As Edinburgh has so much to offer, I just couldn’t fit all attractions into one post without writing an entire novel. Hence, this is the second part of my recommendations about how to spend your time (nicely!) in Scotland’s capital 🙂 If you haven’t checked out the first part, make sure to do so after reading this one!
- Strolling around
No matter where I am, I always feel as if this is the best way to properly experience a country’s or city’s lifestyle and culture. Take some time, walk around with your eyes and ears wide open, inhale consciously the distinct smells, sounds and views. Personally, I also find that taking my camera with me on these strolls helps to intensify the experience even more. My favourite places to do so in Edinburgh are the following:
a) Royal Mile (Old Town)
This is the street where you get Edinburgh’s culture concentrated onto a few minutes walk! From the castle, to museums and pubs and restaurants and shops to the parliament- there is nothing that can’t be seen on this street! Also, there are many quirky streets going from there, such as the close you can see as featured image. If you have the time, make sure to pay the Grassmarket a visit, which is located just next to the Royal Mile.
Fun fact: Do you know why a Scottish mile is longer than the ‘normal’ one? Well, as the Scottish tend to be quite honest, the fact that the Royal mile hat its name without having the actual length of a mile really bothered them- however, moving the castle or the parliament (the two end points of the street) wasn’t an option. Therefore, they simply changed their definition of a mile- problem solved 🙂
b) Dean Village
This part of Edinburgh with its mills and old houses imakes you feel as if yoou are travelling in time when entering it. All the hustle and bustle is suddendly gone and you feel as if you were put in the middle of the 19th century. I highly recommend going there, maybe combine it with a short stroll on a little part of the Waters of Leith walkway.
c) Morningside and Bruntsfield
Having stayed in Morningside during my time at the Aribnb apartment, I got to know this area quite well. Apparently, it is one of the fanciest and most popular ones in Edinburgh. In fact, I can indeed confirm that there are many incredibly CUTE cafes, bars and shops located in this part of the city. Also, it’s always busy down here, and you will definitely get a good idea of the daily life when wandering through the streets.
This part of the city is located near the coast. I love wandering throough this area’s streets- it’s quiet, with many cute bars (Edinburgh really has plenty of these!), you can get some fresh salty air from the sea, listen to the sound of the sea gulls, and experience an atmosphere which is entirely different from the one in the rest of Edinburgh 🙂
2. Free Tours
I am a huge fan of the so-called Free Tours. Not really because they are free, but because the fact that the guides depend on the tourists to give them tips (in my experience) results in high-quality, informative and entertaining tours. BUT don’t exploit this please, and do tip them if you liked it- that’s the only salary they get! Before listing the tours I have done, a little disclaimer: These are not the correct names! In fact, they are all just called ‘Free Tour’, but they usually have a description underneath the title, so I used this as a guidance. I also linked the tour’s webiste where possible, just to avoid confusion.
a) Ghost Tour
This tour starts daily at 7pm near the heart of Midlothian. It takes around 1.5 hours and it is amazing! It is very funny and apparently considered as the best tour of Edinburgh- even better than the ones where you have to pay in advance! You can find more details on here.
b) Adult Tour
This one starts at the heart of Midlothian at 6.30 pm every day. There is a disclaimer stating that ‘adult language’ will be used throughout the tour- but honestly, the language was not the reason why I would not take children to this one. Actually, it was more the content. The guide (who was great by the way and actually convinced me to join the pub crawl afterwards :D) told us a lot of random/ unusal facts about the city (such as the reason for the introduction of the Scottish mile)- all of them were reall interesting, but maybe not always suitable of children’s ears :). But honestly, this was by far my favourite tour! I love fun facts, and my hunger was satsfied after this for a while (which means a lot!). While there is no official website, you may want to inform yourself about it here.
c) Free Tour
This one starts at 11am at the same spot as the other two. It is certainly also really interesting and definitely worth doing, but it is not as unique as the other two, where the guides were just incredibly entertaining just by being themselves 🙂 However, you do learn a lot while doing this tour, and it is definitely nice to do one when it is actually bright outside. Look it up on this website.
I will keep this section rather short, beacue let’s be real: monuments are nice to look at (maybe)- full stop. Hence, just check them out if you want- if you don’t you certainly won’t miss out on much 🙂
a) Scott Monument
This one is located in the Princes Street Gardens and is the largest monument to a writer in the world, commemorating Sir Walter Scott.
b) Nelson Monument and National Monument
These two are both located on Calton Hill, and while you are there, you can allos enjoy a nice view onto Edinburgh’s Old Town, which makes them definitely more attractive to visit! The National Monument is often called ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’ since it is not exactly what one would call a beauty 🙂 Make sure to stroll around a little and also enjoy the view on the other side of the hill onto the New Town and the ocean!
d) Burns Monument
This one, which commemorates the famous national poet Robert Burns and which is modelled on the ancient Choragic Monument on Lysicrates in Athens, can be found just across the street from Caltoon Hill. Since Bruns does play quite a big role in Scotland (just think of Burns Week!), it might be worth a visit.
4. (Window) Shopping
a) Princes Street
Edinburgh is really convenient for shopping: Pretty much everything is located on Princes Street of in one of its side roads! The fact that Princes Street offers a greatt view onto the castle makes the shopping experience even nicer 🙂
As I already indicated, Morningside has so many cute shops! Even if you don’t buy anything, it is definietly worthwhile to just look at the PRETTY windows and cute little things displayed there. Also, if you are looking for high quality food, this is the place to go: Shops selling home made chees, butchers, original French bakeries… It all is assembled in this area 🙂
5. Eating and Drinking
After all the sightseeing, you will certainly be starving- But do not worry, there are nice pubs and cute cafes to be found everywhere!
Also, I found that the Scotts are quite creative when naming their stores: ‘Procaffeination’ and ‘The Brotique’ were my favoourites so far 🙂
Some of the places I recommend:
a) Salt Cafe- Morningside
It’s just lovely- from the outside as well as from the inside 🙂 They also serve nice brunch, so if you want to start your day in a relaxed atmosphere with yummy food, this is the best place to go
b) Mia- Morningside
Looking for a proper meal, and fancying some Italian food? Go there! Their motto is: Serving great food for thr city that loves to eat- and it fits perfectly 🙂
In fact, there are so many great places in Morningside! Other examples include: Project Coffee, Bread meats Bread and also TukTuk- honestly, just go there and have a look which one looks the most appealing to you 🙂
c) The Sheep’s Head Inn
This one is supposedly Scotland’s oldest pub! It is located near Holyrood Park, and it exists since the 14th century! We went there to warm up with a nice coffe, and the atmospehre is absolutely lovely. Even though this is not located very conveniently, it is surely worth travelling the extra mile 🙂 You will not find a place more original and packed with culture than this one, I am sure.
If you are looking for a nice pub to spend the evening, you need to go to this street! There are so many to choose from, and many of them offer cool events such as pub quizzes and life music! I love going there, and I am looking forward to many more nights in these cozy bars 🙂
Okay, I think this is enough input for one post 🙂 Let me know your favourite places so I can explore them in the coming weeks and months!
Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂