My 24 Hours in Edinburgh: Culture and Cake!

24 Hours in Edinburgh

Weekends come and go so fast, and when you hit the road straight from work on a Friday evening sometimes you can arrive at your destination too late to really get any exploring done. But even if you can’t hang around all day on Sunday either, Saturday is definitely waiting!

Weekends for me are often all a bit of a Madonna song (80’s music is the soundtrack to my life). Remember Holiday “Just one day out of life. It would be, it would be so nice.”

And it is so nice. It’s amazing what you can see and experience in a day, so here’s the rundown from my Saturday when I recently spent the weekend in Edinburgh

Exploring Edinburgh

Exploring Edinburgh


The Tour Bus

Tour Bus

I’m taking the tour bus!

First up, we took a walk through the old town and then headed for the tour bus. With limited time and a baby on the way, this was the ideal way for me to get an overview of the city. Plus, these hop-on, hop-off tours are perfect for when you want to pick off the sights you fancy exploring in more depth, so we hopped off at Edinburgh Castle, knowing we could just jump back on later.

Edinburgh Castle

At Edinburgh Castle

At Edinburgh Castle

You could easily spend a few hours at Edinburgh castle; there’s loads to see including the Scottish crown jewels, regimental museums, prison cells and the one o’clock cannon. Not to mention the unbelievable views!

Do yourself a favour and book your tickets online (you can even use these a day either side of your intended date if your plans change). And take advantage of the free guided tours that run throughout the day. They last about half an hour and will give you a good overview of the site’s history, highlighting key points of interest for you to explore further so you can really get the most from your visit.


Afternoon Tea at the Tower

Cakey Goodness

Some of our cakey goodness

I’m partial to anything involving copious amounts of cake, so afternoon tea is a perfect weekend away treat for me. I booked a table at the Tower Restaurant which sits above the National Museum of Scotland and offers some lovely views of Edinburgh’s rooftops.

I wasn’t disappointed, and of course when we were done, we only had a hop, skip and a jump downstairs (ok, I took the lift), to get to the museum. Just as well really, because moving any sort of distance is not so easy post cake frenzy!

The National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland

I could have spent tons more time in the National Museum of Scotland than I actually did – I love a good museum and I really enjoyed this one. The central gallery was beautiful and filled with light, and the natural history and science sections were such good fun. I’d love to revisit and think this is exactly the sort of place that could keep my little one amused in the years to come.

Back on the Bus

Happy Tour Bus Face

Happy tour bus face!

The tour bus picks up right outside the museum, so this was the perfect place to hop back on and take in the rest of the city.

I know people often turn up their noses at tour buses, but I genuinely do find them really useful for getting from place to place, finding your bearings in a new city, or just getting a good overview of what’s on offer in a place when your visit is short and sweet like mine was. If anything, it’s given me much more inspiration for things to do next time I’m in Edinburgh.


 A Bit of a Quiet One

Saturday Night Snacks

Saturday night snacks!

I’m sorry to say that this pregnant lady loses much of her energy come 8pm, so following my afternoon tea induced early evening cake coma back at the hotel, I only just managed to get out again for a bit of a stroll. Then we headed back to our weekend home at Ibis Endiburgh South Bridge where we watched the World Cup and munched on a snacky dinner at the bar.

But if I’d visited when I could have really got my Saturday night on, I’d have hit the pubs of the Grassmarket, which looked like the perfect part of town for a few pints, a few laughs and maybe a bit of foot tapping.

And so to bed…

After the football and a food infusion, I was ready for some shut eye. And with a 12 noon checkout, there was plenty of time for a Sunday lie in at my ibis hotel. Though I made sure I was up for a full Scottish breakfast! It would have been rude not to!


For the record – Mr Holiday Addict ate the cakes!

How would you spend 24 hours in Edinburgh? I’d love to go back soon, so I’s love to know what else you’d recommend in the comments!

(Useful Info: Tickets to Edinburgh Castle cost £16 per person and a 24 hour tour bus ticket will set you back £14)

My weekend in Edinburgh was a collaboration between Need Another Holiday and ibis Hotels as part of my #take12trips mission.



  • Vlad says:

    I should not have looked at this post before lunch! I’m glad you had a good time in Edinburgh, I’d love to visit it one day too! 🙂

  • Who doesn’t love culture and cake? Edinburgh looks fantastic, love your afternoon tea spread 🙂 I’m dying to get there myself. You have made it look quite appealing!

  • Olivia says:

    Loved reading this, Clare! Your trip to Edinburgh reminded me a lot of mine 🙂 Ah, the memories..

  • James says:

    Excellent write-up. I’ve been to Glasgow, but I still haven’t got round to going to Edinburgh yet. The only thing that puts me off is the price of the hotels because I understand they’re very expensive if you want to stay somewhere near the city centre.

  • Andreja says:

    Hi Clare, I spent only few hours in Edi, but obviously not enough! I wish to come back, but there is always so much to see and so little time! Safe travels and let me know if you are coming to Slovenia!

  • Martynosia says:

    I currently live in Edinburgh 😉 I really happy that you enjoyed here 🙂 When you be here next time let me know so I can guide you arounf this wonderful city. The Old Town is great and I think the best part of it is its multllevels and closes, the New Town is majestic and also worth a wee stroll. There is of course plenty more things to see and do 😉

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