The best thing about my brother’s Edinburgh University education is the excuse it gives me for four years of visiting rights to Scotland’s picturesque capital city. Rivalling London with its impressive selection of fine dining, cool bars and attractive historical sights, it is the ideal place for a weekend break in Britain.
9 am: after a heavenly buffet breakfast at the Caledonian Hotel pack your map and umbrella and set out for Princes Street, Edinburgh’s busiest shopping road.
10 am: Wander through the boutiques until you reach Artisan Roast for the perfect cup of coffee. But a note to Potter geeks; the cafe keenly states that ‘JK Rowling did not write here!’
10.30 am: If you dare, the dungeons are worth a visit. Catch one of the live shows for spooky stories and amusing anecdotes about Scotland’s murky past.
12.30 pm: Head to the Leith area for lunch by the waterside. Edinburgh boasts five Michelin starred eateries, The Kitchin is perhaps the healthiest, offering beautifully presented, seasonally inspired recipes. The lunch menu is very reasonable with three courses priced at £26 per person.
2 pm: Jump on the 22 bus back into town for an afternoon of sightseeing. The National Museum of Scotland is currently displaying an awesome Viking exhibition, but their permanent collection is enough to lure you in all year round.
3 pm: Potter around Grassmarket and exchange a tea and cake break with a trip to Oink! the thrifty but thoroughly Scottish snack of hog roast and haggis. Pop into the most popular vintage shop, Armstrong’s for a look through their racks of hand-me-downs.
4 pm: Trek up through the Royal Mile, past the bagpipers, to the renowned Edinburgh Castle… step back in time in this amazing medieval building which overlooks the entire city. Students avoid the place at all costs, adhering to the superstitious rumour that they will fail their finals if they step over the Castle threshold. Then just moments away is the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, a mesmerising interactive exhibition; we especially loved the dizzying vortex tunnel.
7 pm: For cocktails the Last Word Saloon is the only place to go. Choose the deliciously well balanced John Candy concoction or pick their masterful rendition of the famous gin drink the bar is named after.
8.30 pm: There is no need to look further than the Caledonian Hotel for supper. With the talented Galvin brothers at the helm, you have the choice to dine at the smart Pompadour Restaurant or the more casual Brasserie de Luxe. We couldn’t fault the Parisian style dishes and the immaculate service. When tiredness sets in drift upstairs to bed.
For massive savings and minimal stress buy the Edinburgh Pass… undoubtedly the most efficient way to see all the city’s delights!
For more information see the Edinburgh tourist board website here.
Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with East Coast Trains. East Coast operates regular services each weekday between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh. Customers travelling First Class can enjoy East Coast’s complimentary food and drinks offer plus unlimited Wi-Fi. Book advanced return fares online at www.eastcoast.co.uk. Times and fares can also be found via 08457 225225 or from any staffed stations.