Weekend Break: Edinburgh

TL;DR – We went to Edinburgh for a weekend break, and it mostly consisted of sleeping and drinking.  This is a shite post about what we did with a few rec’s at the bottom.

My husband and I got a dog (the love of our life, Reuben) in November.  Since we got him, we’ve not slept, become human chew toys, and spend our days cleaning up poo.  We love him, but my god, we needed a break.  My hubby’s parents (bless their souls), agreed to take Reubs for a weekend so we could get away.  As new (dog) parents, we jumped at the chance to have a bit of a break so we could have a proper lie in.

I’ve actually been to Edinburgh about 10 times in the last 6 years, and really do love the city.  So much so, I intended to move there when I arrived in the UK, but … enter hubby … and here we are in London.  Despite being a quick flight North, my husband actually hasn’t been before, so I was all too happy to show him round one of my favourite places.

Normally when I would go, I would either stay in a hostel or with friends.  This time around, we opted to stay in Holiday Inn Express – Royal Mile.  Its location is super convenient (Cowgate) and the hotel itself was well appointed.  The rooms were wee, but had everything you needed.  The beds were comfy and the pillows were fab.  We really were keen to get a good nights’ sleep.  The hotel has a tiny little bar, which is literally just a counter next to the check in desk.  We had a couple quick drinks there on our first night as a cheeky night cap, but otherwise, it’s not to exciting.  I would recommend staying here for anyone who wants to stay central and wants to save a few quid.

Cowgate is great.  You’re a minute from the Royal Mile, and there are loads of pubs, restaurants and clubs worth checking out.  So many options on your doorstep, honestly.  Just outside the hotel, if you head left when you exit, you’ll walk toward Holyrood Palace (snore) and Arthur’s Seat.  Would absolutely recommend to anyone visiting the city to give this big bastard a climb.  Its magic.

Just beyond Cowgate is the Grassmarket, which is also brilliant.  Worth checking out for a £1 shot in a shit bar, or one of the several pubs lining the streets.  There are also a number of hotels in this area as well (Apex being another decent one).

If you’re wandering around Edinburgh, there are 2 main areas: Old Town (where all of the above is located), and the New Town.  New Town is a quick 2 minute walk across the bridge from the Royal Mile.

In the New Town, I’d recommend climbing Scot Monument to get fab views of the city, a coffee and sit in Princes Gardens and a wander down Rose Street for a cheeky tipple or two.  There’s also some great shopping in the New Town worth checking out.  If you arrive by bus from the airport (or train) you will land at Waverley Station, which is located in the new town.

I’d recommend hoping on a free walking tour whilst you’re in Edinburgh.  We did Sandemans, which is always good.  For those not familiar, they’re free – you just tip at the very end of the tour.  If you thought the tour was rubbish, you leave £0.  If you thought it was great, you tip what you think it’s worth.  The tour guides rely on tips as their salary, so if they’re grand, give them some £.  Definitely check this group out. Having done about 13 of their tours, I can’t recommend them enough.  *note* there’s an even better company operating in Dublin, which I’ll get into later on.

Right, so you want to get pissed?  We went to a few of my favourite spots, which I’ll summarise for you:

  • Inn on the Mile: I can’t attest to their accommodations as I’ve never actually stayed here, but I have ate and drank.  I would recommend the Balmoral Chicken and the Mac & Cheese, without a doubt.  They have a fab cocktail menu, with a weekly featured cocktail.  Work your way through the cocktail menu – you won’t regret it!  Inn on the Mile is located, well, on the (royal) mile.  Its at the corner of the Royal Mile & South Bridge.
  • Kilderkin: Pints & pizza, really.  Always a relatively cheap and cheerful stop on my trip to Edinburgh.  Its located on Canongate, which is actually just the foot of the Royal Mile, walking toward the direction of Holyrood.
  • The Devil’s Advocate: This was a new one for me, and I really enjoyed it.  They have a fab cocktail menu.  It was completely rammed when we arrived, so we had to stand by the bar in the main area, but it was comfy / cosy and we enjoyed it.  Would be happy to go back and would definitely recommend it.

Moral of the story: Edinburgh is amazing.  I really can’t recommend it enough.  For someone who really wants to explore a beautiful city and enjoy some great drinks and food, Edinburgh is the city for you.  Get lost wandering the narrow Closes, and get pissed on the amazing drinks.


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