Tips from 35,000 Feet: Edinburgh

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013

Edinburgh from a little way up Arthur's Seat

No touch-down in Scotland’s capital would be complete without a drink in our favourite Leith watering hole. While the neighbouring Michelin-star restaurants bring their own allure, the laid back vintage charm of the Roseleaf bar is like a home away from home. We love the pot-tails – cocktails served in Grandmas finest china – with local brewers of ales, gins and whiskies celebrated here with a drinks menu stacked to the rafters with possibilities.

The Roseleaf Bar | EdinburghRoseleaf © Roseleaf


We love to take a walk up the Mound, past the National Galleries of Scotland to the optical funfest of Camera Obscura. Its rather more regal neighbour, Edinburgh Castle, is well worth a visit but Obscura really does offer totally unique views of the city. Set over several floors the highlight is a giant periscope inside a Victorian rooftop tower offering a 360-degree perspective of Edinburgh.

The National Gallery | Edinburgh

National Galleries of Scotland © National Galleries of Scotland


The Grassmarket area has a tale or two to tell about Edinburgh‘s grittier history and there are always locals happy to regale you with its mysteries. Our favourite is about Grassmarket’s Maggie Dickson’s pub, so named after the woman “˜executed’ in the market square, but later brought back to life by the jolt of the cart carrying her to be buried.


If that hasn’t dampened your appetite, for great Scottish food, we adore Timberyard. Housed in what was once a costume store for The Royal Lyceum theatre, this rustic family enterprise is part hip cocktail bar, part edgy dining hangout. What started as an empty warehouse has morphed into a stylish eatery with adjoining smokehouse and an indoor-outdoor courtyard, with ingredients carefully sourced from local artisan growers, breeders, producers & foragers; not to mention a tasty drinks menu featuring local brews from The Kernel, Innes and Gunn and the Williams Brothers.

Hotel Missoni | Edinburgh

Hotel Missoni © Hotel Missoni

When it comes to finally resting our head in the capital, we can’t resist the monochrome style and bright brash charm of Hotel Missoni, courtesy of the famous design house. Situated just off the Royal Mile, the kilted doorman gives just enough nod to the location to allow us to embrace the bold European glamour inside. The rooms are suitably lush and the spa provides the perfect escape from the city throngs. Those less inclined to splash the cash, can enjoy a reasonably priced glass of proseco on draft at the bar or take full advantage of the fixed price menu at Missoni’s award-winning restaurant, Cucina.


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Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning