In July, we spent a few days in Edinburgh, meeting up with family and friends. I was SO keen to go as I’ve never been before, and despite the fairly miserable weather, it was a fantastic trip and I’m fully in love with the city already!
It actually reminds me a lot of Oxford – the old buildings, often cobbled streets, and more laidback and less busy atmosphere in comparison to other cities. Of course, it does have a much better castle than Oxford, and it’s built amid (and on) some fantastic rolling hills.
The castle is definitely worth a visit, as is Holyrood, and Arthur’s Seat for the hiking types among us (kidding – anyone can get up there, including my cousin’s 70-something grandparents!). There’s a great shopping area which runs along Princes Street, with some fantastic boutique shops, unusual but popular chains (Oliver Bonas!), and of course all of your usual high street stores. The Royal Mile is a big hill that leads up towards the castle and is great to wander up (or down), with plenty of gift shops, cafes, old-style sweetshops, and traditional pubs. We stayed just off this road, renting an apartment with others for a couple of nights, and staying in the hub by Premier Inn for our last night. This concept hotel is really compact, but considerably cheaper than pretty much every other hotel available, and really close to everything.
Edinburgh is really easy to reach – the train goes right into the city centre, the buses are decent, and of course you can fly there. The pubs are great, and there are plenty of bars for after hours (although some you might have to search for!). There is of course the road that Diagon Alley is created from – which does look seriously similar – and there are quite a few Harry Potter and witch-themed shops round that area!
I’m not ashamed to say that I spent a whole of one of the mornings trawling around the secondhand bookshops of Edinburgh! There are SO MANY, and I picked up some great used books and some unusual leaflets and pamphlets for next to nothing. Fitting them all in the case for the return journey was less fun! A personal favourite was definitely Armchair Books, so check it out if you’re a booklover and in the far north!
It wasn’t too much of a foodie trip, but there were some highlights! They had pop up cocktail and beer bars just off Princes Street, so we treated ourselves to Bombay Sapphire cocktails. We ended up going to two places for dinner which were actually in the same brand – Holyrood 9A and Red Squirrel. They were both really excellent, great for drinks as well as food. I was also taken out to brunch one day, to Spoon, which is where JK Rowling wrote one or another Harry Potter book. Of course I had poached eggs and avocado, which was top notch. Finally, I’d like to mention Mimi’s Bakehouse – we only had this as takeout on our last day, but wow is this stuff good. I’d genuinely go back to Edinburgh just for their cakes!
I’ve really fallen in love with Edinburgh. There’s so much to do, but it’s also just such a great place to spend time. Luckily, I know someone at uni there, so I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m back!