Edinburgh is a small bonbon, you can spend your holiday here walking lazy and eating butter biscuits, but you can also have fun enjoying the nightlife made of a vast number of clubs and atmospheric old pubs. Edinburgh is a great destination for everyone: those who seek art and culture, those who want to know if it’s true that Scottish and English can’t stand each other, those who want to be inebriated by folk music and those who want to spend some time kissing leaning against the wall of the castle. Here is a selection of what I have seen, done, eaten and drunk during my weekend in the capital of Scotland!
EDINBURGH: WHAT TO DO
- Go to the Greyfriars cemetery early in the morning. In front of the entrance there’s the statue of Bobby, the dog who spent 14 years to watch over the tomb of his owner
- Sit in Grassmarket square and watch life passing by: it is an historical place of executions located at the foot of the castle, now it’s an area full of pubs, restaurants and shops
- Get lost in the Gothic atmosphere of Edinburgh by night between dark streets and sinister noises
- Climb up to Calton Hill to have one of the best views of the city
- Go into small shops looking for high quality cashmere sweaters
EDINBURGH: WHERE TO EAT
The traditional Scottish cuisine is fairly simple and it includes soups, pudding, fish and porridge. The most famous national dish is haggis: meat, oat, onions and spices cooked in the sheep’s stomach (I have to admit I didn’t feel brave enough to try it). But if you are available to spend some money, there’s an interesting selection of restaurants that offers a different and enlightening perspective of Scottish cuisine.
- Timberyard: ‘industrial-chic’ atmosphere, the 4/6/8 courses dinner menu is very interesting and quite unusual; herbs and flowers come from the vegetable garden outside the restaurant and all the products come from small producers located not far from Edinburgh.
- The dogs: here the dogs are everywhere except for the menu: painted on the walls, in the pictures, made of stone guarding the entrance. The dogs offers good English dishes in a room that puts you in a good mood.
- Mums: rock music, black coffee, eggs and salmon. This is definitely a cool way to start the day.
- The Elephant house: this café is one of the main attractions in Edinburgh because JK Rowling came here to write Harry Potter books. I had promised myself not to go there as too touristy, but I couldn’t resist to the elephant-shaped carved wooden chairs.
EDIMBURGO: WHAT TO DO at night
I changed my mind on two things during the time that I spent in this city: I realized I love high quality whiskey – a glass before going to bed assured me one of the best sleep ever – and I realized that the pub is an amazing place of socialization that I had totally underestimated. People don’t go to the pub only to get pints of beer with friends, but also to read and relax in solitude, play cards with mum, listening to live Scottish music and the only rule that must be followed is the following: if someone within the group offers a round of drinks, no one leaves until everybody has bought at least another round. Here are my favorite places to go before or after dinner:
- Jolly judge: in this pub you won’t find any music but there’s a wonderful atmosphere and it’s easy to relax
- Sandy’s bell: folk music, people having fun and dozens of whiskeys to choose… what else?
- Under the stairs: it’s supposed to be one of the best cocktail bars in Edinburgh, trendy but very intimate
EDINBURGH: WHERE TO STAY
North Bridge Loft at 28 North Bridge: nice apartments two minutes away from the Royal Mile. It has a living room, a small kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. Lots of attention to details and a retrò atmosphere. Highly recommended.