As a first time traveller in the city of Edinburgh, I did a loooot of research before I left, nagging everyone I knew for recommendations and places to go. So I know how much I relied upon those recommendations, and enjoyed reading about other bloggers and people’s trips, so after my foodie post
(because food comes first, always) I thought I’d share my favourite places we went with you from the capital of Scotland. Here we go…
Recommended by one of my favourite bloggers, What Olivia Did
, I starred this little gallery on my map and hoped to stumble across it on our trip, and we did! The big red door and individual prints make it look so inviting. The walls are adorned with so many things, with tea towels, postcards and little things below to browse through and discover. I, myself, am a collector of cards – I always buy good ones when I see them, ready for any occasion, so came out with a fair few from here. The lovely shop assistant also helped us out with her top things to do in Edinburgh, including Calton Hill…
2. Calton Hill
So I was a little concerned about walking up here after a snowy night, as our first stop of the day. But it actually provided a beautifully clear view at the top, well worth the slips on the way up! If you’re thinking about it, we were told this one was the easier hill, with Arthur’s Seat being the tougher of the two climbs – really this is just an uphill stroll, and as I said it’s so worth the view. It’d be the perfect place to wander up at sunset too.
The castle was first on my list when I decided to take us off to Edinburgh, but although we didn’t go inside the castle, it was well worth the walk up the Royal Mile from our apartment. So much so, we did it more than once. It’s a little cheat here – the photograph was taken from the top of the Camera Obscura (but I wouldn’t recommend that to you for anything other than the view from the top). But on the clear Saturday, we could see straight over the hills towards the mountains and Arthur’s Seat on the other side, which were all picturesquely covered in snow.
I mentioned the Elephant House in my Edinburgh Eats post, but I wanted to point it out again, not only for it’s decent food, but for the lovely, light and airy room at the back which was a lovely place to spend the morning. It also claims and is well known for being ‘the birth place of Harry Potter’ – however, if you take the Potter Trail, you’ll soon learn that this is not quite as it seems…
This ‘hidden’ bar was recommended to us by several friends, bloggers and even the waitress at our restaurant on the Friday night. As it was Simon’s birthday trip, I promised him a date night, so I booked us a table for two – booking was a very good idea on a Saturday night – and off we went after a cheeky stop at Civerinos (which you can check out here
, those doughnuts!). It’s hidden as you walk through a barber’s shop, downstairs and into the basement where there’s a maze of rooms and cosy chairs. It’s table service, which is a really lovely touch, and the menu is intricate (which narrowed down my selection easily, being a fussy kinda gal). But the cocktails I did have were delicious, though Simon was a little less keen on one of his…choose carefully! There’s also a sister bar nearby called Hoot the Redeemer we will be checking out next time around…
As our trip to Edinburgh was supposedly all about Simon, we of course had to fit in as much Harry Potter as possible. I managed to find this HP trail online, and instantly added it into our itinerary (yes – I make itineraries…). But I’m glad I did. Started by students, we were guided round by the lovely Gemma who really knew her stuff. The tour is free, with tips welcome (and well deserved by the end of it!). We were guided round for almost 2 hours as it started to snow, but even as a less keen Harry Potter fan, the stories, places and sights were interesting to see and relate back to both the books and films, to see what inspired JK – and there’s so much more than you would think, for example, a whole graveyard of names including McGonagall, Tom Riddle, Peter Pettigrew. But I won’t spoil it all – go and see for yourself!
A Place to Stay
As for somewhere to put your head down at night and keep cosy, we absolutely loved our stay at this little air bnb just off the Royal Mile. Duncan and Daniella welcomed us to the apartment on arrival and gave us a million and one recommendations which was so useful as I planned this trip all on my own as part of the surprise! For the design details – and 100% the homemade shortbread that came with it – this is one to feel at home in, and is so close to the centre, I would love to stay again!
I hope you found this mini guide helpful if you’re planning a trip, but there’s so many more places we have yet to see! Edinburgh seems to be one of those beautiful cities steeped in history and is pretty enough just to walk around to feel part of it and explore (just wrap up warm!)
Do you have any recommendations for next time, or something I’ve missed? Let me know!