Daycation Guide: Working in Edinburgh's New Town

August 29, 2023

Edinburgh’s iconic New Town was first conceived in response to how smelly and overcrowded the Old Town had become. Some 200 years later, this area is still at the heart of the Scottish capital. Throughout the year it’s a picture of neoclassical splendor, while in August it becomes a vibrant and buzzing hub for the Fringe, the world’s largest performing arts festival, with literally hundreds of comedy, theatre, dance and music shows to choose from. 

We’ve scoured the internet (as well as getting a few tips from locals!) to come up with an itinerary that will keep you well fed/watered/entertained if you spend a day working in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Morning Coffee

Cairngorm Coffee

41A Frederick St, Edinburgh EH2 1EP

Google says: “Another gem in Edinburgh that's a MUST visit shop. Wonderful coffee and great service! HIGHLY recommend!” 

We say: Named after the coffee beans they roast in the Cairngorms, Cairngorms showcases their own beans as well as independent brands from different countries.

Fortitude Coffee

3c York Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EB

Google says: “I had an absolutely delicious natural Rwandan drip coffee that made my day! Chatting with the friendly baristas has been a big plus in my stay there. I think this is a very tiny fantastic coffee shop with a huge local following.”

We say: A firm favourite with Desana’s most serious coffee fans, Fortitude cares about every stage, from bean to cup.

Lunch time

The Square

17 N St Andrew St, Edinburgh EH2 1HJ

Google says: “Deserves a 5-star review. Amazing food with good portions, service is great, very small eating area, prices are low relative to other places in the St. Andrew’s Square area.”

We say: Freshly made soups, sandwiches and baked potatoes will save you from the tyranny of the supermarket meal deal.

Chez Jules

109 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ

Google says: “One of the best restaurants I've been to for a while. It's a hidden gem, which we came across by accident when wandering about Edinburgh. Everything was absolutely amazing! I couldn't praise the flavour and the service enough. (But perhaps pre-book if you want a table as it's BUSY!!)”

We say: An Edinburgh institution where the emphasis is less on the frills and all on the flavour. Go for the lunchtime deal to enjoy three great courses and still have change from £20.

Afternoon Snack or Walk

Bibi’s Bakery

37 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 2PJ

Google says: “Brilliant bakery - will definitely be back. The cakes are very tasty and the staff very friendly. My waistline is grateful I live far away 😂”

We say: From cute cupcakes to brownies, Bibi’s Bakery will give you a sugar rush to see you through the afternoon.

National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JD

Google says: “So many rooms and such a diverse range of art pieces and styles. The building itself is so beautiful and unique, inside and outside. From Scotland’s history through portraits of people who shaped the country in one form or another, to very modern pieces, this is a time-travelling experience that left me dizzy. Wonderful.”

We say: Centrally-located and free, this is the perfect place to pop into for five minutes of art appreciation.

Post-work activities

The Stand

5 York Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EB

Google says: “Amazing. Even though I'm not Scottish I can still understand the jokes. Recommended if you wanna have a good laugh. They do drinks and food as well. Arrive early to get a seat and avoid standing all night!”

We say: As the host of the largest comedy festival in the world, Edinburgh is known for its comedy. Outside of August, this club keeps the comedy going throughout the year and plays host to both big names and up-and-coming comics.

Tribe Yoga New Town

71-75 Northumberland St, Edinburgh EH3 6JG

Google says: “I've been attending Tribe Yoga now for about a month and I have to say this is the best choice I've made all year. It's increased my strength, improved my flexibility and calmed my mind dramatically. I've attended a range of classes from restorative and candle lit to Yin and Flow Yoga all of them top notch with superb well trained, passionate and knowledgeable instructors. Seriously if you're thinking about getting into yoga I couldn't recommend The Tribe enough. I'm well and truly hooked!”

We say: This airy and light filled studio is both conveniently located and known for the quality of its instructors. Ideal for a post-work wind down.

Edinburgh Street Food

Leith St, Edinburgh EH1 3AU

Google says: “Just go. You will not be disappointed! A large selection of food - bao buns, pasta, pizza, tapas, steak, duck burgers and more. You can order from the table via the QR code on the table. The menus have filters so you can identify which items suit your dietary requirements or allergies. I will be back, hopefully very soon.”

We say: This open air food court showcases local pop-ups. Great for a post work bite with colleagues - especially if you can’t all decide what you would like to eat!

Fancy a daycation working in the New Town in Edinburgh? With Desana you have access to numerous spaces including Hive Spaces, Citibase Edinburgh and Kingsford Business Club - as well as hundreds of other spaces across the UK and beyond.