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The Best Way to Explore Edinburgh: Day Three

Whether you’re here to explore Edinburgh for the first time or a repeat visitor, it’s possible to see many of the city’s most popular attractions when you visit in three days. On day three of our itinerary we’ll visit Leith, see the Royal Yacht Britannia and explore the Botanic Gardens, after a hearty breakfast at the hotel.

Day 3: Explore Edinburgh, Leith and Beyond

Sunshine on Leith

The docks in Leith harbourIt’s just a short bus ride or drive down Leith Walk to reach the Port of Leith. Today this buzzing district is home to the city’s creatives, with bohemian wine bars side by side with traditional pubs and waterfront seafood bistros. It’s one of Edinburgh’s most vibrant areas and is a great spot for a day out.

At Her Majesty’s Service

Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith

Credit: Marc Millar

Stroll along the Shore to the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored outside Ocean Terminal shopping centre. In service from 1954 until it was decommissioned in 1997, the former yacht of Queen Elizabeth II travelled over a million nautical miles around the world in its heyday before reaching its permanent berth in Edinburgh. On board you can explore the regal state apartments and the engine room. As well as the Royal Deck Tea Room, where celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Sir Winston Churchill once dined alongside royalty.

A lovely lunch in Leith

Fish cakes on a white plate with a wedge of lemonLeith has plenty of great places to grab lunch whether the sun is shining or it’s wet and windy. On hot summer afternoons, enjoy the freshest seafood outdoors at Fishers or the Ship on the Shore. If it’s chilly, cosy home-cooked meals are the order of the day at the quirky Roseleaf. This is just a short walk away on Sandport Place.

Discover the Botanics

Colourful plants and trees and the Botanics in EdinburghIf you’re feeling like stretching your legs, the 5 miles walk along the Water of Leith to Stockbridge is the ideal way to work off that lunch. This is an incredibly pretty walk, taking in the historic buildings of Dean Village along the way. If you didn’t pack your walking shoes, it’s just a short drive or bus journey to upmarket Stockbridge. Here you’ll find ‘the Botanics’, Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens. With over 70 acres to explore, the Botanics is one of the finest gardens in the world. With a rich history that dates back over 300 years. On rainy days you can spend your time in one of the ten glasshouses packed with over 3,000 exotic plants; when the sun’s shining on Stockbridge it’s a great time to wander around the Chinese Hillside, the Arboretum and the rock garden.

After an afternoon discovering the delights of the Botanics, why not settle down for a cosy dinner in Stockbridge? Choose from trendy gastropubs like Hector’s and cosy Mexican cantinas. Or upmarket dining at restaurants like Taisteal, where you can order a tasting menu with dishes created using the finest local produce.

See the Forth Bridges

The Forth Rail Bridge lit up at nightIf you’re visiting Edinburgh with the family, you could skip the Botanics and head straight from Leith to South Queensferry. When it comes to Edinburgh boat trips, the Maid of the Forth is one of the most popular. Departing from Hawes Pier throughout the spring and summer months. These trips to Inchcolm island take around 1.5 hours. And you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Forth Bridges from the open top deck. Look out for marine life like puffins, grey seals, dolphins and Minke whales! There’s even time for a stop-off at Inchcolm Island. Here you can explore the beautiful, historic abbey before you return to South Queensferry for dinner.

Back on dry land you can wander around the town, taking in the charming old buildings, cafes and restaurants, head for the Queensferry Museum to find out more about the history of the town and the bridges or visit Hopetoun House on the outskirts of town. You’ll find plenty of places for drinking and dining in the town, like the Boat House with its seafood menu and views of the bridges.


However you choose to spend your afternoon, Parliament House Hotel is within easy reach of most of the city’s attractions. Why not book your room today and explore Edinburgh for yourself?

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