An Ideal Day in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is one of the cities I cherish most. If the chance arose for me to live there, I would leap at the opportunity. The city exudes charm, bleeds history, and radiates with life so fervently that you'll never want to leave. So I present to you: "An Ideal Day in Edinburgh."
1. Princes Street Gardens
Situated just between Princes Street and the Royal Mile lies Princes Street Gardens, a haven of tranquility in the heart of the city. While staying in Edinburgh, you'll likely be staying on or near either street. Just a short walk away sits a lush garden that will overwhelm you with such peace and such beauty, you'll desire to return every day.
By now you know that I usually wake around 5am to go on a walk through whichever city I'm visiting. As you meander through the trees at this hour, you'll be accompanied by playful rabbits and greeted by eager squirrels that call this garden their home.
Address: Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, UK
Trip Advisor: Reviews
3. Stroll along The Water of Leith
Continue on to a beautiful canal walk along The Water of Leith. It's in the heart of the city, but is rarely frequented by tourists. While you wander, listen to the gurgling of the water, spy several species of birds, admire the architecture, and take a few moments to marvel at the beauty of this city. As you pass through Stockbridge and on to Dean Village, the waterway is especially spectacular at dawn and at twilight.
4. Stockbridge Farmer's Market
Continue down the water along the village streets and past the brightly colored doors. If on a Sunday, you'll arrive at the Stockbridge Farmer's Market with its vivid yellow tents, fresh produce, and small local businesses displaying their goods. Bring along a canvas bag to carry fresh bread, macarons, and chocolate. You won't be able to resist this siren call.
Address: 1 Saunders St, Edinburgh EH3 6TQ, UK
Hours: Sundays 10am-5pm
5. Afternoon Tea
After your lengthy morning walk, you'll likely be ravenous. As Scotland is a part of Great Britain, there are a number of places to stop into for afternoon tea.
I took afternoon tea at the Tea Rooms in Edinburgh Castle, as pictured below. Though not the best selection of sandwiches and pastries I've had, it was still lovely, and it's quite nice to be able to say you've had tea in a castle.
The Colonnades at the Signet Library has been dubbed "Edinburgh's Finest Afternoon Tea." Inside, you'll sit betwixt massive white columns and meticulously lined bookshelves. Though I haven't yet dined at the Colonnades, it is number one on my list of tearooms for when I return to Edinburgh.
6. Edinburgh Book Lover's Tour
One of the best decisions I made in Edinburgh was taking a literary book tour with Allan Foster. Far from being one of the gimmicky tours that lures tourists and makes a farce of the city's history, this is a real, honest, straightforward tour for book lovers—visitors and locals alike. You'll traverse Edinburgh's cobbled streets with Allan as he leads you to sights that famous writers wrote, lived, and acquired inspiration in. As a guide, Allan is witty and insightful, and this tour is worth every penny.
Website: The Edinburgh Book Lover's Tour
Trip Advisor: Reviews
7. Armchair Books
After the book tour, your bibliophile appetite will certainly be whet. Your antidote: Armchair Books, my favorite bookshop in the city center. Cozy and well-stocked, this secondhand bookstore exhibits its trove of treasures from ceiling to floor. I spent far too much money on hardcover editions from the 19th and early 20th centuries, no doubt hypnotized by the overwhelming scent of antique pages and words.
Address: 2-74 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE, UK
8. Dunbar's Close Garden
After you purchase an armful books, head down to the far end of the Royal Mile and find a haven of serenity away from the crowds. Delve into your stories surrounded by hedges, well-manicured shrubs, and birdsong. Perhaps bring along a couple of the croissants, baguettes, and cheeses you purchased earlier from the Stockbridge Farmer's Market. Savor the silence and immerse yourself in the written word.
Address: 137 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8, UK
Hours: Dawn till Dusk
9. The Library Bar
Located at the University of Edinburgh, the two-story Teviot Library Bar is the perfect place to begin the night with inexpensive drinks and a lively, youthful crowd. The food may not be the best, but the old, dark wood aesthetic, complete with book-lined walls, provides a wonderful atmosphere.
Address: Edinburgh EH8 9AJ, UK
10. Pub Crawl
After beginning your night at the Library Bar, explore the incredible pub scene that Edinburgh offers. It feels as though there's a pub around every corner. Converse with locals and travelers, compete in a pub quiz, revel with live music, and before the kitchens close, make sure you order a plate of sumptuous sticky toffee pudding.