Oh, Edinburgh. The castle, the churches, the need to spit on a specific spot on a sidewalk…..
Edinburgh is not only one of our collective favourite cities in the world, it is also home to much of Andrews mothers family and some of our favourite views.
Andrew still has a bunch of relatives here, so when we arrived we were lucky enough to have a place to sleep, access to a kitchen and bathroom and lots of relatives to catch up with. In fact, we kept our trip to Edinburgh secret, to surprise his Nana, who is also visiting for the summer.
Below you’ll find all our favourite bits of the city and beyond, and why we loved visiting in August.
Visiting in August
We were lucky enough to end up in Edinburgh right as the annual Fringe festival started. This was exciting for our souls but potentially devastating for our bank accounts.
We quickly had to come to terms with the fact that while we would be seeing lots of friends and family, we wouldn’t be seeing the Edinburgh Tattoo, or any of the big famous Comedians while we visited as it was straight up out of our budget. Instead, we decided to try and pick out some comedy, some theater, some performance and some music to see, all for discounted prices. You can imagine how excited we were to find the ‘Half price hut’, where tickets are released daily for over 300 shows.
Here our some of our favourites:
Soweto Gospel choir
Snap – Korean Magic show
James Nokise – Britain, Let’s talk about the Golliwogs
Kelsey de Almeida – Home Truths
Fiona Ridgewell – Home Truths
Awkward Talkers theater company – Chips and Cheese
George Egg – DIY chef
The festival also brings out a bunch of buskers. We’re a big fan of street performers so we stopped to watch lots of acts including comedians, musicians, acrobats, artists…. you name it you’ll probably find it as you wander the streets of Edinburgh during the Fringe. You’ll also find the wee city bursting at its seems, as hotels, hostels, bars and cafes all overflow with visitors, but that’s another story!
Going beyond the city center
Andrew and I have been to Edinburgh before, both as a couple and before we got together, but despite that and this visit was unlike any before. Usually, a visit to Edinburgh is about visiting the castle, climbing the Scotts Monument, climbing Arthurs Seat (lots of climbing around here!), sampling whiskey, shopping up a storm on the Royal Mile, dropping into Holyrood Palace, heading down into the closes or vaults and all the other things you’ll find on a top 10 list. If you haven’t been yet, these are all excellent things to keep you busy and I highly recommend getting amongst it.
This time though, our marvelous hosts took us on many an adventure and these were the best bits that you can enjoy too:
Visit the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel (of The Da Vinci code fame), and make friends with the local cat. You probably won’t see Tom Hanks, or find the holy grail but hey, its worth having a look in case.
Drive to Traquair house where some of Andrews ancestors worked over 150 years ago. Wander the gardens and the house, look out for peacocks, and sample the ale made on site. Also get your shop on at artisan workshops where you’ll find beautiful pottery, handmade jewellery, and leather goods that are crafted on site.
Take a trip to Melrose, near the borders, to see the ruins of the Melrose Abbey, and enjoy a spot of window shopping in the town.
Visit South Queensferry and checked out all of the bridges across the Fouth, including the new Queensferry crossing, which opens later in 2017 (not the one in the photo, thats the rail bridge!).
Nibbling on the local delicacies
The saying goes ‘When in Rome do as the Romans’. So, when in Edinburgh, eat like a local. You’ll be able to find a drink just about anywhere, as long as you like beer or gin. There are literally hundreds of bars, and for those who like a cup of tea, you’re in luck too. There is always a place for a cuppa.
Don’t forget to try Haggis, Tatties and Neeps (Haggis, Potatoes, and Turnips for those who ‘have nae picked up the Scottish slang yet…). You also can’t go wrong with a pie from Greggs, or so I’m told. Finally, a visit to your local ‘chippie’ is a must for fish, chips and chippie sauce; a thin brown paste made of vinegar and HP sauce.
We did it all, and then some! The amazing range of sweets and biscuits, the staggering 3 quid lunch deals from the supermarkets, the lovely wee scones for afternoon tea at all the local tea shops. You’ll literally be spoilt for choice.
What do you reckon?
Have you vistied Auld Reekie? What where the highlights?