Get us in your inbox

Arusa Qureshi

Arusa Qureshi

Correspondent, Time Out Edinburgh

Articles (33)

Edinburgh Old Town guide: what to do and where to eat and drink

Edinburgh Old Town guide: what to do and where to eat and drink

The city of Edinburgh is known for the attractive neo-classical and Georgian architecture of its New Town, but beyond this urban sprawl lies the city’s original, medieval Old Town. Though not a huge area, this is where you’ll find some of Edinburgh’s most significant landmarks like the imposing Edinburgh Castle, the downward slope of the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace and the ruined Holyrood Abbey, which dates back to the twelfth century. Elsewhere, there’s St. Giles’ Cathedral, the National Museum of Scotland, the Old College of the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Parliament Building, as well as the many underground vaults and hidden passages that give the city its spooky reputation. Given the Old Town’s antiquity, most of the older visitor attractions lie here, along with the bulk of the tourists and a consequent concentration of shops, bars, cafés, restaurants and nightlife. With its many multifaceted spaces, centuries of history and status as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Edinburgh’s Old Town offers plenty that is worth exploring.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Edinburgh

Six epic road trips that start from Glasgow

Six epic road trips that start from Glasgow

Spending too much time in one city will naturally give anyone itchy feet. Thankfully, though, this is a problem that can be easily fixed, especially if you’re on a budget and hoping to stay fairly local. Whether you’re looking to plan a fun summer road trip or just a short weekend break out of Glasgow, there are numerous options you can explore that are only a short train, bus or car journey away. To give you some inspiration, we’ve found some epic UK getaways that will have you enjoying a beer in a hidden gem of a pub, hiking up a mountain or spending a night under some of the darkest skies in no time. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best Glasgow attractions

The 13 best art galleries in Edinburgh

The 13 best art galleries in Edinburgh

As well as hosting the biggest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh is renowned for nailing its year-round selection of cultural offerings. Aside from world-class theatres, museums, music venues and other performance spaces, the city’s wide selection of galleries provide everything from ancient artefacts and sculpture to contemporary painting and photography. There’s Scotland’s National Gallery buildings (including the Portrait and Modern Art Galleries) and the famous Edinburgh College of Art, but also a range of independent art galleries showcasing upcoming artists from home and abroad. Here’s our guide to the best galleries Edinburgh has to offer. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Edinburgh

The 33 best restaurants in Glasgow you need to try

The 33 best restaurants in Glasgow you need to try

Scotland’s biggest city has something to suit every diet and craving. But when Cail Bruich became the first restaurant in Glasgow to land a Michelin star in 18 years in 2021, it highlighted the true level at which contemporary Glaswegian dining was operating. Though Edinburgh is known for its many Michelin-starred institutions, there’s also plenty to get excited about further west. Whether you’re after adventurous international cuisine or locally-sourced delights, our list of the best restaurants in Glasgow will give you all the top tips you need to eat your way around the city. Recommended: The Best Airbnbs in Glasgow

The 28 best things to do in Glasgow right now

The 28 best things to do in Glasgow right now

With its elegant Victorian architecture and downright cool music and club scenes, Glasgow is a city of many characters, each as interesting as the next. This, coupled with the friendly and welcoming patter of the city's residents, makes it a place that is well worth your time. Spend a day in the city and you'll be overwhelmed by the many marvellous restaurant and bar options, as well as the museums, galleries, parks and other event spaces you'll find scattered around. There's naturally plenty happening in the city all year but it can be perfect for both a quick weekend break timed around something special or a longer trip away. Ready to get exploring? Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Glasgow right now. RECOMMENDED: The best Airbnbs in the Scottish Highlands RECOMMENDED: The best Airbnbs in Glasgow

The 20 best bars in Glasgow

The 20 best bars in Glasgow

Scotland is a country that loves to celebrate and doing so with a drink in hand is pretty much the norm. So it should come as no surprise that its largest city is home to many excellent and very popular watering holes. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a relaxing afternoon pint, a bar that prizes itself on its intricate creations or drinking dens with DJs ready-made for pre-club drinks, our pick of the best bars in Glasgow has you covered. And for even more tips, check out our list of the city’s best pubs and best cocktail bars.

The 22 best pubs in Glasgow

The 22 best pubs in Glasgow

Is there anything better than a cosy night with your pals in the pub? Or a mass celebration with your nearest and dearest accompanied by all the delights of your friendly local? Whether it’s a big group hang or a intimate afternoon pint you’re after, Glasgow’s many marvellous pubs are ideal for any occasion. The city has traditional joints, up-and-coming hotspots, spaces that double as music venues and pubs that are all about the grub. Whatever your taste or disposition, Glasgow will be able to cater to your needs, with that charming local patter firmly in tow. Here’s our list of the best pubs in Glasgow – and then, if you’re up for it, why not treat yourself at one of the city’s finest cocktail bars? RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Glasgow

The 18 best cocktail bars in Edinburgh

The 18 best cocktail bars in Edinburgh

Fancy a classic Italian negroni? Or maybe a cocktail that arrives with a massive cloud of smoke? Whatever your taste or disposition, Edinburgh’s many specialist bars will have you spoilt for choice. And with new spots opening all the time, you’ll never tire of the wondrous recipes that the city’s finest mixologists concoct next. From small, hidden speakeasies to popular themed-bars kitted out with decadent furnishings, here are our favourite bars in the city for that perfect cocktail. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Edinburgh

The 12 best museums in Glasgow

The 12 best museums in Glasgow

Scotland is responsible for many of the world’s most significant inventions, from the television to the telephone. And as the nation’s biggest city, Glasgow is naturally a terrific place to begin exploring all that history. Whether you’re looking for general interest institutions or more specialist attractions, Glasgow’s many museums will satisfy every taste and curiosity. From the striking Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum and the grand Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to the more intimate Glasgow Police Museum, you can spend plenty of time learning all about pioneering figures in art, music and literature and more. To help get you started, we’ve picked out some of the best museums in Glasgow right now. You’ll be able to trace not just the story of the city itself, but also find out how it’s helped shape the world in ways that are often under-appreciated. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Glasgow

The 17 best art galleries in Glasgow

The 17 best art galleries in Glasgow

Glasgow has been responsible for creating and shaping numerous artists over the years, thanks in part to the illustrious Glasgow School of Art which remains one of the UK’s most distinguished art schools. The number of Turner Prize winners (and nominees) that have emerged from GSA alone is staggering but the wider city’s affordability and emphasis on arts and culture is what makes it a haven for creativity.  If you’re an up-and-coming artist yourself, or just someone that likes to spend time surrounded by art, you’ll be able to find inspiration at one of Glasgow’s many brilliant galleries. With collections that rival some of the world’s very best, and with significant input from the many accomplished graduates that stick around, these institutions aren’t to be missed. So if you’re looking for brilliant things to do in the city, why not spend an afternoon at one of the below? RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best museums in Glasgow

The 13 best Glasgow attractions

The 13 best Glasgow attractions

As Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow naturally has plenty of interesting and time-honoured attractions. From world-class museums to grandiose gardens, these landmarks offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich industrial and maritime heritage, while also highlighting some of the most exciting elements of its contemporary culture. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or just someone after a fun, touristy day out, these are the absolute best Glasgow attractions to check out.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Glasgow

12 brilliant things to do in North Berwick

12 brilliant things to do in North Berwick

Edinburgh is a fantastic city to explore year round, whether you’re all about history, culture or unbeatable food and drink. But just 30 minutes from the centre, you’ll find another picturesque location that has long been a popular escape for the city’s residents. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet away from all the bustle that still has plenty to keep you occupied, look no further than North Berwick. The seaside town is known for providing beauty, fun and adventure all within easy reach, thanks to it being a simple bus, train or car ride away. Pop over to get your fix of wildlife and outdoorsy exploration, chill out on one of the picture-postcard beaches or head to a swanky new restaurant or café for a bite. Here are the best things to do in North Berwick right now. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Glasgow, Royal Deeside and Oban

News (8)

The Edinburgh Fringe is back – but what do the locals think?

The Edinburgh Fringe is back – but what do the locals think?

What is a festival city without its festivals? When Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns forced widespread cancellations and postponements in the creative industries, this was a question many asked in Edinburgh. As the world’s leading festival city, it has become synonymous with culture, thanks largely to annual celebrations that immerse the city in art and performance from across the globe. But what would this haven for the arts look like without the events that give it its reputation?  ‘It was heartbreaking for me both as a local and as somebody in the industry,’ Julia Amour of Festivals Edinburgh explains. As the director of the umbrella organisation that connects Edinburgh’s major festivals, Julia and her team have had a unique insight into how the city has dealt with the effects of Covid. ‘To stay safe, we needed to stay isolated and stay apart, and cities are about gathering places, so it all felt unnaturally quiet. People didn’t have those concentrated moments of celebration to look forward to and to look back on. It was a real kind of character change for the city.’ With events on the whole starting to reappear in 2022 at near-normal capacity, it seems fitting that the Edinburgh festivals will see a grand return in what is the Fringe’s 75th anniversary year. The cancellation in 2020 and the smaller-scale programmes last year removed that familiar buzz. But as performers ready themselves for their Fringe runs and audiences prepare for the arrival of world-class artists

7 eco-friendly businesses and projects we really rate in Glasgow

7 eco-friendly businesses and projects we really rate in Glasgow

Finally, after a year’s delay due to the pandemic, COP26 kicks off in Scotland this weekend. The leading global forum on climate change feels more urgent and crucial than ever. And so it’s only right that world leaders are gathering to review their emissions targets – and (hopefully) halt the climate emergency in its tracks. Recently awarded the status of ‘Global Green City’, host city Glasgow has set its own target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Which is big news. And with lectures, panels, pop-up arts spaces like The Landing Hub and event series like Climate Fringe, it’s hoped that COP26 will give local communities the impetus to really engage with the climate conversation. But this is also a city awash with businesses and year-round projects that place the climate crisis front and centre. Glasgow Eco Trust and Sustainable Glasgow are just two examples of wide-reaching projects that aim to foster a greener Glasgow. Here are seven more pioneering eco-friendly firms and initiatives we really rate. The bedding brand Buy the pyjamas and duvets from Glasgow-based brand Irregular Sleep Pattern, and you’ll go to sleep safe in the knowledge you’ve done at least one thing that’s good for the planet. The firm promises to produce its comfy bedclothes with the lowest possible environmental impact (all its products are ethically made in only very small batches). Expect snazzy prints, inclusive sizing and certified organic cotton. Photograph: Irregular Sleep Pattern The commun

This Scottish club is using dancers’ body heat to power the whole venue

This Scottish club is using dancers’ body heat to power the whole venue

Glasgow is going to be the talk of the world this November, as political leaders from across the globe try to figure out how exactly to save the planet at COP26. It’s the fun-loving Scottish city’s time in the spotlight – and we can expect a whole load of pioneering environmental initiatives to pop up there over the coming months. First up: SWG3. This legendary Glasgow club is trialling a new system that uses dancers’ body heat to power the whole venue. BODYHEAT will capture the heat of all visitors and staff, then store it in a series of shafts across the site. Days later, this will be converted into energy that will be used to keep the lights on (and the music playing) all night. And the best thing? It will radically reduce SWG3’s energy use full stop – saving up to 70 tonnes of carbon per year.  The system will be launched during COP26 on Sunday November 7, with DJ Honey Dijon headlining the inaugural night at the venue’s New York Times Climate Hub takeover. ‘Anything we can do at this moment to help climate change is a positive thing,’ Honey Dijon said in a statement. ‘This new system of channelling energy from the dance floor is something innovative and sustainable.’ Too right.  Tickets are on sale now via the SWG3 website.  Looking for more great stuff to do? Here are the best things to do in Glasgow right now.

The cultural spaces breathing life into Edinburgh’s coolest neighbourhood

The cultural spaces breathing life into Edinburgh’s coolest neighbourhood

What makes a neighbourhood cool? It could be any number of things, from edgy bars to offbeat architecture, big annual festivals to super-fashionable restaurants. In the case of Leith, Edinburgh’s northern port area and officially one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, innovative new food and drink businesses have increasingly made it a must-visit on any trip to the city. But what ultimately makes Leith Edinburgh’s funnest place to be is the incredible creative community that calls it home. Since the early 2000s, artists, designers, musicians and more have transformed the area, in many cases taking over derelict buildings and dockyard areas. In doing so, they’ve helped preserve (and build) a strong local identity. As is the case in cities all over the world, the neighbourhood’s popularity has meant that many of these spaces continually face threats from developers. But with the pride, perseverance and creativity of Leith’s people – and its many thriving venues – these guys are going nowhere fast. Here are six of the institutions we cherish most (plus a brand-new one we can’t wait to step foot in next year). The historic theatre with a snazzy new look When Leith was officially incorporated into Edinburgh in 1920, Leith Theatre was gifted to the people of Leith from the people of Edinburgh. Over the years, the art-deco building hosted the likes of AC/DC, John Martyn and Thin Lizzy – until it closed its doors in 1988. Since 2004, the Leith Theatre Trust has been working

This Scottish holiday home could be yours for an entire year for just £1

This Scottish holiday home could be yours for an entire year for just £1

Foreign trips may prove a bit of a logistical nightmare right now – but let’s be honest: many of us would much prefer to explore what’s right on our doorstep anyway. But the result of the 2021 staycation boom? Sadly, a massive lack of availability. Enter Highland Spring. The folks at the bottled water brand have heard our holiday home prayers and are teaming up with the Monachyle Mhor Hotel in Balquhidder, Scotland, to give one family the chance to win a year’s stay in a luxury ‘eco home’ for an entire year. And all for just £1.15. Photograph: JSHPIX Surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, this tiny home is usually available to rent for £200 per night (which comes to around £33,000 for the year). It may be small but it’s extremely stylish, with a double bed, kitchenette, woodburner and gas cooker, plus a bathroom and outdoor deck with a firepit. If you’re after a break from civilisation and the general chaos of the world, this could be the perfect place – because there’s no WiFi. Digital detox, here you come. And all you have to do to enter the competition? Follow Highland Spring on Instagram or Facebook and then share a picture of one of the brand’s new flavoured sparkling water cans – £1.15 each – while outside. (And don’t forget to tag @highland_spring and add #HighlandSpringHoliday to your post.) If your photo meets all the requirements, you’ll be entered into a draw, with the winner being announced in August. Ready? Stock up

This ‘haunted’ village in Scotland could be yours for just £125,000

This ‘haunted’ village in Scotland could be yours for just £125,000

Lockdown life and the possibility of working from home has led to a boom in people moving out of cities to more remote and idyllic locations. But if you’re the adventurous type and remote doesn’t quite cut it for you, how about somewhere remote and a wee bit spooky? If you happen to have £125,000 ($173,000) lying around, this could be a reality – because the ruins of a ‘haunted’ village in Scotland are currently on the market. The Old Village of Lawers covers 3.31 acres of land and comes with a private beach, semi-ancient native woodland and trout fishing rights on neighbouring Loch Tay. The area is full of glorious moorland, mountains and rivers, with the town of Pitlochry within driving distance. The most intriguing aspect of the village, however, is its seventeenth-century ruins. These include the House of Lawers: the former home of the Lady of Lawers who is said to continue to haunt the village. Goldcrest Land and Forestry Group, which is selling the the house, claim the Lady is ‘remembered for various prophecies, a number of which appear to have come true’. She is said to have predicted the arrival of the railway in a reference she made to ‘fire-coaches’ and also alleged that the church would fall when an ash tree she planted grew to the height of its spire. Of course, it did topple during a terrible thunderstorm and was never used again. Whether or not you believe in ghosts and are up for having the Lady of Lawers as your new neighbour, the sale of the village presents

Drink your way through the Scottish Highlands on a luxury whisky train

Drink your way through the Scottish Highlands on a luxury whisky train

After a year of having no major plans, many of us are eager to look ahead and book that post-lockdown trip we’ve been eyeing up for far too long. And boy, do we all deserve a treat. If you’re looking for something super-special combining luxury, adventure and incredible fine-dining, the Belmond Royal Scotsman may be what you’re after. Launched in 1985, the Royal Scotsman ‘cruise train’ has gradually been upgraded over the years to include everything from en-suite cabins to the Bamford Haybarn Spa – the UK’s first spa located in an IRL train carriage. For the past year or so, services were curtailed due to the pandemic. But as of April, the train has restarted various key routes, with a series of tantalising tours aboard the train now running through to October. Photograph: Belmond You could, for example, spend two nights on the ‘Grand Taste of the Highlands’ excursion, which will allow passengers to soak up all the beauty and grandeur of the Scottish landscape. The train departs from Edinburgh Waverley and includes a coach trip to Rothiemurchus Estate in the Cairngorms, with activities like clay-pigeon shooting and fishing on offer, as well as a private tour of Culloden Battlefield and a trip to the Strathisla Distillery. But if you really want to go in for the drams, you’ll be pleased to know that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has partnered with Belmond to host the ‘Scotch Malt Whisky Trail Tour’. This four-night trip will start at Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel, where a spec

These are officially the friendliest cities in the UK

These are officially the friendliest cities in the UK

A year of quarantine can bring out the worst in anyone, but one UK city and its residents haven’t buckled under the pressure – instead, they’ve topped a study of the friendliest communities around. According to a new study, Edinburgh is the place to be. Scotland’s capital not only came out on top when it came to friendliness, but was also highly ranked for those considering moving and starting over again in a new community. Edinburgh residents have the strongest sense of community, the study found, and the city scored highly for safety and in the number of independent businesses, too. (Its long history and overflowing, year-round arts-and-culture calendar don’t hurt either.) The study, by Parkdean Resorts, took into account five factors to rank the cities: happiness rates; safety stats; the number of local businesses; the number of community activities on TripAdvisor; and the number of community Facebook groups.  Coming in second overall, the city of Exeter in Devon achieved the highest happiness score in the overall list of 50. Oxford followed due to its high number of community activities, with Glasgow taking the fourth spot and Bournemouth rounding out the top five.  Want to see where your city landed? Here’s the full top ten:  1. Edinburgh 2. Exeter 3. Oxford 4. Glasgow 5. Bournemouth 6. York 7. Canterbury 8. Northampton 9. Stafford 10. Cambridge Wondering how not one, but two Scottish cities ended up in the top five? Edinburgh has its glorious landscape, many world-fam

The best things in life are free.

Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

Loading animation
Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!