A Day in Edinburgh

Every year Simon and I head to the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District for a week of country walking and pubs. This year we took a slight detour and traveled up to Edinburgh for the day after a few days with my family. Simon had never been to Scotland, which seemed totally mad to me, so we decided to finally pop up to the capital by boarding a train from Newcastle.

Growing up in the North East meant that Edinburgh was a short train journey away and as a family we would often visit. Since leaving home and moving to London I haven't been able to easily enjoy visiting as I did as a child. I was so excited head up there again as Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities.

After enjoying the scenic coastal route on the train we hopped off and walked through Princes Street Gardens towards the Scottish National Gallery. In London we are spoilt by the huge array of galleries and museums but I remember really enjoying the National Gallery in Edinburgh and I'm a huge Scottish Colourists fan so it seemed silly to miss out.

After having a good look around the gallery I suggested that we head to The Dome for some lunch. It's a great place to enjoy a drink or some lunch as it's set in a beautiful Graeco-Roman style building so you feel as though you're sat in an old school murder mystery film set. It's full of the usual tourists and shoppers but perfect if you want to enjoy something classic to eat.

We walked to Stockbridge to have a look at the independent shops and enjoy a little wander. I hadn't really explored Stockbridge before and it ended up being my favourite area thanks to the great shops, cafes and green space. It really reminded me of where we live in London but much less busy, which, for someone who hates crowds was perfect (why do I live in London again?). We lucked out as the food market was happening that day, as a foodie I really enjoy a walk around a good food market.

We headed to the botanical gardens after exploring Stockbridge. I really loved the Modernist architecture of the lecture theatre there, if anything looks remotely Mid-Century I'm a fan. The Palm House was also really beautiful.

After walking around the botanic gardens we headed to the historical Grassmarket and on the way walked by an amazing vintage book shop. I had to snap a picture of these gorgeous books, I loved the illustrations. We also walked by a cheese shop my mum used to go into every time we went up to Edinburgh when I was little.

One of the main reasons to explore this area of Edinburgh was to visit the ice cream palour Mary's Milk Bar which had been recommended to us by so many friends. I scoffed down a salted caramel cone and Simon enjoyed a affogato. A couple walked in and ordered a sundae consisting of ten scoops of ice-cream with whipped cream and chocolate which I wanted to bury my face into.

After ice-creams we walked around the castle area of the city and enjoyed the amazing gothic architecture before heading to The Bow Bar as suggested by my mum. She knows a good pub so I always rely on her recommendations. After a quick pint, or a whiskey in Simon's case we headed to dinner at The Witchery.

The Witchery by The Castle is hidden in a collection of picturesque buildings in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town. The entrance is though an ancient 'close' below a gilded heraldic sign. There were lots of tourists peering in the windows to catch a glimpse of the interior, it couldn't look more mysterious or Scottish if it tried.

The restaurant serves very good traditional Scottish dishes and the setting was perfect for history geeks like us. I came to The Witchery when I was little and I've always wanted to come back, I remembered it as a magical place perfect for medieval princesses. It pretty much lived up to my memory of it, maybe that was because I was with Simon and we both equally love good food and gothic architecture, we were very happy to be eating there that night.

The food was wonderful and we enjoyed dishes consisting of haggis (the best bit), pigeon, salmon venison - all very Scottish! I'd love to come back to Edinburgh soon and explore more of the city we didn't get a chance to see. I'm sad that we ran out of time to visit Leith but hopefully next time we'll experience the more "local" Edinburgh neighborhoods and sights. It would also be wonderful to stay the night in one of The Witchery's beautiful rooms.

Have you visited Edinburgh? I'd love to hear you recommendations.

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