Tag Archives: Smith and Gertrude

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.

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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?

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Photo An Hour January 19th.

So I was in the beautiful Scottish Capital when #photoanhour was happening over on Instagram on Saturday. Time to join in and post a few photos of my day. πŸ™‚

First of all I had the best ever lie in. Usually I am up and about before 7am. Being away from our pets for a weekend meant no early morning wake up calls. Definitely bliss on Saturday. By Sunday though, we were missing the noisy little blighters, and fussing over every cat and dog we came across. πŸ˜‰

So anyway here is how Saturday panned out in Edinburgh…..

9am ~ As we had strolled up the Royal Mile on Friday, today we decided to head over to the New Town for breakfast. We passed the impressive Scott Monument, a stunning gothic pinnacle.

10am ~ Found an Italian cafe , which I can’t remember the name of. Good coffee though and tasty breakfasts. πŸ™‚

11am ~ It was a bracing cold day, so where better to head for some warmth, than The Glass Houses at The Royal Botanic Gardens. We kept toasty as we explored the ferns, tropical plants & cacti.

Noon ~ Time for a brew in the Terrace Cafe, and a nice slice of cake. πŸ™‚

1pm ~ We had headed out of the centre of Edinburgh to a lovely neighborhood called Stockbridge, which has a wealth of independent shops and cool cafes. This bookshop called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street has so many titles to choose from…and a cosy wood burning stove.

2pm ~ Not far from Stockbridge is Dean Village, a picturesque and very Instagram able residential area which we found by following the waterside path. The beck is known as The Water of Leith and the buildings are quite beautiful.

3pm ~ There are no shops or cafes in Dean Village, so we retraced our steps back to Stockbridge and found Smith & Gertrude , which is all about cheese and wine. We indulged!

4pm ~ I’m glad we had walked everywhere today because we also ate a lot and drank a lot! These are cocktails at an almost hidden subterranean bar called Bramble on Queen Street in the New town.

5pm ~ Back at the hotel slobbing out and watching Dogs Behaving Badly. The eerie violet light can only mean, we are stopping in a Premier Inn. I actually thought I had booked us into the Hubs By Premier Inn nextdoor, but somehow I hadn’t. Not sure what happened there!

6pm ~ A quick shower before heading out.

7pm ~ A snapshot taken on the Royal Mile. The cathedral is st Giles Cathedral and on the left is the Mercat Cross. Look out for the tiny unicorn on the top.

8pm ~ Pudding at an American Diner on the Royal Mile.

9pm ~ Sad to say I am now tucked up in bed. I was thinking about starting my new book, but I’m absolutely knackered!

I’l be back with more from Edinburgh soon. Thanks to Janey and Louisa for organising #photoanhour.