Edinburgh is Scotland’s compact, hilly capital. It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.
We caught up with these two on their visit to Edinburgh in late November. They were on a missions to find a bit of Christmas spirit and decided that a trip to the Christmas markets in Edinburgh should just about do it. Flying up early in the day they managed to get a good deal on a flight and stayed at the Holiday Inn for three nights, right next to the zoo, a 15 minute ride on a bus into town.
They arrived on the Saturday to clear skies and headed straight into town, the public transport network is pretty good in bonnie Edinburgh and it was easy to get around. It was a weekend and so the town was very busy, especially the Christmas markets.
The bus takes you straight into the heart of Edinburgh, Princes Street. This is where all the busses and trams stop and is the perfect place to start. On one side you have Princes Street Gardens, a little park with beautiful cast iron fountain and the place where you will find Santa Land, a fun fair for children with lots of lovely little rides. Alongside this are the main Christmas markets with stalls selling all manner of festive goods at ridiculous prices. Bags of dried fruit and spices, £18.00. Bauble for your tree £10.00.. yeah right! All the Christmas markets we have ever visited are all the same, so it comes as no surprise.
Taking it all in, a bit of mulled cider will settle you in and take the edge off that cold Scottish wind. Another thing that will keep you warm is shopping. The shopping in Edinburgh is really good. On the other side of Princes Street is the main centre, an old town and a new town. The old town contains some really nice independent shops, with cobbled streets and a warm smile from every place you visit its nice to just wonder round and do a bit of window shopping. At this time of year the Christmas lights up up and when the sun sets it looks really Christmassy.
It wasn’t too long before it was time to eat. On the menu?.. haggis and tatties of course! Wondering around the back streets of Edinburgh you might just find a place called Milnes Bar. A lovely old pub serving home cooked food, mulled wine and ales and if you ask nicely, they might even put the footy on for you (the owner is a Newcastle fan, so be nice to him). This bar is on various levels and you are sure to find a nice little nook to cosy up with a wee dram of Scotch whisky.