Getting Around: Edinburgh
Orientating yourself around any new city can be a daunting prospect but help is at hand, as Niki Boyle takes you area-by-area through Edinburgh’s finest haunts and cherry-pick the top spots you cannot afford to miss
Ah, Edinburgh’s Southside. The spiritual home of many a fine student. A plethora of pubs can be found along the extensive drag of South Bridge/Clerk St/Nicholson Street, amongst numerous thrift/charity stores for cheap furnishings. Those with loans to cash may prefer the organic food wholesalers and chic bistros of Bruntsfield and Morningside, while the vast expanse of the Meadows is a cider-soaked,Frisbee-filled free-for-all on any sunny day.
Downtown, if you will, amidst the historic buildings of the Old Town, there's a ton of bars and restaurants, especially on the Royal Mile and Grassmarket (with the nearby Cowgate serving as the heart of Edinburgh's club scene, and numerous takeaways on George IV bridge catering to post-club punters). Also of note is Victoria Street, bursting with hip indie and vintage clothes boutiques.
Across town, the West End is largely collected around one stretch of asphalt, from the foot of Lothian Road all the way up to Tollcross. Almost everything is within a ten-minute saunter: theatre (Traverse, Lyceum, Usher Hall, King's), cinema (Filmhouse, Odeon, Cameo), with the odd club or venue, a smattering of bars and some top-quality eateries thrown in as well. There are also less salubrious gentlemen's establishments nearby, in the cheekily-nicknamed 'Pubic Triangle'.
A 15-minute walk from here finds you in the heart of New Town and Stockbridge. Between the uber-swanky Multress Walk (flanked as it is by Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton) and the equally trendy George St cocktail bars (such as Tigerlily and Candy Bar), it's easy to spend a fortune enjoying oneself in the New Town. More wallet-friendly alternatives are at hand, however: Reverie and Star Bar are wonderful New Town drinking establishments; and down the hill in Stockbridge, well-provisioned charity shops jostle for space with independent fashion emporia and friendly, village-style pubs.
Last but certainly not least is Leith and Broughton. The main thoroughfare Leith Walk is a mile-long stretch packed with pubs, takeaways and independent retailers. The main attractions are at either end: the Shore area contains many classy food and drink establishments; at the other end, Broughton is a hotspot for indie designer boutiques and whisky-and-ale pubs, as well as being the city's LGBT hub.