GoGoGordon’s Guide to Edinburgh

Want printable, bullet list of our recommendations? Click here: GoGoGordons Guide to Edinburgh2 

Want pictures, stories and tips for your trip to Edinburgh? Scroll down…

IMG_1873
GoGoGordon’s Guide to Edinburgh

At the bottom of the page is a summary of our recommendations and tips for Edinburgh.

The first two pictures below, of the lovely grass field where we saw countless couples and families enjoying the clear crisp afternoon, was once quite literally a river of feces. Yes, much of Edinburgh’s history is grim, as much of the charm in Old Town we enjoy today was the function of horrific events. If you want to learn all about it, just take the Mary Queen’s Close tour. Edinburgh does have a fascinating, as well as morbid history, which of course includes Mary Queen of Scots. There are plenty of tours focused on her majesty, as well as the history of Edinburgh, as well as many other guide books. So, with that, I’ll be moving on to more of what we did in Edinburgh; mainly: great pubs, amazing hikes, and enjoying the previously mentioned immersion in a Harry Potter movie set.

Certain places feel like movie sets. It’s one of my favorite things about traveling Europe. Whether it’s Gladiator, Star Wars, a Disney Fairy Tale, Lord of the Rings, or just the romance of a well done period piece, Europe has the ability to put you into character with its surroundings. For Harry Potter fans, Edinburgh is just such a place.  Never mind that J.K Rowlings spent time writing the stories in a local café, or that many scenes from the movies were filmed in the area, the city itself, as you walk through it, almost feels fake in how perfectly it fits into the Harry Potter universe. That said, you certainly don’t have to be a fan of the stories to be a fan of Edinburgh. Regardless of the fiction, there is no disputing how well preserved and beautiful this city is; albeit, in a sort of “bring out your dead” kind of way.

IMG_9268

IMG_3171

A GoGoGordon tradition is to climb a bunch of steps as soon as you get to Europe. Don’t worry, every European city has some type of church, monument, or tower to climb. We love doing this because it gets the blood flowing after the long flight, helps fight off jet lag, and always leads to amazing views. Edinburgh has the Scott Monument, just on the North side of the train tracks separating Old and New Town. No, the tower is not in memory of the Queen, but rather writer Sir Walter Scott. With 287 steps to the top, it was a perfect climb, and it had breathtaking, 360 degree views across all of Edinburgh and its magical, medieval glory.

For us, it was quite conveniently located next door to our first hotel, the Balmoral by Rocco Forte. It’s the building in the picture with the clock tower. The hotel is a classic five-star property, in a beautiful building with both character and luxury. However, it’s best feature is it’s location, as it is basically right in between old and new town, and therefore allows basically everything to be in walking distance.

The view of the Balmoral Hotel from the Scott Monument.IMG_2576

View of the Edinburgh Castle and Scottish National Gallery (we didn’t go).IMG_2582

Looking down on the New Town side from the Scott Monument. IMG_2577

View of Old Town from the Scott Monument. The monument is named after the famous author  Sir Walter Scott. At first we assumed it has something to do with Queen Mary, then we realized after a few seconds why that was such a dumb assumption.IMG_1864

While our hotel stay included a full breakfast buffet, since we arrived at about 9am we couldn’t check-in yet and breakfast wasn’t included (understandably) on arrival day. Of course, I expected that so I was prepared. I had identified the Edinburgh Larder Café as the place for us to enjoy breakfast. The first meal after an overnight flight is important. More on that in my tips section.

IMG_2464 (2)

 

I chose the Larder Café because it was an easy walk from the hotel (were we dropped off our bags), and easily met my TripAdvisor rule. Further, I had read in the reviews that their smoked salmon was very fresh and one of the best in town. It did not disappoint. It was a perfect, fresh, healthy breakfast with great service and it’s located right off the Royal Mile, so we could explore the Royal Mile after fueling up. One must do in Scotland – eat as much Scottish Salmon as you can, the freshness makes a difference.

 

After breakfast we walked the Royal Mile up to the Edinburgh Castle. City-based castles are always a must-do, and the Edinburgh Castle is absolutely worth the tip. That said, go early or late, as anyone that’s in Edinburgh for a day or two is going to make the castle a top priority, meaning crowds. We also pre-booked as always which saved us quite a bit of time not having to wait in line. What struck us about the Edinburgh Castle is the museum-like exhibits inside were quite interesting and expansive. There are many courtyards within the castle that are extremely photogenic, and we found it interesting that the major still lives in a house inside the castle walls.

There are so many pictures out there of the Edinburgh Castle so I thought I’d put in a few lesser seen perspectives. Being pet lovers, we couldn’t help but love the designated cemetery just for soldiers’ dogs. We were also extremely fortunate to be visiting Edinburgh during the final tine the flags carried during the battle of Waterloo would be displayed to the public. We spent about 2.5 hours total exploring the castle grounds and reading a little about the exhibits.

After exploring the castle we walked the length of the Royal Mile. We had a light lunch at Sugarhouse Sandwiches – very highly rated and a perfect lunch stop if you want fresh, fast and tasty. One of the better options right on the Royal Mile.

Whether you call it High Street or the Royal Mile, either way it’s aptly named.IMG_2816

John Knox House. Google it.IMG_9190

As wonderful as a walk down the Royal Mile is, don’t forget to walk down the side streets and explore the adjacent areas. We’ve found that if you want to get away from the crowds and see streets that are usually just as interesting, just not as well known, venture off a side street or two. This definitely holds true in Edinburgh. Multiple tiny streets, called “closes” are hard to notice amongst the grand buildings lining the Royal Mile, but take one step in and it’s such a time warp you might start worrying about catching the plague.IMG_2474

West Bow / Victoria Street is another masterpiece just a few steps from the main avenue and is one of those streets that impresses at first site, and then grows on you from there. The shops, the architecture, the angles, the colors, and the cobblestone, all add to the vibe. We must’ve walked it at least a half-dozen times.

Bow

There are a million beautifully enhanced photos of this street, but it really doesn’t need any help. It’s visually unique, and the juxtaposition of the colorful storefronts and the traditional stone buildings works perfectly.IMG_2529

Yet another memorable stop just off the Royal Mile is the White Horse Close. This hard to find alley on the East side of the Royal Mile off of Canongate is worth ducking into to take a photo. We were fortunate enough to meet a resident on his way out and he shared some stories about the pro’s and con’s of living in a tourist attraction. He was charming and the alley was lovely and it was a memorable detour as we explored the Royal Mile.IMG_2616

One would think that an overnight flight, a climb up 287 steps, a walk around a castle, and about two miles of walking and exploring the Royal Mile would be enough for the first day…but we’re the GoGoGordons! After our lunch and stroll we decided to knock out another famous Edinburgh viewpoint on our way to dinner: Calton Hill

Only about a 15 minute walk from the East side of the Royal Mile, and only about 7-8 minutes from the perfectly located Balmoral Hotel, is Calton Hill.

While hiking Arthurs Seat was perhaps the highlight of our entire stay in Edinburgh, Carlton Hill is a much shorter endeavor and the view is no slouch. IMG_2539

Since Calton Hill is both closer to the city and at less elevation, you can really see all the Medieval beauty that makes Edinburgh so unique, and the view from here is one of my favorite city skyline views. To see where it finished in my top 10 list, click here.

IMG_1851 edit

Another positive about staying at the Balmoral is you’re never lost… IMG_1817

As we walked around the side of Calton Hill, the view shifted from downtown Edinburgh to Arthur’s Seat. I remember thinking to myself, “doesn’t look to steep…”. Like a golf ball looking deceptively close to the hole from the perspective of the tee box, Arthur’s Seat would prove deceptively challenging and was a much more beautiful and enjoyable hike than I expected.

IMG_2561

Just a 15 minute walk from Calton Hill on a fairly typical city street in New Town sits the Tailend Restaurant and Fish Bar. I love good fish and chips, so naturally when I knew I was going to Edinburgh I had to do some research on where to enjoy the very best of what Edinburgh, and Scotland, does so well. While I realize “best” is subjective and there are plenty of local Edinburghers that would fervently disagree, both my wife and I HIGHLY recommend making the trek out to this place for that quintessential Scottish  fish and chips experience!

What the what! This plate might not be fancy or highly artistic, but if you like fish an chips you might walk back here a few times during your trip. Light batter, crispy, with warm, flakey, soft white fish, add a splash of vinegar and finish it off with a firm-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, steaming and flavorful frite. Even the peas were gone before we left to finally get a little sleep. After one more stop at the trendy and comfortable bar Joseph Pearce, and wrapping up the day with about 42,000 steps, we finally went back to the Balmoral to formally check-in and crash.IMG_2599

One small warning if you do stay at the Balmoral, and this is probably just a cultural difference, but what you see pictured is the “pancakes” ordered off the breakfast menu. To be fair, they also came with a full, lovely buffet and the eggs benedict I ordered off the menu each morning were delicious. I only include this because if you’re used to a IHOP-esque giant stack of buttermilks…those are hard to find in Europe.

IMG_2608

Another wonderful perk at the Balmoral is that they are – at least they were when we booked – a American Express Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts member. That meant we received an 85 pound credit on our final bill toward food and wine, which at the current exchange rates came out to almost $150 value. We decided to use our credit toward experiencing the Balmoral Hotel’s reputable afternoon tea. The tea is served in an elegant room that screams fancy Victorian elitist, but in exactly the way you want when partaking in such a highbrow event. The room was stylish, the tea was delightfully formal and delicious, the tiered treys of gourmet bites were delectable, and the clientele were well dressed and sophisticated. Well… except… I didn’t want to pack formal clothes so I wore slippers and hiking socks. Not shown: shirt by Fossil… at least it had a collar.

After sleeping about 12 hours and fueling up on a big breakfast (after the pancakes), we were ready to take on a real hiking challenge.

 There are several entrances and exits to Arthur’s Seat. Some are steeper, some are shorter, but in general if you’re walking up you’ll find the top. We highly recommend our path, as it had a bit of everything. We began our trek at the corner of Queen’s drive and the aptly named “Radical Road”, which was only about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. The entrance is also just steps from the far East side of the famous “Royal Mile” next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, if you feel like doing a little Mary Queen of Scots sightseeing before or after your hike. It’s still amazing to me that such an amazing hike is so embedded right into the very center of the city. edinburgh

This is how the hike begins…IMG_2617

The hike starts up pretty steep. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves until we noticed an older couple was gaining ground on us. We felt even worse when they did eventually catch us and we saw they were wearing FLIP FLOPS! No, not Teva hiking sandles…actual FLIP FLOPS. Who are these people? We spent 3 Saturdays before we left trying to find the perfect hiking shoes that we felt was essential to our ability to both complete and enjoy this hike!

When I saw this sign, I thought, “finally, my Donkey Kong and Super Mario training might finally pay off!”IMG_2618

The incredible flip flop wearing hiking superstars…IMG_2656

The views start early on this hike. After only about 15 minutes we had a beautiful view of old town Edinburgh and the castle.IMG_9218

While it felt like we should be at the top, we came around the first bend to find ourselves in a beautiful valley but with quite a ways to go to the top. We took the path to the right.

 

IMG_9199

The final steps up to the top…at least that’s what we thought.IMG_2658

At the top of that climb was this beautiful, and windy valley.

windy valley

Then, we realized there was still a ways to go…IMG_2670

Finally we reached the top. As you might expect, there are 360 degree views of the ocean, the city of Edinburgh, and the surrounding countryside. It was a tough hike with a totally worth it payoff for making it to the top.IMG_2678

One of the my favorite views is of the ramp-like cliff jutting up into the middle of Arthur’s Seat. This is one of those pictures that doesn’t do real-life justice. The enormity, the depth, and the steep angles of Arthur’s Seat have to be seen with your own eyes. It was from this angle that we decided to walk back along the top of the ridge, not fully realizing how steep of a climb it would be to reach the edge.

IMG_9205

This is one of my favorite pictures because it shows a hint of the true angle of the “Seat”. Do you see the size of the people in this shot in comparison to the land? I also love the castle in the background, although I wouldn’t mind photo-shopping that crane out of the shot…and maybe some bluer skies…drop the shadow while I’m at it…On second thought this picture is just okay.IMG_9206

It was a tough hike, after a really tough hike, but again it was totally worth it. IMG_9212

I always thought this picture would make a great puzzle!IMG_9218

On the path back down to Old Town. Maybe the endorphins of the hike were making me high, or maybe I was just relieved that I was only steps from a sidewalk, but looking back up at where we had come, there was a true sense of appreciation for what we had experienced and the beauty we observed that day.IMG_2735

After a long hike, it’s time for a guilt free beer or two. I love old pubs, and the Halfway House is one of the oldest in Edinburgh. It’s small, tucked away in an alley, and definitely worth a visit.IMG_2461

Inside the Half Way House…I think it was the pub of the year one year or another…regardless, it has a few tourists, a few locals, and several good, local brews.

halfway

As we basked in the spiritual afterglow of hiking Arthur’s Seat on a crisp, cool, late spring day, our attention quickly shifted to re-fueling with something a little on the heavy side. After all, you don’t take that kind of walk and then have a salad and half sandwich. We decided to hike right down Holyrood Road to The Piemaker. I loved the fact that The Piemaker sounds like a character in a fantasy adventure – or a lame character fail in the 4th Matrix movie. The fact that it was a total hole in the wall just added to the allure. While my Google Map research made it look like an easy walk from where our Arthur’s Seat hike ended, what we didn’t know is that the area of Edinburgh we were venturing into was quite Matrix-like in itself – meaning there were two levels to the city. It took a while, and we didn’t take the fastest route, but we found a staircase and got up to the appropriate level to find this tiny little shop that, if you didn’t do your research and didn’t know better, you’d walk right by assuming it was garbage.

For about $2, even with the exchange rate, we each bought a meat pie and delighted in the crisp shell, fall-apart in your mouth meat, and earthy flavor. If this place was on a corner in downtown Austin I would’ve stopped here every night on my way home. It’s amazing hangover food, amazing re-fuel food, amazing drunk food, amazing food no matter what the occasion. Save some money and go check-out The Piemaker!

IMG_2739

Feeling satiated and now ready to shift my attention to liquid pleasures, we stopped for a beer or two at The Holyrood 9A, BrewDog Edinburgh, and Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar. We’re somewhat annoyingly crazy about our dog (okay, not “somewhat”), so when we found out there was an atmospheric pub with great cask beer dedicated to the memory of a loyal, loving dog, well, we had to go.

The statue of Greyfriars Bobby. Every city in Europe has a statue you’re supposed to touch in a certain place for luck. In Edinburgh, it’s Bobby’s nose. Just left of the door to the pub is the entire story…bring a tissue!

bobby

Great, local cask beer…deuchars

Another off-the-beaten path but enjoyable walk is through the Greyfriars Kirkyard. Graveyards in Europe tend to be interesting to walk through simply from a historical and atmospheric standpoint, but the Greyfriars Kirkyard also has the story of Greyfriars Bobby. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll want to read the story of Greyfriars Bobby and then take an introspective and peaceful stroll. The views of central Edinburgh from the Kirkyard are some of the best, and they are not the ones you see when you Google Image Edinburgh. In fact, Edinburgh from this angle might be the most Harry Potter-ish of all, so if you want to see Edinburgh from one of the most amazing yet underexposed vantage points, go take a stroll through the Kirkyard.IMG_2746

The views of central Edinburgh from the Kirkyard are some of the best, and they are not the ones you see when you Google Image Edinburgh. In fact, Edinburgh from this angle might be the most Harry Potter-ish of all, so if you want to see Edinburgh from one of the most amazing yet underexposed vantage points, go take a stroll through the Kirkyard.IMG_2753

 Right around the corner from the Kirkyard is the picturesque Grassmarket Square.

Every city in Europe has a main square. The main square is always crowded with tourists, usually overrun with overpriced tourist trap restaurants and shops, and sadly a Hard Rock Café usually makes an appearance. However, they are also usually architecturally magnificent, remarkably grand, and worth soaking in for a bit over a drink or a snack. Fortunately, the Grassmarket Square in Edinburgh is one of the few that has managed to dodge the large-scale commercial overhaul (although there is some) and generally has kept a sense of authenticity and local charm.

Of course, in this case you really don’t want too much authenticity, as this square used to be the hosting venue for town hangings…and there were a lot of them. Of course, the Morbid history of the Grassmarket Square is perfect for Edinburgh, and just adds to the lingering macabre felt throughout the city, albeit in a magical and enjoyable way.

IMG_2779

We highly recommend spending some time here. Grab a drink at the White Hart, or the Last Drop, named after the town’s favorite social activity. The Last Drop had a great view of the festivities, and in addition to a well poured ale you can enjoy the pictures of the past horrors that adorn the wall.

Edinburgh Castle as seen from Mary’s Milk Bar, right on Grassmarket Square. If you only eat one scoop of ice cream in Edinburgh, eat it here! Also a few other signs we noticed around Grassmarket Square.

Another walking option if you want to escape the city for a bit is to walk the path around the Water of Leith and the area around Dean’s Path. We entered the path at a staircase where Douglas Cres meets Megdala Cres.

edinburgh2

Here’s the real-world version of the staircase at the coordinates above.

IMG_3127

Dean’s Path area is yet another of Edinburgh’s magnificent time-warps. It’s a wonderful and peaceful walk along the river with plenty of photo opportunities.

Our walk along the Leith landed us right by a top rated restaurant we definitely wanted to try. The Caffeine Drip, in New Town, is one not to miss. Incredible sandwiches, delicious hot chocolate drinks, and a cool atmosphere. Highly recommended!

While we were in New Town, we walked stately George Street with a stop at the Georgian House overlooking Charlotte Square. We love touring houses that have been set-up to replicate life during another period of history…kind of like watching a show on HGTV from the 1700s.

The Georgian House had some beautiful rooms, interesting décor, and some very helpful volunteers in each room ready to tell you all about it. No audio guide needed.

IMG_2591

In addition to George Street, we walked down the famous Princes Street as well. Princes Street did not have much to offer for us as it was mainly US-based chain stores, but it did have wonderful views of the old town and the castle, especially from the West side.

After our short but enjoyable walk through New Town, we wanted to get back over to the good stuff. Plus, we had a 3pm appointment at The Real Mary King’s Close. We took the route below and we were glad we did. The view from the steps of the Scottish National Gallery was fantastic, and the walk up Cockburn Street was one of our absolute favorites.

walk

We were a little hesitant as we were afraid the Real Mary King’s Close was a little to touristy for us – and we tend to shy away from group led tours. However, we found the tour fascinating, we never got antsy waiting on the guide, and the sheer uniqueness of the exhibit was astounding. You literally get to walk the streets of Edinburgh from centuries ago, as modern day Edinburgh is simply build on top of it. It’s not for the claustrophobic, but it’s very well done, and a perfectly entertainingly mix of creepy, sad, freaky and interesting.

PHOTO MARY KINGS CLOSE

After our tour of the Real Mary King’s Close, we were ready for dinner. I of course knew exactly where I wanted to eat, but that didn’t stop us from checking out a few menus in the windows along the way. We wondered if this was another of my treasured international language snafus or a warped Disney-sponsored restaurant?

IMG_3209

Similarly to Ireland (we would come to learn later on this trip), many pubs and restaurants don’t just serve locally made beer, but also provide local talent as well. We knew the Whiski Bar and Restaurant was well reviewed but somehow dumb luck had us arrive just as a group of locals were about to play and we ended up at the table next to them. Music is a powerful memory enhancer, and it can add that extra topping of magic to an already wonderful experience. Sitting in this pub, enjoying a delicious beer, savoring my deconstructed Guinness pie, all with the memories of the mornings exhilarating hike still fresh in my mind, and then having a group of locals at the next table over add the perfect soundtrack to the day with a sweet, haunting folk song just crystalized the entire moment for me. I had chills, maybe even a tear in my eye. I had only been in Edinburgh about a day and a half and already I felt as though the entire trip expense and the long travel days were worth it.

IMG_2841

We had our first (of many) Innis and Gunn Originals at the Whiski Bar and Restaurant. I’ve been able to find them in some US states like Florida, but not in Texas. It’s delicious, with strong notes of vanilla and oak, but not artificial tasting. Smooth. Try it!

innis

They do take their beer drinking seriously here…IMG_2773

They also take whisky seriously here… IMG_2847

Going to try and segway here from novelty scotch whisky condoms to some of the best actual scotch or scotch whisky you’ll ever find. Obviously if you are a scotch drinker then Scotland is a kind of mecca for you, and there are a number of trips you can build entirely around that passion. While we prefer beer and wine, one of our general rules when we travel is to eat and drink what a place is known for while visiting there. For us, going to Cadenhead Whisky on the Royal Mile felt like we had the entire country’s (or “somewhat autonomous region” or whatever) best scotch at our disposal without having to leave the city. The picture here is the menu when we were there. As you can see, they have some names you know, but also a lot of hard to find, locally produced gems from all over Scotland that will please the even most concerning scotch drinker.

We typically do at least one day trip when staying in a larger city for 3-4 nights. In this case, choosing a single day trip from Edinburgh was the hardest decision of the trip. There were at least a dozen ideas that sounded amazing, and it is quite possible to make it all the way to the Highlands in a day from Edinburgh. For us, driving 6 hours round trip just to spend a few hours in the Highlands ultimately didn’t make sense, and we decided we’d have to come back on a second trip and do Loch Ness, Cairngorms, Ft. William, Glasgow, Inverness, Oban, Portree, the Harry Potter train, the Scotch Distilleries, and the other wonderful looking destinations in northern Scotland.

Avoiding group led or guided tours at all costs, as we do being the GoGoGordons, we checked out of the Balmoral, walked with our luggage less than half mile down the road to a Hertz location and rented a car. As ALWAYS in a drive on the left destination, I tried to buy the full insurance package, but this Hertz wasn’t as clear as my past experiences with AVIS and that would prove to be frustrating (foreshadowing).

Anyway, for our day trip we decided we’d drive out of the city, see the famous Forth Bridge on our way out to hike and see the coastal towns of Fife.

We love precious little European villages that have maintained their unique and time period architecture, and Fife is full of then! I also wanted to swing by Saint Andrews just to say I saw the course, even though we wouldn’t have time to play.

There are a number of wonderful walks up and down the East coast of Fife, that run right through darling little Scottish fishing towns. We started our hike right at Ruby Bay (there’s a parking lot) near the Lady’s Tower. We didn’t do the entire hike to St. Monans, but we walked about 45 minutes out and back again. It was a cold, grey, cloudy day with a hint of mist in the air (that would later become full blown rain), but somehow that worked perfectly with the surrounding visuals. We only saw two or three other people the entire time we walked the trail, and our seclusion with cool sea breeze and the storybook Scottish terrain was perfectly atmospheric and impactful.

IMG_1999

This was the Scottish country I wanted to see, that I had envisioned. Harsh, windy, green, and beautiful. I admit I may have had the Braveheart theme playing on my phone.

After our hike we drove to Pittenweem, which was the town we most wanted to see in the area. It was indeed precious, and in every way still a working, fishing village.

We stopped for a quick cup of coffee at a super cute little shop on Abbey Walk road and then it was off to Anstruther to have lunch at the Anstruther Fish Bar, which is one of the more popular and famous fish and chips stops in Scotland.

There are two lines when you get to Anstruther Fish Bar, and the “to go” line is always shorter, so that’s the path we took. Like most tourist-friendly, famous places, they had a system down and the small line that was there moved faster than we expected. As you can see, we knew the fish was fresh!

IMG_2928

We got our fish and chips and ate in the car… Like barbeque in Texas, I’m really not sure how I choose a favorite, but we loved this place. Great vinegar balance, crispy, delicious, and a total value as the portion was huge if you want to share. We didn’t.

IMG_2929

We did manage to make our way up to Saint Andrews. It was raining fairy heavy off and on but we were able to see both the Cathedral and the golf course. While both were nice, we were most surprised by just how lovely and quaint the town itself was, even in the rain. This town definitely went in the “we didn’t spend enough time here” category.

Despite enjoying our day in Fife, the highlight of the day was yet to come.

My wife’s number one request for Scotland was to see a Highland “Coo”. While I had read that they are plentiful and most see them along the highways, I couldn’t take that chance. So, when I read that the Prestonfield Hotel had several on their property, and being that the Prestonfield was also the #1 ranked hotel on TripAdvisor in Edinburgh at the time, it seemed like a no brainer.

As it turned out, the Prestonfield become one of our favorite hotels and hotel experiences throughout all of our travels. It was simply perfection in every way.

While we’d come to learn after a few conversations with guests and staff that many people stay here – even have weddings here – in hopes of getting to see the “Coo’s”, but they are left in the pasture next to the hotel and are free to be wherever they want, so they often don’t make an appearance.

I think you’d agree we got lucky…

IMG_2977

The whimsical, luxurious, fabulous Hotel Prestonfield. We regretted not staying our entire trip to Edinburgh here. The only negative is it’s location, and that’s only an negative if you want easy walking access to central Edinburgh. They have shuttles, or if you have a vehicle and don’t mind driving 8 – 10  minutes into the city, then no worries. This is the kind of place that Alice in Wonderland or Jumanji or the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe or Scooby Do actually happen.

Our dinner at the Prestonfield provided one of the more unique and enjoyable atmosphere’s ever to enjoy a garden-fresh meal. We were given a table alone in a room full of knick-knacks, paraphernalia, artwork, and historic furniture. It was like having dinner in Peter Pan’s living room. The best part of the meal was the peas, as the steak and salmon were just okay, but enjoying some wine while sitting in your own private museum was truly a unique and enjoyable memory.

In order to be closer to the airport for our very early flight the next day, we moved hotels yet again late in the evening on our final day. We stayed at the Dunstane Hotel which is on the West side of Edinburgh, nearby the entrance to the River Leith walk we took. It really isn’t fair to judge any hotel after staying at the Prestonfield Hotel, but the Dunstane was quite lovely. It is a boutique hotel in a traditional manor setting, with modern, updated rooms, and our room had a large four-poster bed and a bay window looking out over the street.

Our last stop in Edinburgh was to drop off the car at Hertz at the airport. As my tips section will tell you, always get the full insurance package as rental companies in Europe are far, far more anal retentive about damages. The scratch below cost me about $200.

IMG_3223

For a full, printable list of everywhere we went and recommend in Edinburgh, click here. Overall, we enjoyed Edinburgh immensely. It really makes you feel as if you’re in a different world, or at least in a different time period, which we love. We did a lot in our time there, walking over 35000 steps 3 of the 4 days, but we’d still go back in a heartbeat. We would have loved to have seen northern Scotland, and spent a little more time in New Town, but we had a short and convenient plane to Dublin to catch…

…Maybe on our next Honeymoon…

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close