17 April 2017

My Guide To... Edinburgh – What to Do, See and Experience?


I recently visited Edinburgh and used every opportunity to discover as much as possible this fantastic city has to offer.

You can’t ‘quite do Edinburgh in 48 hours, but you can sure give it a go.
The best way to make the most of the city's natural good looks is to get to know it on foot. Put your most comfortable shoes on and uncover incredible architecture, history, hidden courtyards, panoramic city views everywhere you turn.

Here is My Guide to Edinburgh - What to Do, See and Experience:



TRANSPORT

More than 40 airlines fly to and from Edinburgh airportwhich is 3minutes’ drive from the city centre. There is a direct bus ‘Airlink 100’ running 24 hours a day departing every 10 minutes from the airport to Waverley station for £4.50. Waverley station is right in the centre of the city, direct trains from London take approximately 4.5 hours. 

Edinburgh has excellent local buses and trams too so it is easy to get around.
HOTELS

Waldorf Astoria
Luxurious, full of charm and elegance. I stayed in this former Caledonian railway station, read about it here.

The Balmoral Hotel
Built as a railway hotel, it has accommodated film stars, royalty and prime ministers.

Le Monde
Individually designed and named rooms from Dublin and Moscow to New York and Beijing.
  
The Glasshouse
Cosy-contemporary interiors with a semi-glass staircases, rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows; many come with private terraces, others with direct access to the roof terrace.

HISTORY AND CULTURE

Scottish National Gallery
Home to the largest collection of Scotland's fine art and one of the best in the world. Here you’ll find masterpieces from Raphael and Vermeer to Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh. 
            

St Giles' Cathedral
A must-see church founded in about 1124, but the site has been a religious centre for lot longer. The interior is absolutely stunning. 

According to legend, 'St Giles himself had been a seventh-century Greek hermit who lived in the forests near Nîmes, in the south of France, with a tame deer as his only companion. One day the King of the Visigoths, out hunting, shot at the deer, only to find it held protectively in the arms of Giles, who had been wounded in the hand by the arrow. The King was impressed by the holy man, returned many times to speak to him, and finally persuaded him to become the abbot of a monastery which he founded for him. Giles was subsequently canonised, becoming the patron saint of lepers, nursing mothers and the lame. Many churches in England are dedicated to this popular medieval saint'.
            

Edinburgh Castle
You cannot possibly visit Edinburgh without visiting the Castle. Plan it around a visit along the Royal Mile and absorb some serious history. Dating back to 12th century, it is full of medieval tales and Scottish charm. Go early to beat the crowds.
            

Tribute to Scotland’s writer and poet Sir Walter Scott, it is the largest monument to a writer in the world. Climb 287 very narrow steps (avoid if you are claustrophobic) for a breath-taking view of Edinburgh.
            
      
National Museum of Scotland
It is true gem offering everything from the natural world, art, Egyptian history, science to detailed Scottish history in one very impressive building. Ideal place to visit if you are travelling with kids, as you get hours and hours of fun and learning! Do not miss a visit to the roof terrace, the views of the city are fantastic.
             
Do stop for a short(bread) break in their coffee shop, their cakes are just beautiful.

Claiming to be one of the world's most haunted graveyards, and a favourite haunt for the city's famous ghost walks.

Located at the end of the Royal Mile, this palace offers 14 historic and state apartments, the ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey and royal gardens. The apartments are used by the Queen on her visits to Scotland.
TOURS

Historic Underground
Discover hidden streets, tunnels and vaults from 18th century beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town. These were the original streets of Edinburgh before structures were built on TOPI used Mercat Tours - an expert guide will explain fascinating secrets of underground life, home to the city’s poorest residentsbringing the history of the vaults to life. Apparently, it is haunted but thankfully I didn’t see any ghosts. It only takes one hour and I strongly recommend experiencing it. 

Gin Tour
If you are you a Gin lover, then this one is for you! Learn about the history and the different ingredients that go into making their gins. You also get a lot of Gin tasting for your money and a small bottle to take away. The Happiest Hour there is if you ask me.

Whisky visitor attraction at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, offering tours and lesson on a whisky making process. They hold a collection of 3384 whisky bottles: the largest in the world!
Edinburgh Bus Tour
Jump on their green bus to see some of the most famous attractions: New Town, Grassmarket, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scottish Parliament, Old Town, National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle. You can hop on and off as many times as you like and the ticket is valid for 24 hoursIt also gives you 20% discount for some attractions and fast track admission to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Britannia and Palace of Holyroodhouse! You get a great perspective of the city so recommend doing it before you start exploring. 

SCENERY AND VIEWS

Princess Street Gardens
Lies at centre of Edinburgh's World Heritage Siteright underneath Edinburgh Castle towering above the city. Take a stroll through these beautiful gardenshome to several memorials and statues including the Scott Monument.
            


Calton Hill
450ft above sea level, you’ll get magnificent views of the city skylinethe castle, Arthur’s Seat and the sea. Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Nelson Monument for even more spectacular views as far as the eye can see. Sunset from the top of the hill was simply magical.
These yellow Gorse flowers smell just like coconut, but be careful they are thorny.

Arthur’s Seat
If you are up for a challenge, have a go at conquering Arthur's Seat. Hiking up the 822ft hill will be worth it in the end as you get panoramic views of the city from the top of this extinct volcano.
Take a lift to the 7th floor's Hutton Roof for an optical feast.

Established in 1670, with a wide range of flowers and one of the world’s largest living collections of plants.
RESTAURANTS
Great for healthy brunch/lunch/cocktail/coffee fixFinger-lickin food! Highly recommend trying their delicious Lavender Crème Brûlėe.
Despite being located in a five-star Balmoral Hotel, it is very affordable. Perfect for Sunday roast with all the trimmings or a light lunch. Their executive chef has held a coveted Michelin Star for 14 years, so you know you are in for a treat.

The Dome
For exquisite Afternoon tea celebration.
Michelin star Waldorf Astoria fine dining house with magnificent views of Edinburgh Castle.

Elephant House
Cheerful café for light lunch. JK Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

And if you are feeling brave, you could try Scotland's famous national dish – Haggis.
SOUVENIRS

What to bring home? 

Bottle of the finest Scotch whisky or Edinburgh Gin, tartan brolly or cashmere knits. Perhaps some traditional Scottish shortbread biscuits or Coco chocolate – everything from Gin and Tonic, Earl Grey and Bergamot to Haggis Spice flavour!

Charming place full of hidden gems, ancient buildings and history, extinct volcanos, hills and incredible panoramic views of the city, Edinburgh has definitely both beauty and brains, don’t you think? 

Have you been? What was your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh? Please leave me a comment in the box below.

 
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2 comments

  1. Anonymous20.4.17

    Such a helpful article, thank you M. Ox

    ReplyDelete

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