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How To Spend A Wintry Weekend In Edinburgh

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By Lucy Cocoran on 29th February 2024

Edinburgh’s gothic architecture, vibrant culinary scene and rich historical tapestry are just a few of the reasons it is the perfect destination for a city break.

Whether you’re in need of some rest and relaxation or interested in discovering the sights, Edinburgh has plenty to offer on all fronts. The colder weather shouldn’t act as a deterrent either, with the city coming alive equally in winter as it does in summer. Those touching down in Scotland’s capital will find it brimming with restaurants, cultural activities and friendly faces.

Below, discover the perfect way to spend a wintry weekend in the historical city, courtesy of The Sybarite.


Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa

As a heritage hospitality brand, booking a stay at a Sheraton guarantees impeccable service, delicious dining options and a suite of amenities on hand to satisfy your every whim. Needless to say, all of this (and more) can be found at Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh, who host a memorable stay from beginning to end. As a Sheraton Grand, the hotel has been recognised as notable among its counterparts, and once you set foot inside, it’s clear to see why. 

Located west of Edinburgh Castle just off Princes Street, the hotel’s prime location is a major selling point for those looking to make the most of their city break. Room options range from deluxe to suites, with add-ons including lounge access and spa visits. Some rooms boast unparalleled views of the castle making for a lovely morning ritual as you draw back the curtains.

Onsite dining options are varied but primarily found within One Square — the primary venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While hotel dinners typically conjure images of business meetings, the restaurant’s affordable three-course menu offering shouldn’t be overlooked. The seafood here is freshly caught with a big focus on fresh, Scottish ingredients and local suppliers, making it a must-try. 

Our pick? The smoked mackerel rillettes followed by the roast fillet of salmon. 

For guests seeking something extra, the members lounge comes highly recommended for myriad reasons, namely the ability to work, relax or catch up with people outside of your room. A slightly smaller buffet breakfast is also served here, with the haggis and potato scones station definitely worth sampling. It is also worth noting that the lounge hosts a canapé and happy hour from 5-7pm daily, which is the perfect way to segue into dinner plans. 

Come Sunday morning, a trip to One Spa is the perfect way to round off your weekend (especially if a few late night bar visits are catching up with you). Take  the elevator to the fifth floor before crossing the Sky Bridge, where you’ll be greeted by the wonderful spa team. Beyond the main pool area lies One Spa’s thermal suite, which hosts classic amenities such as saunas and a hammam, to more experiential offerings including  immersive showers, a crystal steam room and dry salt room. The hydropool is understandably popular, offering a connected indoor and outdoor bathing experience to enjoy whatever the weather  The combination of brisk, outdoor air hitting your shoulders and warm, powerful jets beneath the surface is highly refreshing, reminiscent of an Icelandic bath.  

Overall, the friendliness of the staff at Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh is a true standout. Willing to go above and beyond to improve the quality of your stay, it truly feels like your personal experience matters, which, from a big name hotel, is a real testament to the people working there.

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Address: 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR

Eat - Dinner

The Witchery 

Walking down the cobblestone pathway to The Witchery feels like an experience in its own right. Residing in Boswell’s Court along the Royal Mile, its secluded location is a clear departure from the bustle of the main strip. . 

Once inside, a staircase descends into the Secret Garden; a dining room shrouded in darkness, save for a few candles on each table. As your eyes adjust, the room’s decor reveals an immersive aesthetic of gothicism and romanticism — think cherub statues, elegant brass candlesticks and oversized French windows. The setting is undeniably romantic, but perfect for families too. 

Despite being noticeably busy, once seated at your table, the surrounding diners simply melt away. Reading over the menu by candlelight, an eye-catching entree  is the aged scotch beef tartare with raw hen’s egg. This proves to be a careful dance of meatiness and tanginess, with the added theatrical moment of breaking through the perfectly orange yolk. 

As for mains, the red deer and haggis wellington is a standout dish which feels necessary to order when dining in the Scottish capital. Designed to be shared between two, the meat is perfectly rare inside, accompanied by a sophisticated take on ‘neeps and tatties’ with creamy mashed potato and smooth turnips proving themselves the perfect side. 

The pudding menu, while challenging to contemplate after a wildly decadent starter and main , contains the typical sweet suspects you would expect. Fruit-lead dishes include a sweet rhubarb custard tart, while a richer option lies in the valrhona bitter chocolate torte. 

An unrivalled dining experience with an atmosphere which can only be described as otherworldly, The Witchery should be at the top of every traveller’s culinary bucket list.

The Palmerston 

For dining options outside of Edinburgh Old Town, an outing towards the West End requires a dinner at The Palmerston — an elevated, neighbourhood-style eatery in a converted former bank. Stepping inside the restaurant-cum-bar, a smiling member of staff immediately comes forward to greet you, with this level of attentive service unwavering throughout the night. A seat at the high-top bar proves the perfect vantage point to bask in the ambience, while offering the chance to chat through the drinks menu with a mixologist. 

Once settled, a generous serving of bread and dollop of golden yellow butter appear in a flurry, having been carved upon your arrival. Given that the restaurant doubles as a bakery during the day, the loaf is highly memorable with a crusty outer shell and delightfully fluffy interior. 

Seasonal, British produce is at the heart of The Palmerston’s menu, which is apparent at first glance. The appetiser menu is kept light with a focus on fresh, zesty options. Grilled squid and fried Jerusalem artichokes are the stars of two separate salad dishes with a thoughtful balance of taste and textures in each. Meat is a major draw on the main dish menu, with Berkshire pork schnitzel, wild rabbit leg and a selection of freshly-caught fish all showcased. Grilled mullet is served whole, atop a generous spread of spiced chickpeas and charred vegetables, while an off-menu partridge dish is cooked to perfection, served in a pool of gravy (which can be mopped up with any remaining bread). Dishes are hearty and warming, with the level of care evident in their unique flavour profiles. 

Given the focus on seasonality, the menu changes frequently. The venue’s chefs create dishes using ingredients available right then and there, with as little waste as possible, to an impressive degree. Overall, the atmosphere is relaxed, the menu varied, and the staff friendly and knowledgeable, making The Palmerston a standout dinner spot.

Eat - Bakeries

Lannan Bakery 

A relative newcomer on the pastry scene, Lannan Bakery made waves when it opened in 2023, courtesy of Scottish baker Darcie Maher. Located in Stockbridge, the surrounding area has a strong residential slant with a range of artisan stores and cafes set back from the bustle of the city. With a focus on seasonal produce, this outpost serves everything from cakes and pastries to hand pies and sandwiches. 

Inside is quaint, with an open-window kitchen allowing you to peer in and discover the dough making process. A large display case boasts fresh pastries, with a mix of sweet and savoury options. The cinnamon bun is an unmissable feat of butter and sugar, offering the perfect balance of crispy crunch and fluffy centre with a delightfully sticky twirl inside. For those seeking a savoury balance, the smoked ham hock and cheddar bear claw is a flaky masterpiece, cut through with a zingy smear of mustard.

Twelve Triangles 

Another bustling, baked favourite is Twelve Triangles. With multiple outposts across Edinburgh it offers a varied and convenient experience, no matter your location. Better still, if you’re planning to explore, you can base your trail around a coffee and pastry pitstop. 

The pan suisse proved a nice alternative to the classic pan au chocolate, offering more buttery pastry and slightly less chocolate, due to being made with chocolate chips. If you’re partial to a slight cocoa fix without going overboard, this is a must-try. The favoured, nutty classic was also on offer in the form of an almond croissant, while a blackcurrant and pistachio creation was a lovely balance of sweet and salty to cut through the butter.


Panda & Sons 

Widely recognised as an Edinburgh institution, this underground bar is entered via a door disguised as a bookcase. The cocktail menu is creative and well-thought out, with waiting staff more than happy to offer suggestions based on your liquor of choice. Though it will likely require waiting in line, withstanding the queue is well-worth it, if only to discover what so many rave about. 

Hoot The Redeemer

An unassuming door next to an Italian restaurant leads to a downstairs, psychic-inspired speakeasy with charming interiors. Enter through the door which has been playfully hidden by a fortune teller machine, before entering the main bar which contains various arcade games and an ice-cream vendor. Brought to you by the same team behind Panda & Sons, it has a similar sense of whimsy for a fun night out. 


Royal Mile 

Named after the mile-long stretch of road which connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse, there is plenty to discover along this diverse walkway. Lined with shops, restaurants and historic buildings, the bustling thoroughfare feels very immersive, with kilted pipers playing the bagpipes and the towering architecture of the Tron Kirk and St Giles Cathedral. 

Edinburgh Castle 

While tickets should be booked in advance (especially during busy seasons), a visit to Edinburgh Castle shouldn’t solely be reserved for history buffs. With a 3000 year history, there is plenty to discover, including Margaret’s Chapel and The Great Hall, along with the chance to see The Crown Jewels at close range. If you are visiting, planning your trip around 1pm is encouraged, to witness the One O’clock Gun, which has been fired every day since 1861, excepting Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday. 

If a full visit doesn’t sound entirely up your alley, you can get relatively close to the entrance for free, which may be enough to satisfy the curiosity of the mildly intrigued.

Multrees Walk and Princes Street 

Home to high-fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Max Mara, Multrees Walk is the place to go if you’re in need of some retail therapy. Princes Street offers flagship stores for Marks and Spencer,, Clarks and Dr Martens, with St James quarter located at the east end, offering even more fashion stores.  

National Galleries of Scotland

Art lovers will enjoy a leisurely visit to one of the National Galleries, with four outposts spread across the city. Between them, the National, Modern One, Modern Two and Portrait offers exhibitions for every kind of art aficionado with a mix of modern, old masters and contemporary art. Be sure to book ahead of time, with information on current exhibitions available online.

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