6 things I did in Edinburgh
I finally, finally got around to experiencing a little more of the UK than London! This year I visited parts of Devon and even Bath which I thoroughly enjoyed. This time, it was Scotland.
Edinburgh really impressed me. It’s just charming at every turn. The architecture, the old and the new, the hills and imposing Edinburgh castle and the Scots. Now there’s a people who really know how to turn the hospitality on! They are all so super friendly and helpful.
1) Ate Haggis
Real Roman cuisine is offal based and I’ve made it my mission to try most of the dishes in the repertoire. But it’s not my thing. Not my thing, at all. But was I going to visit Scotland and not try Haggis? No! This ancient dish is a mix of cow heart and lungs and is cooked with a number of spices and sauces, this local delicacy is usually served with neeps (turnip mash) and tatties (potato mash). Some places will have a “beginners” tasting plate on the menu for those less adventurous like myself on this occasion. The verdict: I wouldn’t order plates and plates of it, but it was actually quite nice. You can find haggis on the menu just about everywhere.2) Had high tea in a library
High Tea is generally an extravagant affair. Add an old library to the mix in the world’s most famous literary city and I dare you to find a more swish and unique thing to do in town! If you’re a high tea or afternoon tea aficionado like myself, this will be the best £30 you’ll spend in Edinburgh. The setting at the Colonnades at the Signet Library is incredible; think floor-to-ceiling book shelves, shiny mirror top tables and the finest linens and crockery. The service is impeccable (my friends have dietary restrictions that were not only taken into account at booking but throughout our dining experience) and the food was divine. On offer are about 6 types of tea (the Signet signature blend and the Darjeeling were my faves) and then come out your two stands – one savoury (inc sandwiches, tarts and pies) and one sweet (with scones and the most delectable selection of sugary creations). 3) Walked The Royal Mile
You can’t miss The Royal Mile. It’s the main pedestrian strip that leads from Edinburgh Castle right through to Holyrood Palace and Park (Queen Elizabeth’s residence when she’s in town!). Cobblestoned and plain gorgeous, this stretch is full of quaint pubs, shops selling shortbread, tartan and cashmere and other local Scottish crafts and goods.4) Got out and visited Glasgow for the day
Now, Glasgow isn’t really what I’d call a pretty city, but Scotland’s biggest city is located an easy 1 hour train ride from Edinburgh so I didn’t want to come all this way and miss it. It’s a great day trip – lunch (the Red Onion was cosy and tasty and cater for a range of dietary requirements from gluten free to vegan), a bit of shopping and little walk around. Check out the main square and cathedral and don’t miss Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – palatial and set among lush green gardens, it’s the kind of architecture and scene you’d imagined of Scotland. 5) Explored the Stockbridge area
Head away from new town and in less than 10 minutes you’ll be transported to the Scotland you came to see. The walk along Dean’s Village along the river to the gentrified and hipster neighbourhood of Stockbridge is just breathtaking. Lush and green, with traditional architecture and buildings, you won’t believe you’re in the city! In Stockbrodge, check out Hector’s for a homely gastro-pub type meal and walk around the ‘hood for coffee roasters, cute pubs, chocolate makers and other independent boutiques.6. Had cocktails in an underground bar hard to find
The new town area is filled with bars of all types – from underground speakeasies to upscale cocktail bars. We checked our Bramble bar and weren’t disappointed. Fire your phone maps or GPS and that will kind of get you there. Well to a clothes alteration shop that is. Take the stairs down and enter a dark space where old books act as cocktail lists. From salted caramel to cayenne pepper to absynthe, these guys have it all and if you don’t find your cocktail on the list, they’ll create one for you.
Where to stay:
I recommend you base yourself in new town as it’s where all the shopping and local nightlife is.
The George Hotel was my pick and I’d go back again and again. All you’d expect from a luxury five star establishment and more. The views from the suites spread out across the bay and they are stylishly appointed (even with neutral tone tartan here and there). Popular with locals too because of its street access, the on-site Burr & Co coffee shop serves up delicious baked goods from sausage rolls to gigantic macaroons, shortbread and a special lemon drizzle cake! The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen serves up local and international cuisine and is fitted out in warm and modern Art Deco style. The pork scratchings and the pork belly were divine! Rooms here start at: £290 high season and £150 in the off season.
Signing off from Trastevere,