The Most Fabulous 30th Birthday Ideas in Edinburgh
Preparing to say goodbye to your twenties? Don’t even worry about it, we’ve selected the best that the Scottish capital has to offer so you can celebrate in style
As far as we’re concerned, you’re looking rather fabulous for your age. But if you’re looking for 30th birthday ideas in Edinburgh, don’t worry. We won’t tell anyone that you’ve hit the big 3-0. And if you’re really wanting to celebrate, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re wanting to go out with a bang with a big group, or have something a little more low-key, there’s something for everyone in bonny Scotland, and for nowhere is that more true than its historic capital. Here at Plum Guide, we have done some serious research in order to find the very best places for you to celebrate, so whatever it is you're hoping to experience, we've got your trip covered. We’d definitely recommend booking a fancy birthday meal and sampling the culinary delights that the city has to offer. In the past few years it has become something of a hub for foodies (it always was a hub for drinkies, fear not).
Reserve seats in advance to be safe
For some reason (we like to think it’s part of Edinburgh’s archaic charm), much of the city still operates on a cash-only basis. Just make sure you’ve always got a few notes on you so you’re not caught short. Oh, and try not to worry when the Scottish bank notes come out of the cashpoint. It is not Monopoly money. Yes, it is real, and yes, you can use it south of the Border. But most importantly, whatever you plan on doing for celebrating a birthday in Edinburgh, make sure you book ahead. This goes for restaurants and bars. Things still run in quite an old fashioned way, and the best places in town often have a waiting list of a few weeks, so it’s worth planning your trip so you’re not left ordering a takeaway. Heaven forbid. Not many cities can boast a royal palace, a castle, a parliament and noteworthy historic monuments and galleries within one square mile. You’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere you don’t like in Edinburgh, but, of course, some neighbourhoods will be a little more up your street than others.
Visit the chic area of Stockbridge
This area is full of stylish boutiques, charity shops (often full of designer gear) artisanal cheesemongers and bookshops. Très chic indeed. The perfect area to have brunch at one of the many cafes or weekly food market and then spend a lazy day strolling.
Explore Dean Village
This neighbourhood is like walking in a fairytale. Think squat Victorian cottages, cobbles and quaint architecture. Running through it is the Water of Leith, the main river that flows through Edinburgh. Walk along it and try and spot Antony Gormley’s acclaimed life-size iron sculptures standing in the water. Keep walking and eventually you’ll reach the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. If you love art, make sure you take a break from the 30th birthday celebrations in Edinburgh and don’t leave the city without paying a visit.
Get a Michelin star meal in Leith
Made famous by Irvine Welsh’s novel, Trainspotting, Leith has the ‘badboy’ rep of Edinburgh. It became known as the ‘rough’ area of town after the Second World War, yet thanks to extensive regeneration and gentrification projects, it’s now a thriving creative area of the city, with exquisite seafood restaurants on its port. Both The Kitchin and Restaurant Martin Wishart have Michelin stars, so check these two out as potential options for your special meal to celebrate your birthday in Edinburgh.
Enjoy a trip to Old Town
Labyrinthine curiosities await. Charming, beautiful, divine. Even if you're only spending one day in Edinburgh, make sure to check out Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the famous Royal Mile connecting the two, full of trinket shops and some rather excellent wool and cashmere shops too. Definitely make sure you grab lunch at Spoon on Nicholson Street. A restaurant/bistro serving wholesome, hearty food, where JK Rowling wrote large chunks of her famous Harry Potter books.
Do some sightseeing in New Town
Built in the 18th century to combat the Old Town’s overcrowding problem, Edinburgh’s New Town is still pretty old and features a stunning fusion of Neo-Classical and Georgian architecture. But if it’s the main shops you’re really after, Princes Street has everything you need. Also around this neck of the woods is the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, a stunning Gothic building. If you like coffee, make sure you pop into Fortitude for a quick one before you go to the gallery. You may be doing a fair bit of your sightseeing around this neighbourhood, so it could be nicer to stay elsewhere.
Or if you want to roll out of bed and straight into the hustle and bustle of the city, we won’t judge you for that. One thing you really must add to your list of 30th birthday ideas in Edinburgh is to have a cocktail at the renowned Panda & Sons. The speakeasy style bar may be tricky to find, but trust us, once you do you’ll be more than pleased. Head on to the nearby Fingers Piano bar for a dance after. This place does what it says on the tin. One guy, one piano. Much dancing. If you’re lucky, they’ll even take a request or two. If that doesn't sound like one of the best 30th birthday ideas Edinburgh has to offer, then what does?