So I spent a few days in Edinburgh at the end of March and stayed at the Novotel Edinburgh Centre, located on Lauriston Place. From there, visiting Edinburgh is quite easy to do by foot! I had a few favorite places as you can imagine and a few itineraries once I knew the city.
What I liked to do once exiting the hotel was to take a turn left then, at the light, take a turn right and head down to the grassmarket. It's a lovely place with a great view of the castle and many restaurants and bars! There are some nice addresses to get a healthy breakfast and an ice-cream too.
Now if you head to the end of the Grassmarket, you will see on your left a steep street (W Bow), take it. The old houses boarding each side of street are mostly shops selling Kilts, Whisky, Cheese, Harry Potter items, bags, food and more. In a matter of meters, W Bow will turn to Victoria's street and finally, you will be walking the George IV Bridge. At this point, you can take a turn right and see the statue of Greyffiard Bobby, this little dog is a true example of loyalty which got him a statue (cross-section with Candlemaker Row). But you can also take a turn left and walk to the Lawnmarket/Royal Mile.
The Royal Mile is a street that I really like, with its old houses and buildings as well as many many many souvenir shops. By just walking the Royal Mile, you will discover the Heart Of Midlothian Mosaic, St Giles' Cathedral, Mercat Cross, High Court, Adam Smith Statue, the Fudge House and more! But that's not all, at the other side of the street you will find Castlehill and the infamous Edinburgh Castle as well as the Scotch Whisky Experience so when arriving on the Royal Mile, look at both sides of the street...
Visiting the Castle will take you about 2 hours and many will arrive just before 1PM to see the canon being fired. Now it is really crowded at this hour and you may hear more than you see but no worries, there is a lot more to marvel at like the Crown Jewels. Please note that the whisky shop in the Castle does offer good prices!! I know some sellers will tell you otherwise ;)
Now if you don't plan to visit the Castle or just want to take a few pictures of it, no need to pay 17£ per person to enter, you can take lovely pictures right before the ticket control. Then I would advise to head down the Royal Mile, see some shops, eat a bite and enjoy the view. You will at some point find the North Bridge which will lead you to Market Street but further on to Princes Street and its many shops and monuments. There is always something to see in Edinburgh so keep your eyes wide open and sometimes...Look back!
On Princes Street you can either walk towards the Castle or towards Carlton Hill if you want to take great pictures of the city...This hill is easy to climb so no excuses! On the other side of the street, you can find nice views of the Castle, the Scott Monument, the Gardens, many statutes, the Royal Scottish Academy, The Royal Scots Greys Monument, Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial, Statue of Thomas Guthrie, Ross Fountain, he Parish Church of St Cuthbert, St. John's Episcopal Church, and more! I would definitely recommend to take a break in the gardens, they're lovely especially these days with the sun shining.
Now if this looks like a lot of walking, there are buses available for 1.60£ per person/per trip or 4£ for a one day ticket. And of course there are three lines of Hop on Hop off buses + the Ghost Bus!! These have quite similar itineraries and will allow you to reach easily attractions located further away from the historic centre such as Canon Gate Kirk, Scottish Parliament Building, Dynamic Earth, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and more... All buses leave from Waverly Bridge and can be booked in advance or directly with the driver.
Ask your questions if you have any ;) But my advice to you is to visit Edinburgh!!