This week, I paid a flying visit to Edinburgh. It’s probably my favourite city in the UK – the beautiful buildings, the winding streets and alleys, the green spaces, the shops, the bars… I can’t think of another city that has my heart in the way Edinburgh does. It’s small enough that you can get a real flavour of it in a day, or if you have more time, book up a hotel (there are loads to choose from on Hotel Direct) and stay a few days. things to see and do in edinburgh
My 4.55am start meant that by the time I got to Gatwick Airport, I was ready for some caffeine…
Getting from Edinburgh Airport into the city centre is easier than ever now that the Edinburgh Trams are running. You could still opt to get the Airport Express bus into town, but I hopped on a shiny tram and whizzed into Princes Street with the joy of free wifi onboard. Wheeee!
I met my mum and after a quick cuppa in the cafe in Jenners (a department store that’s been there since 1838) our first stop was Calton Hill, where you get some amazing views of Edinburgh. You can stand at one side and see down to the Firth of Forth (even getting a glimpse of the Forth Rail Bridge in the distance) or from the other side, you can see Arthur’s Seat (which will forever more remind me of the book One Day).
From there, we wandered across the North Bridge to the Royal Mile – such a brilliant street to walk up and down, people-watching. It’s mostly populated by tourists of course, but we were being tourists too, right? After a quick ‘hello’ to Edinburgh Castle (more great views from up there), we headed down to Victoria Street and the Grassmarket. Such amazing buildings – built on top of each other – and lovely shops and galleries to mooch around.
From there, we walked around to Princes Street Gardens before ending up in the Caledonian Hotel for tea and scones. Originally a railway station, the Caledonian still has some of the original station walls inside, which is pretty cool. So, if you go to Edinburgh, either for the day or for longer, here’s where I recommend…
Restaurants I love
We ate at Angels With Bagpies on the Royal Mile, which was really lovely. Great food and friendly service. I’d also recommend Cafe Marlayne on Thistle Street – a small French bistro – and The Outsider on George IV Bridge which serves great food too.
Bars and pubs I love
The Queens Arms on Frederick Street is an amazing little pub where the walls are lined with books and there are private carriage-style booths to sit in. Under The Stairs on Merchant Street is quirky with mismatched furniture and little nooks to sit in. For a cocktail, you can’t beat Tigerlily, followed by a boogie (yes, I’m 57) downstairs in Lulu.
If I’d been staying overnight in Edinburgh, I’d have been hard pushed to choose where to stay. Tigerlily is one of my favourite hotels in the city – great location on George Street and gorgeous girly decor. I’ve wanted to stay in Hotel Missoni for a while (FYI they do amazing cocktails in the bar) and the Princes Street Suites are perfect for anyone who has kids with them, with one bed, two bed and three bed apartments available.
Places to go with kids
If you’re with the little ones, Edinburgh is awash with fun things to do with kids. At the moment, there’s a huge ferris wheel on Princes Street, which would give them a fun ride and a great view of the city. Princes Street Gardens is great for a run around, a roll down a hill or two, and a go in the play area at the west end. School aged kids will love Our Dynamic Earth – an interactive, education, fun science museum. And no trip to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to Edinburgh Zoo to see the pandas! You have to queue to get into see Tian Tian, but it’s worth it because she’s so cute (slash-wouldn’t-want-to-get-too-close).
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