From voodoo to grave-robbers, there’s more to Edinburgh than a giant castle…
You don’t even have to leave Waverley Station to have fun in Edinburgh, as the Waverley Market reopens for the first time for 40 years this summer. Once you’ve shopped for unique crafts and ethically-sourced gifts, walk up to The Voodoo Rooms, just off Princes Street. You may want to gawp at the stunning black and gold décor but stay cool, order a cocktail and a hot voodoo platter from the leather studded bar and relax in an intimate booth.
Suitably sated, burn off your fiery chicken wings by strolling to The Real Mary King’s Close, where you’ll discover a network of streets which disappeared underground in the 17th century. If that’s not spooky enough for you, pop down the road to the Police Information Centre, which houses a small museum where one of the ‘attractions’ is a business card holder made from the cured skin of infamous grave-robber, William Burke.
Now walk up the high street, past St Giles’ Cathedral. With Edinburgh Castle in sight, you might be tempted to head straight for the city’s most famous landmark, but you could stop off at the Camera Obscura and World Of Illusions on Castle Hill for a different view of the capital from its Victorian roof chamber. You can also see a working mill at the Tartan Weaving Mill.
Time to eat. Passing Castle Rock on Johnston Terrace, head to Timberyard. With its own in-house butchery and smokehouse, Timberyard makes the most of local artisan suppliers to produce a stunning menu enjoyed by critics and diners alike. Indeed, The Times has featured it as one of the ‘Top 20 Places to Eat in the UK’.
Start the day at The Edinburgh Larder Café on Blackfriar’s Street and try their porridge, which comes with a variety of toppings.
Walk to Victoria Street, one of Edinburgh’s most picturesque locations. You may be able to smell IJ Mellis Cheesemonger upon arrival, so why not pop in and pick up a local cheese?
If you like vintage clothes, Herman Brown on West Port is worth a visit and, rather handily, it’s next door to Love Crumbs, a charming bakery, where you can enjoy an artisan coffee and a beautiful cake. That’s enough shopping for now.
Next, go to The Surgeon’s Hall Museum, Scotland’s oldest museum, which is also home to the largest collection of surgical pathology material in the UK. Continuing the medical theme, take a late lunch at The Royal Dick. Once an animal hospital and veterinary school, it’s now a unique foodie destination. Have a meaty, fishy or veggie platter before heading home happy.
Food and drink
Visit some of Edinburgh’s finest food and drink destinations
Cranachan & Crowdie
This Royal Mile food emporium is where you can buy Scotland’s famous foodie treats, from Macsween Haggis to thistle-shaped shortbread and even a can of Irn Bru. cranachanandcrowdie.com
From cranachan to curry. You might not associate Edinburgh with curry, but the Punjabi Junction offers something different for lunch with its amazingly light, homemade and authentic food. punjabijunction.org
The Whisky Stramash
Taking place at The Surgeon’s Hall on 24/25 May, this Homecoming Scotland event gives you the chance to sample a huge array of whiskies. It’s described as an event of mystery, entertainment, comicality and madcap pioneering. thewhiskystramash.com/2014
The Sheep Heid Inn
Made it up to Arthur’s Seat? Enjoy the view, then walk back down the other side to enjoy a well-earned pint of cask ale in Scotland’s oldest surviving pub. thesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk
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Manchester to Edinburgh from as little as just £16. Buy in advance at tpexpress.co.uk
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