Edinburgh Christmas Getaway

Edinburgh Christmas Getaway

I mean, if there’s ever a good reason to have a little getaway it has to be Christmas right? I love exploring new places, particularly cities and different countries, but over the last 2 years every trip we’ve planned has been cancelled, including a big one to New York.

We’ve held off on travel until we knew that things were safe and so we could both be vaccinated to make things safe for everyone, so as soon as that day came I hopped straight onto AirBnB and booked a trip to Edinburgh – where else!?

Edinburgh is by far one of, if not my favourite places on the planet. I’m sure I was meant to live in Edinburgh and if it wasn’t soooo far from my friends and family, then I would be there in a flash!

The city has such a great mix of old and new, and quite literally feels like you’re on the set of Harry Potter most of the time. There’s a sweet smell of Weetabix and hot milk around the city (I’ve said this to many people who also said they thought the same and there’s a few theories that it’s one of the breweries or biscuit factories), and there’s always bagpipes playing and a hustle and bustle that creates a warm buzz, without being overwhelming or too much like other, bigger cities.

I’ve stayed in a few different places in Edinburgh over the years, with one of my favourite places being Raeburn Place as this has a vibe of its own and is outside of the central hum.

The last place I stayed however was on Rose Street, very much central to the city and right in the middle of the shops, pubs, bars, restaurants and of course situated perfectly for touring the city and even more perfectly for visiting the Christmas market!

Because the AirBnB we had previously was such a prime location, we decided to stay here again. We loved being able to step out the door and immediately be on busy streets, and pop over to a local restaurant for dinner and to the local pubs and bars. Especially because Edinburgh can be so extremely cold this time of year, being so close to everything certainly has its benefits!

We also decided to drive this year so that we can avoid mixing with others when travelling as much as possible. Ordinarily I would get the train – it does take around 5 or 6 hours but I personally find the journey goes quite quickly, and most of the journey passes through beautiful scenery and one of my favourite places to view from the train, Berwick-upon-Tweed!

If you’re thinking of getting the train up to Edinburgh I really recommend it. Take your laptop, download a few movies or YouTube videos, take a book and some snacks and the time will fly by. It’s also a great opportunity to get some last minute work done and dusted before you arrive and you step off the train right in the centre of the city!

I could recommend 1000 different places to go in Edinburgh, but I thought I would create a little diary of what we did and where we went so you can see exactly what I did and the places that made the cut this time around!

Monday

On Monday we drove from Bristol to Edinburgh. The journey took around 7 hours or so and we got to Edinburgh quite late in the evening. We knew we weren’t really going to get the chance to do anything today so for our first night we just got cosy in our apartment and ordered Deliveroo. I had Bento which I believe is only available in Edinburgh, however if you’re in the Edinburgh area, it was probably the best sushi I’ve ever had!

 

 

Tuesday

We had booked a couple of things in for today as we wanted to ensure we had time to do everything, and with Covid restrictions, we didn’t want to be disappointed. We had a relaxed morning, I did some work and editing and we left the house and ventured out into the snow up the hill to Camera Obscura.

Camera Obscura was amazing. We didn’t really know what to expect and at first, it was a lot smaller than I had anticipated, although because of Covid it’s laid out so you do every other floor to the top and then the others as you come back down. This is to avoid too many people in one room at once and it worked really well. The best part for me was walking through the tunnel which is totally mental and I couldn’t walk without leaning – it’s quite the experience!

I also really enjoyed going up to the roof and seeing the views, and they do a little show where they use one of the oldest ‘cameras’ which is a mirror on a pole and the reflection down onto the table means you can see the whole of Edinburgh in the reflection. It’s so clever and amazing to view.

We then strolled across the road to the Scottish Whiskey Experience which was also incredible. We did the Gold Tour which meant that we did the barrel ride (which I loved), we learned about the history of Scotch, the different notes each area of Scotland uses in their Whiskeys and were able to learn a little more about this too.

They take you through to one of the oldest tasting rooms where Whiskeys would have been sampled hundred of years ago, and then we sampled a Whiskey from a location of our choice while touring the largest collection of unopened Scotch, which as you can imagine was extremely impressive!

As a part of the Gold tour we then sat down and sampled 4 other drams which was really interesting and made the tour for us. If you’re heading to Edinburgh I highly recommend trying it, especially because of the location.

In the evening we went to Pizza Express and out to a local pub on Rose Street for a couple of drinks called Dirty Dicks. There’s loads of places to eat and drink around this part of Edinburgh and you’re never a few steps away from a pub or bar.

 

 

Wednesday

Today I met up with Anastasia who I met through Instagram and she took some amazing photos for me and we strolled around Edinburgh. She told me so many stories and interesting facts about the city and it was so nice to take to the streets with a local who clearly loves Edinburgh as much as I do!

We looked around the Christmas market, took photos, walked a lot, and had a coffee. Toby came and joined us and then Toby and I went for a Nandos (the cure for a slightly hungover Toby from the tour the day before). We walked back to our apartment via the shops along Princes Street, and I did some more work and editing before heading out for Ghost Tour.

At this point we’d spent two days walking the City and having early mornings and super late nights, so we were tempted to ditch the Ghost Tour and get an early night in, however we summoned some energy (in the form of Irn Bru and lots of food), and headed out! We were so happy that we did because the tour was fab.

We opted for the ‘Extreme Paranormal Ghost Tour’, which meant our guide was in full make up, and we headed off at 9.15pm. The tour took us around The Royal Mile and up to see Grey Friars Bobby, before entering one of the most haunted cemeteries in Edinburgh. We were told tales of those who had passed and were buried here, and stories of their activity since death! It was a lot of fun and the guide really made the tour for us. We ended up going into a building where a new passageway was found during some renovations, along with an active ghost who makes herself known rather often.

In a very claustrophobic room, filled with creepy dolls and in the pitch black darkness, we learnt that many paranormal investigators had spent a lot of time down there and the dolls were taken to encourage activity as this particular spirit liked to interact with the dolls. It was much more fun and educational than scary, but I can confirm that if you are easily scared then it might not be the best choice for you!

We went for another drink at a pub along from us called the Amber Rose and ventured off home.

 

 

Thursday

Thursday was our last full day and I was so sad for our little getaway to be coming to an end! We started our day looking at the little Christmas stalls local to us and bought a few Christmas presents and treats for ourselves. We looked around the shops and the Christmas market and even went up on the ferris wheel. The views up there are to die for. We then headed up towards the Castle and went into the Cathedral.

The Cathedral in Edinburgh is beautiful, peaceful, and even though it’s a cathedral so you would expect a big building – it’s surprisingly big! You can walk around and enjoy the architecture and entry is free so it’s 100% worth a visit. We then walked down The Royal Mile ( which, is in fact 1.8 miles), down to Holyrood Palace.

I bought a few treats from a cute tarot and crystal shop, and we popped into the University campus to look at the stunning views. We walked up via the cemetery back towards the shops along by the embassy building’s and Jacobs Ladder. This is such as great part of the city to see and a part that I’ve spent very little time exploring previously, so it was lots of fun to see some new things.

Of course, I wanted to check out St James Quarter so we had a cocktail and did some more shopping here, going home via the Christmas Market.

We had a reservation at Loche Fyne, which is outside of the city and up by the coast, so we got ready and had a beautiful meal and a lovely relaxed evening, followed by more cocktails at Fazenda (I highly recommend coming here for cocktails).

 

 

 

Friday

On Friday we came home, so our day really was just getting up, getting ready and leaving our beautiful apartment. We were so sad to leave and the whole drive home I was trying to convince Toby to move to Scotland! Leaving during the daytime meant that unlike when we arrived, we were able to stop off and take in Edinburgh and the Scottish scenery as when we arrived late we could only make out the landscape slightly in the dark!

So, you can probably tell that I’m going to recommend Edinburgh and give it a solid 10/10 every time. I’ve been to this incredible city a few times now and you can bet your life I’ll be back asap!

If you haven’t been, GO and if you’re thinking about returning for another visit, get it booked in!

I hope you enjoyed coming to Edinburgh with us and if you’re also planning a trip, let me know what you have planned, and if you live there then know I am eternally jealous!

It really is a truly magical place all year round, but it’s the perfect place for a Christmas getaway!

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