72 hours in Edinburgh

Thursday, 12 January 2017

In December, my boyfriend took me to one of my favourite cities for three days as a way to say: thanks for being my girlfriend for a whole year even though I’ve probably wanted to kill you more times than I can count.

I adore Edinburgh. I try to go at least once every year because it’s a place that just feels like home. Maybe it's because I’ve visited the place consistently since I was a child as my gran is from there; she moved to Sunderland in the ‘60s after getting married to my grandad who was a born and bred ‘Mackem’.

Jack and I always try to fit as many things into one trip as possible – so he always opts for the earlier trains and buses, knowing fine well I’m not a morning person… We arrived at Edinburgh Waverley for around 9:20am but, to be honest, I never complain about early train journeys to Scotland, especially when I get to watch the sunrise over the coast.

This post hopefully sums up the places we visited, the sights we saw and the food we ate. I hope you enjoy it – and possibly find some inspiration, too, if you’re heading to this wonderful city any time soon.                                                                                                                                                                                      

1. Museums:

We aren't complete whizzes on art but we do enjoy it. Whilst in the city, we visited three museums. The Writer's Museum, situated down a narrow street named Lady Stair's Close in Old Town, is a lovely place to go if you're into classic literature, particularly by Robert Louis Stevenson. The building has its own traditional winding staircase that I'm always a sucker for despite them making me feel dizzy, whereas Jack practically ran up and down it.

The other two included the Scottish National Gallery, located in Princes Street Gardens, and the Scottish Portrait Gallery, in Queen Street. This one had a beautiful old library that we probably spent too much time in just in awe at how pretty it is... Although it does contain some eerie plaster casts of murderers from centuries past, like Edinburgh's Burke and Hare (I can't lie, I love shit like that - the murder and crime documentaries are always on in my house).

2. The City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard tour:

On our anniversary, after we visited The Dome for food (read below!), we decided to go on a tour that takes you to some of the most haunted areas in the city... apparently. Quite honestly though, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It cost £11 each and I'd happily do it again.

The tour specifically says it isn't for the faint-hearted, but I suppose you think that's utter rubbish until you actually do it. At 7.30pm, a small group of around 20 people met at St. Gile's Cathedral on the Royal Mile, and off we were taken to a vault underneath the city, previously inhabited by disease and death in the 1700s. Nice.

We were submerged in complete darkness to 'feel/listen for the ghosts' still inhabiting the area when the tour guide wasn't talking about the rather disturbing history of the place. It sounds hilarious but I actually was spooked and panicked - that's my nature but what do you expect when the tour guide has literally a torch and a few candles to lead the way?

That wasn't the worst part either because our next destination was Greyfriar's cemetery, home to the resting place of adorable dog, Greyfriar's Bobby, but also the home of several mausoleums, the Covenanter's prison and the 'Mackenzie poltergeist' - whose mausoleum we visited at around 9pm in the freezing cold. Immensely creeped out by this point.

There have been tonnes of horror stories circulating the ghost and his resting place; supposedly visitors have seen scratches appear on their bodies hours later... Whether you believe or think it's bull, at least you get to exit through the (once funeral parlour) gift shop on the way out.

3. Food, food and more food:

Naturally. We tried Hard Rock Cafe on the first night for dinner as the food is always decent, and I got to sing along to Oasis whilst scoffing macaroni cheese. There were many places, like The Newsroom on Leith Street that sold good burgers to Frederick's doing lovely loose tea, but my highlight was one particular place out of them all.

My boyfriend took me to The Dome for our anniversary, a few doors down from Hard Rock Cafe on George Street. When I heard that he had booked it, I was stupidly excited. I had wanted to try it for as long as I can remember - I would pass it every year visiting Edinburgh and it always looked gorgeous from the outside, especially at Christmas.

If you get a booking, I would definitely recommend it in the festive season - the huge Christmas tree in the middle of the room looks good on your phone but better in real life, and even the toilets were lovely. Sadly, I didn't get any photos on my SLR of the decor or mugshots of people eating dinner. There were three courses to have alongside tea or coffee afterwards - the price was a little over-budget but completely worth it.

4. Wanders anywhere and everywhere:

That's basically what we did - we wandered places. Our hotel was directly opposite Haymarket Station so that was an excuse in itself to pass through the ridiculously beautiful side streets every day. We passed by St. Mary's Cathedral repeatedly (see below) and the most insane houses with the prettiest doors ever (it's sad but every single one was #doorgoals).

We would always walk through Rose Street, a rather dark but very popular cobbled pathway, that held the likes of Patisserie Valerie (which does great afternoon tea), and went to the Royal Mile a few times heading up to the castle - I recommend going there when the sun is setting or at night because the views overlooking the city are wonderful.

There are so many places you just don't get to see if you're on Princes Street, shopping - which we did but that's not the point... Edinburgh was just made for wandering. It's crammed with amazing architecture, independent cafes, not to mention Arthur's Seat - which we are determined to do if we hopefully visit some time soon!

If I could only live in one place, I would want it to be here. I know for a fine fact that if my gran had the money, she would be back on native soil in an instant. Edinburgh has my heart, I love it so much - I want to plan my next trip already.

Hope you've enjoyed reading!

Rebecca x

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