In one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Edinburgh stands tall as a hub of creativity surrounded by Georgian and Gothic architecture. Never losing its charm, Edinburgh and its cobbled streets will always be a city I am happy to return to time and time again. It’s magical and no wonder JK Rowling was inspired by these surroundings when writing the Harry Potter series.
There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh. The National Museum of Scotland’s collections take you through the history of Scotland with the arts, nature, and science. Princes Street is great for shopping but do check out the smaller independent shops off the Royal Mile if looking for cute trinkets. I always go back to the W. Armstrong & Son vintage store on Grassmarket, they have a huge array of vintage clothes and accessories at decent prices too.
Right next door is Greyfriars Kirkyard. A slightly more morbid addition to the to-do list, this graveyard is situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town where notable Edinburgh residents have been buried including Greyfrairs Bobby, a loyal dog who never left his owner’s grave. If you look closely, you will find the grave of Thomas Riddell, the name which may have inspired JK Rowling’s he-who-shall-not-be-named. There are many streets to explore both north and south of Princes Street, where you may stumble across the picturesque Circus Lane. Finally, to take in the city as a whole, head up Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill. Aim for a clear day for the best views of this beautiful landscape which stretches right out to Leith.
For food and drink, there are many lovely cafes to visit. For breakfasts, sandwiches and sweet treats, head to Breakfast Lunch & Dinner on the Pleasance. A step away from the bustling Royal Mile, this quieter environment near Arthur’s Seat is perfect for a quick bite with lovely staff and well-priced yummy food. Go to the Brass Monkey pub on Drummond Street for their awesome soft seating – they are pretty much beds covered in cushions – for a cosy and chilled-out break on rainy days. Just around the corner is Black Medicine Coffee with a cool rustic interior and delicious carrot cake, amongst other puddings. For dinners, Red-Box Noodle Bar on Nicolson Street and Mariachi, a Mexican restaurant on Victoria Street, both have delicious options available. However, don’t forget to try out Haggis whilst in the Scottish capital!
Edinburgh is widely known for the Fringe Festival and International Festival that descends on the city every August. From stand-up comedy to dance to theatre to spoken word, all forms of creativity are put on display. Thousands of shows compete for an audience of locals and tourists, hoping to garner positive reviews and strive for a sold out run. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either; there are many free shows. In the early stages of the festival many shows will have a 2 for 1 deal on ticket prices too. With most venues in walking distance from one another, you can take in the sights of the city between shows. Look out in the months leading up to the festival for cheaper preview performances from theatre companies and comedians, which allow you to have a sneak peak of the best jokes and performances of the year.
This year my highlights were The Sleeping Trees Mafia, Unpolished Theatre’s Flesh and Bone, DugOut Theatre’s Replay, This Egg’s Me and My Bee and stand-up comedian Ivo Graham. Definitely keep an eye out for their future performances; The Sleeping Trees are going on a UK tour, Replay and Ivo Graham are both heading to London while This Egg have teased a Spring/Summer Tour in 2018 and have three new shows currently in development, including ‘Dressed’ which will have a residency at The Bike Shed.
I will always recommend visiting Edinburgh. It is beautiful and you will discover something different every time you visit. Perfect for a weekend getaway, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring and absorbing the rich history of the city.
by Connie Adams