Edinburgh’s cafes with the best views

With its seven hills, ancient buildings and position on the Forth, Edinburgh is a city known for its views and vistas. From each hill across the city you can see far and wide and for many people the highlight of a visit is a trip to the top of Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh’s very own mountain. It will be no surprise to learn that many of Edinburgh’s coffee shops and cafes have stunning views. Whether it is a café perched above the city, or a beachside teashop, there is always somewhere to stop and enjoy the views.

The Elephant House

Famous as the birthplace of Harry Potter, it was the Elephant House café where JK Rowling first penned her novels. Now a popular spot on the tourist trail, the Elephant House has great views from its back windows across to Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town. The café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Elephant House

The Boardwalk Beach Café, Cramond

This newly opened beachside café has the vibe of a holiday spot, yet is only a short ride from the middle of the city. Serving ice creams, cake, coffee and light lunches, the café is in the most stunning location with views to nearby Cramond Island and across the Forth Forth to Fife. Cramond is a lovely spot for a waterside walk and at the weekend, the area is packed with cyclists and skateboarders.

The Terrace Café

The Terrace Cafe at the Royal Botanic Garden serves delicious hot and cold food daily (self-service) and, when the sun shines, the tables spill out onto the terrace where visitors can enjoy an alfresco lunch with an unrivalled view of the city skyline.

Twenty Princes Street

Although strictly more of a restaurant, Twenty Princes Street has some of the best views in Edinburgh as it is set right on the busiest shopping street in the city. With its views across the gardens to the Old Town beyond, this is a good place to sit and watch the world go by. Its sister bar, Juniper, is good for an early evening glass of wine and they are both great venues for light snacks while enjoying the view.

Twenty Princess Street

Costa, Hanover Street

Yes, it’s a chain, but this coffee shop has some of the best views in Edinburgh. Perched on the corner of Hanover Street and Princes Street, this is a good way to sit and enjoy a good view of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens.

Redcoat Café

You will be spoiled for choice at the Edinburgh Castle’s Redcoat Café – where the chefs have created a seasonal menu including toasted deli sandwiches, soups and succulent roasts. From snacks to hearty meals, there is something for everyone including the tempting delights on the cake counter. They can all be enjoyed while taking in magnificent views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.

Café Milk, Calton Hill

Billed as Edinburgh’s Highest Café, the newly opened, semi-outdoor café Milk is set in the Observatory and gallery on Calton Hill. With views all around and a bit of a breeze, this great little space is totally unique for Edinburgh and is a good place for a cup of coffee in the fresh air.

Milk Cafe

No wonder people love Edinburgh with its views across the city from many angles. The choice of viewpoints is endless and the coffee is always good!

Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.

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Comments (3)

  1. DANIELLE VEDMORE says:

    Being a massive Harry Potter fan The Elephant House is on my to-do list but I have to say the view from Costa is amazing!

  2. Maya Russell says:

    I’d like to visit The Elephant House where JK Rowling penned some of her novels, and just drink coffee all day whilst taking in the atmosphere and looking at the view. That would be so good!

  3. amy fidler says:

    love this x ive visited to watch the fringe festival,think i’ll try checking out thses,when next there x

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