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The Ultimate Six Nations Weekend Away In Edinburgh

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2 months ago

Scotland is taking on England in Scotland’s home turf of Edinburgh in what will be one of the most exciting games of the Six Nations. From the best pubs to watch the Six Nations to the essential sites of the city to enjoy in between the matches, we’ve got you sorted for everything you need to know to make sure you have a memorable Six Nations Rugby weekend in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh buildings with park in front

Match information: Scotland vs England

Kick-off is at 4:45 pm GMT on Saturday, 24 February 2024 at the Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, just ten minutes outside of Edinburgh Old Town. The match will end at approximately 6:20 pm.

(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

Where to stay in Edinburgh for the Six Nations Rugby

For a more local experience with connections to Murrayfield Stadium, we recommend staying in Stockbridge. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with anywhere in Edinburgh’s city centre (Old Town and New Town). All areas are very well serviced by public transport so you won’t have an issue bridging the short distance between your accommodation and Murrayfield Stadium.

For an experience that is a cut above the rest, we would recommend Nira Caledonia, the Raeburn Hotel (which will also be screening the Six Nations) and New Town Guest House. The Virgin Hotel in Edinburgh is only a few years old and offers a great experience with a very quirky design, right in the middle of Old Town.

Leith is also a great place to stay if you would prefer to stay by the water but still on the tram line to take you to Murrayfield. The Malmaison offers beautiful views of the water right in the thick of it all.

If you’re coming in from London or another city in the UK, make sure you book your train tickets in advance. The trains get very busy on match weekends. We would recommend that you leave plenty of time if you’re going to catch a train – and that means leaving early in the morning on the Friday before the Six Nations action begins on Saturday afternoon.

How to get to Murrayfield Stadium for Scotland vs England on Saturday

By foot

You might not expect it, but the best way to get to Murrayfield Stadium from Edinburgh’s city centre is to walk. The route from Edinburgh’s city centre to Murrayfield Stadium is between 2 and 2.5 miles depending on where you start, but should take you less than an hour by foot.

Walking is the best way to avoid the hustle and bustle while seeing some of Edinburgh’s most beautiful sites. You won’t have to worry about parking, a delayed bus or traffic.

You’ll be walking along the acclaimed Water of Leith Walkway which is designated as an Urban Wildlife Site – and there’s a good reason for it. Your walk will be through dramatic trees, patches of ancient woodland and rows of wildflowers.

On your way to Murrayfield, you’ll pass through Stockbridge (where you might be staying), the impossibly picturesque Dean Village, and the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art where you can see masterpieces from Picasso to Scottish contemporaries. You can even start at the Royal Botanic Gardens and walk down the Water of Leith Walkway straight to Murrayfield.

Aerial view of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh
(Source: RBGE)

By tram

If you don’t want to walk, the best way to Scottish Gas Murrayfield is by tram. Murrayfield Stadium has its own dedicated tram stop right beside it, so you can travel directly to Murrayfield from Edinburgh Airport or from Edinburgh’s city centre. From the airport, your journey should be no more than 30 minutes. And from Edinburgh’s city centre, it should be no more than 20 minutes.

We recommend that you buy a tram ticket specifically for the Six Nations in advance.

Best pubs to watch Ireland vs Wales on Saturday and France vs Italy on Sunday

Ireland will take on Wales at 2:15 pm GMT on Saturday, 24 February at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, just before the Scotland vs England match in Edinburgh. And then after the Scotland vs England game in Edinburgh, France will face Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille at 3 pm GMT on Sunday, 25 February.

Man celebrating Six Nations victory in a pub in Edinburgh
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

Below, we’ve rounded up the best pubs for pre-match drinks which will screen the Ireland vs Wales match before you head to Murrayfield Stadium, and the best pubs to watch the France vs Italy match on Sunday if you’re sticking around in Edinburgh.

Map of Six Nations Pubs

See below for a map of all of the pubs screening the Six Nations pub this year in all of the host cities:

The Three Sisters

Located in the heart of Old Town, The Three Sisters is one of Edinburgh’s best sports bars. For those coming in from out of town, The Three Sisters provides the quintessential Edinburgh Six Nations experience.

The Three Sisters boasts multiple screens indoors and one large screen outdoors so you won’t miss a moment of the Six Nations action. The food is also surprisingly good for a pub this size, but where The Three Sisters really shines is the dough balls for dessert (extra chocolate sauce!)

The Golf Tavern

The Golf Tavern has been around for hundreds of years (actually) so they know how to create an amazing experience. Enjoy all the Six Nations action with a perfect backdrop of Arthur’s Seat – and they serve some of the best pub grub in the area.

The Pear Tree

The Pear Tree has a large beer garden with a giant TV to watch the matches. They boast a lively atmosphere during the Six Nations matches with excellent food. The Pear Tree also prides itself on being LGBTQ+ friendly and makes a point of making everyone feel welcome.

Finnegan’s Wake

Finnegan’s Wake in Victoria Street right in the heart of the Old Town is slated to have a particularly lively atmosphere for the Ireland vs Wales match. There are over ten screens throughout the venue, all of which will be playing the matches with sound on.

For Ireland fans, Finnegan’s Wake prides itself on holding Caffrey’s on draft (which they’ve only had since the end of January).

The Roseburn Bar

The Roseburn Bar is a family-run local favourite which is known in Edinburgh for its amazing service. They’ll have several big screens up to watch the Six Nations. It also happens to be only a 10-minute walk to Murrayfield Stadium.

Teuchters Landing

If you’re looking for a spot on the water outside Edinburgh’s city centre, the best place is Teuchters Landing in Leith. Teuchters Landing prides itself on a cool dockside seating area, a huge selections of beers and whisky and some of the best fish and chips you can get in Scotland.

Other pubs

A majority of the pubs in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s city centre will be showing the matches, but most are quite small and fill quickly so make sure you get there early. Those pubs are more sit-down pubs so many won’t allow standing. Other pubs in Edinburgh that will be screening the Six Nations matches are Belushi’s, The Mitre Bar, Cold Town House, The Tron, Malones, The Chanter, Angel’s Share, Milnes Bar, The Hanover Tap, The Amber Rose,

Exterior of the Scotman's Lounge in Edinburgh with man out the front smoking
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

Best food in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is home to some of the best restaurants and food generally in the UK, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to sample some of the best fare while you’re in town for the Six Nations.

Breakfast and lunch

Grassmarket Market (Saturday)

Right in the center of town in Grassmarket and open between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturday is the Grassmarket Market which offers hot food, arts, crafts, bread, cheese, cakes, jams and so much more. You’ll find everything from Ethiopian to Japanese, and the atmosphere is always lively. This is the perfect place to grab a quick bite in the morning or before the matches begin in the afternoon.

Edinburgh Grassmarket view of Edinburgh Castle

Stockbridge Market (Sunday)

The same as the Grassmarket Market, except the Stockbridge Market is located on Saunders Street and is open on Sundays between 10 am and 5 pm. One of our favourites here is Lovely Paella, but don’t stop there: make sure you check out the amazing desserts from local traders.

This is the right stop for breakfast or lunch before you watch the France vs Italy match on Sunday afternoon.

The Pantry

The Pantry is open all day for breakfast and snacks but it’s best for brunch while exploring Stockbridge and Edinburgh’s New Town. They have mastered the simple eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, but their mastery also extends to some of the best desserts in Edinburgh which rotate on a daily basis.

Dinner

Johnnie Walker Princes Street

Johnnie Walker’s flagship bar is spread across multiple levels and is the perfect spot for whisky lovers. There is even a dining experience at The Explorers’ Bothy Bar which we think is unmatched, as well as a personalised whisky experience which promises to serve all of the rich whisky flavours of Scotland.

If you prefer more casual dining, you can get a table at the 1820 Rooftop Bar which boasts a breathtaking view of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.

Fhior

Irish fans may recognise Fhior for its Gaelic origin (it means ‘true’ or ‘honest’). Fhior prides itself on its use of local produce for all of their dishes in their tasting menu. This is a dining experience that will not leave you wanting.

The Spence

If you’re looking for a little bit of glamorous Edinburgh to spice up your weekend, look no further than The Spence in the Gleneagles Townhouse in Edinburgh New Town. The building that The Spence is located in was once the headquarters of the Bank of Scotland which means that the space feels very grand and perfectly Victorian. And even if you want to skip dessert, the temptation will be too strong when the trolly makes its way to your table.

The Witchery

This is the quintessential Edinburgh experience and is not to be missed by any first-timer in Edinburgh. The design of the restaurant is full of character and is only correctly described as extravagant. You would think that a restaurant this famed for its beauty would get away with less-than-great food, but the food at The Witchery is absolutely superb in its own right.

The best things to do in Edinburgh in between matches

Edinburgh is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the UK and is also quite compact which makes it very easy to get around. While you’re visiting for the Six Nations Rugby, you’ll have time in between matches to explore some of Edinburgh’s gems.

1. Explore Edinburgh Castle

No trip to Edinburgh is complete without visiting Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock. You’ll get to see the Honours of Scotland which are the oldest crown jewels in the UK, and the Stone of Destiny which is an ancient symbol of the Scottish monarchy that was used in the coronation of Scottish monarchy.

Edinburgh Castle with mountain underneath it

Make sure to take your time to explore the castle grounds. You’ll need about two hours to explore the castle, so it’s perfect for before the matches begin on Saturday or Sunday.

2. Walk along the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the famous stretch of road connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Allow yourself to walk along through the ancient streets and alleyways so you can take in the atmosphere that makes Edinburgh famous the world over. The Royal Mile is filled with shops and vibrant street performances to keep you entertained.

Church in Edinburgh with flags

One of the best ways to see the Royal Mile and the Old Town is to take a tour. There are so many interesting stories hiding in the corners of Edinburgh.

If you’d rather spend the time exploring Scotland’s famous tipple, take 90 minutes before the games start on Saturday or Sunday to go on a whisky tour that you won’t forget.

3. Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The official residence of His Majesty The King in Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is open to visitors throughout the year. You’ll get to see all of the splendour and pomp of the British royals, including the Great Stair which is made from stone, the spectacular heart-shaped Darnley Jewel made for Mary, Queen of Scots’s mother-in-law, and carvings of Scotland’s national animal, the unicorn!

Palace of Holyroodhouse exterior

4. Climb Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is perhaps one of the most iconic places to visit in Edinburgh. Located within Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano that offers unobstructed 360-degree views of Edinburgh and the surrounding area. Take an hour to climb its 251 metres to take in an amazing view of the city. You can even see the medieval remains of St Anthony’s Chapel.

There’s an array of paths and trails to follow which are suitable for all fitness levels, but no matter which path you take, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view.

5. Visit the Scott Monument

Nowhere else characterises the Gothic architecture of Edinburgh quite like the Scott Monument which stands at the eastern end of Princes Street Gardens. Climb the 287 steps to the top for what is probably one of the best vantage points of Edinburgh.

Scott Monument with trees in front of it

Local tip: A little known fact is that the Scott Monument is decorated with carvings of characters from Sir Walter Scott’s famous novels.

6. Enjoy a wee dram at the Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is right at the top of the Royal Mile. They have truly perfected the craft of the storytelling of whisky which makes the tour of the flavours of whisky particularly memorable. Book a tour in advance so you can immerse yourself in the enjoyment of a dram of fine Scottish whisky.

Cadenhead's Whisky Shop exterior green paint Royal Mile sign

7. Visit Dean Village

If you’re looking for a bit of quiet time, head to Dean Village for tranquillity that is almost hypnotic. The village is set on the river and is only 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre. Dean Village reminds of a fairytale which you can fully appreciate from the Water of Leith Walkway at the riverbank.

There are plenty of cafés to stop and relax on the way to Dean Village (and it’s on the same walking path to Murrayfield), but you won’t need more than half an hour to take in the beauty of the architecture and the buildings from a bygone era.

Edinburgh by night

If you’re looking for Edinburgh’s nightlife on Friday night or Saturday night after the match, you should take yourself to the bars and clubs around Grassmarket where the atmosphere is sure to be lively. The pubs that we mentioned earlier are also all open until late so you can always return to any of the pubs in Old Town or New Town for a great night out.

Edinburgh Old Town view

Edinburgh is also famed for its dark history, and the best time to feel that is at night. There are plenty of incredible tours that will show you the scary side of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh for young families

If you’re taking kids to Edinburgh, the best place to keep the kids entertained for hours is at Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions. You’ll be lost in five floors of interactive curiosities and illusions as well as a surprisingly puzzling mirror maze.

Top tip: The almost-two-centuries-old Victorian-era Camera Obscura is a truly unique way to see Edinburgh and takes sightseeing to a whole new level. Make sure to get an allocated show time before you go so you don’t miss out.

Beyond Edinburgh

With some more time up your sleeve, Edinburgh is the ideal base for exploring the gorgeous Scottish Highlands.

If you have another day to spare in Edinburgh, you can easily visit Glencoe and Loch Ness – the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ and film set for the Harry Potter films.

glen landscape scotland
The magnificent terrains of Glencoe – only a few hours from Edinburgh

But for the more dramatic and unique scenery of the Scottish Highlands, you will need to plan for a few extra days in Scotland. Or better yet, plan another weekend away in one of our most unusual weekend destinations in the British Isles!



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