Last weekend we decided to take a short break in Edinburgh. We’d had a couple of day trips to Glasgow, and I’d been up to Inverness on business twice, earlier this year, so this was the third Scottish city I’d visited in 2011.
There’s plenty of accommodation in Edinburgh, but it doesn’t come cheap, especially if you book it relatively close to the date of the visit, as we did. It isn’t as expensive as London, but still pricey compared to some other British cities. Mind you, the cost of hotels and B and B’s seems to have shot up everywhere over the last few years.
We arrived on a cloudy Friday afternoon and after we’d checked into our hotel and were setting off towards the Old Town, it started to rain. Edinburgh can look a bit grim under grey skies and it continued to rain (quite heavily at times) for most of the afternoon, but it started to clear around 4 o’clock and stayed fine, with clear skies, for the rest of the weekend, the low northern sun showing off the city to good effect. The downside of sunny days at this time of e year in Scotland is that the temperature will be low, particularly after sunset. However, wrapped up warm we were able to enjoy walking around the streets of the “Athens of the north”, a title it’s earned due to the proliferation of Classical style buildings in the New Town, built during the Georgian period. It’s a fairly relaxed city, safe enough to walk around even at night, providing you don’t stray too far off the beaten path. The people are friendly, even if some of the locals can be a little difficult to understand at times!
There’s no shortage of places to eat, a wide variety of tastes being catered for. We noticed that there were a particularly large number of Italian restaurants, reflecting the large number of Italian immigrants who settled in Scotland during the 20th Century. However, we ate in a Japanese style restaurant, Yes Sushi the first night of our stay and Turkish, at Nargile during our second night. Both on Hanover Street, not too far from our Hotel. There didn’t seem to be many Scottish restaurants, though.
As Scotland’s capital, there’s plenty to see and do – far too much for a short stay. We’re unusual in that we didn’t visit the Castle and the other most well known attractions. Instead we chose to visit the Scottish Parliament building on Friday afternoon, spent most of Saturday at the Scottish Modern Art Museum and visited the Scottish National Trust’s Georgian House on Charlotte Square On Sunday morning. The rest of the time we spent wandering round the streets of the Medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town looking at the architecture.