Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Edinburgh Favorites

We live only about 30 minutes from Edinburgh by train so we go into the city quite a bit and by now we've accumulated a list of favorites there. Here are a few if you're planning a trip:

There are a lot of castles in Scotland but Edinburgh's is by far the most extensive and best maintained. Perched above the city (you get a great view), you could easily spend a whole day sightseeing there, but our favorite stops are the prisons and the crown jewels.

Holyrood Palace, where the queen still stays when she visits Edinburgh, is a working palace that you can tour. The audio tour is about an hour long and is great - very informative without being too much information. It's located at the opposite end of the castle on Edinburgh's famous street, the Royal Mile.

And, speaking of the royal family, the Royal Yacht Britannia, is another fun tour. Permanently moored now in Edinburgh Harbour, this tour gives you a fun glimpse into royal life.

The best burger that I've had in Scotland was at 9A Holyrood - plus, located right near Arthur's Seat (see below), it makes a perfect lunch stop after a hike.

When my cousin was visiting, I met her for dinner one night at The Dogs which had the coolest ambiance and the best goat cheese and asparagus risotto.

One of my favorite areas in Edinburgh is Grassmarket which is lined with tons of traditional Scottish pubs, including The Last Drop which is super cozy and has good food in addition to good drinks.

High tea at The Dome was one of my favorite experiences this year. The tea was the best I've ever had and their sandwiches are to die for. The best time to go is at Christmas, when they're decorated to the nines.

While we're not going out for drinks these days quite like we used to, we did venture into The Devil's Advocate with friends the other week, and I have to say, I would definitely go back post-pregnancy. There's a very cool vibe there and the bartenders make all sorts of specialty cocktails in fun glasses.

And, when we crave Mexican food - which in Ryan's case is quite a lot - we head to Miros Cantina on Rose St. which is tiny and has the best Mexican food we've had, outside of Colorado.

Arthur's Seat is a great little hike in the middle of a city (rare) and if you make it to the top, you'll be awarded great views of the city, the sea and beyond.

Of course my favorite thing to do in cities is to wander and in Edinburgh, my favorite area is Grassmarket which has lots of little shops and cafes that are fun.

Although if you want a more Scottish experience, wander the Royal Mile instead. While it can be a little touristy, it's also the perfect street for finding any souvenir you're looking for - many Christmas presents this year came from the Royal Mile!

And, for the ultimate whiskey experience, visit The Scotch Whisky Experience which is on the Royal Mile, right next to the castle. You'll learn about the different regions that produce whiskey in Scotland, taste a few and visit the largest private whiskey collection in the world (!!). To be honest, we were a little skeptical at first because we had already been to several smaller distilleries and learned about whiskey making there, but this tour really summed everything up and turned out to be really interesting.