Between Edinburgh’s renowned literary heritage and its abundance of independent cafés and coffee shops, the place is a haven for both bibliophiles and latte enthusiasts. Consider the world-famous Edinburgh International Book Festival the sprinkles on top of the cappuccino.
From expertly crafted artisanal coffee to serene spaces to spend the day in, here are our top cafés for book lovers in Edinburgh.
Look no further if you like your cafés with oodles of character. The menu is brimming with gourmet pastries, light bites, cakes, bakes and specialty brews from Clifton Coffee Roasters. With welcoming staff, a bookcase filled with various literary finds and ample comfy seating, this place is an ideal hangout for getting stuck into a good book. Floor-to-ceiling arched windows make for a calm setting and you can admire their unrivalled knick-knack collection between pages.
Everything about Café Noir adds up to a dream café come reading room. The roomy space boasts leafy accents and plenty of seats. As the venue is also a patisserie, the pastries and cakes will keep you coming back for more and there’s no need to take a break from your book for lunch, as they’ve also got a large selection of sandwiches. Whether you’re looking to admire the coffee art with friends or study in style, Café Noir has it all.
Established in 2016 by two self-confessed ‘geeks who know coffee’, this micro-roastery puts all the focus on seasonal, single-origin specialty coffee. Extensive research is put into finding the best harvest coffees from all corners of the globe, and book lovers can soak up the serenity created by the stripped-back decor and airy space. Between the online store, the flagship Leith-based café and a new location opening up near Waverley Station, this beauty is just getting started.
Espresso and wine bar Hyde & Son rests in a league of its own when it comes to interior design. Giant windows allow the light to cascade in, and the comfortable seats and textured floor cushions make this the perfect spot to lounge the day away with a good book. Pastries by Leith-based Twelve Triangles (such as pistachio and blackcurrant croissants) arrive fresh every morning, as do raw vegan cakes from Grams in Haymarket and baking from Suki Bakes. As well as gourmet coffee and smoothies, Hyde & Son also craft innovative cocktails, each of which features coffee as the core component.
Cosy and bohemian café Black Medicine Coffee Co is ideally located near the museum right next to Blackwell’s Bookshop, and has plenty of secret nooks and crannies made for getting lost in a book. Light lunches include tasty paninis and snacks, and of course, the café serves coffee of all kinds, all day. A mainstay on the Edinburgh café scene for almost two decades, this social space is also committed to reducing, reusing and recycling.
What sets Printworks Coffee apart is its strong community atmosphere and penchant for raw, natural ingredients. The menu, which champions small independent producers, spans the whole gamut from pastries to artisan bread, made-to-order gluten-free cakes, cheesecakes and seasonal soups from Union of Genius. They also sell chocolate from local companies Coco and Chocolate Tree. Between the breakfasts (served daily until 11.30 am) and the comfortable seating, Printworks lends itself to me-time moments filled with reading and good eats.
Featuring the best scones in town, Red Kite Café ticks every box. Fragrant teas are sourced locally and the Janszoon blend coffee is from fan-favourite Artisan Roast. The freshly baked cakes and pastries never fail to deliver, but it’s the breakfast and lunch menu that will reel you back in time after time. Ideal for bibliophiles who like their coffee as enticing as their reads, it’s the little things with Red Kite, such as the fresh flowers and attentive staff.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.