If you’re reading this on the 26th December, Merry Christmas! I hope you had a lovely day yesterday! Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I really hope you have managed to slow down and relax for a few days as the year draws to an end. Grab a cup of tea because this is a long ol’ post!
Last week I went to Edinburgh with a close friend and we just had the BEST time! It was so good to explore a new city with a likeminded girl. We chatted non-stop for the entire time. Obviously, as a student and right before Christmas, this trip had to be on a budget! So, I thought i’d share what we got up to…
My friend Emily lives a couple of hours away by train from Edinburgh, so she got the train up and I flew. It seems crazy to me that the cost of my bus from my house to the coach station, my coach from the station to the airport, my flights AND my transfer from the airport to the city centre cost dramatically less than if I were to get a train from London to Edinburgh! But I love flying, so i’m not complaining! As a child, I always loved waking up ridiculously early to get in the car and drive to the airport. lol.
My flight from London Stansted to Edinburgh was at 12:30, so I gave myself a lot of time to get there and have a lil’ mooch about duty free – the best part of the airport, amirite?! But behold my first tip… don’t get sucked into buying food and products at the airport on your departure! Everywhere you look in the departure lounge is an opportunity to spend money on food you might not even be hungry for or products you don’t even need. Because my flight wasn’t until 12:30, I made time to have a good breakfast at home and took my reusable water bottle to the airport where they have refill stations dotted about.
My flight up to Edinburgh only took 50 minutes and I had a window seat so I spent the entire time either looking out the window or reading my book!
Flying down into Scotland is absolutely beautiful. There are endless lush green fields and stunning country houses to look at. The raindrops landing on my window on our descent made everything on the other side look even more special.
When I got to the airport I hopped on an Airlink 100 bus which took me right into the city centre in under 30 minutes – perfect. From Waverly Bridge it was just a 5 minute walk to the hotel – even more perfect.
We stayed at the 28 York Place Hotel which is tucked away on York Street, New Town. We had a lovely room over looking rows and rows of town houses and the North Sea in the distance. We purposely picked this hotel because of its location and value for money and it completely exceeded our expectations, we couldn’t fault it.
It was one of those situations where actually, the room was a hundred times better than the photos they had on their website! A really comfy bed, beautiful high ceilings, super clean and a great bathroom kitted out with a good collection of complimentary products from The Scottish Fine Soaps Company.
Emily got to the room before me so when I arrived, I was greeted by a friendly man who shook my hand and said, “Ah you must be Alice!” He told me about the hotel and directed me up to my room. The hotel was so warm and homely and a beautiful Christmas tree was stood tall in the lobby by the grand, winding staircase.
After we had unpacked and had a quick outfit change we decided to start exploring…
We had an early dinner at Dishoom on St Andrew Square and it was just what we needed. I’d definitely heard of Dishoom before, and have seen the endless queue outside of their Covent Garden branch, but i’d never eaten in one. Wow, had I been missing out!
The restaurant was buzzing but not chaotic and a lovely, extremely knowledgable waiter talked us through the whole menu. We shared a ‘Bombay take on a London chip butty’ to start along with a couple of cocktails…my coconut mojito was a m a z i n g. We then had two different veggie/vegan curries – both absolutely delicious. After dinner we headed towards the Christmas market to soak up the festivities and begin our hunt for desert, something along the lines of churros, doughnuts or crêpes…
We didn’t have to search for long before coming across a Vegan crêpe stall!(pictured above) I had lemon and sugar on mine (boring, but my fave!) and Emily got mini doughnut balls with chocolate sauce on top.
After wandering around the markets for an hour or so, we headed back towards the hotel and stopped off at Nightcap for a drink on the way. Nightcap is a cocktail bar that’s a bit of a hidden gem. We walked down some stairs towards the basement and sat at a tiny table on bar stools surrounded by exposed brickwork and candles – it was such a good find. We had a glass of wine and chatted for a couple of hours.
We were up and out by 9:30 on the next day because it was our only full day and we wanted to make the most of it.
This was my view the second I woke up, I had an amazing sleep in our huuuge bed and we left the blind open overnight so we could soak up the morning light.
By 10am we were sat outside The Milkman on Cockburn Street in Old Town and it was bliss. The Milkman is absolutely beautiful inside and out and make the BEST cinnamon buns. I’m a part-time barista at the moment and have been since I was 16, so i’ve heard all about the Edinburgh coffee scene…The Milkman is THE place to go. I washed a cinnamon bun down with a turmeric latte. Emily had a chocolatey pastry with the most b e a u t hot chocolate.
After breakfast we made our way up to the Royal Mile, making a couple of pit stops to pick up some last minute Christmas presents on the way… Once on the Royal Mile we headed to the castle.
The architecture and culture in the area is breath-taking. You could definitely feel the festive energy in the air too. We watched street performers, dipped in and out of more cute shops and Emily even held an owl!
Once we got to the castle, we didn’t fancy spending £18 to go to the top but we did soak up all the views from as high as we could get. Again, absolutely beautiful, and the crisp air felt so clean. We were really lucky with the weather…look at that sky!
By about 2pm we were more than ready for some lunch, so headed back towards Cockburn Street and had jacket potatoes in The Baked Potato Shop. I found this place online in my research before the trip and it after a morning of exploring, it was just what we needed. We sat in (on their only table!) and each had a jacket potato with their homemade vegan chilli. I also added a side of curried corn. Everything was so comforting and really good value for money so i’d really recommend a visit…perfect for when you’re hungry for some comfort food after a day of exploring in the cold.
After lunch we headed back towards the castle and went to one of the main tourist attractions, Camera Obscura and World Of Illusions. The attraction is a multi-story of illusions, puzzles and tricks and right at the top is the camera obscura itself which dates back to Victorian times. The views from the top are also pretty amazing.
Next, we went back to the hotel for a little chill time and got ready for dinner. I had a bit of a headache, so it was nice to take off our makeup and just relax for a bit before getting dollllled up for dinner at The Ivy.
Before our reservation we walked to Panda & Sons, a reallllly cool bar which from the outside looks like an old school barber shop. When we got there, we went down the stairs and through a secret, book-shelf door into the bar. We snacked on popcorn and and drank delicious cocktails! I’m not actually much of a drinker but I sure do love a bit of creativity. We then treated ourselves to dinner at The Ivy and as expected, the food was to die for…we had a cosy little table for two upstairs on the first floor and had a great view of the entire restaurant.
We went back to the hotel after dinner and relaxed, I don’t have access to a bath where I currently live (One of my housemates has a bath in her en suite but I am yet to pluck up the courage to ask to have a bath!) so I took full advantage of the bath in our hotel room and defrosted myself!
Our last day! We both woke up feeling so sad that we were leaving and said that we could have definitely done with another day. We packed up our things and headed for Fortitude, another speciality coffee shop i’d heard of before. It was just above Nightcap – the cocktail bar we went to on our first night.
I had the nicest oat latte in Fortitude and we both had their vegan Christmas sandwich which was delicious…i <3 stuffing! We people watched and admired the furniture and windows before slowly making our way back to the station to say our goodbyes.
We honestly had the best time away together and can’t wait to do more trips like this! My journey home was an absolute disaster, thanks to the problem with drones at Gatwick airport BUT I didn’t let it ruin my day.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post!