Category Archives: travel

Garrigill to Ashgill Force walk πŸ₯ΎπŸ

At the weekend we took a walk from Garrigill in the North Pennines to the nearby waterfall of Ashgill Force. We bought an Alston Moor walk leaflet in the outdoors shop in Alston for 60p.

The route begins at Garrigill’s Village Green, we parked near the village church. Garrigill looks to be a lovely little village , whose pub and shop have seen better days.

St John’s Church.
Village Green.
George and Dragon sign.

The leaflet says that there were once two pubs in Garrigill. The George & Dragon was the haunt of visiting gentry, Tories and shooting parties, whilst the Fox was for miners, poachers and Liberals!

Climb the slippy bridleway to Loaning Head.
A Loaning Head cottage.
Views across the Pennines.
Kestrel.
There are lots of very high Stiles to climb over.
Swaledale Sheep.
One moment, blue skies…
the next, sideways rain..
Meadow Cranesbill.

The weather went a bit wild and after navigating about a million steep stiles we came across the waterfall. Unfortunately we had managed to deviate from our maps directions somehow, but we got there in the end.

Gill scramblers at Ashgill Force.
Ashgill Force.

It is apparently possible to walk behind the waterfall, and indeed ‘ Dance with the Fairies’ , although it looked a bit busy with Gill Scramblers the day we visited.

Hugo was joined in the gorge by another Black Labrador boy, which would be lovely if Hugo actually liked other boy labradors. Fortunately Hugo was more interested in the stones Wil were throwing in the water, than fighting. Phew!

Labradors.
Footbridge.

The rest of the walk was more of a gentle meander, following the River South Tyne back to Garrigill.

An almost stone circle.
Another footbridge.
A beautiful place for a dip.
Fly Agarics beside the river.
Autumn colours.
Buzzard.
A mini waterfall.
Attractive stone bridge.
Hips.
And back to the church.

I really enjoyed this scenic 5 mile walk and hopefully we will try it out again, maybe when the meadows are full of wildflowers come early Summer. πŸ™‚

Bronte Connections ~ Cowan Bridge.

In recent days I have written about a village with a movie connection and two villages visited by vampires. This next one has an association with members of perhaps England’s most famous literary family ‘ the Brontes’ .

I have passed through Cowan Bridge numerous times as it sits on the busy A65 in between Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale, our usual route up to the Lake District. In days gone by it would have been much quieter, the continuous traffic noise definitely distances the imagination away from the 1820s , when siblings Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily attended The Clergy Daughter’s School in the village.

We had decided to stop off for lunch on the way home from Cumbria on a busy bank holiday Monday. I must admit I suggested Cowan Bridge because I thought it may be easier to get lunch there than its more touristy neighbors. I have also always been curious about where on earth the Bronte school is……

It turned out the Tea Room was busy inside, but there was space outside next to the noisy road with the traffic whooshing by. πŸ˜… We just decided on coffee and prepackaged sandwiches and ate them in the pretty seating area.

Afterwards we pottered about the village in totally the wrong direction. Eventually a kind local pointed us toward the original bridge that Cowan Bridge takes its name from. After crossing it we came to a row of old stone cottages. These are what remain of The Clergy Daughter’s School.

An inscription on the end cottage wall reads :

Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte & Emily Bronte

Lived here as pupils of the Clergy Daughter’s School 18-24 – 25.

The school was moved to Casterton 1833.

Patrick Bronte was a clergyman living in Haworth with six young children. His wife Maria had sadly died a couple of years earlier. Sending four of their offspring to a respected boarding school for clergy children would no doubt have seemed the right thing for this busy man of the cloth to do.

Unfortunately the harsh environment at the school would contribute to the untimely deaths of the two eldest girls. Poor quality food, cold damp conditions and cruel unjust punishments were the norm. Maria, then Elizabeth were sent home suffering from consumption , both would die within weeks of one another. Patrick sent for Charlotte and Emily and they never returned to Cowan Bridge.

A still from the 1944 film version of Jane Eyre.

For Charlotte , her experiences at the Clergy Daughter’s School were to be drawn upon for her novel Jane Eyre. In the book young Jane is sent to Lowood School where she makes a new friend, Helen Burns. Helens and Jane’s life there mirrors that of her and her sisters harrowing time at Cowan Bridge.

Today one of the remaining cottages is available as an attractive Holiday Let , so fans of the Brontes’ can experience a little part of Bronte history. A short walk and you are away from the road noise and out into beautiful rolling countryside.

I am glad the buildings stand as a reminder of how harsh life could be back then, and also as a celebration of what the Bronte family would eventually achieve.

Have you visited any places where the Brontes’ lived, worked or played? πŸ“–

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ August. πŸ“·

Here are Kate/Hawthorns words for this month’s Photo Scavenger Hunt. πŸ“·

MOVING. I love this stainless steel fish sculpture in nearby Whalley. The fish appear as though they are moving in a circular motion. They represent the three local rivers in the area.

BOXES. I couldn’t find any boxes to photograph , so here’s a picture of a British beach that ticks all my boxes. Two years ago we visited North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. White sands and turquoise sea galore. At the moment a friend is filling my Facebook feed with images from an equally stunning Hebridean Island, Harris. Very envious indeed.

STARTS WITH ….D. A doggo of course. This is Bel the Bedlington Terrier who is totally the boss of our labrador. She always pinches Hugo’s bed whenever we go away with her family. Think Bel does suit pink better than Hugo though. πŸ™‚

BREAKFAST. I snuck out for coffee and a pastry one morning whilst the Eat Out To Help Out offer was on. It was a lovely morning so I ate my breakfast πŸ₯ alfresco.

MAKING. I’m not really a crafter or maker , so here is a Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredient meal we were making for tea recently. It’s SicillianTuna Pasta and contains pasta, tuna, cherry tomatoes, oregano and capers.

MY OWN CHOICE. Walking past a church yesterday, and who should be walking along the wall but this cute chicken. πŸ”

Thanks for dropping by. 😊

A Weekend In Ravenglass & Eskdale.

Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎

Looking over to Ravenglass.

Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket πŸš€ whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.

Life’s A Beach.

Launching A Bottle Rocket.
Balcony view.
A Glorious Sunset.

A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.

Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.

All aboard.

Eskdale Mill.
Whillan Beck Waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.
Sign to Eel Tarn and Scarfell Pike.
Heading up the fell.
Distant cattle.
Eel Tarn.
Picnic lunch.
Stone Peat Hut ruins.
Spot the Herdwick’s.
Direction to the pub.
A choice of destinations to head to from the Woolpack .
🐻 Bear at the Woolpack.
Time for a swim in the waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.

Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.

Entrance to the reserve.
β›΅ Boat.
Almost deserted beach.

Barrel jellyfish.
Sea Buckthorn.
We came across this pebble Union Jack in the sand.
Pebbles galore on a shingle spit.

A Few More Images From Ravenglass.

Tranquil waters.
Ravenglass has been a Roman port and was also visited by Vikings.
On a garden wall.
Hugo and yacht.
Little Egret.
The Queen wears a face mask in The Ratty Arms.
Anchor.
Bladderwrack seaweed.
A sea plane on the beach.

As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!

Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?

🐚

To The Sea.

I have been craving ‘ a sea fix ‘ for some time now. Today was finally the day that I got my fix. We headed to Heysham on the Lancashire coast and parked at Heysham Nature Reserve behind the power station. After typing Heysham Nature Reserve into Google maps it told me that we had visited the reserve two years ago. Scary that it remembered. 😜

Heysham Nature Reserve is still open , however the car park and facilities are currently closed. We managed to find a spot near the entrance and Hugo had an off lead wander. At some point we ended up on the rocky shore in front of the power station. Un surprisingly it was easy to social distance beside a nuclear power station. 😊

We walked as far as the striking rust coloured South Pier lighthouse and retraced our steps back to the car.

Rocky shore.
Behind the power station.
Yellow Rattle.
Greater Knapweed.
Hugo inspects the thin strip of beach.
Sea & sky.
Lesser black backed Gull.
South Pier Lighthouse selfie.
South Pier Lighthouse.
Oyster catchers brunch time.

It was around 11-30 and already cracking the flags at nearby Half Moon Bay when we parked the car on the small car park there. In fact it was getting a bit too hot for Hugo. After a short walk along the cliffs as far as the St Patrick’s chapel remains, we called it a day. Looking back on my post from two years ago, we had a hot weather visit then too! No beautiful new sculptures at that time though. Fab to see the recent editions. 😊

Oyster catcher sculpture.
Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture looking over Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture.
My first ever sighting of a Whitethroat. πŸ™‚
St Patrick’s Chapel.
Rock cut coffin graves.

Goodbye beautiful Lancashire coast. Until next time. ❀️

30 Before 50 Bucket List ~ Update.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights. ( Two down).

Eat out at the Witchery in Edinburgh.

Wildlife walk in the Slaidburn fells. We saw Ring Ouzels and Green Hairstreaks.

Go on a guided Wildlife Walk.

Swim in a lido.

Walk The Dales Way.

Latrigg Fell over Christmas. Another Wainwright ticked off.

See the Northern Lights.

Try a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

Collect sea glass on Seaham beach.

Stop in four quirky holiday lets. ( One down).

Go wild camping.

Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester.

Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam.

Explore more of the Outer Hebrides.

Spend a few days in the Peak District.

Go to the No 6 Festival in Portmeirion.

Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

The Witchery in Edinburgh.

Ride a street car in Lisbon.

Watch a starling murmuration.

Go Ice skating outdoors.

Make an honesty box meal.

Be Nine Stone!

A stay in a quirky holiday let ~ Tree Dome in Shropshire.

Visit Dungeness in Kent.

Eat ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour.

Cycle round the isle of Cumbrae

Have coffee at Central Perk in the Manchester Primark.

……

……

…….

Meet Felix the Huddersfield Railway Cat.

An evening with The Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Go for a cream tea at the home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess. ( Did go to a very interesting talk by her).

So this is how I’m doing with my 30 Before 50 Bucket List. But don’t worry I still have a few years to go before I complete it! In 2019 I crossed five items off the list and made progress with a couple more. And I still have a few gaps, incase I think of a few more things I’d like to do. What’s on your Bucket List? x

Glamping In A Tree Dome ~ South Shropshire. πŸŒ³πŸŒΏπŸ¦‹

Before we bought our static caravan, I had long ago ( back in early Spring I believe) booked four nights away in a Tree Dome near Ludlow in Shropshire. A Tree Dome you ask? It’s a luxury glamping experience with all mod cons. Under canvas you might be, but there’s still the most comfiest bed I have ever slept in, a plush sofa, a delightful dining table and a toasty wood burner. Not that we needed to light a roaring fire in July, but still….

Tree Dome is situated in the heart of Bowkets Wood near Clee Hill, right on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border. It is also very near Worcestershire. I am not very good with my counties! We particularly loved the decking area , where I must admit , we spent most of our time. The weather was warm so lounging about on the outdoor furniture with a good book and a glass of wine under the cool woodland canopy was perfection after a day out exploring.

Our woodland hideaway also featured a wood fueled hot tub ( available at extra charge), gas BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven ( added extra), and separate kitchenette & shower. A perfect base for getting to know so many English ( and Welsh too!) Counties. That is if you can ever bring yourself to leave. That hot tub was so enticing!

Sunday Sevens ~ May 12th 2019.

Hi folks , time for another Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more pics from my week. It’s been a strange old week that’s for sure. I am now officially unemployed/between jobs/made redundant. It’s all a bit surreal!

The bank holiday weekend included a night away in Manchester with Wil to see singer Newton Faulkner at The Albert Hall. Wow what a fantastic performer and what a wonderful venue too. Cathedral high ceilings and long stained glass windows. Another highlight was breakfast! I booked us into the Alpine style Albert Schloss right next door to the hall on Peter Street. Wil had a huge cooked breakfast ( look at that sausage! πŸ˜‰ ) and I indulged in an Apple & Blueberry Cruffin. For the uninitiated a cruffin is a cross between a croissant and a muffin. It was delicious. 😁

Is it a muffin? Er nope , it’s a cruffin.
Man versus Food. 😁
Pretty!

It was also fab exploring a bit of the city I had genuinely never been to before. The olde worldy pubs, the contrasts in architecture and a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst standing on a chair in St Peters Square, all stood out for me.

Beetham Tower.
Emmeline Pankhurst.
Old tiled pub ~ Peveril of the peaks. Named after the Walter Scott novel of the same name apparently.
Newton Faulkner at the Albert Hall.
Dusky Cranesbill.

I found a wildflower/plant I D ap called plantsnap recently, which is a good one to put on your smartphone if your a bit like me and constantly stumble upon flowers and wonder what the heck they are. It helped me identify the above Cranesbill I spied on the river bank as a Dusky Cranesbill.

Thursday was my last day at work with this merry lot. We have all ( plus two more peeps) now officially left our jobs on the counters at Tesco , having taken redundancy. Here we are downing some prosecco…in tiny shot glasses I may add. πŸ˜‰

And my last three minutes as a deli assistant ~ my two bonkers friends Jo and Fi dressed up as those supermarket staples ‘ bottle of sauce ‘ & ‘ fried egg’ and escorted me off the premises!

Currently I’m spending a few days with family before a friend’s wedding, four nights in Ravenglass and then a camping trip at the end of the month. Those are my immediate plans.

Thanks as always to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for thinking up Sunday Sevens.

Weekend in Bristol.

Bristol does I suppose seem an odd choice of city break for three Lancashire lasses. But decamping to this historic South West maritime port on the banks of the River Avon definitely proved a hit with my friends Anne, Marian and I. Of course it certainly helped that Anne used to work in Bristol and knew of a few good spots to hang out. 😁

Colourful Riverside terraces.

One such place was a restaurant with a view in elegant Clifton Village, a lovely suburb of the city , famous for a feat of Victorian engineering. Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finally completed in 1864 , five years after his death. Anne had booked a table at Avon Gorge by Hotel Du Vin overlooking the iconic structure which straddles the Avon Gorge. We made the most of a few photo opportunities on the outdoor terrace before enjoying a really delicious three course meal , a delightful ambience created by Brunel’s bridge all lit up as darkness fell.

On the terrace.
Cheers!
Marian’s Lemon tart. Photo by Marian too. πŸ™‚

After the meal we had a couple of drinks in Clifton Village. Well it would be rude not to try out some local Somerset Cider. πŸ˜‰

Somerset Cider.

On Saturday morning we headed into the city centre. Anne had booked us tickets for the Bristol Street Art Tour. Arriving early we had a little time to potter round Bristol Cathedral before meeting up for the tour on College Green. The cathedral is an impressive example of a medieval ‘hall church’ with vaulted ceilings and elegant arches. As we admired the beautiful architecture we heard serene choir music wafting from the Bristol Choir School nextdoor.

Bristol Cathedral.
Elegant arches.

The city’s Street Art is prolific and booking the walking tour is a great way of getting to know and view some of the colourful graffiti, murals and wall art that Bristol has embraced. Big names in the Street Art world ( most famously Banksy) have illegally made their mark here, whilst other art is commissioned. The scene is transient by nature, some stunning pieces can be here today but gone tomorrow.

The above piece is a Banksy called ‘Well Hung Lover’. It was stencilled on the wall of a sexual health clinic some years ago , apparently in the early hours of the morning. It has been targeted by paint bombs but remains one of Banksy’s iconic art works.

Above are a small selection of commissioned pieces from a 2011 art project called ‘See No Evil’ based around Nelson Street in the city centre. Their sizes alone are impressive.

I loved the geisha and the kingfisher , a beautiful and recent mural by Kin Dose. I hope it remains a while.

And I’m quite taken by ‘ Break Dancing Jesus’ by Cosmo Sarsen , situated in Stokes Croft….

Just opposite Jesus is Banksy’s famous ‘The Mild Mild West’ which due to its age and type of paint used is definitely under threat of simply waring away. Do you think measures should be taken to protect the work of our most famed graffiti artist?

I’m inclined towards loving the freedom of expression in Bristol. The colourful murals and evocative works just add to its vibrancy and charm. I took lots more photos on the two hour tour and would definitely recommend to anyone staying in the city. πŸ™‚

Colourful houses in Stokes Croft.

After two hours tramping the streets we were ready for some tasty food! Cafe Cuba , a small family run Caribbean cafe in Stokes Croft really hit the spot. I think this is the first time I have ever tried plantain.

Lunch over we headed to King Street, a colourful area of old pubs and hostelries, for a couple more ciders. And then down to the harbor side. This is when the heavens decided to open , so we whiled a way an hour or so in the free museum of Bristol life M – Shed.

King Street ~ great for pubs.
More instagramable houses.
Inside M Shed.

Although our Saturday night plans did involve going out for a meal etc near our Airbnb in the suburb of Shirehampton, we all admitted we were actually pretty knackered and all that we really wanted to do was order in pizza, watch Britain’s Got talent and talk about Game of Thrones. So that’s exactly what we did Saturday night ! Honesty is the best policy. πŸ˜‰

The next morning we were up bright and early so Anne suggested going for a stroll round nearby Portishead Quays Marina before heading home. This clean ,modern and rather picturesque marina is popular with runners, family’s and dog walkers , and it’s definitely somewhere to go and admire the boats and wonder if buying a water side apartment or even a small vessel is in your pay bracket. Well nope! But it’s fun to dream. 😁

Ship to Shore sculpture.

Badger Bar exterior.

Old pier.
RNLI lifeboat, off out to sea.
When shall we meet again sculpture.
Apartments design, modelled on an Ocean liner perhaps.

The loop round the Marina takes in several pieces of public art ( in fact there are twenty in total) , also a few restaurants and bars, a convenience store or two and the RNLI shop near the old pier. All in all a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

So where to next ladies? X

Edinburgh.

When Wil and I visited Edinburgh recently ,we decided to leave be the usual touristy venues such as the Castle, the Camera Obscura, Mary Kings Close and the Scottish National Gallery. All these wonderful attractions are definitely worth visiting ( and we will again, I am sure), but we wanted to explore some other parts of this beautiful city.

The Scottish Capital has extensive parks, extinct volcanos, hidden bars, Harry Potter inspired locations and the most listed buildings in the world. Here are a few images from our trip.

View of Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle. The peak is an ancient volcano, sitting 251m above sea level.
A William Wallace performs on the Royal Mile.
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A fairy on the Royal Mile.
The colourful curving Victoria Terrace is full of quirky independent shops, and happens to be the main inspiration for Diagon Alley, apparently. J. K. Rowling lived and wrote in the city, so could indeed be true.

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from the city centre, and well worth the walk, if your feeling active. I must admit I was dying to visit the ornate glass houses, of which there are ten. The Victorian Temperate Palm house below is one of the tallest traditional Palm houses ever built. Because it was quite nippy, it was nice to keep warm inside for a while, so I recommend a Winter trip. Look out for the Gardens cat, a handsome black Tom, called Milo. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but he’ll be the one being fussed over by the tourists. πŸ™‚

You can enter the Palm House for free, and there is a charge to explore the other glass houses.
I think we are in the Cacti Glass House here.
There are lots of quite tame grey squirrels in the park.

From the Botanic Gardens it is a pleasant walk alongside the Water of Leith into Stockbridge, an area of Edinburgh with lots of green spaces and a friendly village atmosphere. It’s plethora of independent shops and cafes makes Stockbridge a great place to linger.

Entrance to Stockbridge Market, a popular Sunday Market.
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Little Free Library.,
A lovely independent bookshop we found called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street.
Golden Hare Books.
Cheese and wine in Smith & Gertrude.

Edinburgh is a walkers city! We followed the Dean Path along the waterside to the Dean Village, a beautiful Edinburgh suburb. An Instagrammer’s delight , the Dean Village is incredibly picturesque, but bring a picnic if your planning to eat here. There are no shops or cafes, though plenty in nearby Stockbridge.

St Bernard’s Mineral Well. A statue of Hygeia ` Greek Goddess of Health’ resides here.
Dean Village.
Well Court, Dean Village.

One place we reserved a table for dinner was ‘ The Witchery By The Castle‘ near the castle gates. Fine dining in a gothic setting, this restaurant may set you back a few quid, but it is in a very atmospheric setting and the food is mouth watering.

The Witchery By The Castle.
Dessert at the Witchery. Yummy!

We also discovered some almost hidden bars on our explorations round Edinburgh. Venture down any ginnel off the Royal Mile, and you will find a traditional real ale pub such as The Jolly Judge ( look out for the nearby Writers Museum) and The Jinglin’ Geordie. If your preference is cocktails, The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Brambles in the New Town are both quite hidden from the hustle and bustle, but can get busy even so.

On the Sunday before catching our train home, we took a stroll up Calton Hill which is home to several skyline monuments. From here there are far reaching views over the city and some quite interesting structures, including a building that was once called ‘Scotland’s Disgrace’. It is in fact a half finished replica of the Athens Parthenon , a tribute to the fallen of the Napoleonic Wars. The money ran out and building of the National Monument was never completed. I quite like it though! Other iconic buildings include The Nelson Monument, The Royal Observatory and Rock House, which you can actually rent as a holiday let.

P1000516
Nelson Monument.
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Dugald Stewart Monument.
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Royal Observatory.

National Monument.

So there you have it, a weekend in Edinburgh.

Where do you like to visit in the city?