Pubs, Castles and Underground Streets

Back in June, I bought my partner a trip on the Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight train from London to Edinburgh. I must admit that I didn’t fancy it, but he had had his heart set on it for a while, and the thought of a multi-city break seemed great.

However, a combination of new jobs for both of us and being too picky about a date meant that we didn’t actually set off on our trip until the end of November. We had two days in London (and saw the fantastic Book of Mormon – very wrong but funny), and set off on the Sleeper at midnight on a Thursday.

I had (strangely) one of the best night’s sleep I’d had in a while on the train, which, although clean and comfortable, desperately needs a spruce up. A nice (and very reasonably priced) bottle of wine in the lounge car topped off the evening.

We got to Edinburgh just after 7am, and we took a walk through the very quiet streets to our hotel on the Grassmarket, which is just below Edinburgh Castle. The Apex City of Edinburgh was a fantastic hotel, and we were relieved that our room was available as soon as we got there. After a quick nap, we took to exploring the city.

If you like walking, you’ll love Edinburgh, as it’s all hills, giving you plenty of chance to stretch your legs whilst taking in the beauty of the city. It’s buildings are stunning, most harking back hundreds of years through Edinburgh’s very storied past, and the city is kept immaculately clean.

Everywhere you turn there is a pub, so those of you who like a tipple will be truly spoilt for choice. Check out The Inn on the Mile for some awesome cocktails and a very refined atmosphere, or The Beehive Inn on the Grassmarket for a more laid back atmopshere and a chance to catch up on the footie.

Breakfast became a top priority after a while, and we went back to a small place we had spotted on the way to the hotel. The City Cafe, on Blair Street (just off the Royal Mile) is a 50’s themed American diner. Amazing breakfasts, cool cocktails and stunning food throughout the day, The City Cafe was a great find, and the large Traditional Breakfast nearly finished us off. For those brave lads amongst us, check out the Ultimate Burger Challenge. 7 (massive) burgers, a bunch of sides, and 45 minutes in which to eat it all. If you win, your meal is free, or it’s £30 if you can’t finish it all.

We spent a fair bit of our time taking in the sights (AKA being a tourist), and we had some very enjoyable visits to The Royal Yatch Brittania, Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. All of you history buffs will have plenty to keep you occupied, and the beauty of these attractions make them definitely worth a visit.

Nightlife in Edinburgh is great too, and like the many pubs in the city, you are spoiled for choice again with the city’s many nightclubs, bars and after-hours venues. Comedy is an Edinburgh tradition as well, and we checked out a very funny improv group (‘The Improverts’) at Bedlam, as well as The Stand, Edinburgh’s premiere comedy club. Whilst a few of the acts were hit-and-miss, it was a hilarious evening, and we won two tickets to another one of their shows as well!

All in all, Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit. Whether you’re there for a piss-up, a history tour, shopping, or fantastic shows, Edinburgh has it all.