A Day Out in Edinburgh

On Wednesday we drove into Edinburgh, we don’t go into the centre all that often, mainly because the more interesting wee independent shops are elsewhere. I really wish I had my pedometer with me to see how many steps I walked because we were all over the place in a big circle from Meadowbank to George Street where we had lunch at Cafe Andaluz. Then we walked on to Lothian Road the West Port and the Grassmarket and back to Meadowbank where we had parked the car. Click on the links if you want to have an armchair trip to Edinburgh with me. The castle just looms up on you as you can see from the photo below. It does seem incongruous when you’re out shopping but the rock and castle were there long before anything else.

acastle 1

acastle 2

The Christmas lights in George Street are truly hideous. I didn’t even bother to take a photo but I found the one below online. Oh for the days when we just had ordinary coloured light bulbs strung from side to side across streets in various patterns!

hristmas lights

I hate these modern LED lights, the light they give out is so cold and brash looking. You can see photos of Princes Street Christmas lights here. I noticed that Google and umpteen other places on the internet think that it is Princess Street – it isn’t!

We were aiming for the second-hand book-shops around the West Port and Grassmarket area, we hadn’t been to those ones for ages so I had high hopes of finding some goodies. But as ever when you have high hopes you tend to end up disappointed and I only ended up getting a couple of J.I.M. Stewart (Michael Innes) paperbacks.

From West Port we made for the Grassmarket and by then it was quite dark and the tree lights were on. This is the old town and in our younger days we used to frequent this area. As you can see Edinburgh Castle towers over this area too.

acastle 3

alights 1
It was quite atmospheric in the gloaming.

alights 2

Below is Victoria Street, a steep one which I could have been doing without but Edinburgh is very hilly and multi-layered, so you just have to get on with it. Just above the top set of lights there is actually another street but you can’t really see it in this photo.

alights 3

You can see more images of The Grassmarket here.

From there we went on down The Royal Mile which had absolutely no signs of Christmas about it, it seemed appropriate for that very Presbyterian stronghold. You can read about that area here.

By then I was fairly exhausted but we still had a long way to go to get to the car, all the way down the Royal Mile (High Street) past the Scottish Parliament building, yes – it IS a bit of a mish-mash!

We walked on past Queen Mary’s bath house. I love that wee building, it’s like something out of a fairy tale.

At last we reached the car and drove on to Morningside to visit one of our ‘boys’ and his lady. By this time it was getting on for dinner time and we were lucky to find the Oxfam book shop still open. I was so lucky to find three Dorothy Dunnet hardbacks that I had been looking for – and a third of the price of the others I had seen and decided against earlier.

We’re at that stage in life when we really don’t need or want anything in the way of expensive presents. It’s going to be a very bookish Christmas for us both.

I hope you enjoyed that armchair trip around Edinburgh. It’s the best way to do it really, a lot less tiring anyway!

14 thoughts on “A Day Out in Edinburgh

  1. I’ve just had a great “virtual tour” of Edinburgh, thank you. You will have been glad to sit down after walking between four and five miles, I make it.
    Marvellous architecture in Edinburgh and I noticed some striking statues and monuments also; and over all broods the Castle on its eminence.
    I agree with you about modern LED lights: last year I brought out my carefully-stored Christmas lights, 1980 model, and was delighted that after a long period of being unused they functioned perfectly and had such soft sweet glistening colours.
    I must go on a drive around my neighbourhood to view people’s light displays next week – thing is, it has to be after 9:30pm to be anything like twilight at this time of year here!

    • Valerie,
      I’m still using a set of lights from 1976, they have nice wee plastic petal collars/shades around the bulbs – very pretty. Our neighbourhood looks ghastly at night as many people seem to have opted for blue LED lights and they don’t look at all festive to me. It probably was around four or five miles that we walked, we had a lazy day the next day as we were both tired!
      There are statues and monuments all over Edinburgh.

    • traybham,
      The only down side to getting books for Christmas is the ever lengthening TBR piles! Edinburgh is a small city compared with Glasgow so it’s quite easy to get around a lot of it by foot – if you have the energy.

  2. Those lights are quite garish, in my opinion. I’m a purist and prefer white lights, like little stars.
    The tour brought back fond memories of trekking around Edinburgh during our week there. I’m just sorry that we hadn’t ‘met’ you and Jack back then. My Jack drank mead for the first (and last) time in a restaurant in Grassmarket.

    • Joan,
      I like the white lights best of they are a warm white that look sort of golden from a distance.
      I’m sorry we didn’t ‘know’ you back then too. You’ll have to come back for another go at Edinburgh and surroundings! Once was enough for me with mead too, it’s just too sweet for me.

  3. I’m continuing to nurse my last strands of decent Christmas lights as well. You simply can’t find them in the stores any more, and I’m not about to get mired in online searching. This year 2 more 125 bulb strands went dark on me, taking the tree down under 1000 for the first time in a decade. I don’t care for the all whites – just looks sterile and commercial to me. Office lobby tree lights. I like the colorful ones.

    I’d love to spend Christmas in Scotland with the kids just once. Unfortunately, Bud is not at all keen on cold weather, so that’s not in our travel plans.

    • Pearl,
      One set of my coloured lights has just given up, the fuse light has gone, I hope I can find a spare one. I quite like the old warm white lights on real trees, I always had two trees before moving here. One artificial with coloured lights and the real one in a bay window with white/cream lights.
      It’s almost warm here – by our standards anyway. Bud wouldn’t feel too cold!

    • Stefanie,
      I think you’re right about books. We almost always give family members money, which I know annoys some people but I hate to buy things for people that they might not like, and end up not being used – such a waste.

  4. My only visit to Scotland, so far:), was mostly spent in Edinburgh, and I loved revisiting it through your post and pictures. I loved being there, and I totally agree with you on the lights:-). I’m visit my son in Germany this Christmas, and I’ll have to notice which lights I see over here. I wasn’t aware that the options had changed so much.


    • Paula,
      I hope the German lights are nicer than the ones here. The LED ones use a lot less electricity apparently. If you ever get back to Scotland you should make sure you see a lot more of the country!

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