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The travel guide to Edinburgh
Where to eat, drink, shop, and stay in this lovely city.
Public Announcement 📣
We’re thrilled to be launching Sprezza Travel Guides!
Sprezza always focused on clothing first and foremost. But as many readers have consistently asked me to share local travel guides, we’re finally expanding.
These are well-curated guides to our favorite cities and countries around the world. We only recommend places that we’ve visited and explored ourselves.
And to serve you these guides, I can’t think of anyone better to partner on it with than Matthew Spade.
If you know anything about Mat, you know he’s a master curator of good vibes. He has a colorful eye for design, strong personal taste, building a home, and how to travel well.
Our travel guides cover four categories: eating, drinking, shopping, and sleeping. Of course, formatting will evolve based on your feedback, and we’ll share future tips and ideas within each guide, but the categories will remain the same.
Got a city we should cover next? Drop it in the comments!
A primer on Edinburgh
One of the nicest cities on the eye you'll likely come across on the British Isles. There’s an ease to it; a city that seems to have been lifted straight out of a fairytale.
With its stunning architecture, cobbled streets, and breathtaking views, it is not difficult to see why it has been dubbed one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city's skyline is dominated by the iconic Edinburgh Castle, which sits atop an extinct volcano, providing panoramic views of the city below. As you stroll through the winding alleys and narrow lanes of the Old Town, the city's rich history and cultural heritage come to life.
From the majestic St Giles' Cathedral to the beautiful Georgian architecture of the New Town, Edinburgh is a city that has something for everyone. Its stunning green spaces, such as Princes Street Gardens and Holyrood Park, add to its charm, making it a city that is both beautiful and captivating, a place where history and modernity blend seamlessly together, and where every corner seems to hold a secret waiting to be discovered.
Creatively, it’s bursting at the seams with quality food + drink establishments, along with the type of people that will take you to the front door of a place if you ask them for directions. Good people. Wonderful city. Even better place to get lost.
Coffee: Beatnik Café
Just off the main drag of the city's Old Town, you'll find a brand new outpost. One that takes inspiration from travels around European and further afield; Jemma and Saf's aim was to create a place they'd like to hang out in all day.
Beatnik is this; a curious but glorious mixture of a specialty coffee shop and almost a Berlin-style bar. The type of joint you'd catch up with buddies over juicy single-origin coffees and local bakes rather than somewhere to steal the wi-fi for work calls.
Who likes big sandwiches? We do. And the “we” means many of us. I first came across this gem—in the borough of Leith, just a 5-minute ride from the city centre—after seeing folks I follow on Instagram holding these whopping butties (sandwiches). They raved about them, and the staff will tell you that you "might want to share one of these.”
The menu changes every few weeks; I went in on the buttermilk fried chicken with mozzarella + rocket on focaccia. I finished every single bit.
I like good beer. My ideal situation is the bartender gives the nod on arrival, already knows what I'll want, grabs for the glass before I've even spoken, and I'm sitting down in a quiet booth quicker than you can say, "was Mrs. Doubtfire really Scottish?". If I wasn't so indecisive with my drink choice, this could be the place.
A sleepy little pub in the heart of Old Town, with room for about 20/30 people, packed with beers from local breweries and around the way.
Pulling inspiration from its surroundings and the journey of people that make up the rich history of the isles, Kestin has slowly become a much-chatted-about brand name in menswear. The store, quite frankly, is a delight on the eye - which can be found in the neighbourhood of Stockbridge — along with the current collection, drawing inspiration from fishing towns on the east coast of Scotland.
Stay: Eden Locke Hotel
When I visit any city, what I look for is a safe, clean, and friendly environment. A space that’s easy on the eyes and one at the right price. The Eden Locke Hotel on George Street ticks all the boxes for me.
It’s good for short or long-term stays and great for going alone or with friends. The Lobby doubles as a co-working space and lobby for eating and drinking. It’s the kind of space you'll find yourself chatting with a local and never really getting those emails fired off. In the best of ways.
Lucky Liquor Co — a phenomenal bar with specialty cocktails situated in a cozy space in New Town.
Dick’s of Edinburgh — an iconic men’s shop curates the very best of independent men’s brands from around the world.
Treen — a fantastic shop that curates the very best sustainable-focused brands from all over. Women’s upstairs, men’s downstairs.