I was one lucky Mrs this Christmas; I got the extraordinary gift of a trip for two days in Edinburgh. As you can imagine this was totally up my street and I got to planning almost immediately.
We flew with easyjet early on a Saturday morning arriving in the city by 10am, after a quick tram ride from the airport to York Place we checked in Hotel Indigo. I knew the weekend was going to be aces when we were allowed into our room pre 11am which is practically unheard of. Scotland I like you a lot already. Our room was a Superior King which was spacious and comfortable, and the best bit (according to CLB) was the complimentary Irn-Bru!
As we were staying in the New Town we decided to spend the first few hours wandering around the quaint streets and taking in the sounds and smells of the local area. This drew us to Baba, a “Mezze, charcoal grill and cocktail bar” on George Street.
We had the loveliest meal and before we knew it, it was time to make our way to the Old Town for a pre-booked Sandemans New Tour. As with Berlin, we chose the free tour, opting to tip at the end what we think it was worth. James our guide was superb and extremely knowledgable in both the city history and its current affairs.
The tour group met outside Starbucks on the Royal Mile and we got going, starting with the City Chambers, Mercat Cross, St Giles’ Cathedral and the infamous Heart of Midlothian. Next up was the Scottish Writers’ Museum, and a quick view of the Castle before heading to the Grassmarket and Greyfriars Kirkyard (and of course visting the Greyfriars Bobby statue) to discover the original Hogwarts and the real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde before hearing the story of William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny.
On route back to Hotel Indigo to change for dinner we popped into Nightcap on Queen Street for a quick tipple. To our surprise it was fairly empty, then we realised it was only 5pm.
Dinner was taken at The Kilted Lobster, which thanks to a Twitter request for recommendations and the kind people of Scotland is now one of my favourite ever seafood restaurants. The place only has six tables or so, meaning the service is impeccable and food delicious. This also means make sure you book before visiting. It was lovely to learn whilst there that they run a community project which benefits locals who can’t afford to put food on their own tables, and all profits of the restaurant go to keeping this scheme alive.
We didn’t break the habit of a lifetime and ordered breakfast in bed before packing up and checking out.
First stop of the day was a gentle hike up To Arthur’s Seat… Nothing beats an up hill struggle on a slightly windy and cold January day. 45 minutes or so later and all the negatives were forgotten for the views were so incredible and we chunddled back down happy as Larry.
For those that know Edinburgh the Royal Mile is by far the most famous road there and just so happens to start opposite Holyrood Palace (one of Queenies many residencies) so we took a quick snap from behind the gates and a brisk snoop in the gift shop before slowly winding our way up the Mile via many a tourist shop to the castle to pick up our tickets for the tour later on.
Pre-Castle we opted for lunch at Howies, we hadn’t read up on this place previously but just simply spotted it in the street and the home cooked meal smell (and lunch deal) lured us in.
By the time we left we were suitably warmed up and full to the brim, in perfect timing to take on Edinburgh Castle. We picked up an audio guide each and over about 2hrs made our way from point to point learning all about the castle’s history and (more importantly) seeing the Crown Jewels!
By the time we left any lunchtime warmth had very much left our bodies, the remedy you ask? A Baileys latte and glass of Malbec in Whiski to top off a wonderful trip.
After a quick trip back to the hotel to colect our bags, we were back on the tram and the past two days already felt like a distant memory. Landing back in London we vowed to see Scotland again very soon for we’d both fallen hard for its beauty and charm.