As my greedy sister is already well acquainted with the delights of Edinburgh, it was about time I got to know this magical city, and an autumnal weekend in November was the perfect opportunity. The trip began at our home for the next three days; the beautiful Rutland Residence apartment located in the West End. With an eclectic combination of contemporary and classic furnishings and the very best quality facilities, we were tempted to hibernate and spend the entire weekend indoors, but Edinburgh beckoned!
We headed out to explore the bohemian West End, filled with interesting boutiques, galleries and appealing cafes and bars. I had to be dragged out of the Paper Tiger stationery shop, which was so full of lovely cards and gifts I could have stayed for hours. But it was pub time, and a pint of Innis & Gunn (and a crisp cider for me) awaited in the cosy Teutchters whiskey bar.
Feeling refreshed, we took a walk to the city centre, during which I had my first whiff of Edinburgh’s unmistakable malty scent – a smell which remained in the air for the whole weekend, and one which has previously earned Edinburgh the title of World’s Smelliest City. I didn’t actually mind it though! Next stop was Dragonfly cocktail bar in the Old Town, where we relaxed with two delicious gin cocktails.
By this point we had worked up quite an appetite, so off we headed to The Witchery for dinner in this historic venue beside Edinburgh Castle. The Harry Potter-esque interiors were magical and the menu was equally appealing. As it was a chilly autumnal evening I decided to warm up with pea and mint soup, served with Isle of Mull cheddar scones, followed by a hearty fish pie. This honest food matched the traditional setting perfectly. After a selection of local cheeses and wine, we wrapped back up and admired the city views from the walls of Edinburgh Castle before heading back to our apartment.
The next day we woke up to heavy rain, so we were in no rush to leave. After a lazy morning we spent the afternoon shopping around Princess Street, then refuelled with a light lunch at the Bon Vivant wine bar in the New Town.
On Saturday evening we booked a table at The Pompadour by Galvin restaurant in the stunning Waldorf Astoria hotel. With a view of Edinburgh Castle and classic French interiors, the venue felt extremely special and the food lived up to my high expectations. I started with Orkney scallops poached in Nyetimber, followed by seared pave of Scrabster stone bass. Both fish dishes were cooked perfectly and I had no trouble finishing every last mouthful.
The real highlight of the evening was the dessert; a rich chocolate souffle served with apple sorbet and with a liquid chocolate centre. It was utterly delicious and completed a very memorable meal. We finished the night with a trip to the Heads and Tales gin bar; a hidden gem tucked away in Rutland Place.
On our last day we decided to be proper tourists and explored the Royal Mile, taking a fun trip to the Real Mary King’s Close, an underground warren of streets dating back to the 17th century. We continued the touristy day with a visit to the National Museum of Scotland, then filled up on comfort food at Mums cafe, where I tackled the biggest vegetable pie I’ve ever been served! All too soon it was time for our train back to Manchester, and during the journey I was already planning my next trip back to this beautiful, welcoming city.