Having never been to Scotland before, when I got the chance to go to Edinburgh with work, I jumped at it. Especially, as I have two friends who have recently moved to the city- what a perfect way to explore. So, I decided to stay and explore for the weekend as well as catching up with my lovely friends too.
I was not disappointed. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and everyone I came into contact with was so friendly. Unfortunately, I was so busy having such a good time, that I forgot to take pictures of the food and drink I enjoyed in the city, but you can be sure I will mention some of the places we went to because they were so great.
I was also so lucky with the weather as there was beautiful sunshine from the moment I arrived until the moment I left and so whilst it was still chilly from the wind, it was the perfect weather to enjoy wandering around and I think it made the city look even more beautiful.
When I first arrived on the Friday afternoon, we walked up Arthur’s Seat, as I was assured to get some great views over Edinburgh from up here and this is absolutely what we got.
This was actually one of the things I loved about Edinburgh. Although, it is obviously a city and at points we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the city. But, equally, it is surrounded by hills and countryside. Simply turn down one of the streets and suddenly its peaceful; away from the usual city noise.
That evening we enjoyed a meal in the city at Taste of Italy, following a recommendation my friend had received. The recommendation was so strong. We enjoyed delicious, authentic Italian food (or so I am told) including an arancini ball to start, one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten and a banoffee pie to finish, all washed down with a delicious white wine. Just like an Italian cafe, the food was perfect and extremely reasonable in price too! (It has made me even more excited for my upcoming trip to Rome!).
Following our fantastic meal, we needed to walk off the food (after all, we had completely over indulged) and also, wanted to enjoy a drink or two before we went home for the evening. Our walk ended up with us walking up the Royal Mile and finding ourselves outside Edinburgh Castle. I would highly recommend going there in the peace of the evening as it was quite magical and easier to enjoy without the throng of tourists that surrounds it during a normal day. We did actually go back during the day the next day, but I much preferred it during the evening.
Perhaps, another time I will go inside, but I was happy enough to see the outside and hear the stories of how various sections were built, thanks to my pair of tour guides!
On the Saturday, as I already mentioned, we dedicated the entire day to walking from one side of the city to another, exploring the main areas you would want to- after all, I only had limited time in the city.
Of course, we ate and drank our way around the city and one of my favourite bars that we discovered was a place called, 56 North. A definite must for any gin lover; their gin menu was huge and they offered a variety of gin cocktails too! However, as someone who isn’t a real fan of gin, I still had plenty of options. We didn’t actually eat here, but the food looked great and my friends are definitely likely to return. What was really great about this place is that they have massive bifold doors, which open across the whole front of the bar; especially good with such lovely weather. They also had astroturf out the front of the bar, with some tables on that too.
We actually ate in the Students Union, which was unlike any Students Union I had ever been in. It was a bar, which I would say was once a library, or at least it looked like a library. It was so relaxed and obviously reasonably priced- being a students union.
Throughout the day, as I said we also explored the city and did so much walking- as you can expect from a city break. However, we also discovered some great view points and everywhere you turned there is a pretty view to be seen. One of the best places we went for a view, was the National Museum of Scotland.
Located on the 7th floor is the viewing platform, in which you can see all around the city. Also with a great view of the city, on the 5th floor is, what looked to be, a delicious restaurant. Although, I believe it was out of our price range and would be great for a special occasion.
It is actually somewhere I would like to visit when I have more time, as it looked to be a very interesting place. It would be particularly good on a rainy day as there was so much to see and do!
One other thing we did, was explored the grassmarket. This was a lovely area, full of restaurants and cafes, which all had outdoor areas to sit and enjoy the sun; it honestly felt like we were in France or Spain. But, in the centre of this courtyard area, was a market full of varying stalls, including, food stalls, arts and crafts and jewellery. It was a lovely area and we tried some of the best brownie I have eaten. There was also, a beautiful looking paella being cooked in the middle, which was very popular and we could see why!
Overall, I had a great time exploring Edinburgh, eating and drinking my way around, as always and catching up with friends to discover their new life!
Have you been to Edinburgh? Do you have any tips for things I should do when I go back?
Some tips for exploring Edinburgh:
- You can walk everywhere, bring comfortable shoes.
- You can explore Edinburgh on a budget, as we did, there is so much to see and it is beautiful, even without money.
- You can equally treat yourself and there are some great places, you can spend more on.
- Even if you have to stay a little out of the city, the public transport is so easy! My friend lives slightly out and we got the bus each time- it is only £1.60 for a single and it takes you wherever you like to go. There is also a tram, which may help you too.
- Edinburgh is quite hilly, so be prepared for this.
- List the grassmarket for food, it all looked delicious and was homemade, some even on site!
- If it is raining, enjoy some time in the National Museum of Scotland, I have also heard the camera obscurer is good too!