Our ongoing series, TOAST Guides, highlights unique haunts across the UK, from farm-to-table eateries to scenic walking routes. For the latest instalment, we explore the best dining, shopping and cultural destinations in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.
Meandering through Edinburgh’s moody Old Town alleyways and elegant Georgian streets, it is clear that this is a city with an independent spirit. From inside the distinctive medieval and neo-classical buildings, a community of family-run retailers, seasonal restaurants and inspiring art spaces contributes to the renowned charm of the Scottish capital. There’s no limit to the time you could spend drifting from store to store, café to café. But for a rounded sampling of what Edinburgh has to offer, consider starting with the following spots.
This neighbourhood bar and shop specialises in small-batch natural wines, sourced from independent wineries. Local and international varieties are served by the glass or the bottle in a minimal setting on the ground floor of a Georgian townhouse. Alongside these unusual pours, enjoy a changing selection of small plates and seasonal dishes made with Scottish produce. In the basement, owners Matt and Marzena also operate a small café and bakery, Ante.
1 Haddington Place, Edinburgh EH7 4AE
What was once a fruit and vegetable market in the heart of Edinburgh is now recognised as one of the city’s leading art galleries. Converted in the 1970s, today the recently-renovated Fruitmarket is composed of two bright galleries and a rougher, more industrial warehouse room. In addition to holding exhibitions by well-established and emerging artists, the cultural hub organises yoga classes, craft workshops and makers markets.
45 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DF
Set in a 19th-century former prop and costume warehouse, Timberyard is a family-owned restaurant whose mastery of ingredient-led cooking has earned it a Michelin star. Using locally grown crops and artisanal goods, the knowledgeable team whips up inventive dishes and pairs them with organic wines. In the cellar, idle over a post-meal dram of Scotch from one of the independent distillers Timberyard champions.
10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DS
Sitting on St Stephen Street, a side road lined with one-of-a-kind stores, this perfumery promises a memorable shopping experience. The consciously crafted fragrances capture the beauty of nature, blended using sustainably sourced ingredients including hand-harvested lavender and aged oud oil. This thoughtful studio worked with Craft Scotland to launch the Jorum Craft Award in 2020, providing bi-annual funding to assist with development of a maker’s creative practice.
12 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AL
The Gardener’s Cottage
Tucked away in London Road Gardens, at the base of Calton Hill, this stone cottage offers a peaceful dining experience that feels entirely removed from the hustle and bustle. Work your way through the seasonal set menu – complete with matched drinks – in a cosy, communal setting, taking in a view of the garden where many of the kitchen’s vegetables and herbs have been cultivated.
Royal Terrace Gardens, 1 London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5DX
This expansive sculpture park and art gallery is located just a short journey from Edinburgh city centre. Occupying 100 acres of woodland and meadows, the Jupiter Artland is home to over 30 permanent and site-specific works by Scottish and international sculptors, as well as a programme of curated exhibitions. The organisation acknowledges the transformative power of art, believing its accessibility is vital to a thriving society.
The Steadings, Bonnington House, Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BY
With eight locations dotted around the city, Twelve Triangles is a scratch bakery cherished by Edinburgh locals. Slow-fermented sourdough loaves and flaky fruit pastries are among its most-loved products, each created and shaped by hand by in-house bakers. All of the jams, custards, pie fillings, and ricotta are made fresh every day using predominantly local and organic ingredients.
90 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh EH7 5HU
A textile museum and studio in the city centre, Dovecot has been collaborating with international artists since 1912 to make handwoven tapestries and gun-tufted rugs. Visitors can watch from an airy viewing platform as resident weavers work on intricate tapestry commissions. In recent years, the gallery has also held exhibitions featuring William Morris, Kaffe Fassett and Mary Quant.
10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT
The original Till’s started trading in 1985, established as Edinburgh’s first secondhand bookshop. Overlooking the Meadows park, Rick and Ann Till carved out a small but mighty literary space in Edinburgh's South Side. Now under new ownership, the store stocks classic fiction, non-fiction, art titles and antiquarian books. A second location – complete with a specialty coffee shop – has just opened in Portobello, the city’s seaside neighbour.
1 Hope Park Crescent, Edinburgh, EH8 9NA
Every Sunday, craftspeople, growers and food traders gather under a canopy of trees in the village-like neighbourhood of Stockbridge. The collection of stalls sells handmade preservatives, artisan goods, farm produce and prepared hot meals. This modern marketplace pays homage to the area’s historical market which closed in 1906; you’ll find the B-listed Old Stockbridge Arch and trading area just around the corner.
Saunders Street, Edinburgh EH3 6TQ
Two minutes from Stockbridge Market, our Edinburgh shop houses a curated selection of TOAST womenswear, menswear and homeware. An enthusiastic team is there to welcome you every day of the week.
4 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
Words by Bébhinn Campbell.
Image 1: Courtesy of Jorum Studio.
Image 2 and 3: Timberyard, photography by Abi Radford.
Image 4: Love Bomb (2006) by Marc Quinn, photography by Allan Pollok Morris courtesy of Jupiter Artland.
Image 5: Animitas (2016) by Christian Boltanski, photography by Allan Pollok Morris courtesy of Jupiter Artland.
Image 6: Viewing balcony at Dovecot Studios, photography by Phil Wilkinson.