Hello my loves,
Happy October! My god, hasn’t this year just flown by? It feels like only yesterday I was doing January exams! I can’t complain though, this time of year (as I’m sure you’re already aware from my previous autumnal posts) is my absolute favourite. Crisp mornings, changing leaves, Halloween, bonfire night, cosy evenings…you name it, I LOVE it. And what better time to go on a mini break to a glorious city with my best gal pals from uni? The girls and I have been dying to get away for the past 2 years, and I’m so glad Edinburgh was the place we chose to visit! If you want to hear about my experience in Edinburgh then please keep reading for inspo on quaint cafe’s, places to visit and cute pictures (obvs).
Where we stayed
After lots of searching on AirBnB, I came across a place that seemed too good to be true. With a perfect location being a 5 minute walk from New Town, lavish modern decor and a cute little park on our door step I just had to book it. We were not disappointed. It was even more beautiful than the pictures with so much room we didn’t know what to do with (apart from to prance around the living room to Kesha and Spice Girls fuelled with a glass of wine…or 5). Our host was a man called David and he couldn’t have been more accommodating if he tried. He’d always reply to my *many* queries within the hour and even gave us some tips on where to go. If you’re ever visiting Edinburgh, I highly recommend his place which you can find listed on AirBnB at the below link:
Day 1 – New Town
We flew out to Edinburgh on Friday morning so that we had the whole day to explore the city. We caught an Airlink Bus into the city centre, which took approximately 25 minutes. I highly recommend getting an Airlink bus because 1. they are the cheapest way to get into the city from the airport (which is great being on student budgets and all) and 2. it was a double decker so we got to see a lot of Edinburgh on the way in, which was lovely!
Since our apartment was in New Town, it made sense to drop our bags off and then go and see what it was all about. I personally really liked New Town. All of the buildings were so grand and my friend Grace rightly pointed out that everything seemed to match and look perfectly designed to be there. You can imagine my inner OCD persona was living her best life walking around looking at the symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing architecture. The cobbled streets, grand doorways and quaint cafe’s sprinkled around New Town made it very easy to fall quickly in love with Edinburgh. New Town is mainly known for it’s shopping (which we did quite a lot of on our first day), but it’s also home to some gorgeous brunch spots and hidden foodie gems.
After walking into the heart of New Town, the girls and I decided to stop and grab some lunch to fuel our shopping for the afternoon. We took a walk down Rose Street because the red bunting caught my eye and it seemed to be home to an abundance of cafe’s and pubs. After reading a couple of different menu’s, we stumbled across an unassuming pub called Dirty Dicks. Thinking the name was utterly hilarious, we went in with our expectations somewhat low. What we did not expect to find was the cutest little pub, dimly lit with fairy lights on every wall and tall candles on each table. It was so quirky in there, with random objects on the walls and hanging from the ceiling, quotes and little mirrors. The menu was presented in a comic book called “Oor Willie, Your Willie, A’Body’s Willie” which we also found hilarious. It was little touches like that which made Dirty Dicks one of my favourite places I visited Edinburgh. Not to mention the food was so yummy and reasonably priced – with good variety too! As we only stopped in there for lunch we didn’t have loads to eat but what we did was delish (cheese, ham and chutney sandwich with sweet potato fries, mmm) and when I visit Edinburgh again I will definitely be going back to Dirty Dicks (the name will never not make me lol).
After a spot of lunch, we did some damage in the shops. I won’t bore you with the details as we stuck to the highstreet brands mainly. I did manage to bag myself a super comfy pastel blue/lilac puffer jacket from Primark that practically doubles up as a duvet and a silver sparkly dress with a sky blue shift from Urban Outfitters that I’d been eyeing up for my 21st birthday.
Once we’d shopped till we dropped, we decided to have a night in at our apartment with an oven pizza (standard) and a lots of wine and chocolate. These are my favourite kind of nights because I got to spend quality time with my girls who I hadn’t seen in ages – gossiping, laughing and – badly – dancing the night away.
Dy 2 – Old Town
We visited Old Town on Saturday and it was hands down my favourite part of Edinburgh. Everything about it was so beautiful. The buildings were grand, intricately detailed and looked like something out of a Harry Potter novel (no wonder J.K Rowling found inspiration and wrote the books in this beautiful place). We walked up the cobbled street from New Town to Edinburgh Castle, which marked the start of the Royal Mile. We didn’t go in the castle, but the outside of it was gorgeous and grand and the views from the top were amazing – you could see the whole of Edinburgh. Unbeknown to us, we went to Old Town on the day of a Scottish Independence March where people of all ages and backgrounds came together to march down The Royal Mile in a political protest. Being a politics student, I was in my element. But even if I didn’t study politics, the atmosphere was incredible and we were lucky enough to witness a marching band with a group of bagpipe players in full Scots wear, kilts and all. I don’t think it could have felt more authentically Scottish if we tried.
Walking down the Royal Mile, the sound of bagpipes filling our ears, we wandered in and out of cute little boutiques and souvenir shops where I picked up some Scottish shortbread. It would be rude not to right? I couldn’t resist going into the Nutcracker Christmas Shop which sells everything Christmas 365 days a year! My idea of heaven. I picked up a couple of candles for my room because I am a candle fiend and can’t resit those warm, cinnamon Christmassy scents. After getting my festive fix, we headed through Grassmarket to find somewhere to eat. We stopped off at a cute place called Brunch and Supper (which was just opposite The Elephant Cafe where J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter) and had a very tasty lite bite before getting back on our travels in Old Town.
We passed Greyfriars Bobby, one of Edinburgh’s most famous pubs due to the folk tale about a man and his dog who used to go there every night, and his dog Bobby continued to go there after he died. The folk tale says that if you rub Bobby’s golden nose then you will be blessed with good luck. We all gave Bobby’s nose a rub because everyone needs a bit of luck in their lives, and we’re tourists for christ sakes we couldn’t not!
We continued down the Royal Mile and stopped in a few more shops, taking in the sights and eavesdropping on conversations because I absolutely adore the Scottish accent. Scottish kids sound so adorable, especially when they were mimicking the independence chant but switching out the word independence for ice cream – “What do we want? Ice cream! When do we want it? Now!”
We popped into one of Edinburghs oldest fudge shops The Fudge House where I bought some uh-ma-zing fudge in the yummiest flavours (strawberries & cream, peanut chocolate and salted caramel) which were to die for. It wasn’t badly priced too, so definitely pop in if you’re visiting!
Next on our list of things to do was the Camera Obscura which, unfortunately for us was all the way back up the Royal Mile but so worth the leg workout. The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is definitely worth a visit if you’re going to Edinburgh and are up for a good laugh. Not to mention it has amazing views of the city from the top. It has really fun interactive rooms where you can do things like swap faces with your friends, become your very own optical illusion and see how ‘hot’ you are in the infrared room (shockingly I was the hottest lols).
After all of that we had truly outdone ourselves in Old Town. We dragged our little legs back down from the Castle and went back to our apartment, stocking up on more wine on the way, obviously. We had planned to go out-out on the Saturday night so looked up some clubs and one of the highest rated was The Liquid Rooms. It wasn’t what we were expecting to say the least, but it was still a good night nonetheless: partying with some middle aged Irish men on a stag do and gatecrashing a lady’s 50th.
Day 3 – Afternoon tea, botanical gardens and PIE
It would be fair to say we (mainly me) were a tad delicate after Saturday nights antics. Tash and I didn’t surface until 1pm! We managed to put our faces on and get ready for another day in the gorgeous city. Immy and I had booked the girls afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie as a 21st birthday treat which was so lovely. But MY GOD was there a lot of cake. We are a group of girls that can eat but the afternoon tea truly defeated us.
Unfortunately, the British weather finally decided to make it’s first miserable appearance of the weekend and the heavens opened. Regardless, we thought it would be a good idea to go to the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately for us, we got there as it was closing so only got to walk around the outside of the gardens in the rain for about 30 minutes. This is why I’m a planner! The gardens were lovely though and I can imagine they would be beautiful on a sunny day.
We went back to the apartment to chill for a bit and pick a spot for dinner. By this point, we had regained our hunger and for some reason I was craving a homemade pie. Luckily, we found the cosiest pub on Rose Street called Rose Street Brewery and low and behold, they had a whole PIE MENU. Yes, a whole menu dedicated to pies. I was in heaven. It was one of the best pies I had ever had (chicken, ham and cheese mmm) and it was such a cosy vibe in there. I would 100% go back again and try another pie or even just for a few drinks. I even tried a bit of haggis there and honestly, it’s actually pretty good!
Day 4 – Badger and Co Brunch and Edinburgh Museum
It was our last day *cries* so we wanted to make the most of it. We had to be out of our lovely apartment by 10 which worked out pretty well as we decided to go for brunch at Badger & Co which initially caught our eye with it’s cute floral (instagramable) entrance. Situated on Castle Street and former home of Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame, it made the perfect brunch spot. The food was lovely and the service was brilliant, not to mention the decor was so aesthetically pleasing, with references to Wind in the Willows around every corner.
After drinking our body weight in English Breakfast tea and consuming enough poached eggs to feed a small village, we made our way back to Old Town so we could explore the Edinburgh Museum. We wandered around all of its different exhibits including fashion, science and history for a couple of hours before going up to the top floor for an amazing view of the city. It was a great way to end to our trip, learning a bit more about Edinburgh’s history and culture before hopping back on the Airlink bus to the airport (I couldn’t leave without posing under this pub’s sign though – how apt).
I couldn’t have asked for a better few days away with my uni girls and I will go back to Edinburgh in a heartbeat. For anyone considering going, DEFINITELY GO! It’s such a beautiful city, bursting with culture and things to do (not to mention how many amazing food places there were – I couldn’t wait to eat a vegetable again when I got home).
If you have any places you would recommend I visit, then please leave them in the comments below! Or if you do decide to go to Edinburgh and visit any of the places I’ve mentioned then I would love to hear what you think!
I’m off to Dublin this weekend with one of my best pals Sean. I know – jetsetter or what? So keep your eyes peeled for another blog post all about my Dublin trip in the next couple of weeks.
I hope you all have a great week and you’ll be hearing from me very soon.
Love, Holly x