The Lighthouse Guide to Awesome Hideaways in Edinburgh

Are you in Edinburgh for the book festival (or one of the other festivals)? Yes? Huzzah! Welcome to the home of JK Rowling, Greyfriars Bobby, and of course The Lighthouse.

You’ll have a blast. Undoubtedly, however, you will reach saturation point when you’ve been standing in the rain queuing for tickets for an hour, possibly with a hangover, with six thousand other people treading on your toes and jabbing you with their brollies. That’s when you need…drumroll…The Lighthouse Guide to Awesome Hideaways in Edinburgh.

Mary’s Milk Bar

We’re struggling to type this as we’re stuffing ice cream from this place in our faces as we work. Seriously, this may be the best ice cream in the world. Violet? Salted caramel? Rose and dark chocolate? You can sit in at their cute wee 1950s tables if it’s raining. NB Don’t expect to come to Edinburgh and lose weight.

The Scottish Poetry Library

This place is a wee gem, with a peaceful atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s tucked away down an alley off the Royal Mile. No, you don’t have to know anything about poetry to go in there. It’s free for everyone and well worth a browse. Grab a volume at random and get inspired. There are also chairs and tables for writing, whether it’s the next chapter of your novel or just a postcard.


If you haven’t read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, get on it. It’s great. Cramond features in this novel as a romantic day trip and it’s still well worth a visit, 45 years later. If you visit when the tide’s out you can venture over to picnic on Cramond Island. Jump on a number 41 bus from the city centre and then wander down to the shore, stopping at the Cramond Inn for a swift half.

Looking Glass Books

Great books, great coffee, great macarons. Slightly tucked away, this place is a guaranteed haven of peacefulness and sanity in the midst of the festival madness. Oh, and don’t forget to have a slice of Victoria sponge – the best we’ve had in Edinburgh.

Portobello Beach

Definitely worth the trip on the 26 bus. The perfect place for a bit of dog-spotting … if dog-spotting is your thing. Have a paddle, sit and listen to the waves, think deep thoughts. And then head to the pub. The Espy is a great wee pub on the Promenade. We can wholeheartedly recommend the cocktails. ALL of the cocktails.

And tweet us if you’re in town!

About Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart is a Director at Lighthouse Literary. She was previously Fiction Editor at Scholastic Children's Books and a Senior Editor at Floris Books, and she writes the Elspeth Hart series, published by Stripes.