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Chart your own route through Edinburgh with Culture Trip’s ideas for free, self-designed art, cultural and food tours throughout the Scottish capital.
Lovers of art, culture and good food will have no problems filling their time in Edinburgh. The city is bursting with creative hubs, artisanal food markets and – if legends are to be believed – ghosts. Whatever you’re interested in, a self-guided tour is an excellent way to explore the city. Here are some ideas to set you on the right path.
There’s no shortage of cosy pubs in Edinburgh; they’re the epicentre of local life, where victories are celebrated and misfortunes mourned. Rather than book a pub crawl that guarantees nothing more than cheap drinks and forced group fun, do some research and choose your own route through the city. As a relatively small capital, it’s easy to cover ground on foot or public transport, so have a look at some of the best traditional pubs in Edinburgh to create a bespoke tour. The White Hart Inn is a good starting point. This small, characterful pub has records dating back to the 1500s and claims to be both Edinburgh’s oldest (though it’s got some stiff competition) and most haunted pub, with previous patrons, including body snatchers Burke and Hare, roaming the property.
In recent years, Leith has shaken off its divisive (and arguably undeserved) reputation as a bit of a rough area; nowadays, visitors are drawn to these pretty streets, lined with independent shops and creative spaces. Catch an exhibition or an open studio event at artist’s hub Coburg House, which provides workspaces for over 80 designers and makers, or head to The Biscuit Factory, a huge warehouse space now used as an arts hub and venue (no prizes for guessing what its original purpose was), to see what’s on its events calendar. When you’re done exploring for the day, stop to dine at Michelin-star restaurant The Kitchin, or savour a cocktail at incredible Victorian-era pub Nobles.