I’m currently writing this whilst coming out of an intense shortbread detox – it’s quite something, but I’ve just returned from Edinburgh and I had to do as the Scots do… Even though I was only there for 4 days, I managed to cram as much sightseeing and shortbread into that short amount of time so I have lots to share with you…
Let’s start off by saying I really loved Edinburgh, and the whole vibe the city seems to hold. It reminds me a lot of my old city, Norwich, in that it’s chilled, unique and filled with lovely pubs (and subsequently lots of gin). Whilst we were there – in the middle of March – it was quite nippy, and it rained a lot, but if you can put that aside you’ll be in for a lovely time in a beautiful city.
Below is a little summary of my trip, and shortly to follow there will be posts on what to do and where to eat!
Fresh off the 5 hour train journey up from London Kings Cross (which flew by – Virgin Trains and their free wifi do know how to make a good journey) we hopped in a taxi to our Airbnb apartment. We’d picked somewhere listed as being ‘Just off the Royal Mile’ (spoiler – they all say that), which it wasn’t quite, but it was a short walk away. We were in a tower block right next to Arthurs Seat, with a pretty view of the city and the interesting-looking new Scottish Parliament building.
I have to admit I came to this holiday quite ill-prepared than I usually do, but I had a few suggestions hidden away in my iPhone notes, and the one which my boyfriend liked in particular was the haggis burrito. Two of his favourite things put together, so off we headed to find Los Cardos and tuck in to one of these local delicacies, a particular favourite (apparently) of Irvine Welsh, the writer of Trainspotting and Filth – so much so that is lovingly nicknamed ‘The Irvine’. It was pretty much what it said on the tin – not the best burrito I’ve ever had, but it definitely hit the spot. I’ve put a photo of it below, but it doesn’t really do it any justice, if anyone knows how to take a good picture of a burrito CALL ME.
Haggis burrito behind us, we headed to the main tourist destination of Edinburgh – The Royal Mile. A long strip of shops that leads you right up to Edinburgh Castle, it’s usually meant to be bustling with tourists (like us) but perhaps when we were there the train and cold had scared them away, as we found it quite empty. Because of said rain we decided to stop off at The Jolly Judge for a drink and to decide what to do with our first day – and I had my first sweet taste of Edinburgh gin.
I’d always wanted to try out Camera Obscura, and considering the rain outside wasn’t set to let up we decided to head there. All in all my boyfriend and I really enjoyed this place! It’s such a weird collection of items on show, but it’s all pretty fun and you’re in for a laugh if you’re up for it. It kind of reminded me of the Science Museum when I was younger, when they had all the fun and interactive sections? Comment below if you know what I mean.. if not then ignore me…
Our second day started with high ambitions of climbing Arthur’s Seat, except we were swiftly stopped by the rain… It was down again in full force, so we headed off for a full Scottish Breakfast at Southern Cross Café, haggis included.
With the idea of Arthur’s Seat out of the picture we decided on a walking tour – it was still raining but with new tartan scarfs and umbrellas we were ready for it. The tour we chose was the Sandemans free walking tour, and our tour guide – Gregg – was brilliant. His tour included all of the weird and wonderful history of Edinburgh, complete with his own theatrics which made the experience a good laugh. He took us through the Royal Mile, up to the castle, down to the Grassmarket and finishing off at Greyfriar’s Graveyard/Bobby. I’d definitely recommend this tour if you’re interested in seeing more of the city, and as it’s free you only give a tip at the end, so perfect if you’re on a budget.
For dinner we went to Under The Stairs, which is such a good find as it is literally hidden under the stairs. It’s part bar-part tapas restaurant with a seriously adventurous cocktail list. We tried the Scottish meats taster platter, haggis and ‘neeps’ and some buttered greens with bacon (my favourite type of greens I have to say). The food was so good, and I’m so glad we tried a large selection of everything as it was all incredible. We definitely ordered way too much, and after a seriously strong gin cocktail and a bottle of wine, I was feeling well fed and sufficiently sleepy.
Another day, another attempt to climb Arthur’s Seat, but we awoke to… yep, more rain. We stopped for another Scottish Breakfast (when in Rome…) and decided to visit the castle whilst the rain was at its worst. So after walking back up the Royal Mile we bought two tickets and headed in, wondered round and managed to catch the 1pm canon. Personally I didn’t enjoy the castle too much, but if you’re a history buff and a lover of Scottish History then this would definitely be your bag.
After the castle the weather had cleared up pretty well, so we decided we’d go for it – it was Arthur’s Seat time. We made a (compulsory in my opinion) pit stop for Shortbread at Pinnies and Poppyseeds for some seriously good shortbread and a cuppa – they had standard shortbread, earl grey, chocolate and honey and lavender. they were proper, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread and frankly I’m still dreaming of them now.
Then we went for Arthur’s Seat! I would say if you’re going to attempt this read the signs. We walked up one route and didn’t see a sign the entire way, so we pretty much winged it, but as we realised on the way down they have sign posts for an easier route. I’m glad we did it, but oh my word it was an intense climb, only go if you have a relatively good level of fitness (I thought I did but now I’d reconsider..). The views at the top are brilliant, and even though it is hella windy, it does feel great when you reach the top!
After that intense climb we needed a proper reward so we went to Maison Bleue which boasts a mix of French, North African AND Scottish cuisine, which essentially meant I had an incredible duck pie that I still have food dreams about. I would definnitely recommend this place, the atmosphere was cosy and cool, and apparently their cocktails are amazing too, so it would be great just for a drink!
And so, our final day in Edinburgh finished with a beautiful sunny day – and what better way to say goodbye to my favourite new city than with a deep fried Mars bar?… If you’ve ever wanted to see a high definition picture of a deep fried mars bar then I’ve got you covered…
And there we have it! A post on what to do and where to eat will be coming shortly, but in the mean time I hope you enjoyed this little run down of my trip and the accompanying pictures. If there’s anything I’ve missed then pop them in the comments! In the meantime follow me over on Instagram for more pics of my trips 🙂