Whenever we visit Scotland our favourite place and base is always Edinburgh. There is just so much to do there for families and children and you can spend a good few days just wandering about and discovering different areas. This time was a bit different though. We were going to be spending most of our time in Argyll but needed a bit of a pitstop for one night and the choice was between Glasgow or Edinburgh. Our intention for our roadtrip was to spend one night in the city and then head over to Loch Awe where we were going to base ourselves for 3 days, making trips to Oban, Mull, Glencoe and surrounding lochs and castles. It was a bit of a rough agenda but when you’re driving about Scotland there is always a loch or castle you will pass and it kind of carries you away.
Edinburgh won in the end, mainly as we know where to go and what to do (and where to eat!) and we found a last minute hotel in the Lauriston area, which is a short walk from Grassmarket. We normally stay on the very modern Princes street where you’re a stones throw from all the high street shops and restaurants and you can ease yourself into the old city if you’re finding it all a bit daunting. This time was a bit different. We were a stones throw from quirky, unique and local places. Its a bustling area with a brilliant atmosphere and I loved walking about in the quiet in the early morning watching the big vans do their early deliveries.
I don’t think you can ever get bored of the old town and you tend to keep finding new things to look at and reasons to go back. I love admiring the old buildings so much and I have said this many a time, but its like an amazing architecht took good time to design such a stunning place that was not just beautiful but built well enough to still stand and function today. Some of it dates back to the 1400s and some of it pre-dates even that.
If you happen to be a first time visitor then one of the big things you notice about the Old town is the sheer number of staircases they have. They are just everywhere and they are old and they are steep. They connect the uneven layers of the city together and provide little shortcuts as long as you know which ones to use. I used to think it was a nightmare with a buggy but we accepted it would be our only way to navigate about so got used to doing a 2 person lift up and down and would be a bit tired by the end of the day. My first post about Edinburgh a few years ago is filled with photos of staircases and alleyways. This time we discovered something BIG! You can make your way around the whole of the old city without using the stairs. This blew my mind slightly as I had never realised this was possible. But it was a refreshing change to not have to lug a stroller with a toddler in it up and down everywhere.
We managed to make a trip to one of our favourite restaurants there. Its a middle eastern place about halfway up the royal mile called Hanams. The decor is all very middle eastern and you will spend a while gazing at all the colourful art work on the walls and then a bit more time wondering what kind of things to order from the menu. Its all kebabs ad grills served with salads and rice and we always have to ask them for advice as everything always looks good. They are so kid friendly and the food is delicious so its always a nice and safe choice for us. And as its the smallest world ever, I spent a bit of time wondering why the couple seated on the next table looked so familiar. It was about 30 seconds after we left when it hit me that they were friends of my cousin and we had all been at the same wedding together a couple of years ago.
We had plans to visit St Giles cathedral but we needed to leave early and it wasn’t going to open until 9am for the Good Friday service so we ended up giving it a miss on this occasion as we had a long drive ahead of us to Loch Awe through Loch Lomond. Obviously that means we have to go back soon but its meant to be a stunning place so definitely a place to consider if you happen to be in the city.
Here are just some of our photos of our short evening and morning in lovely Edinburgh….