Set against a dramatic backdrop of rolling hills overlooking the coast, Edinburgh makes for a magical city break destination, with ornate architecture, a rich history and its near-infamous charm and hospitality.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two or a UK mini-break with friends, Edinburgh boasts a range of sumptuous spas to help you relax, plus a wealth of things to do, see, eat and drink. Check out our city guide for the ultimate weekend away.
When you’re booking a spa weekend, it’s all about what works best for you. We’ve rounded up some of the top stays in Edinburgh to suit all price ranges and priorities, so you can have the perfect relaxing break away.
Macdonald Holyrood Hotel
Both tranquil and modern, Macdonald Holyrood Hotel is right in the heart of Edinburgh, making it an ideal base from which to explore the city. When you’re not getting lost in the city’s winding alleys or treating yourself to a wee dram, kick back in the spa, which features thermal facilities and expert treatments from Elemis.
Norton House Hotel
Built in 1840, this beautiful Victorian country retreat is the perfect place to relax and de-stress. If you’re not soaking in the spa’s thermal suits or taking a tour of the city, check out the hotel’s deliciously indulgent afternoon tea, a perfect fit for its stately surroundings. Plus, it’s just a mile and a half away from Edinburgh Airport, so you start to unwind almost as soon as you land.
If you want to appreciate the countryside surrounding Edinburgh then Dalhousie Castle, Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle, is the perfect retreat for a weekend break. Situated just eight miles outside of the city and sitting within 11 acres of parkland estate on the banks of the River Esk, this 13th century pile boasts 35 exquisite rooms, fine dining and an expansive spa.
With its rich, detailed history and newfound cultural prowess, Edinburgh has a whole host of must-visit locations to see during your stay while you’re not relaxing in the spa. Here are a few top tips for your stay in the city.
Explore the historic Edinburgh Castle
Learn all you need to know about the dramatic lives of Scotland’s past aristocracy. The castle tours offer a comprehensive insight into the city’s rich and intricate history. From the oldest Crown Jewels in the British Isles to the firing of the One O’clock gun, lose yourself in the fascinating past of this great city.
Walk up arthur’s seat
A trip to Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without visiting romantic spot Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. The ancient (and we must add, inactive) volcano is the highest point of the park at 251ft above sea level, giving you a sensational view over the magnificent Palace of Holyrood and across the city.
Take a trip to the theatre
Edinburgh has carved a reputation as a cultural hub, thanks to its annual Fringe festival, so it’s no surprise that the city has a host of theatres to suit all manner of tastes. For musical fans look no further than The Edinburgh Playhouse, while opera devotees should check out the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Or if you’re looking for something a little different, the Traverse Theatre showcases the very best contemporary performance art.
Meander along The Royal Mile
Running through the heart of the city, The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood House. Take a walk along the charming cobbled streets where you’ll come across a variety of street performers, ghost tours, a smorgasbord of unique boutiques, and of course gift shops to pick up your tablet and tartan.
Edinburgh’s food-and-drink scene has elevated itself over the past few years, so much so that it is now home to five Michelin star restaurants. For traditional pubs, cafes, and bars, you can’t go wrong with Grassmarket and Cowgate situated just off The Royal Mile. But for something a little different, why not try some (or all!) of these recommendations.
The Scran and Scallie
This charming gastro pub is the brainchild of Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin, offering top notch Scottish grub (aka ‘Scran’) in a relaxed and cosy environment. The pub also brews its own artisan beers and a host of seasonal cocktails.
The perfect final stop on a day soaking up the history of the city, The Witchery sits in a 16th century building close to the Castle. Guests are immediately welcomed by a candlelit stone staircase before heading into the decadent interiors of the dining room, all dark wood paneling and centuries-old tapestries. With over 800 choices on the wine list and an extensively lavish menu, this is a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Wishart Enjoy elegant French cooking made with Scottish produce at one of the UK’s most sought after eateries. Awarded a Michelin star in 2001, the restaurant has retained it ever since – and it’s easy to see why. Showcasing local produce in ever-inventive ways, Martin Wishart’s creations are a must for visiting foodies. Make sure to book in advance.
The Devil's Advocate
A Victorian pump house in a former life, this candlelit tavern boasts award winning cocktails and a stash of 400 whiskies. This intimate venue in Edinburgh’s Old Town, also serves lunch and dinner menus made with seasonal local ingredients.
Book your spa break to Edinburgh today.