Sunday, 12 May 2013

Edinburgh City Break

...Haste Ye Back!...

Various glimpses of around the main city area and George Street
Sometimes life can leave you feeling tired and wanting to regain and recover the strength that we all need to go on; and that is normal, after all we are all need an escape to feel re-energised. I was lucky enough to do so; so that is exactly what I did. I hit the road to the historical and stunning city of Edinburgh.
Parliament Square
Balmoral Hotel

I was in Edinburgh for a couple of days, I do recommend visiting for more than two days in order to get the most out of this city, there is a lot of things to do and see – from the famous Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, the Dungeons, sightseeing the beautiful coast line and natural wonders, visiting the old fashioned University, Scottish Parliament, the famous Balmoral Hotel, Botanical Gardens, the Scottish National Museum...the list goes on!

Edinburgh is known for its traditional architecture, very Gothic style and the grandeur is breath-taking. I managed to get away during the early May Bank Holiday and noticed the constant bustle of tourists visiting the city; I recommend getting about on local transport which runs regularly throughout the city as it is very cheap. You simply have to be on foot to explore all areas (£3.50 for a day saver on the Loathian bus service – happy days). 

Snapshots of some of the grandness that surrounds Edinburgh
Shopping is next to none in Edinburgh, Prince Street is a busy hive of lively tourists with the beautiful views overlooking the castle as a perfect backdrop, it is filled with great names from high end to high street such as Zara, the famous Jenner’s Department Store, Debenhams, Fraser Hart, Harvey Nicholas etc. I also visited the more up-market George Street were the atmosphere was slightly less touristy and more upmarket and cosmopolitan – a range of sophisticated boutiques lined up the area, there are a lot of swanky bars and fashion giants from Karen Millen, Coast, Jaeger just to name a few. The architecture really came to live in George Street, stunning and very opulent; I can certainly see how this was once the financial heart of the city with the buildings telling their own story.


Edinburgh surprised me when it came to shopping, I can safely say it rivalled that to my usual shopping hangout of the modern Bullring based in Birmingham; simply put shopping in Edinburgh was more of a relaxed experience which treated my eyes to the beauty of the old fashioned building’s that stood against the spell of time, really worth a visit for those shopaholics out there!

Various touristy sights, an American Candy Store, the world famous Hard Rock Cafe, and various shops on Princes Street.
If you don’t intend to go to Edinburgh for the shopping then you must nevertheless visit its department store Jenners – think of this as Edinburgh's own version of Harold’s based in London. The magnificence and old fashioned family heritage was the selling factor of Jenners, it is now owned by House of Fraser although still holds the notable Jenner golden etched sign above it premises and is somewhat of a local landmark. Inside Jenners you can see for yourself the beautiful grand hall of against the Victorian remains of  spiralling pillars that hold each floor. Even if you are not interested in buying or shopping in particular Jenners offers a glimpse of the past and is well worth the visit.
Outside of Jenners Department Store

Inside Jenners located on Princes Street and a little French infusion of sugary treats - Macaroons and slice of cake from Patisserie Valerie (don't worry, they were not all for me)!

You ultimately have to visit Edinburgh Castle; with stunning views from across the city far and wide it dominates the whole city horizon, sitting at the top of the whole town both new and old. It was not too busy when we ventured up there, I do recommend dressing appropriately by wearing a jacket/blazer with the odd scarf (perhaps a tartan would fit the occasion); the wind was notorious at the peak despite it being May.

Scotland in all its glory
Edinburgh Castle
The National Scottish Museum is well worth a visit too; not only is it free but it offers something for everyone (recently refurbished) with great open indoor architecture and countless worldwide exhibitions from the animal section filled with an enormous T-Rex skeleton to the white Iranian inspired hall filled with exotic monuments – there is something for everyone to be excited about. There are so many amazing photograph opportunities inside the Museum; it left me feeling very inspired for an amateur/novice photographer.

Various snapshots of inside the Scottish National Museum

Overall there is more to Edinburgh than just the beautiful scenery and history, it is a rich cosmopolitan city that is definitely worth the visit, although I would pass on the Scottish Haggis and whisky I shall definitely be back and perhaps celebrate the world famous Hogmanay celebrations later on this year (yes I know a tad too early to be talking about new years eve celebrations yet)! There is so much more that I could write about what I got up to in Edinburgh  but I feel as though I would be here forever typing it all out. Simply put you should venture up North yourself to find out for yourself. If you a looking for an affordable city break that offers more than just the usual modern gimmicks then Edinburgh is for you. I would recommend planning in advance if you are going to get the most out of your visit; the Visit Scotland website offered me a great insight into booking tickets and costs regarding my trip to the City.

Main square

Quirky Police Station

Anyone ventured into Scotland’s wonder city before?

The Scotsman


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