A great week in Scotland – Part 1 – Edinburgh

 

We were recently invited to a Scottish wedding in Edinburgh so decided to have an extended trip and explore the City and surrounding areas.  Edinburgh was a first for both of us so we had lots to explore.

Arriving from Perth through Doha straight into Edinburgh was brilliant.  Travelling on Qatar airways was fantastic.  Doha airport is out of this world, like another planet, so airy and spacious.  We spent a relaxing hour or two here.

Some of the amazing sculptures around Doha Airport

We stayed at Apex Grassmarket Hotel and had a room overlooking the Grassmarket.  We had such a nice view of the castle as well.  Edinburgh is such a great city for walking around and there’s so much interesting history here.  There is a big French influence as we found out from all the restaurants we ate in.  This must come from Mary Queen of Scots who grew up in France.
Over the next couple of days we walked our feet off enjoying all the sights of Edinburgh.  In between our stay we also hired a car to explore what we could of Scotland. Our first port of call was of course the magnificent Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle

The view from our room – the magnificent Edinburgh Castle

The city through the stone lookouts

Inside St. Margaret’s Chapel
St. Margaret’s Chapel

There are so many tours around but we decided to go at our own pace and be free to roam wherever we liked.

Next up was the very pretty Dean Village which is about 20 minutes walk from Edinburgh Castle.  This is a heritage listed village and well worth a visit.

Dean Village

One of the 18th century buildings in Dean Village
The River Leith flowing through Dean Village
Well Court built in the 1880’s and recently refurbished
Looking through the archway into the courtyard of Well Court

The picturesque Hawthorn Buildings
The clock tower rising above what was once the social hall
Cobblestone house in Dean Village

 

Next up we had a bit of lunch in a lovely little French restaurant called Escargot Bleu, it was French right down to the waiters and chef!

 

To walk off this wonderful lunch we headed to Holyroodhouse Palace and the gallery.  This was one of my favourite places, very old and beautiful.  Gorgeous garden and also enjoyed walking around the rooms.  I didn’t realise that this is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh so is very much a working palace.  Even that night Princess Anne was flying in for a formal dinner with the University.

Holyroodhouse Palace

Holyroodhouse Palace was founded by David I in 1128 as an Augustinian monastery in 1128. In 1501 James IV built a Palace for himself and his bride, Margaret Tudor – the sister of Henry VIII and the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots.  Mary spent much of her later turbulent years here and was married twice from here.

This place was definitely a must see for me and if you’re a history buff then you shouldn’t miss it.

One thing I loved about Edinburgh were all the quirky little alleyways and the names above them.

 

One rainy afternoon we had lunch in the lobby of The Scotsman Hotel.  A beautiful baroque building dating back to 1905 and was once the home of The Scotsman Paper.

 

A few more photos of street scenes below.

The famous pierced lady who claims to be the most pierced human – I don’t think she’s lying!
Two “wee” scottish boys dressed for the “Independence for Scotland” march
The famous Greyfriars’ Bobby – a skye terrier who guarded his master’s grave for 14 years.

We also found time for a quick walk around Greyfriars Kirkyard.  Still an active church with a famous burial ground going back to the 16th century.  It was very hard to actually read the names on all the plaques.

 

As I mentioned there are some fabulous restaurants in Edinburgh and below are some of the ones we tried:

Angels with Bagpipes
Le Bistro
Cafe Anduluz
Vittoria on the Bridge
Divino Enoteca

Also some of the photos from those restaurants
Angels with Bagpipes

Tapas from Cafe Anduluz

 

Divino Entoteca

I would definitely recommend a visit to Edinburgh if you’ve never been before, we had the best time and clocked up many steps on our walking apps!

Part 2 to follow

 

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