Cool Things to do in Edinburgh

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Despite being so much further north compared to many of our friends, family and previous lives, we've continued to see a lot of them. That has less to do with our wonderfulness and more to do with Edinburgh. Many of the folk that visit assume that Edinburgh is all about the castle, wandering Old Town and Princess Street. I've been on a mission to show our visitors more of the city as there is so much more to it than the aforementioned places. This is my attempt to highlight what I consider 'cool' in Edinburgh. I have excluded most of the Old Town, the Castle, the Zoo as most of you will do these anyway and they can be easily explored in a day. I have also excluded places that are outside Edinburgh City limits (Roslyn, South Queensferry etc.) as I will write about these separately.

1. Visit Stockbridge: Those of you that know me will have guessed this was coming. I am biased but I do think Stockbridge is quite special. It is so close to the centre of town (15-20 min walk) and yet so different. It was built by the Water of Leith and has the feel of a market town. The boutiques and charity shops here (especially St. Stephen Street) are worth visiting and it also has some fabulous cafes, bars and restaurants. I live here too so do drop me a line if you visit :)

2. Visit Dean Village: Literally next door to Stockbridge is the Dean Village. Again, very different in character to all other parts of Edinburgh and so very special. A walk along the Water of Leith from here to the Museums of Modern Art is well worth doing.

3. Explore the Museums: My favourites are the Modern Art Museums as they are stunning in their setting and always have some fantastic exhibitions on at all times. The National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery area also pretty spectacular. All these museums have very good cafes that serve excellent food and drink.

4. Take in spectacular views of Edinburgh: By virtue of its hilly terrain, Edinburgh has a number of fine spots from where you can take in spectacular city views. The top of Calton Hill, Arthur's Seat and also any high building at the top end of New Town works for this.

5. Experience France in the West End: I love the West End! It is home to my favourite festival - The Edinburgh Book Festival and is a mini France of sorts. The French Institute is situated here and so are some fabulous French cafes and restaurants including La Petit Follie and L'escargot Blanc.

6. Go for a walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens: These magnificent gardens are over a hundred years old and very impressive. It aways amazes me how well they have managed to preserve the variety of plants they have in here despite the Scottish weather.

7. Go for a concert or show at Usher Hall and surrounding theatres: Edinburgh is one big cultural extravaganza and Usher Hall and nearby theatres host some wonderful musical and theatre talent. The one I'm currently looking forward to is the John William's concert next month.

8. Experience the New Town: The New Town is older than Australia but it is 'new' by Edinburgh history standards. This is where the rich moved to after the Old Town got too full with people and disease. New Town is filled with galleries, antique stores, fashionable boutiques including Multrees Walk which is home to Harvey Nichols - although some may argue we are now getting in to Leith.

9. Explore Leith: Whilst on the subject, some Leithers would be offended if I called it Edinburgh but administratively, it most certainly is. Plus, it is a ten minute walk from town. I'll talk about the Leith-Edinburgh history another time (or watch Sunshine on Leith) but it has a great harbour ( home to Royal Yatch Brittania), some great pubs and restaurants.

9. Morningside and Bruntsfield: This is another lovely neighbourhood - a bit more mature compared to Stockbridge but lovely nevertheless. Check out Falkos Konditorei, the quirky Canny Man's restaurant and charity shops whilst in the area.

10. Go to the beach and Victorian Baths at Portobello: Yes, Edinburgh has a beach! Head to Portobello for a bit of beach fun and to explore the bohemian neighbourhood. Portobello is also home to Edinburgh's last surviving authentic Turkish baths!

Hope you enjoy exploring my favourite city! Ann x

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  1. Don't forget New Year's Eve. Hogmanay is one of the best parties in the world!


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