Edinburgh is always a hive of activity but, in December, the city turns in to a winter wonderland and it gets a bit busy…. so, so busy.
Having lived here for four years, I know my way around and have always enjoyed wandering the historic streets and taking in the bustling atmosphere at Christmas.
We stayed at the Motel One in the City Centre, just a stone’s throw away from Waverley Station. Views of the fairy lights on Cockburn Street at one end and the Christmas Market on Princes St Gardens made this an ideal location.
First thing on Saturday morning, I went for a quick walk up to the Castle before the tourists got to it. The sun was rising and sky was a hazy pink. Despite being -1 degree already, this was a good start to the day.
After a hearty breakfast back at the hotel, we made the most of the early morning and walked round Arthur’s Seat – an ancient volcano just minutes from the heart of the city. Scotland is amazing isn’t it?
This walk took us past the Parliament in Holyrood and, up the top of the hill, showed off panoramic views of Edinburgh.
Post-walk we headed over to look at the Christmas Market – formerly a haven of free samples back in my Uni days, the stalls have obviously grown wise to the sponging students and not a freebie was in sight.
Sponsored by Baileys, the bar had a menu of hot chocolate or coffee with a liqueur flavour of choice. Delicious! After a long walk this was exactly what was needed. However upon reaching the counter to order, I realised it was closed. They weren’t serving until 12 noon – it was only 11am…. the shame.
Since we couldn’t indulge in our morning shot, we hit the shops. And so did everyone else. The streets were heaving and every second person seemed to be muttering about the crowds, as we all contributed to the chaos.
After shopping and lunch on George Street, we needed a rest. And what better respite to escape the crowded streets than finding out that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was being shown at the Omni Centre on Leith Walk? Transported to the 1940’s, we escaped the 2017 hullabaloo outside and soaked up the adventures of George and Mary Bailey with the odd impression thrown in for good measure.
After the film, rested and hungry again we went to Henderson’s for dinner. A vegan restaurant which was also delightfully lit with fairly lights (take me anywhere with stylish fairy lights and I’m happy) with a relaxed yet cosy atmosphere. The food was good and staff were friendly. Being slightly hidden off the main road (and vegan) meant it wasn’t choked with customers either.
I write this on the train heading home to Inverness and pondering the weekend just past. Edinburgh knows how to treat you over a weekend with opportunities for all needs – escaping the crowds by walking up a hill and being part of the crowd taking in the shopping, music, films and art on offer. They also do a mean coffee all over the city – even if it can’t contain Baileys before noon…
For more information go to: www.edinburghschristmas.com