Ian Rankin’s insider’s guide to Edinburgh
Ian Rankin

Crime writer Ian Rankin has lived in Edinburgh since his university days, so it’s fair to say he knows his way around.

We challenged him to choose six of his favourite Edinburgh haunts and explain exactly what makes them so special.

The Water of Leith

Water of Leith
Pedro Cambra / Flickr / CC

“Walking from Bells Brae along the Water of Leith to Stockbridge. And then when you get to Stockbridge you’ve got a second hand record shop waiting for you – VoxBox. I love it down there, especially during the Festival when it can be pretty chaotic in Edinburgh. You can just walk down there and suddenly you’re alone in the middle of the city.”

VIDEO: Find out more about VoxBox Records

Elvis Shakespeare

“One of my favourite places to go – although I don’t go very often, I’m in the wrong part of town – is Elvis Shakespeare. It’s got quirky stuff. It’s got old second hand comics and books and CDs and LPs. It’s got these drawers of LPs – you open up a drawer and there are five hundred LPs in there. You could spend all day just flipping through, and you pick up the occasional really good bargain in there.”

347 Leith Walk, EH6 8SD – more info

Calton Hill

Calton Hill
Getty Images

“Whenever anybody’s visiting Edinburgh for the first time if they’ve only got half a day or a day I say: ‘Well just climb up to the top of Calton Hill and have a look around because you’ll get a 360 degree view for free without having to go up Arthur’s Seat.’ And it will just help you locate the city – you’ll see everything. You’ll see the Parliament, you’ll see Holyrood, you’ll see Arthur’s Seat, you’ll see over to the Castle, you’ll see over to the Forth Bridge, you’ll see over to Fife, you’ll see Leith. You can see all of that from the top of Calton Hill and it’s free.”

The Café Royal

The Café Royal Edinburgh
Andrew Bowden / Flickr / CC

“It’s spectacular. Between the restaurant with its stained glass and the bar with the tiles it’s just a beautiful interior and it’s got pretty good beer. And good service. And you do get a wide range of Edinburgh characters in there so it’s a pretty good place to go if you’re central. It does get heaving sometimes, but it’s got a buzz. It’s definitely got a buzz.”

19 West Register Street, EH2 2AA – more info

Victoria Street

Victoria Street Edinburgh
morebyless / Flickr / CC

“I think it’s a terrific street. It’s got a great pub The Bow Bar, it’s got some decent places to eat, it’s got a live music venue and it’s kind of quirky at the same time. Although sadly the shop selling nothing but brushes is gone. It used to sell nothing but brushes and rope.”

The Sheep Heid Inn

Sheep Heid Inn
Graham van der Wielen / Flickr / CC

“You can go to the Sheep’s Heid, have a game of skittles, have a pint of beer and then go to Duddingston Loch. You can spend half a day there. And if you feel like it you can then climb up Arthur’s Seat, or at least walk around it. Walking around it would be my preference.”

43-45 The Causeway, EH15 3QA – more info

Main image: Getty Images

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