Edinburgh is as old as it is young, as dark as it is brilliantly vibrant, as cold as it is warm. You can be having a fantastic culinary experience or you can find yourself face to face with the most obnoxious, purposefully god-awful looking muck on your plate. But in the end, under dark skies and all, Edinburgh will definitely steal your heart away.
Edinburgh is truly one of the most beautiful and astonishing cities in the world. The combination of its historic attractions, UNESCO World Heritage sites, dramatic scenes, its ghost stories and unpredictable weather makes up the total DNA of this eclectic, eccentric, capital city of Scotland. We were there during the months of summer, leading up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.We were privileged to stay until the very last days of the festival, and left before it got too cold for us.
The heart of Edinburgh comprises the Old Town and the New Town while absorbing less trafficked surrounding villages and ports, like Leith and the stretched sandy beaches of Portobello. The Old Town was built in the Middle Ages when the fear of attack was constant, perched up high on Castle Rock. The New Town, as contrasting as their names, spreads out below like a squiggly spider web forming streets, hidden walkways, and terraces. The mediaeval Old Town and the Neoclassical New Town were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. It’s no surprise that Scotland’s compact higgledy piggledy city is the perfect platform for the literary arts, comedy, culture, education, the world’s best festival city and the perfect influence for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter.
The poetry, music, the theatrics, and the people can be morbid, depressing or grumpy yet insanely, their resistance and tolerance ARE what sets most Scotts apart from the rest of the world; under darkening clouds or the threat of rain on the horizon , you can depend on the Scotts to cheer each other up. Making a joke out of everything for the sole purpose of putting you at ease, is thier most endearing quality. The Scots love people – and they really like making others feel at home. It is the enthusiastic friendliness that makes a comforting contrast against the unpredictable weather and cold mason stones of buildings of their surroundings. Walk into any shop and you’re almost always greeted with a warm “Heya!” . Stop any one for directions if you’re lost, even bus drivers will take time to explain that you’re on the wrong bus heading in the wrong direction and will direct you to the next stop for the right bus!
More than 170 languages are spoken in Scotland, from Thai to Italian, Portuguese to Hindi, Cantonese to Gaelic. Scotland is inclusive, modern, accepting, embracing and curious.
There are many good reasons to eat local while travelling, discovering food you’ve never tried before, learning the culture of a country through food can give you intimate insights on the people and their history, and you’ll bring home and gain new flavours of dishes to try at home! Yet sometimes, we do crave the occasional MSG in our stir fries, or some days you just feel like a Thai Green curry, or an Indian meal night out is always a hoot with friends. Plus you get to experience food we eat at home in a new way. Here’s a few, tried and tested , more than twice while in Edinburgh:
KISMOT INDIAN & BANGLADESHI RESTAURANT http://www.kismot.co.uk Kismot 29 St Leonards Street, EH8 9QN Edinburgh
Le Petit Paris Restaurant www.petitparis-restaurant.co.uk 38-40 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU
Toro Latino Cafe & Grill http://www.torolatinoedinburgh.co.uk 81 FOUNTAINBRIDGE, EH3 9PU
Black Medicine Coffee Co www.blackmedicine.co.uk 2 Nicolson Street,EH8 9DH
The Artisan Pasta Maker www.facebook.com/The-Artisan-Pasta-Maker 138 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 5DQ
Söderberg www.soderberg.uk SÖDERBERG THE MEADOWS 27 Simpson Loan, Quartermile, EH3 9GG
Franco Manca 1 Deanhaugh St, Stockbridge, EH4 1LU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Naughty Thai Restaurant 07 St Patrick St, Newington , EH8 9HB http://www.ordernaughtythai.com
Kampong Ah Lee 28 Clerk Street EH8 9HX https://daochef.com/kampong-ah-lee/
Scottish food and drink is the very lifeblood of Scotland’s culture and economy. It’s like they scrape, tug, shove, strangle or squeeze the best bits of ingredients from vegetables, animals, fish or grains and then wholeheartedly celebrate it on their tables. If you want to try some local delicacies but are a little shy, the one advice is to; STOP STUDYING THE INGREDIENTS, and just enjoy the experience.
Haggis, Tatties and Neeps The national dish of Scotland, composed of liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep (or other animal), minced and mixed with beef or mutton suet and oatmeal and seasoned with onion, other spices. Neeps are mashed swede or turnips, and tatties are mashed potatoes.
Stornoway Black Pudding From the Western Isles of Scotland made of Beef Suet, Vegetable Fat, Oatmeal, Pork Blood, Onions, Salt, Spices
Cullen skink A thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions
Scottish Smoked Salmon, obviously.
Partan bree Traditional Scottish crab bisque , the name comes from the Scots Gaelic word for crab – partan, and bree
Arbroath smokies Hot-smoked haddock, The hot-smoking process cooks and smokes the fish at the same time.
Scottish Cranachan A traditional layered dessert of sweet Scottish raspberries, toasted oats , whisky and honey flavoured cream.
Scottish Porridge Made from local oats, Scottish porridge is tasty and nutritious, full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Did you know, the Scotts believe that the porridge should always be stirred clockwise, with your right hand, if not, the devil will come for the person doing the stirring!
While we all know about Edinburgh’s famous Fringe Festival, there are actually many more unique festivals that take place throughout the year, here are some of the significant ones you wouldn’t want to miss while in the city;
International Children’s Festival
The International Children’s Festival takes place from 27 May – 4th June 2023. This festival began in 1990 and has grown to attract over 10,000 individuals, schools and families
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival presents a super-charged line-up that will delight regulars and first-timers alike. The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs from 14 – 23 July 2023.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Visit Edinburgh Castle Esplanade from 4 – 26 August 2023, this beautiful festival is set against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s grand castle. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the most special events in Edinburgh’s calendar. Audiences come from across the globe to witness the Edinburgh Tattoo’s skills and talents of military bands and participating teams from the British Armed Forces, the Commonwealth and military teams throughout the world.
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Be part of the buzz and glamour, meet the stars behind the films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 18 – 26 August 2023.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is pretty hard to miss if you’re in Edinburgh for the whole month of August. Stay around the city centre, namely on the Royal Mile and come face to face with magical performances of the street performers. It really feels like the party people have come to town and the streets, literally, transform into a showcase!
Edinburgh’s Christmas & Hogmanay
Everyone loves a Christmas event, each year from late November until early January, offering a wide variety of family-friendly activities and events.
8 Facts about Edinburgh
Edinburgh castle is built on an extinct volcano, a 700 million year old extinct volcano
Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire service
Edinburgh has 112 parks and more trees per head of population than any other city in the UK
J.K. Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter in an Edinburgh cafe (The Elephant)
The Encyclopedia Britannica was first produced in Edinburgh
Edinburgh city has more listed buildings than anywhere in the world (over 75%)
A unicorn is the national animal of Scotland, for the myths and legends that surrounds it
The University of Edinburgh has been ranked the 15th best university in the qs world university rankings, beating universities such as Princeton and Yale.