A Literature Lover’s Guide to Edinburgh

Since moving to Edinburgh I’ve had the chance to discover what an amazing city it is. I found that there’s so much to see and do in this city that it’s impossible to do it all in one day. Why not stay for a weekend? You can find a whole range of hotels in Edinburgh to suit any budget.

Not only are the buildings beautiful, the people friendly and streets lined with brilliant coffee shops, many writers come from here and many fictional characters have travelled these streets too.

If you fancy finding out a little more about a few of Scotland’s most renowned writers then head to the Writer’s Museum in Lady Stair’s Close, just off the Royal Mile. Inside you’ll find portraits of and a number of objects belonging to Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.

Writers museum, Edinburgh

The museum currently has an exhibition on called Storyworlds which shows the work of young Edinburgh artists. The paper sculptures take inspiration from a range of Scottish literature and were created by students from a number of secondary schools across the city. The exhibition is being held until 12th May so there’s still plenty of time to check out the amazing sculptures by these extremely talented young people.

Down off the Royal Mile you’ll find the wonderfully colourful Victoria Street, which is said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. Can you see the resemblance? If you’re a big Harry Potter fan then you may want to check out The Elephant House Cafe, which is just a short walk away on George IV Bridge and it’s where J.K Rowling is said to have written chapters of the first Harry Potter novel.

John Kay's Bookstore, Edinburgh

On Victoria Street you’ll find a whole host of beautiful stores, many of them being the perfect place to pick up a gift. John Kay’s Bookshop near the top of the street is the perfect place to pick up a book especially if you’re looking for a present for someone. I saw a book which happened to have my niece’s name on it so I just had to buy it. I did manage to resist picking up the cute little pocket sized Alice in Wonderland book which had beautiful gold edged pages.

Armchair Books Edinburgh

Head down into the Grassmarket area of the city and you’ll find what might possibly be the best bookstore in the city. Walking into Armchair Books you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of books, the shelves being stocked from floor to ceiling. In this surprisingly huge shop you’ll find a whole range of second hand books, from recent fiction to older first editions to beautiful antique books. The store has teddy bears on a lot of the shelves too which I thought was a pretty cute touch, making it feel almost like a home rather than a store. I could’ve spent all day in here and it’s a miracle that I didn’t leave with a bag full of books.

Armchair Books, Edinburgh

Armchair Books, Edinburgh

Armchair Books, Edinburgh

After shopping you’ll definitely need to fuel up on some coffee (and cake of course!) and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get stuck into one of the many books you’ve just bought. Head to the Story Telling Café on the Royal Mile for a nice relaxed space to chill out with your coffee. This cafe is also great for people watching if you want to just watch people meandering up and down the high street.

Story Telling Cafe

Another brilliant cafe to check out is the Edinburgh Press Club, on Cockburn Street. This cafe is built in the old Scotsman newspaper building. Each of the tables feature a quote from an author as well, so it’s tempting to go back and find out what quotes are on the other tables too. The cafe also has a great selection of cakes and if you go for a visit then I’d recommend checking out their honeycomb tiffin cake.

Edinburgh Press Club Cafe

After a day of wandering around the city you’ll be in need of some tasty food. I love Bentoya for some tasty Japanese food. If you’re a fellow veggie then I’d recommend trying the tofu katsu curry.

If  you fancy sampling the Edinburgh nightlife with a little bit a literary twist then Boda bar on Leith Walk is a must. This cosy bar has copies of books and plays on each table and a cocktail list inspired by literary characters.

If you’re staying in Edinburgh for the weekend then you’re definitely going to have to check out some of the amazing brunch spots. I’d recommend heading down to Leith Shore and popping into Finn and Bear, which has a great choice of brunch options for vegetarians. I opted for the Bear’s Bagel, a bagel with omelette, black bean pudding, cheese and jalapenos. And since I love cheese I couldn’t resist the crispy halloumi. I’ll definitely be back in again soon to try some more of their brunch options – I’d love to try their waffles, which apparently tasted just as good as they looked. I would totally have tried some if my boyfriend hadn’t ordered ones with bacon. Leith has certainly changed since the era depicted in Trainspotting and the Shore is a great place to get some amazing pictures.

Finn and bear cafe leith

After filling up on food you’ll probably want to walk off a few of those extra calories. If you fancy getting some good views of Edinburgh then you can head to the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens. Or tackle the extinct volcano that is Arthur’s Seat for an amazing view over the city, as described in the novel One Day by David Nicholls. If you’ve not had the chance to read the book then check out the movie, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, which is shot largely in Edinburgh and shows some of the amazing views.

I hope you enjoyed finding out about some of the amazing places to explore in Edinburgh. If you’ve been to Edinburgh what do you recommend checking out?
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This post is in collaboration with Hotels.com however all views and opinions expressed are my own.

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