I recently spent 6 days in the city of Edinburgh on a business/ministry trip, which was quite the treat as I’ve never really seen beyond the Royal Mile and Princes St. (See the previous post about Edinburgh here.) So on this trip, we made use of our feet and walked as much as we possibly could. And let me tell you that Edinburgh is a treasure that is to be explored by foot. I would encourage everyone to put this place on your map of cities you must see, and I would encourage you to put your walking shoes on and explore these neighborhoods:
If you walk just north of Princes St (approx. 2 blocks), you will find an old alleyway that is filled with restaurants, pubs, and shops. This street has much more of a charming, historical feel than Princes St; plus, it’s much less crowded. We found Rose Street because Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant was highly recommended by a friend of ours. From the outside, the restaurant looks just looks like an old rock building, but the inside of the restaurant is beautiful. I think I was awed more by the building and decor than the food, but my dad loved his Tagliatelle Bolognese. The prices weren’t unreasonable either.
If you walk a few blocks northwest of Princes St, you hit a very nice artsy area. The buildings, the streets, everything is immaculate and beautiful. This area is one that I definitely want to explore again as it had cute little shops, restaurants, and a river walkway; it also leads to the Royal Botanic Garden, which is on my must see list for our next visit.
We accidentally stumbled upon Leith as we walked east on Princes St and found more restaurants and shops. This area felt more trendy and less touristy as it was very busy and teeming with young people. We enjoyed exploring it as it had a very different feel to it. I will warn you though that it does lead down to the Red Light District of the city.
Lastly, on our final day in the city, we walked south of the Royal Mile towards the university area and the Meadows. We ended up in a residential area referred to as Marchmont, and I think it quickly became my favorite area as it felt like a place I could live in. It also reminded me of a Parisian neighborhood with its historical charm, little grocery shops, sandwich shops, etc; I loved everything about it.
In conclusion, if you do visit this city and have a few days to explore, here are a few other tips:
First, Edinburgh Airport is so easy to fly into; plus, you can catch a bus that takes you straight from the airport directly to the middle of the City Centre. So if you can find a flight that will take you straight to this airport, it makes travel so simple!
Second, if you enjoy museums, there are several that are right within walking distance of Princes St. They’re free, and they’re definitely worth popping into. On this trip, we visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Scottish Academy, and the Scottish National Gallery; I recommend spending one morning to visit all three.
Third, there are so many places to eat in this city, but none of them are cheap. We found that the smaller sandwich shops and places off the beaten path offered great food at a lower cost; it’s just a matter of walking a bit to find them. But they are definitely worthwhile; plus, they offer such a better variety and a more authentic feel of the city.
Overall, I can’t say enough about Edinburgh and how charming it is. I will definitely be going there again!
((Side note from Haven: Micah is usually the gifted writer of this blog. When I sent her off with one of my cameras, she immediately wrote me from Edinburgh concerned she “didn’t have an eye for photography” and framing shots. I must say how proud of her I am. Her shots came out beautifully.))