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Edinburgh - what to do?

Travel Forums Europe Edinburgh - what to do?

1. Posted by JoyC (Full Member 99 posts) 7y

I will be in Edinburgh 22 July through 13 August and am aware of the usual attractions (Royal Mile, Castle, Fringe Festival, Tattoo, etc.). Does anyone have any suggestions on must-see / must-do activities that are a bit less known? Any favorite can't-miss pubs? On an extremely tight budget...

2. Posted by andy11 (Full Member 136 posts) 7y

The worlds end and the Scotsman's Lounge are quite good pubs, plenty of good pubs on the royal mile and the grassmarket also. For tourist attractions you have the Observatory up on Calton Hil then you have the fringe obvioulsy in august, the dungeons down at the train station, maybe a walk up Arthurs seat, the Royal Yacht Britannia down in Leith.

3. Posted by JoyC (Full Member 99 posts) 7y

Thanks, I'll add these to my list. I also found out the Annual Clan Gathering will be held in Edinburgh July 24-25 which I'm very excited about!

4. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 7y

I would recommend a tour of Mary King's Close - it's one of the best things I did in Edinburgh:
http://www.realmarykingsclose.com/. The 'close' actually consists of many narrow streets and the tour provides a fascinating insight into how people used to live over 300 years ago.

5. Posted by Buzzcock (Full Member 178 posts) 7y

Quoting JoyC

I will be in Edinburgh 22 July through 13 August and am aware of the usual attractions (Royal Mile, Castle, Fringe Festival, Tattoo, etc.). Does anyone have any suggestions on must-see / must-do activities that are a bit less known? Any favorite can't-miss pubs? On an extremely tight budget...

If you've read any of Irvine Welsh's books then a stroll down Leith Walk will take you the centre of his world.

6. Posted by lucyemmab (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

I went to Edinburgh last year & loved it - everyone was so freindly.

I loved the more traditional pubs in the Grassmarket area - alot of them have live Scottish bands on too so look out for that! There is a great curry house on the hill down towards grassmarket - worth a try & you can take your own alcohol which always saves cash!

7. Posted by shimmer (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

i used to live in edinburgh and would avoid the pubs on the royal mile to be honest if you are concerned about keeping costs down. there and george street are definitely the most expensive places to drink.

grassmarket and old town in general has a pretty good atmosphere. grassmarket has some nice vintage shops like armstrongs and herman brown. cabaret voltaire is a good club and pretty good value on weeknights but most places are going to be expensive at the weekend. going over the bridges (north bridge leads onto south bridge then nicolson street) takes you to some nice independent coffee shops like kilamangaro that are better than starbucks etc. theres also lots of charity and quirky little shops there.

like others have mentioned, i love leith walk. its like being in a completely different city, so much more multicultural and diverse.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jul-2009, at 17:38 by shimmer ]

8. Posted by Buzzcock (Full Member 178 posts) 7y

If you make it to Edinburgh after all then, to add to shimmer's post, other areas to explore are Marchmont, an upmarket tenement area to the south of the centre, then south west through Bruntsfield and Morningside, which has a snooty reputation that is probably no longer entirely justified. It's the really posh areas like the Grange which are near Morningside, that are deserving that reputation. Recommended pub worth a visit, the Canny Mans in Morningside, near the bottom of the hill.

Leith Walk, to the north-east of the centre, is almost like being in an entirely different city to Morningside, with the Boundary Bar marking the point where the city used to end and the port of Leith begin (as Spud, Irvine Welsh's most likeable character, mused on in his unfinished history of Leith in 'Porno'). I guess that to add to my previous post the real centre of Irvine Welsh's world is Easter Road stadium. not far from Leith Walk, the home of Hibernian FC.

Hibs' arch rivals incidentally, Heart of Midlothian (Hearts, the 'Jam Tarts') FC are based in the equally working-class neighbourhood of Gorgie-Dalry to the west of the city centre. Unlike in Glasgow the football rivalry in Edinburgh is predominantly geographical (east-west) not 'sectarian'. Between this area and studenty-almost posh Bruntsfield, is the neighbourhood of Fountainbridge, home to the McEwan's Lager brewery and former home to Sean Connery.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jul-2009, at 07:15 by Buzzcock ]

9. Posted by JoyC (Full Member 99 posts) 7y

Thank you so much for all the tips - I'm more excited than ever to be visiting Edinburgh!

10. Posted by Buzzcock (Full Member 178 posts) 7y

Quoting JoyC

Thank you so much for all the tips - I'm more excited than ever to be visiting Edinburgh!

Glad to be of help. Hope you get your accommodation situation sorted out. If you haven't read it already, you may just have time to read Trainspotting. There is more to Edinburgh than Mr Welsh's Leithocentric world, but the book may help you make sense of the place or vice versa. I know your budget is tight but a few quid on an A-Z would be well spent. Alternatively get a local bus map which should be free and will help you if you want to get out of town.

Other places to go if you have the time are Portobello beach, which is a good way out of town about five miles east of the city centre, and from where you can enjoy the view of the cooling towers of Cockenzie Power Station spewing out all that lovely sulphur which falls as acid rain over Norway. To the south of the city are the Pentland Hills, which some buses go to. To the north-west of the city is the Forth Bridge (obviously).

Back to the city again, just to the west of the Grassmarket, along a road called the West Port are a couple of down-at-heel pubs, which double as strip joints (ahem). One of these is the Burke and Hare, named after the bodysnatchers who were two of Edinburgh's more infamous residents. South of the Grassmarket, near the medical school, to whose students they sold their nightly takings, so to speak, is a pub called The Doctors.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jul-2009, at 11:07 by Buzzcock ]