While Edinburgh’s renowned Fringe celebrations will no longer be taking place on the surrounding streets of the Royal Mile this year, we’re glad to see its creators turning to digital and continuing the celebrations online.
But, if like us you’re still in the mood to soak up some of what Scotland’s eclectic capital has to offer, the cats at HTR have put together our own 2020-friendly guide to Edinburgh in August.
Check out a beer garden (…duh!)
As one of the first social spaces to reopen, beer gardens have become the gatekeepers to our social lives post-lockdown; providing an open, relaxed and relatively covid-safe environment for us to catch up with friends and enjoy a drink that isn’t a supermarket roll-back. With a range of picturesque spots to choose from, you can order cocktails from the sophistication of George Street or pick up a pint in the student-buzz of George Square.
There truly is something for everyone, but here’s a couple of our top picks:
Nestled behind The University of Edinburgh campus, 56 North is a haven for all gin lovers (ie. the Hot Tin Roofers); offering a range of delicious and exotic gins, a working distillery onsite, and a selection of gin tasting and masterclasses. Even better? They’ve recently introduced a hidden gin garden – a great spot to grab a chilled drink outside of the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
A short walk off Edinburgh’s Ferry Road, The Pitt street-food market has quickly become one of Leith’s favourite haunts for young professionals and creative types.
Boasting a selection of locally brewed beers and independent food huts, it regularly offers live music and some of the best local DJ talent on offer. With a kids and dog friendly policy, this is a favourite weekend destination for the HTR team and a perfect venue to kick-back and relax.
Currently open for takeaway drinks and food, you’ll need to pre-book a table if you want a seat in the warehouse.
Stretch your legs or get on your bike!
Ask any of the HTR cats and we’ll wax lyrical about how lucky we are to share such a beautiful city. Like most locals, we tend to leave idyllic-but-well-trodden hotspots like Arthur’s seat or Calton Hill to the tourists. However, there are a range of less crowded walks and pathways which we love to explore in our spare time.
Check out some of our team recommendations:
Water of Leith walkway
The Water of Leith is an unequivocal team favourite with more to be discovered each time we visit. This path meanders through the city from Balerno to Leith and encompasses part of the North Edinburgh Cycle Network (the city’s highest concentration of off-road bike tracks). Offering plenty of scenic spots to stop off, this is an ideal walk or cycle to press the PR-pause button and soak up the city.
Note: The Water of Leith walkway offers one of the longest accessibility-friendly walks in Edinburgh with large parts of its pathways tarmacked and relatively gentle inclines throughout.
If you fancy venturing further afield, Corstorphine is around 30 minutes by foot outside of the city centre and is home to a highstreet full of relaxing cafes and restaurants. While many are taking steps to reopen, this suburb is still great for a weekend wander and perhaps a takeaway coffee or two!
A walk up Corstorphine Hill offers some of the best views across Edinburgh, overlooking a golfing range and Edinburgh Castle – you can even watch those tourists you’ve been avoiding with Arthur’s seat in the near-distance. Don’t be telling too many people though – this is a HTR hidden gem!
With a range of lovely beaches in and around Edinburgh, it really is worth making a day of it if the Scottish weather can be relied on. From Crammond in the West, to Portobello and Musselburgh in the East; the coastline offers a number of great beaches, many of which are peppered with brilliant independent businesses and cafes.
Account Director Vickie’s top tip: Archerfield’s Walled Garden in East Lothian is definitely worth the visit!
An alternative zoo experience?
While the iconic Edinburgh Zoo features on just about every Edinburgh ‘what’s on’ guide, not everybody knows about its after hours experience; a chance to see the much-loved animals without the crowds and perhaps even an alcoholic beverage in hand.
They have also introduced a drive-in cinema for the summer, airing all of the timeless classics during afternoon and evening showings. Definitely worth checking out their website for further details!
Of course, this wouldn’t be an Edinburgh guide without some top-notch food spots. And as a team of self-proclaimed foodies, we have more than enough recommendations to top off a culinary weekend in the capital.
Chez Jules is a French bistro located right in the heart of the city centre. It’s pretty rustic (a wine-in-tumblers kind of place) but this only adds to the great atmosphere. Reliably busy, their set menu for lunch is so reasonable it should match most people’s budget. We highly recommend the steak frites!
We’re all about balance at HTR, which is why there should always be a good chip shop on your radar. Here, you can enjoy tasty fish and chips with amazing views over Fife. A little more expensive than your average chippy, but it’s worth it!
Finally, stop off at Origano in Leith for the best pizzas in town. With authentic wood fired ovens and a relaxed Italian dining experience, this is one spot we’ve been eagerly waiting to reopen! Get ready to book a table from 10th August.
While August in Edinburgh without the Fringe feels a little jarring to the veterans of the HTR office, there are still plenty of great experiences to be had in our quaint capital. What’s more, by venturing off the beaten track and checking out a new area of town, we can help support our local businesses and get the Edinburgh we know and love back on its feet again.
Feature image: Adam Wilson