Big kids and little kids alike will love Edinburgh Zoo, the second most popular attraction in Scotland after Edinburgh Castle. Bed down in one of these top hotels within easy reach of the Corstorphine conservation centre, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Over 1,000 rare animals live in 82 acres (33ha) of hilly parkland, just west of Edinburgh city centre. In fact, Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK that houses Queensland koalas and giant pandas. Visit Tian Tian and Yang Guang in their outdoor enclosure or learn how to take nature photographs at one of their onsite workshops. We’ve put together a rundown of the best places to stay whilst you’re here.
The Torfin is a stylish gastropub with rooms, just a 12-minute walk from Edinburgh Zoo. Upstairs, you’ll find modern double and king-sized rooms, featuring dark blue walls, furry blankets and stag-themed art. All include breakfast, which can be delivered to your room on request. After a day at the zoo, dig into hearty grub in the dining room. The varied menu ranges from Catalan-style chicken and duck spring rolls to their signature dish – beer-battered Scottish haddock served with chips, pickled onion and tartar sauce.
Whisky fans, head this way. This is the only hotel in Edinburgh that serves Highland Park 40-year-old whisky, as part of a collection of more than 80 of the country’s finest single malts. Five-star accommodation is spread over 35 rooms in two restored Victorian townhouses, ranging in size and splendour from Cosy Wee Singles to the Dunstan Suite; survey the city and Pentland Hills from a copper bathtub in the bay window. Don’t miss the Scottish Brunch or the English-style afternoon tea.
This welcoming boutique occupies a listed Edinburgh townhouse of dark stone and is ideally appointed for city-centre sightseeing as well as a visit to the zoo. Start off with a hearty Scottish breakfast in the dining room and finish the day with a wee dram in the bar, which is decked out with sleek leather armchairs, wood-panelling and a boxy bay window looking out on the street. Those with kids should book a Family Room, sleeping three. Haymarket train station is a two-minute walk away.
Rooms at this chic three-star exude a cool, light elegance, spread across the main hotel and a separate house just down the road. Book the Family Room sleeping four; couples should upgrade for a four-poster bed and original fireplace. The inhouse Bothy Restaurant showcases the finest of Scottish produce, from haggis and salmon to flights of malt whisky – including one focused on Johnie Walker’s finest offerings – and a variety of Scotch gin. Murrayfield Stadium is right opposite, whilst the zoo is a 20-minute walk away.
Equipped with its own indoor pool, the Leonardo is a great option if you want to keep the kids entertained after a trip to the zoo. There’s also a well-equipped gym, a chill-out zone with a coffee machine and newspapers, plus a sauna and steam room. The Westview Restaurant lives up to its name by offering an expansive perspective on the city’s western extremity, as well as snacks, mains and flatscreen TVs. A breakfast of berries, yoghurt, fruit and juice is available for an extra fee.
Dating from 1840, this stately country manor was once owned by the Ushers, the family that founded the Glenlivet distillery as well as the Usher brewery. Bedrooms in its main building display a period design with original features, while those in the west wing favour modern sophistication. Take afternoon tea or cocktails in the Conservatory Lounge. Sample traditional dishes such as braised Scottish lamb at The Brasserie, a modern dining space decorated with contemporary art. The zoo is a 15-minute drive away.
Still unsure? See the best family-friendly hotels or stylish apartments that’ll make you feel at home in Edinburgh, now bookable via Culture Trip. Make the most of the Scottish scenery with nearby castles and breathtaking walks in the Pentland Hills, then stock up on energy in some of Edinburgh’s top restaurants.
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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.