Thursday, 3 July 2014

Travel | Edinburgh, Scotland



The only other country I have been to in the United Kingdom is Scotland and Edinburgh is the only place I have visited in Scotland - four times in the last 3 years! Bear in mind the only other places I have been to this often in the UK are Manchester (where I live) and Kent/London (where my family home is).



The reason I keep coming back, has nothing to do with the fact the boy partly grew up there and still calls it home, but more to do with the charm of the beautiful city. Known as the birthplace of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, a trip to the Scottish capital is a must for anyone visiting the British Isles.

Edinburgh has that small town feel which makes it very welcoming and is the perfect mix of the old and new-ish. The aptly named Old Town is a maze of cobbled streets and hidden alleyways with the Castle at the centre whilst the New Town is an area of Georgian architecture, considered a masterpiece of town planning (reference - wikipedia), deservedly deeming both as a UNESCO world heritage site. 

 So, when some old school friends invited me to a weekend trip to this lovely city, I had to say yes! So here is a low down on where to stay and what to do if you ever decide to visit Edinburgh.


 Stay...
in an Airbnb apartment. I discovered Airbnb this year and in only 6 months, I have stayed in 5 apartments listed on the site and I don't think I could ever go back to staying in hotels. Staying in an apartment lets me have that home away from home feeling with a bit of luxury whilst keeping within a budget.

For £75 a night (not each but between the four of us) we stayed in a contemporary, beautifully presented apartment on the Royal Mile which was only 100 metres from Edinburgh Castle. You can't get anymore central than that, especially not at that price!

photos taken from airbnb listing

Walk up...
the Royal Mile. This cobble-stone road runs through the historic Old Town in Edinburgh, connecting Edinburgh Castle at one end to Holyrood Palace at the other. This busy tourist street is connected via other streets and alleyways to some notable attractions in Old Town including St Giles' Cathedral and the National Museum of Scotland. I love the fact that most of the original Medieval street plan is preserved, making it one of the most scenic walks in any city.



Visit...
Edingburgh Castle and go on one of the entertaining guided tours which gives you a better insight into the history of the castle and the people who stayed in it. Just remember to wrap up warm because it can get very windy and cold at the top of Castlehill. The panoramic view of the city from the castle is also breathtaking.


Take a barrel ride...
on the Scotch Whisky Experience. The Boy is a big fan of whiskey (I suppose thats what happens when you live in Scotland for many years) so I thought this would be a good chance to learn more about his favourite drink and maybe even acquire a taste for it. This tour is perfect for everyone from the whisky drinking novice to the connoisseur. You learn a bit about the whisky making process, explore Scotland's whisky history and see the world's largest Scotch whisky collection whilst tasting the flavours of some regional whiskies. Although, I'm still not convinced that "there is a whisky out there for" me as iterated by the guides!


Eat...
in your apartment. Buy a few ingredients from a local supermarket and make your own full Scottish breakfast with black pudding and tattie scones. This gives you more money to splash on a few fancy meals... 

Have afternoon tea... 
at The Tower. A weekend trip with the girls always calls for a spot of tea. So after a few hours wandering the National Musuem of Scotland, we spent the rest of the afternoon gazing at the amazing view of the Castle from the Tower Restaurant. The afternoon tea tasted as good as it looked. 


Have dinner... 
at The Witchery. Located in a 16th century building at the gates of the Castle, the restaurant was the perfect setting for a memorable final dinner of our visit. It’s a popular choice for celebrities visiting the city with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber describing it as the prettiest restaurant ever. 

apologies for the lighting

Climb... 
Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat. The latter takes longer, more effort and is not for the faint hearted. I have only done it once but if i'm honest it’s not so bad if the weather is good. From these summits you get some beautiful views of the both the old and new town of Edinburgh. By the time the girls decided to go up Calton Hill, I was back in rainy Manchester.



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2 comments

  1. Hope you had a good time ! Love the photos !

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  2. Looks awesome! xx

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Thanks for all your lovely comments! - Fikki and Lola xx

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