An Expats Guide to Edinburgh
Edinburgh is probably one of the most walkable, safe and friendliest cities on the planet and I’m not just saying this because it’s my home town. Wear flat shoes (cobbles and heels do not mix unless you walk very carefully), always have an umbrella and a hat / scarf combo to hand. You really can experience four seasons in one day.
It’s thought that the Scottish economy is centered around oil and gas revenues, don’t be fooled, I’d swear the Scottish economy could run on the sales of baked good and jam alone! Don’t worry about how many sconces you will inhale, they’ll be freshly made and well worth the calories, plus you’ll be walking so much you’ll burn more than you eat!
In no real order of preference here are my go to places when I’m back in Edinburgh –
The Secret Garden Restaurant – is really one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets. Everyone heads to its sister restaurant The Witchery but go to The Secret Garden for either lunch or dinner. Accessed via a tiny close (lane) just steps from Edinburgh Castle this enclosed courtyard is simply magical.
The Method – Lifestyle and Therapy – many many moons ago I lived on St Stephen’s Street in Stockbridge. It has a mix of flats and gorgeous curated little stores. If you are interested in holistic treatments (the best massage ever) or picking up some organic small-batch skincare, then this is the place for you. Book a massage at least 6 weeks in advance to ensure a spot! If you go here, or are waiting for someone having a massage, grab a warm beverage and something naughty from Patisserie Florentin, around the corner on North West Circus Place. Be sure to take time to explore Stockbridge and the New Town.
Princess Gardens – go to Marks & Spencer’s food hall, pick up a sandwich or whatever takes your fancy and have lunch in Princess Street Gardens. If you are there at 1:00 pm you’ll hear the 1:00 pm gun going off at Edinburgh Castle directly in front of you (everyday apart from public holidays and Sundays). The firing of the gun dates back to 1861 when it was fired at 1:00 pm so that ships in the Firth of Fourth could set their maritime clocks. You are guaranteed to hear at least one piper.
George Street, New Town – used to be filled with the country’s leading financial institutions and now it’s full of lovely shops, bars and restaurants. Skip Princess Street and walk George Street end to end. Many of the stores such as Jigsaw (defiantly worth a look!) have stunning interiors with the original and very beautiful oversized plaster mouldings and skylights.
The Dome Grill Room – is worth visiting for a glass of wine or a meal. Originally built in 1847 as the HQ for the Commercial Bank of Scotland the Graeco-Roman interior is not to be missed.
Art Galleries – there are several in the heart of the city and, as in all of the UK entry is free. You can pop in have a quiet wander (shelter from the rain) and pop back out again. The Scottish Portrait Museum on Queen Street is my favourite, followed closely by the Scottish National Gallery https://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottish-national-gallery at the bottom of the mound on Princess Street. Both have good restaurants serving hearty soups, god food and of course freshly baked goods.
Arthur’s Seat – if you want a good walk and to take in some panoramic views of the city, a walk up Arthur’s Seat will blow away the cobwebs I have tried to shelter, unsuccessfully from the rain under a gorse bush at the top of Arthur’s Seat. It’s really windy at the top, sensible grippy footwear required. It’s located near Holyrood Palace at the foot of the Royal Mile (opposite end to the castle).
All Things Regal – in addition to Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh is also home to the Royal Yacht Britannia. If you’ve binge watched The Crown, or remember the iconic footage of Diana, Princess of Wales running, arms outstretched to meet William and Harry on deck then you’ll want to visit. They also have an excellent Royal Deck Tea Room with you’ve guessed it baked goods! There are some great fish restaurants in Leith where Britannia is docked. Try Fishers in Leith or The Ship on The Shore.
Finally, the Royal Botanic Gardens – are a gorgeous way to spend a lazy afternoon. If the sun is shining, grab some goodies from Marks & Spencer or from a local bakery and have a picnic in the gardens. Not to be missed are the glasshouses!
Where I shop when I’m home –
Marks & Spencers – http://www.marksandspencer.com/
Jigsaw – https://www.jigsaw-online.com/
Whistles – http://www.whistles.com/
Harvey Nichols – https://www.harveynichols.com/
Jane Davidson – https://www.janedavidson.co.uk/
Epitome – https://www.epitomeofedinburgh.com/
Skincare & Cosmetics