Let me just start by saying that if I ever make a list of my favorite cities, Edinburgh would definitely be in the top three. It is an absolute gem; truly one of a kind. From the baronial style gothic architecture, to the hidden alleyways and winding streets, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
In my last travel post, My Life-changing trip to the Emerald Isle, I mentioned that I took a short trip to Edinburgh about two summers ago, and how it helped me to further develop my trust in God. This time around, another special thing happened. As it was my first stop, I decided to use the city as a sort of guinea pig for my brewing interest in photography, something I’ve always loved looking at, but never thought to try myself. Surprise, surprise, it turns out that I actually REALLY enjoy it. Now, this is HUGE for me because I’ve never really had a specific hobby that I both enjoyed and wanted to continue pursuing. However, after continually asking God to gift me with even the tiniest spark of creativity, He delivered. That being said, all of the pictures included in this post were taken by yours truly (except for the ones of me of course). I am obviously not a pro and I have a LONG way to go, but it’s something I can call my own, so I’m happy.
Okay, enough self-promotion, let’s get into the experience!!
About 95% of my time was spent wandering around the city, searching for the perfect streetscapes, and stuffing my face. The other 5% was comprised of unnecessary, but completely worthwhile, bouts of shopping. In my defense, most of my favorite stores are from the U.K., so I had to take advantage of finally being able to see what they were like in the flesh, rather than through my Mac screen.
I’m definitely not one for guided tours, or super touristy activities. My desire was to explore the city, get lost a little (shockingly, I found my way around quite well), and see all that I hadn’t seen before. I did a bit of light, preliminary planning at first, but quickly discovered that Edinburgh is one of those places where you can find something to do on almost every street/corner. There are tons of shops (both chain, and one of a kind), restaurants, cafes, galleries, museums, you name it! My first destination was Cockburn St. (pictured below), where I stopped by Cockburn Cafe for a quick snack.
My go-to is usually something warm and sweet, so I chose the most wintery drink I could think of.
I’ll let you figure that one out.
I also ordered a plain croissant to balance out the sweetness. It was alright. Standard croissant, standard drink, nothing special, and everything came up to about £6. I’d say the only great part about it was that I was indoors and my feet were warm.
My next stop was Princes Street. If you’re in Edinburgh and you’d like to get some shopping done, this beautifully buzzing strip has most of the popular fashion brands you can think of. It is also home to the National Galleries of Scotland, a gazillion bus lines that can take you almost anywhere in the city, and the notorious tram line.
During Christmas time you’ll find a most exciting Christmas market in the Princes Street Gardens. Don’t panic if you haven’t visited yet, there’s still loads of time left. The market is open from 17th November- 5th January. Inside you will find games, rides, unique craft vendors, hot chocolate stands, copious amounts of sweets like crepes, donuts, waffles, etc., and savory classics like fish and chips, stew, bratwursts, and other meaty treats for you carnivores.
I should add that I specifically chose to travel during the Christmas season so I could visit Europe’s plethora of Christmas markets. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint. Take notes, America.
Despite my fondness of the Christmastime bliss and whatnot, I am a creature of habit. Thus, I had to return to my absolute favorite food spot in Edinburgh.
I’ve raved about/recommended this place to people a bit more than I’d like to admit. I don’t know if it’s exclusive to Scotland, or if it’s elsewhere in the UK, but it’s actually the best!!! The crepes were warm, cushiony (as they should be), and delightfully sweet. You have the option to choose from several flavor combinations, or you can simply build your own. I had the salted caramel crepe, and a cup of white hot chocolate on the side because I have zero control when sweets are involved. The total was about £9.24 (about $11.73), not bad at all!
I’ll end with my favorite, favorite location, Victoria Street.
Okay, so technically, this street doesn’t really have anything that other streets don’t. But that’s despite the fact, I was more concerned with how photogenic she is. There’s no denying the level of attractiveness; it’s up there. If you happen to wander over to Victoria Street, there are several eccentric shops, cafes, bakeries, and restaurants for you to explore (or pretend to browse around while you wait for your hands to get warm). Make sure you also check out the Haymarket area, which is only a couple steps away, for more restaurants and pubs, and to experience some great views of the Edinburgh Castle.
Here’s some more Edinburgh beauty for yah….
Merry Christmas, and thank you for reading Xxx
Stay tuned for more Christmastime experiences in other cities 🙂