3 Days in Edinburgh: The Alternative Itinerary
This is for all the Travel Queens out there who want to explore Edinburgh, but seek more of a balance between local experiences and tourist attractions. If you’ve been to Edinburgh before, we might have something new for you.
It’s Judith here. The wife is a little geographically challenged, so it falls to me to give you the ultimate, alternative itinerary for your next trip to Edinburgh.
SPOILER: you won’t be staying in the Edinburgh City Centre.
Nothing to worry about - I’ve got some travel tips towards the end.
Day 1 - Welcome to South Queensferry
Explore South Queensferry High Street
Walk across the Firth of Forth to North Queensferry
Lunch under the Forth Rail Bridge (UNESCO World Heritage Listed)
Dine in a village rich with the history of Royals, Saints and Smugglers
Day 2 - explore Edinburgh
Scenic bus ride into Edinburgh
Visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Walk the Water of Leith
Take in the main sights of Edinburgh with a walking tour
Dine, drink and dance your way around Edinburgh
Day 3 - Recharge your batteries
The Shore Walk, Dalmeny House & Cramond Village
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Day 1 - Welcome to South Queensferry
A bit about South Queensferry
South Queensferry is - as we like to say - only a cobblestone’s throw away from Edinburgh City Centre. You’ll be overlooking the Firth of Forth and the three titanic bridges, including the UNESCO World Heritage listed Forth Rail Bridge.
The Queens Bed & Breakfast is right in the heart of South Queensferry, which means you’re on the Edinburgh side of the Forth. It is upon this quaint village’s cobblestone streets where Royals, Saints and Smugglers once walked.
Morning - Arrive early
I’m assuming you’re going to want to maximise your 3 days!
Swing by The Queens Bed & Breakfast first. Your room will be ready later in the afternoon, but we’ve got plenty of space to store your luggage. My wife (Angela) will be ready and waiting to welcome you.
Wander down to the cobblestone High Street, and grab a coffee and a cake at one of the local cafes.
Pop into one of the gift shops and stock up on all those souvenirs you’re going to forget to buy before you leave.
Head further along the High Street until you see the majestic might of the Forth Rail Bridge. You won’t miss it.
Lunchtime - Dine next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Keep walking towards the Bridge and grab a spot of lunch at one of the pubs or cafes overlooking the Forth.
After lunch, it’s time to walk across the Forth Road Bridge to North Queensferry.
Walk 1 - Bridge Walk + North Queensferry
Give yourself about 2-3 hours all up. It’s a 3.1 mile walk which will take you just over an hour. You’ll explore North Queensferry before returning to The Queens on the train across the Forth Rail Bridge and into Dalmeny Station.
And a bit more information about North Queensferry.
Afternoon - Get settled in at The Queens
Get back to The Queens any time between 3:30pm and 5:30pm where the wife will be waiting to play. (She might even have a little gin-themed delicacy waiting.)
She’ll give you the tour, show you up to your room, take your breakfast order for the next morning (you’ve got an incredible choice) and answer any questions you might have.
Grab me (or Angela) and we’ll be happy to run through the rest of your itinerary or offer alternatives if you don’t fancy something we’ve suggested.
QUEENS TIP #1 : order breakfast as early as you can. Tomorrow is going to be full on.
Evening - Hit the High Street again
You saw so many inviting restaurants on your morning walk, now it’s time to head back down to the High Street and try one of them. We’ll be happy to tell which one’s we’ve tried so you don’t get stalled by indecisiveness.
Stay out for as long as you want (you’ll have a key to get back in). But don’t forget, you’re hitting Edinburgh tomorrow - so you’ll want to be fully recharged!
Day 2 - Explore Edinburgh
Early Morning - fit for a Queen
I can guarantee you’ll have slept well.
Pop down in your robe - it’s hanging on the back of your door.
Angela will have your breakfast choices ready and waiting. All our food is made on-site from locally sourced suppliers and inspired by chefs from all over the world.
Head back upstairs and get ready. Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes because this Edinburgh itinerary (and Edinburgh generally) includes a lot of walking.
Mid-Morning - WALK!
Head out the door, turn right and the bus stop is right there. Jump on the Number 43 bus.
It’s early but don’t nod off! Sit upstairs on the left-hand side to catch some sweeping views across the Dalmeny Estate and the Three Bridges.
Ride the bus until you get to Queensferry Terrace. Here’s a map for the next little bit.
Walk down to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Pop in if you fancy it. And once you’re done, it’s time to explore the Water of Leith.
Now, I love a walk. The crisp Scottish air, the serenity, the pace. And the Water of Leith is truly a unique way to explore Edinburgh. The whole thing is rather long, but this leg only covers Dean Village, Well Court, The Dean Bridge, St George’s Well, St Bernard’s Well.
Once you’re done, you can catch a bus from The Dean Bridge, or it’s only a 25 minute walk into Edinburgh City Centre.
Lunch Time - Eat!
In the City Centre, grab some lunch wherever you fancy. If you’re stuck for inspiration, here’s a nice little list of suggestions we sometimes use.
After Lunch - More walking…
Head towards Mercat Cross, High Street. That’s where the walking tour start.
Mercat Tours have some great walking tours. There’s the Secrets of the Royal Mile, Treasures of the Old Town, Historic Underground and so forth. I’ve done a couple of them, and they’re a great way to get a feel for the city and work out what else you want to do. But check the times so you’re not hanging about for too long.
Jump in a cab back to South Queensferry, or catch the train from Haymarket or Edinburgh Waverley station back to Dalmeny Station. Time to freshen up and tell Angela what you want for breakfast tomorrow.
Evening - Party or pooped?
Now if you’re exhausted from your day of walking, you might want to stay local and try that other great restaurant in South Queensferry you’ve had your eye on. But if you’ve still got energy, then it’s time to head back into Edinburgh for a Saturday night of fine dining, cocktails and dancing. Personally, I’m going for option 1, but each to their own.
Catch the bus or train back into town (you know the way by now).
Here’s some cool places to eat in Edinburgh.
Here’s a bit about the nightlife from a couple of locals.
If you’re looking for info about Edinburgh’s thriving LGBTQ+ scene (we call it the Pink Triangle), then this is a nice little guide to get you started.
Need to DO, SEE and eat more of Edinburgh?
If you’ve got more time, or need inspiration on what to do when you come back next time, these ‘Two Scots Abroad’ have done their homework! And it’s no surprise to us that South Queensferry is mentioned as one of their absolute favourite places in Scotland.
Here are their ideas for things to do, see and eat in Edinburgh.
Day 3 - Recharge your batteries
Morning - breakfast before you return to reality
Sleep in a little this morning. After yesterday, you deserve it!
Pop down in your robe for breakfast.
When you’re all packed, chill out in the Drawing Room with another tea or coffee.
QUEENS TIP #2 : Leave your luggage with Angela before you go on your walk. We’ve got the space and it just makes life easier.
And when you’re ready to get going, pop your walking shoes on again because you’re going to finish your 3 day alternative Edinburgh itinerary with some incredible sights. And if you’ve got a hangover, it might just cure that too.
QUEENS TIP #3 : Take a packed lunch. Let Angela know the day before. She’ll give it you before you set off, and add it to your final bill.
Walk 2 - The Shore Walk & CRAMOND VILLAGE
Give yourself about 4-5 hours all up. The full 9.2 mile walk will take you just over 3 hours, but there are a couple of points where you can cut it short. Then, you’ll come back to The Queens on the bus after a spot of lunch.
MAP OF THE ROUTE
There’s a map and here’s bit more of detail.
Cross the road over to the supermarket. In the corner of the car park, you’ll find an entrance to a secret walking path. Take it slow, and settle in for a leisurely stroll through the trees.
Just before you get to the rail bridge, drop down onto the lower path (signed ‘The Hawes Path’) and follow it towards the big red bridge (you know the one).
Once you’re standing under the Forth Rail Bridge, keep the water on your left and walk away from South Queensferry. You’ll join the Shore Walk. (If you’re exhausted or running out time, now is the time to turn back!)
It’s a nice walk through the trees to Dalmeny House. It’ll take you just over an hour and it’s fairly flat. Perfect to clear the head.
Keep walking until the Shore Walk takes a sharp right near Cramond Beach. Head up that road until you get to the Miller & Carter Cramond Brig.
It’s a steak house, so you can grab some lunch here, or keep walking down into Cramond Village where you’ll find a few cafes.
The last leg runs along the River Almond towards Cramond Village and is about an hour there and back (the bus back to The Queens leaves across the road from the Cramond Brig). This stunning path includes waterfalls, a Roman Fort, cafes, a World War I defence system called The Dragon’s Teeth and more.
And when you’re done, retrace your steps back towards the Cramond Brig and jump on the Number 43 bus back to The Queens where Angela will be waiting to bid you farewell.
The wife hates goodbyes. We’ll both be sad to see you go. But I’m pretty sure you’ll be back again.
I haven’t even talked about all the castles you can explore!
Bus: We’re 40 minutes from St Andrew’s Square on the Number 43 bus. The bus stop is right outside The Queens.
Train: Our closest station is Dalmeny which is a 15 minute walk, and then it’s a 15-20 minute ride into the main Edinburgh stations.
Airport: On a good day, we’re a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the Airport. But traffic can get pretty hectic so we usually leave 40 minutes. Which is mad - it’s only 6 miles!
Car: We’re on Google Maps and I’m pretty sure I got us listed on TomTom (I’m a geek like that). The easiest thing to do is head for South Queensferry, and you’ll find us on The Loan (that’s the street name) just before you turn right onto the High Street.
Taxi: You shouldn’t be paying any more than £25 from Edinburgh or the Airport, and you’ll be able to use Uber. There’s a local taxi company for the trips out of South Queensferry.
Our FAQ has a tonne of route maps, links etc.
Get 15% off our standard room rate if you book and stay at The Queens Bed & Breakfast for a minimum of 2 nights between the 7 November until the 15 December 2018. That’s long enough to try out our 3-day alternative itinerary for Exploring Edinburgh. Of course you’re welcome to stay a little longer and take your time exploring.
Book and stay between 7 November and 15 December 2018
Minimum 2 nights
For bookings made directly with The Queens Bed & Breakfast either on our website or over the phone
Use your discount code MINIBREAK18 to get your 15% off.