If you're visiting Edinburgh on a budget, I recommend staying at the Argyle Backpackers Hostel.
It's very cheap - my girlfriend and I stayed in a twin room and it was just over £40 a night between the two of us but you can get a bed in a shared room from about £13 a night.
The hostel is in the beautiful Marchmont area, directly opposite an excellent little row of shops - a greengrocers, a vegetarian wholefood shop and an amazing convenience store with a wide range of vegan and organic products.
It's just south of the Meadows and is only a few minute's walk from the Royal Mile.
14 Argyle Place
Phone: +44 (0)131 667 9991
Great food, big portions, and reasonable prices. Free internet too, although no printing facilities. Try the chocoholic fantasy on the dessert menu! Mmmmmmm.
1a Market St, opposite Fruitmarket Gallery and Waverley Station;
tel: 0131 226 9560;
Great selection of cocktails and smoothies, and not overpriced. Restaurant has a wide range of plates on offer, from 'comfort' foods such as fisherman's pie to more exotic/exciting dishes.
Probably the best value of all the George Street establishments (for those not from Edinburgh, George Street is the most upmarket bar area in Edinburgh).
113 - 115 George Street;
OK, another bar/hotel on George Street. However I think this is a little different to the others such as Le Monde. Not cheap for drinks but you have to go at least once! Staff are very friendly and not pretentious in the least. The interior of Tiger Lilly retains the basis structure of the Georgian house that it once was. Food is also good and not overpriced.
125 George Street (near Charlotte Square);
tel: 0131 225 5005;
This is a typical Edinburgh 'boozer'. If you want to see what a good Edinburgh local pub is like go to this place. There is a good quiz here on Thursday nights where anyone can take part. The banter can flow here, especially on Thursday nights.
203 Easter Road (on the corner of Iona Street); tel: 0131 554 5180;
Directions: take any bus down Leith Walk (no 7, 14 or 22) or Easter road.
Great pub on Edinburgh's Grassmarket. Can I say anymore? Well, ok, I will. Few of the pubs on the Grassmarket are worth recommending but this is definitely one. Staff are friendly and the food is good, and at very good prices. A lunch here would not put a dent in your pocket and leave plenty of cash for drink. I have recommended this pub to many folk around the world and they have not been disappointed.
74 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR;
tel: 0131 225 4851
What can I say? Appearances are deceptive. When you walk into this place you think its just a dark bar with some pool tables. OK, it is but there's more to it. It serves great food at really great prices. Menu ranges from sandwiches, salads and burgers to goulash, cous cous and lamb in flatbread with hummus. Ideal as a pit stop for anybody looking for good food at good prices.
19 Blair street, in the old town (just off Royal Mile a few doors down from the IBIS hotel, behind the Tron);
tel: 0131 220 0125
This restaurant serves high-quality authentic Italian food and has an excellent wine list. It's open seven days a week - from 8am Monday to Saturday (Sunday opens later) and has tables outside, which is good if you have a dog! They are child friendly, service is of the highest standard and staff are super friendly. It was voted new best restaurant last year by The List and the interior is stunning.
103 George Street, next to Castle Street;
tel: 0131 225 1550;
Still thirsty after a night of partying? At 6am, the Penny Black is the earliest opening pub in the city, offering you the chance to enjoy a wee dram with the city's most hardcore drinkers.
17 West Register St, EH2 2AA;
tel: 0131 556 1106
I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a really luxurious treat. It’s new and very opulent, and that bit different. It has eighteen rooms, all themed around a city (for instance: LA, Dublin, Marrakech, Beijing). We stayed last time in Atlantis, which was absolutely beautiful. Attention to detail is first class, staff are really friendly, and you get a welcome drink on arrival. Right in the centre of Edinburgh on the very stylish George Street, it also has three bars called Paris, Milan and Vienna and a nightclub called Tokyo in the basement. I particularly enjoyed the French martinis in Paris bar. Definitely wish to go back soon.
16 George Street, EH2 2PF;
tel: 0131 270 3900;
Up in the newly regenerated Fountainbridge area, once home to the city's many breweries, Cargo is tucked away in a shiny glass-and-steel building with all the charm of an office block. But walk inside, and out back, and you'll find yourself transported as the bar backs onto the canal. In a nice way. It can get a little overrun with office drones from the nearby insurance companies come 6pm but during the day, it's a real sanctuary.
0131 659 7880
Teuchter's is a fabulous, easy, cool and friendly spot in the heart of the busy West End area. It's close to local offices and yet it's full of a mixture of folk who gather for the old favourite tipples and and real ales. In colder climes the wide range of single malts pulls in those in need of warmth and welcome. It’s notable for its friendly feel and old dark wood furniture.
For a central bar, happily, the sport is not intrusively (always) shown as the place is a haven for girls wanting a house white as well as corporate boys and sporty beer folks. I won't stretch you to an appreciation of the Highland title - that can be something for you to find out.
26 William Street, EH3 7NH;
tel: 0131 226 1036
Fancy bank-turned-pub on George Street. An absolutely fantastic place on a Sunday afternoon - live jazz - and you cannot fail to be impressed by the main floor, and especially the domed ceiling from which it gets its name.
14 George Street, EH2 2PF;
tel: 0131 624 8624;
This small pub is a hidden gem. Head towards the back of the bar to find a cinema. Lay back on the matresses and cushions (there is no floor space) and enjoy a great selection of dvds. A list at the bar allows anyone to chose a film and chill out for a good couple of hours. The only rule is one drink per film. And with hot chocolate with whipped cream and maltesers on the menu this makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon during those bitter Edinburgh winters.
14 Drummond Street, off Nicholson Street.
A stand-out bar wedged in between the Grassmarket and the go-go bars of the West Port. The best cocktails in town cosy up to flock wallpaper, choice pieces of furniture, friendly and unpretentious service, uniquely decorated walls, and a carefully programmed iPod. The icing on the cake is the grand’s worth of collectable adidas trainers topping the best stocked bar in Edinburgh. She's a peach, but is also very small, and it can be tough to get a seat. Mine’s an Ape Expectations.
52 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2LD;
tel: 0131 228 4543;
Rick's is a great bar/restaurant with rooms on Frederick Street just off Princes Street.
The food is lovely and the place very buzzy. The rooms are pretty stylish in a luxurious minimalism sort-of way. Rooms with breakfast cost £129/night - pretty good value.
Frederick St, Edinburgh
Finding somewhere to eat on a weekend away is generally a hit-and-miss affair – there’s just no time to learn from your mistakes. Which is why a restaurant like Rick’s is a godsend. In fact, it was so good we ended up eating there two nights in a row.
55a Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1HL; tel: 0131 622 7800; www.ricksedinburgh.co.uk
A Mexican bar/restaurant found on Broughton Street. The food is pretty basic fare, but is a reasonable price and the restaurant is always busy. It's a great place to go for lunch or a light evening meal or even just some drinks with friends, with a good atmosphere and a great location.
It's simple, but effective.
This is a traditional bar on the south side of the city with a cosy atmosphere, excellent beer, a huge choice of whisky and champagne, delicious food (mostly smorregebrod) and a courtyard for secluded al-fresco libations in the good weather.
239 Morningside Road
A small, "independent" cinema just up the road from the larger and more obvious Odeon and Filmhouse. It has an old-fashioned entrance, with the films and times chalked up on a blackboard on the way in. Shows a mix of independent, art-house and cultish mainstream films, with midnight specials and Sunday double-bill matinees. Friendly young staff (apparently there's a waiting list to work there), old-fashioned foyet snack shop, and a small bar/cafe in the back. A really nice cinema experience.
Home Street (top end of Lothian Road).
0131 228 4141
Served by buses: 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 23, 27, 37 to Tollcross
or the 23, 27 to Lauriston Place.
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