I’m not in Edinburgh for a few weeks, but I had to post this picture I took on my early (relatively, it’s so dark these days…) morning train, just as the sun was coming up. I love taking the train as the scenery anywhere in Scotland, or from Edinburgh to Newcastle as you travel along the coast, is just beautiful. Have a lovely Christmas and I’ll be back in the New Year!
Prices: Coffee and cake for under £5
Best for: Working/meeting up with friends
This lovely café shares a great resemblance to one of my favorite cafés in Edinburgh, Peter’s Yard. I belive the owner of this café was once a chef at Peter’s Yard and that establishment has clearly had a great influence of the style of this café as most of the fittings are identical and they have chosen a similar space with provides the café with a lovely sence of light and space. The coffee was completely delicious but I was a little disappointed with my food (I went there for brunch) which fell slightly short of my very high expectations. Their cakes look delicious though, and I look forward to going back so I can test them out. definitely one to try if you haven’t been there already, and do follow the link to their website because it’s beautiful!
There are several of these vintage shops in and around Edinburgh, the largest of which can be found on Grassmarket. They are wonderful treasure troves and you can find almost anything amongst their displays. Their selection of cashmere jumpers is excellent and particularly useful at this time of year when it’s getting cold and you want to find something truly warm that doesn’t cost the earth.
The only downside is that all their truly stunning dresses, dresses you wouldn’t mind really paying for, are not for sale. Apparently it’s because they’re too expensive. I’d like the be the judge of that, thank you. I guess they just don’t want people trying them on all the time and they do look beautiful hanging up. They do, however, serve to make the dresses that are actually for sale a little less interesting.
I’m thinking of buying myself a sporon to wear as purse when I leave Scotland. Something to remember Edinburgh by. If I do, Armstrongs is where I shall head.
Prices: Average (tea/coffe and cake for under £5)
Best For: Relaxing after taking a stroll around the museum
I’ll admit that it was very close to closing time when I got to this café, hence the tea in a cardboard cup (usually you would have a china cup and tea-pot) and the slightly sad-looking piece of cake. I have therefore been generous with my score because I think this café would usually be much nicer than my experience of it. There was very little cake left, and crumbs all over the place which didn’t make it seem all that inviting but it was delicious (orange cake – yummy) and I’m sure they were just sold out because the other cakes were equally good. They have a wide selection of loose teas, I had ginger and camomile. The set up of the café is also lovely, on a balcony (as the name would suggest) and beautiful and bright. You can people watch to your heart’s content and soak in the precious light. It’s a lovely place to stop for a minute when you actually at the museum, but I don’t think I’d make a special trip just to go to the café.
Edinburgh is a fantastic city for views, but I think the roof terrace at the National Museum of Scotland offers a unique opportunity to see the city at roof-top height. Most of the time, when you look out at a view of Edinburgh, you are looking down at the city, here you are looking across the chimney pots and towards the spires. It is simply beautiful. The roof terrace is not exactly easy to find however, so you really have to be searching for it. It makes a fun game though. First one to the roof terrace wins!
Have you visited the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland yet? Because if you haven’t you really should try to make some time to go. It is sad to see the loss of the gold-fish ponds, and it’s a little strange entering the museum in the basement as opposed to the grand entrance, but the displays are simply beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the natural history section which has just the most amazing taxidermy. How can you not fall in love with that cheeky giraffe. It makes for a great day trip, and they have a nice café where you can refresh yourself, aswell as their wonderful roof terrace with unique views of the city, but more about them later…
You’ve got to love this time of year for the beautiful sunsets, even if it does mean that the long dark winter is looming. I needn’t worry too much about it this year as I’m off to the southern hemisphere for a month – whoop!
I just wanted to say that I’m sorry blogging has been a little slow recently, I’ve entered my final year of studies and work has rather cranked up leaving me little time for extracurricular activities… I have occasionally been getting out and about however, and have a couple of newly reviewed café’s to post and will try to get these up before I leave. I have been neglecting my little blog and I cannot let this continue!
During the hectic month of August, there is nothing I love more than walking through the New Town on a sunny day and admiring the beautiful houses, in particular the wonderful front doors. The roads are lovely and wide and filled with light, and there is a beautiful calm about the side streets that is the perfect antidote to bustling crowds of the centre of town.
Best For: Long mornings, lazy afternoons, chilled evenings
Prices: Cappuccino, £2.20; Tea, £2.40
This is a truly wonderful café which has an emphasis on great produce and style. I know I’m not a food blog, but this establishment does the best brunch I’ve ever had – I mean just look at those beautiful eggs! The only time I ever see yolks that yellow is when I’m eating eggs fresh from the chickens at home so these have to be properly free range. Their cakes and sweet things are also sublime, but they don’t just excel with their food though as their coffee is also delicious which is a sure-fire way to make me happy.
Adding to the general mix of great quality food and drink there is also a fantastic decor. The high ceilings and large windows make for plenty of light. The mezzanine level give you great views down into the café and there is a delightful are for sitting outside (weather permitting). I love a bit of al fresco dining/coffee drinking but I have to say I’m not particularly keen on sitting next to a busy road, and this is not a problem here as it is off the main thoroughfare and you can sit and sip your coffee and read your book in peace.
A great little stop if you’re in Glasgow for a while.
If you are a resident of Edinburgh, or just a visitor, may I please implore you to go out hill walking in the highlands. Perthshire is not far away and it has some spectacular scenery as well as some fascinating geology and botany if you like that kind of thing. Ben Lawers is particularly beautiful as they have set up a nature reserve. At the start of the walk there is a fenced off area set up to create a habitat that is not grazed and it’s really interesting to see just how different the plant life is either side of the fence. There are walks for all abilities in the highlands and I’m sure you can find something to suit you.
If you have a car, and you fancy a quick trip across the border, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a great place to go for a day trip. There is a beautiful castle, a ruined abbey, cute little village and plenty of rock pooling action if that’s what you’re into. If you catch it on a nice day it is just stunning and well worth a visit. Also great for bird watchers, though I won’t promise the birds of prey I got to see when I was there.
Best For: Posing, reading a book and feeling French
This is a great café and feels ever so French. The decor is fabulous and books line the café half of this establishment giving it a chic, slightly bacheloresque feel. It’s a little pricey (espresso, 2.00 EUR, café au lait 4.20 EUR), but this is Paris and everything is pretty expensive. The coffee was very good, and came with a chocolate which is always nice. Service was efficient. It even comes complete with disgruntled French man (who was waiting for his exceptionally late date). You couldn’t ask for much more.
North Berwick is a lovely little sea-side town only 30 mins from Edinburgh by train. If you have a spare afternoon on a sunny day it is well worth a visit. Paddle in the sea (if you’re brave!), wander along the beach and soak in the rays. Just make sure you pack a good coat, as no matter how sunny it is, the wind here is ferocious and I’d hate for anyone to get cold.