Monday, July 24

{ lets go somewhere . Edinburgh }

Last week I asked Instagram for ideas on places to explore here in the Uk.  I had some wonderful suggestions, places I'd already been wondering about, and places I'd not even thought of, and one city, suggested by a couple of people,  was somewhere I'd been lucky enough to visit already. A family wedding last year was a wonderful reason to visit Scotland, Perth for the wedding itself, with a few days either side spent exploring Edinburgh. I came away with very fond memories, but feeling that I'd not really scratched the surface of what the city had to offer.

Edinburgh, like many cities today, is an eclectic mix of old and new. With a wealth of history, beautiful architecture, and alleyways dotted here and there, it's a city you can wander around just looking, without needing to visit anything in particular. Though if you did it would be a shame, as there is an abundance of coffee shops and cafe's to eat your way around, museums, castle's and palaces to be a tourist in, and lots of lovely independent boutiques to shop from.

{ stay }
We stayed in Edinburgh for one night before travelling onto Perth, and stayed in the charming Albyn Townhouse. A little further out of the centre of the city than some, it proved a lucky find, as it was just off Bruntsfield Place, a street where you'll find even more cafés and shops to explore, and that we might not have discovered otherwise. It's perfect walking distance from the city, giving you time to appreciate the gorgeous architecture, the parks, and for those bookworms amongst you, seek out Admiral Terrace, the home of Muriel Sparks, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and whose house was featured in the opening shots of the film.

On our return, we ventured into our first Airbnb adventure, with a few days staying in the grandeur of one of the townhouses in Eglinton Crescent. I was already a little in love with this apartment from the photo's on line, and it did not disappoint. Beautifully high ceilings, original detailing, and as per it's description, both elegant and cosy, it was the perfect place from which to explore more of Edinburgh. Not far from the Haymarket, it was only a short walk away from yet more lovely coffee shops, and also not far from the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, which I happily came across on my morning run.

{ eat & drink }
Where do I start? This is a city with an abundance of really, really good coffee. I tried my very best, but I didn't manage to get to try everywhere I would have liked to.

You'll find The Milkman on Cockburn Street, behind the unassuming facade of an old confectionary shop. One of those small, but perfectly formed places, that was a cosy hideaway from the summer rain.  Not too far away on Bank Street is Zebra Coffee Co. They have a reputation for great coffee, but it was the window display of Rocky Road that drew my attention. Sadly this was one place that had to be popped on the 'to visit next time' list, possibly losing out due to my inability to resist a return visit to Lovecrumbs. Yes, a place so good, I went there twice. You can read more about the very very lovely Lovecrumbs in my review for the Clandestine Cake Club

Söderberg has bakery's dotted around Edinburgh. Their Kardemummabulle and Kanelbulle (Cardamom and Cinnamon buns ) make the perfect breakfast to set you up for a day of sightseeing. Wellington Coffee, on the corner of George Street and Hanover Street, would be easy to miss, but is worth looking out for, as is Mimi's Bakehouse, where I bought one of the loveliest cupcakes I have ever eaten.

{ history }
I was lucky enough to visit Holyrood in time to catch Fashioning a Reign, one of the three exhibitions of the Queen's frocks that was held last year. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a beautiful place, and even on a grey day, you can't help but be moved by the architecture and the history.

In complete contrast to the history of the palace, is the Scottish Parliament Building, a contemporary building opened in 2004, not without some controversy. Standing opposite the palace, it has a stark, impressive facade. The Canongate Wall is dotted with 24 stones, each engraved with quotations, my favourite being that of Charles Rennie Mackintosh;

There is hope in honest error;
None in the icy perfections of the mere stylist.

{ shop }
For lovers of all things vintage, head to Grassmarket and W.Armstrong & Son, then wander down West Port stopping off at Godiva and Herman Brown.

For quirky gifts, and some not so typical, but still very Scottish, souvenirs, try Old Town Context, where you'll find, amongst many other things, a wonderful print with instructions on How to Make a Deep-Fried Mars Bar. For some not so Scottish, but still very lovely gifts, you could do worse than stopping by Biscuit, which you'll find tucked away in Thistle Street. Described as 'Somewhere to come and buy a pretty top to wear for a Saturday night at a friends dinner party, and while you are there why not pick up the perfect present for the hostess!' a description I don't think I can better, only to say that they had the loveliest selection of stationery and cards too.

{ culture }
And for my last day in Edinburgh I spent it immersed in art, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Comprised of two galleries either side of the Belford Road, both buildings sit in the midst of a beautiful sculpture park. They are both wonderful places to visit, quiet and contemplative, and on a sunny day, a lovely place to spend wandering the grounds taking in all the art outside. The fact that both have equally lovely coffee shops is an added bonus, meaning there is no need to hurry your visit, being able to take your time to look, in between well timed coffee breaks.

There are so many places I've not been able to mention, and many more that I didn't discover on last year's trip. This is Edinburgh is a great place to read more, and for a more local point of view, take a read of 48hours in Edinburgh like a local.

{ have a happy day }

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. thank you for taking the time to scribble down your thoughts . i lOve reading All your musings .