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How to explore the "Scotish soul" in Edinburgh?

I'm planning a short trip to Scotland within the next weeks. It will become a last minuite desicion and it will be my first visit. I thought to go to Edinburgh. Of course I'm interested in sightseeing, but more important to me is to get in touch with the culture, to feel the spirit of the City and gettimg a bit  understanding of what I call the "Scotish Soul"  Therefore mainstream touristic activities won't serve well. What places I should visit on my own and where to go for Dinner and for having a drink or coffee?  I would apprechiate all recommandations. Thanks in advance.  

Comments

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 18
    If you include food and drink, I can talk to you all day about local faves but this is a starting point for me (as a former Edinburgher). Caveat is that I think the real "Scottish soul" lies far North of Edinburgh IMHO but I know exactly what you mean by wanting to find the spirit of a city rather than check tourism boxes
    • Can you climb a fair amount of stairs? If so, just walk alley to alley (or close to close) in Old Town and you'll inevitably come across a plaque that will mention a cool fact. 
    • Dean village + Stockbridge market on a Sunday is a must. Follow up with lunch at Le Escargot Blanc (book ahead even for a table for one, this place is rightly packed, their title dish of escargot is made with amazing Isle of Barra snails and is better than any I have had in France)
    • In the summer months, a very local thing to do is play mini golf at the links at Bruntsfield. Follow that up with some Italian food at the nearby local and family run restaurant (forgot the name, use Google reviews to find it)
    • Visit the Saturday morning farmers market, seek out Rachel from Hammond charcuterie and taste what I can only describe is truly Scottish charcuterie.
    • Visit Calton Hill, climb the Nelson monument (mainstream) and the Old Calton Burial Ground (I absolutely love walking about in here, many very famous Scots are buried here and none of the Greyfriar Kirk crowds)
    • The Royal Botanical Gardens are criminally underrated.
    • Oink for lunch and Bow Bar for a pint/dram are right opposite each other.
    • A Haggis burrito at Los Cardos is a local favourite
    • The Cloisters pub near Tollcross is a stunning traditional pub (also close to craft beer heaven Hanging Bat). Perfect for a pint after a lunch at Edinburgh best Thai food @ Passorn.
    • The Surgical Museum is one of a kind. Walk through the Old College quad at one of the world's ancient universities. A cold brew / coffee of choice at Brew Lab. A pint at the Teviot Bar.
    I actually can go on and on but the experiences above will take up a fair number of hours to do. Do feel free to furnish specific interests to get more targeted recommendations.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside)

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    A quick follow up is that Ceilidh, local Pipe bands & Highland games and music events (Scottish musicians) are also quintessentially Scottish but I personally find the feel for them quite different in Edinburgh vs out in small towns and villages. The museums are free and worth visiting to see how the city has changed over the years (through paintings at the National Gallery) as well as through exhibits at the National Museum of Scotland.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside)

  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    @Corazon If you're looking for Scottish food with a vegetarian twist, I'd recommend David Bann or Henderson's.  For some drinks, I really like Nightcap on George Street and The Mousetrap on Leith Walk!
    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesTwitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • CorazonCorazon Member
    edited June 19
    @Horizons @ VisitScotlandLiam : How amazing to receive so many usefull recommandations. I thank you a lot for being so kind and  spending your time to provide me with all these information. Now I can start to make my plans up by searching the spots on google Maps . ... and yes @Horizons, I can climb a fair amount of steps :-). In case further  more specific questions show up, I would be happy to come back to ask.  If anybody plans a trip to Lanzarote some day and is looking  for recommandations and Insider information, feel free to ask as well. I would be glad to return the favor.  Kind regards. Marion 
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