What better way to start the New Year than taking a little weekend break within the UK. I have been very fortunate and have travelled to some lovely far flung place, however I have never really explored within Great Britain. When we noticed a Black Friday Day for cheap tickets going to Edinburgh we booked straight away as neither of us have ever been to Scotland! Friday dawned bright and early for a 7.30am train from King's Cross Station. We realised on the way to catch the train that both Leigh and I had managed to forget the suitcase! I found this very amusing but Leigh not so much at the prospect of shopping once we got to Edinburgh. It did mean that we were unhindered by luggage however and found our seats quickly for our 4.5 hour train journey. It passed relatively quickly and we cheered when we crossed the border as this was now the furthest that either of us had been. It was a beautiful journey up the East Coast and we passed along the cliffs and shore line and we made friends with some very rowdy Northerners who gave us some of their prosseco.
When we arrived in Edinburgh we did what any typical tourist would do and went to Primark to go and buy some clothes for the weekend...
We did manage to get some bits and after that exhausting activity we thought that a pub visit was well deserved. We stopped for some lunch before going on a stroll through Princes Street Gardens and catching our first proper sight of the castle. The location is quite impressive although I have to say I was expecting more turrets!
We were staying with my cousin and her boyfriend so headed over to their house, had a few welcome drinks before heading out to eat, settling on Holyrood 9a as their burger selection is pretty gorgeous. As I'd never had haggis before we bought some haggis bon bons! I must say they were quite pleasant. We all went for something different but my burger had brie and was a thing of dreams. The interior decor is nothing to be sniffed at either!
Afterwards we headed to City Cafe which was a retro space with some tasty alcohol choices and a jukebox for our listening pleasure. We managed to nab a booth and enjoyed a few hours chatting away before heading home.
The next day we had some very tasty home-cooked breakfast, including more haggis, which I enjoyed very much, before heading out to be tourists for the day. First stop was, of course, Edinburgh Castle! We had already decided to not actually go in, as at £16.50 we weren't sure it was worth it, but we still went to see the views across Edinburgh and had a nice walk up the Royal Mile to get there, stopping in some tourist shops to pick up some Scottish Tablet much to the horror of our hosts who didn't want to be associated with such places as locals!
We meandered down Victoria Street, which is very pretty with some tiny local shops, including one just filled with cheese and we stopped into Red Door Gallery, which sells some gorgeous art and prints.At the bottom we checked out Grassmarket and bought some local produce including one of the best brownies I've ever eaten from Wood's Brownie Co.
Greyfriars Kirk was next on the list to visit and I ran around the graveyard until I found Tom Riddle's gravestone and we crept up to the gates of the spooky bit of the graveyard, but I don't believe in ghosts, do you? Much to the dismay of our tour guides I made sure to rub the nose of Bobby, a statue of a dog who guarded the grave of his owner for 14 years. Because so many tourists rub it, it is shiny and gold!
Our feet were starting to hurt but we had one more stop on the way, The National Museum of Scotland. We took a trip right to the top and the roof top garden, which had amazing views. Heading back down we messed around with some of the exhibitions.
Unfortunately the pain in our soles got the better of us so we headed to a very cool bar called Brass Monkey which had day beds instead of tables and chairs. It was just what we needed to get the weight off our feet. Definitely check it out if you are in Edinburgh.
Feeling a bit hungry we parted ways with our guides to find some dinner. We found a noodle bar called Yocoko and tucked into some cheap but tasty food. I've never seen food arrive so quickly, although I don't know if this is good or not. I had the seafood ramen bowl and although not the best I've ever tasted for the price I wasn't complaining.
We headed over to The Inn on the Mile to meet up with an ex-boyfriend of mine, who I haven't seen in 10 years and who lives in Edinburgh. We had a lovely catch up before he had to get back to his girlfriend and baby, and Leigh and I set off to find ourselves a deep fried mars bar! We found a chippie that was selling them and scoffed it with glee, it was definitely a recipe I would like to try at home.
We walked back down the Royal Mile towards my cousin's house and carried on with a few more drinks there before lying down and resting our weary bones. The following day was our last day in Edinburgh and with a train at 4pm we had a bit of time to get a bit more sightseeing done...but.....we didn't. Instead having gone to bed at 3am we didn't get up until 11am and so after we'd had brunch and readied ourselves it was 2pm. We did walk a different way towards the station though, again with some lovely views over Edinburgh, it really is quite picturesque.
We said goodbye and thank you to our wonderful hosts before boarding the train to head back to London. I am so glad that we had the opportunity to come and see this beautiful city. From the accents to the architecture there are many beautiful things about this city that you just don't find in London. The history of Edinburgh city is more apparent, helped by the Old Town and the prominent castle. I would definitely love to return, if only just to eat more battered Mars bars!