I have been to Edinburgh three times. Twice in August during the Fringe Festival and once in late November when the Christmas markets were already out. I knew this city had stolen my heart once I’d seen it both in the summer and the winter. Both entirely different atmospheres, but perfect all the same.
There are elements of the city, I discovered, that remain the same all year round. The vintage clothes shops dotted around the city are a dream and the irresistible smell of Oink! hog roast as you walk up Victoria Street to the Royal Mile will never leave my memory or stop my mouth from watering every time I think about it. Edinburgh Castle stands proud throughout the seasons and the view from Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill will never disappoint come rain (like it usually does) or shine.
Edinburgh truly has so much to offer, whether it’s history, culture or beauty – you name it. One of my favourite things about it is how many little gems of interest you might find just by exploring. Nevertheless, I will let you in on my three ultimate favourite things about the city. I could never list them all.
Grassmarket is a little square just down the hill from the castle and a five minute walk from the Royal Mile. It’s filled with nice little pubs, where sometimes there are spoken word events, cute places to have brunch, second hand book shops, curiosity shops and a vintage clothes shop. There’s very often a market in the square selling a whole array of fascinating items including beautiful jewellery and second-hand records. If you ever find yourself in Grassmarket, avoid the souvenir shop and head straight for the second-hand books. I once spent so long in the basement floor of an antiquarian book shop, that I was nearly locked in.
The Harry Potter fans among us will be well aware that J.K Rowling spent many of her days writing in Edinburgh and more specifically in the Elephant House – a quaint little cafe situated not too far from the Cathedral. The cafe now boasts this fact on its exterior with the words ‘Birthplace of Harry Potter‘. Through my exploring, I found that it is very clear to see where the inspiration for Gringotts came from. A building stands on a corner just up the road from Grassmarket and the similarity of the two structures is uncanny.
The Fringe Festival
The very first time I went to Edinburgh was for the Fringe Festival in 2014. I did a two week run of a show called ‘Welcome to Terezin‘. Unfortunately, most days we were either performing or trying to advertise our show. However, the atmosphere on the Royal Mile, where everyone performing hands out flyers for their shows, is incredible. With street performers and flyers galore, the Mile is teeming with all kinds of eccentric people in crazy costumes carrying ridiculous props and performing mad stunts to sell their performance. Expect flash mobs and spontaneous sing-a-longs because the Mile is never dull in August. The Fringe craze spans across the whole city too, with venues in the strangest of places and plenty of outside performances. Regarding what you actually buy tickets for, the possibilities are endless. From modern adaptions of Shakespeare, stand up and musicals to nudity, interactive zombie apocalypses and bizarre improvisation, there is never a dull moment. Almost every performance has its own weird quirk. You might even spot a couple of celebrities too. In 2014 I bumped into two Game of Thrones actors.
I went to Edinburgh again in 2015 and I am planning to go and support my friends performing at the Fringe this year.
I don’t feel like I could ever get bored of this city.