Firstly, I know I was supposed to put this post up on Friday but with Wayne being off all week, well, I decided to give myself a break from the normal schedule! Sometimes your loved ones have to take priority and you want to go to the cinema or watch Harry Potter films in the middle of the day, ya know? This week should hopefully go back to the normal M-W-F routine as he’s back to work and so am I! ;)
It was our 7 year anniversary on the 2nd October so we decided to spend a few days in the lovely city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I’d travelled there for a few days waaaaay back in 1998 (I had to recheck my dates but yes, it really was that long ago) and I admit, my memories were pretty hazy of it so it was just nice to come back and spend some time with my guy in new surroundings.
We stayed at The Dunstane because I just love boutique hotels and it wasn’t wildly expensive. They actually have two different buildings, both equally beautiful and old and impressive but we actually stayed across the street in the ‘townhouse’ building which I failed to get a picture of! However, we did have a rather lovely view of the main building from across the street!
The building we stayed was really quite lovely with card access only to guests. This made us feel a bit like we were staying in an apartment rather than a hotel.
It even had it’s own bar (set up on an honesty system – you take a drink, you just write down what you took and your room number – how charming, no?) and seating area with a little faux fireplace.
This was our room – such gorgeous cornicing, no? It wasn’t huge but actually felt quite spacious due to that amazing ceiling.
Everything was really high quality although more contemporary than my usual tastes, it was very tastefully decorated and immaculately clean.
I will say, however, that we were led to believe it was only 10 minutes to the centre of Edinburgh and while it was probably a 10 minute walk to the EDGE of Edinburgh city centre, it was easily a 30 minute walk to the castle so just bear that in mind if you are considering it! We did seriously get a work out whilst in Edinburgh as the city is quite hilly so if you’re looking for a good leg workout, a visit here is a must!
I was going to go into a lot of detail of everything we went and did but decided that would probably be very long and very boring for you so I figured I’d just hit some of the highlights of things I would recommend.
On the recommendation of my friend Alex who had been there earlier in the year, we ended up at The Whiski Rooms two nights in a row because honestly, we both loved it. And yes, it proved to be quite influential in my dining room design with that gorgeous berry hue all over the walls.
The atmosphere is great, the food is excellent and the whiskey cocktails are delicious. The haggis spring rolls, Whiski Burger and lamb were all top notch. Get a classic whiskey sour or a Monkey Kilt cocktail – it’s Monkey Shoulder whiskey with Disaronno and shaved chocolate over ice. Heaven.
The views from the top are really incredible over the city but with the heaving throngs of people waiting in queues to get in and the fact it would cost us £32 to go inside meant we didn’t bother with the paid bit – we didn’t want to waste time as it was our only full day there.
I know that’s a bit of an #Edinburghfail but we’ve seen a lot of castles in our day so kind of knew what to expect and to be honest, we really just wanted to explore the city a bit but it’s still worth going up there and exploring the outside of it (which is free!).
Edinburgh Coach Tour (it’s the Green one)
It’s a very touristy thing to do of course but it’s a fantastic way to get to see the city in one go and then make a decision as to which parts you want to spend more time in – perfect if your time there is short. Plus, they give a running commentary about everything you’re looking at so it’s kind of nice to hear about the history of the city at the same time.
The entire tour is around an hour but the best thing about it is that it’s a ‘hop on and hop off’ service so if there’s something you like the look of, you simply get off the coach, explore it and then get on the next tour – they run all day long and only around 15 minutes apart so you never have to wait long before the next one. I’d highly recommend it – but dress warm as the open top gets chilly pretty quick!
If you want your fill of tartan, this is the place to be.
Lots of little Scottish shops, plenty of pubs and cafes and gorgeous old world charm. It’s central too, of course, so a good spot to start exploring from and it’s pretty close to just about everything. If you are in Edinburgh, you’ll probably end up there regardless.
I walked up Arthur’s Seat last time I was in Edinburgh and our time here was short so we didn’t end up walking to the top this time around.
However, I can say that the views from the top of this dormant volcano are amazing – it’s one thing I do remember clearly about my trip so long ago! There’s also an ancient fort at the top which is pretty cool. So even though we didn’t get to do this on our recent trip, I still wanted to recommend it again if you are there for a few days. I told you, this city will give you a good workout!
This pub was another with a really good atmosphere. It was on Johnstone Terrace and not far at all from the Castle.
I loved the black ceiling and the décor is just quite cool and cheeky. Get a couple pints of Innis & Gunn and take a load off your feet from all the walking.
Not a place but the local beer here and another recommendation from Alex which I have to concur is excellent.
There are 3 different types as we learned – an easy drinking pale ale on draught (too easy to drink which could be dangerous), the darker, more characterful ‘original’ (really strong at 6.6% but gorgeous) and finally, the rum finish (6.8%) which dear god, yes is a strong beer but what a lovely finish and not at all bitter like some beers can be. I’m not a huge beer drinker but I did really enjoy all of them. We picked up a few bottles at a local shop whilst in Ediburgh to take home with us but then realised we could get it at our local Sainsbury’s!! So if you are in the UK, look out for it even if you aren’t in Edinburgh because it’s just so good.
This is a huge 7 level museum that’s donation only for admittance.
There are a dizzying array of galleries and it’s all housed in a rather impressive building. Great way to spend a few hours just exploring and learning especially if you get any rainy days on your trip. It’s also child-friendly as there are lots of interactive exhibitions.
You can’t really go to Scotland without sampling this peppery delicacy. It’s actually incredibly tasty, just try not to think about what you’re actually eating because it’ll put you off. Wash it down with a whiskey and it’ll make all those gross thoughts go away.
If you like science, you’ll probably enjoy this as it’s an interactive experience that takes you from the Big Bang, through the Ice Age and into rainforests, volcanoes and lots more, all telling the tale of how the earth was formed. It was clearly geared more towards kids but being the science geeks that we are, we still enjoyed it and it was a nice way to kill an hour or so.
Not particularly atmospheric but the fact that it’s the oldest pub in Edinburgh having been there since 1516 is pretty impressive.
And the emerald green, black and gold of the outside was enough to lure me inside. Expect a good mixed touristy crowd and sports on the telly.
So those are all things we did and can recommend. There were plenty of other things we didn’t get a chance to explore like the Dungeons or doing a Ghost Tour as we ran out of time. Honestly, this is a city that is meant to be leisurely explored because the architecture and history is just incredible so just give yourself a few days and get stuck in.
Have you ever been to Edinburgh or is it on your ‘must visit’ list? I really enjoyed our time there – I’d wished we had another full day to be honest so perhaps a follow up trip is in our future. I’d love to hear your experiences if you’ve visited Edinburgh and anything you’d recommend yourself!