Edinburgh doesn’t have to be confined to the City Centre. Give these local hotels a try – all are within a driving distance of Edinburgh and its picturesque surrounds: