Usually seeking sunshine, we embraced the idea of a city break in winter. Longing to see the Joan Eardley exhibition and after hearing good things we booked a four day break in Edinburgh on a fact finding visit to include all the galleries and art centres.
Edinburgh is an imposing city built over seven hills with a long city centre down the middle. We were incredibly lucky with the weather; sunny crisp days with no wind and white frosty mornings. The dark grey buildings glistened aided by the Christmas lights strewn across streets and buildings.
There is a ‘wow’ moment around every corner. Whether a large row of Georgian mansions in a crescent, a small park, a beautiful hotel, a cobbled street, a narrow row of terraced cottages, the steep steps linking lower and upper levels or the ‘closes’ , what we call ‘drangways’ in Cornwall these little covered paths lead to a courtyard or the back of a building. History has left its mark and nothing prepares you for the view of Edinburgh castle and Holyrood perched on the steepest of hilltops.
The walk along Princes street, and onto the cobbled lanes that lead up steeply to the castle is magnificent and gives you views right over the city as buildings rise higher and higher. We were in the old town and found lovely shops and pubs in the grass market area where we also stumbled across greyfriars church with its ancient tombstones . The elephant cafe was a must where J.K Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series .
The new town on the other side is also stunning with the back streets full of gorgeous cafes and pubs. Recommended areas are the West End, Stockbridge, Rose Street and Thistle Street which lie on the back roads of the main New Town. The old town has it’s charm but also feels more touristy.
Not city people, we are always looking for a bit of sanctuary and found this on the Water of Leith, a six mile walk that can be joined at several points along the river. We had been to the modern art galleries and could join it at the bottom of the garden and walk to Dean village and on to Stockbridge where we found a great Scandinavian bakery ,St Peters Yard . From here it was a fifteen minute walk uphill back into the main town. By day three we were seriously flagging so jumped on a tour bus to see the outer reaches through Leith and by the royal yacht Britannia.
Travel is easy with great buses and the tram system. And from the airport there are dedicated buses that run every 10minutes . Our flight from Exeter was just an hour and on our return having left Edinburgh airport at 11am we were at home with a cup of tea by 1.30 pm. The ease of our trip means we will be going back. There is still so much to see.