My first guest blogger for my series ’10 things to do in…” is Gem from Gem Abroad. She is an Aussie who moved to London a year ago and is new to blogging so go and check out her new brand new blog and instagram.
I have been living in London for 12 months now and have already visited Edinburgh twice: I spent a week there last August for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and visited recently on a day trip over Easter. It is a wonderfully quaint city and one I’ve loved exploring.
Climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat
For the most magnificent views over Edinburgh, it doesn’t get better than the top of Arthur’s Seat. I’d recommend going solo, so you can huff and puff (and rest) as much as you’d like. The round trip from my hostel took about three hours at a gentle stroll and I was able to get there and back following Google maps. I was lucky to have the perfect day when I climbed in August but, as long as it isn’t pouring with rain, I would put this at the top of your Edinburgh to do list.
Enjoy tea and cake at Lovecrumbs
I discovered Lovecrumbs by googling ‘best cake in Edinburgh’ (yes, this is the kind of thing I Google). Hidden in the streets behind Edinburgh Castle, it is the perfect little spot to spend an afternoon cosied up with a book, a cup of tea and a slice of deliciously unique cake – think: pistachio and rosewater or brown sugar cake with spiced custard. And yes, you can sit in the window as a lovely little advertisement for the treats inside.
Wander the Royal Mile
During the Fringe Festival, the Royal Mile was rammed after 10am. It was a spectacle in itself with street performers, mini stages set up and brochures for everything. Outside of August, it is just lovely to wander and take in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Explore Edinburgh Castle
At the top of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t particularly interested in paying to go inside but I loved wandering the exterior and exploring the cobbled laneways and narrow staircases surrounding it.
Indulge in a gelato from Mary’s Milk Bar
Mary’s featured in Buzzfeed during the Fringe, which meant there was a line outside the small shop front every morning. I can say, however, that her gelato was absolutely worth the wait. Visiting in winter? Grab a hot chocolate float – a deliciously warm hot chocolate with your choice of gelato flavour scooped on top.
See a show at the Fringe Festival
If you are able to visit Edinburgh during August, adding a show or five to your itinerary is a must. I saw a range of stand up and sketch comedy, musical theatre, straight theatre and dance. I also got thoroughly into the university a-cappella choir scene (seriously, it was like Pitch Perfect right in front of me). Grab yourself a programme or just see what takes your fancy at the Box Office – tickets can be bought from the ticket office along the Royal Mile or at the venues.
Eat a bowl of Scottish porridge at Contini Café and Restaurant
A deliciously warming bowl of porridge made with DOUBLE CREAM. Enough said.
Treat yourself to a fancy dinner
I was spoilt for choice when dining in Edinburgh and booked myself in ahead of time for a special meal at Aizle. This gorgeous little restaurant has no traditional menu and instead serves a five-course meal based around the best produce available from local farms and suppliers. I have also heard wonderful things about Timberyard but couldn’t get a booking on my recent trip (always a good sign!).
Take some shortbread home from Pinnies and Poppy Seeds
This artisan shortbread is, in my opinion, better than anything you will find in the tourist shops dotted throughout the city. Made with local and organic ingredients, these deliciously buttery treats didn’t stand the chance of making it back to London with me. My flavour pick: Cardamom and white chocolate.
Travel by train
Getting to and from Edinburgh is a delight via train. Arriving at Edinburgh Waverley Station drops you right between the new and old towns – the perfect place to begin your visit.
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