Need a dose of wanderlust but don’t want to travel too far? Jump on the train to Edinburgh and blow those January cobwebs away! Check out our guide to this beautiful city, thanks to blogger, ‘storyteller’ and mama of 4, Ruby (9), Harry & Emily (5) and Lucy (3).
My Little Wildlings‘ Zoe Stewart shares her favourite hidden treasures, shops, eateries and historical gems that won’t fail to make you book a trip to this charming city – whether you’re going with or without the kids.
LET’S START WITH THE ESSENTIALS… BEST COFFEE?
On the blog I write a series called Tea Journals, it started because I had a love for tea (and coffee) when Ruby was a baby, I’d fill my days visiting shops so I could feed her or relax while she slept, and now we visit little independent shops in the city and write about them and our day. We always try and find a new one on our travels, a cosy place to sit, play Uno and chat about our week. So far our favourite spots would be The Milkman on Cockburn Street, their white hot chocolate is a treat! I also really love the Secret Herb Garden, it’s a little bit out of the centre of town, has a gorgeous greenhouse filled with herbs and plants that they use in their menu, beehives and a little shop.
FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT WITH THE KIDS:
My kids would answer McDonalds! But, we actually love taking them for fish and chips by the sea, I’m not sure much beats it on a warm summers night down on the prom, sitting on the wall and trying to finish them before the seagulls get us. Failing that, because Edinburgh can be really rainy, S.Lucas, not only do they do the best mint choc chip ice cream they do a mean cheese & ham toasty.
AND WITHOUT THEM:
Wagamamas is one of my favourites, I love ramen and I could eat their edamame beans all day. Another favourite is Sugo, which is actually in Glasgow but worth the drive, they only opened a few months ago and have one of the most authentic beef ragu’s I’ve ever tasted, you can watch the chefs make the pasta before its served too. I adore pasta and could eat it for every single meal.
ANY SHOPS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT:
Willow Boutique in Stockbridge, I found them via instagram and popped into the shop one day, they stock quirky brands and some really sweet wooden toys, they have a little collection of adult wear too. Bon Tot, which is also in Stockbridge, they are a trendy little place with some great eco-lifestyle products and Lucy is desperate for a pair of shiny silver leggings she spotted. Stockbridge is also brilliant for a little thrift shop, we usually wander there or have breakfast in Morningside and take a wander around their thrift shops for a wee change. So many bargains to be had!
You are never short of a park in Edinburgh. Newhailes, near Musselburgh has a lovely walk around the grounds and an excellent play park with a lovely little cafe for the parents. It can get quite busy in the summer but winter evenings we find we are usually the only ones running around until the place closes. The Meadows has a really sweet park, filled with sand and interactive pieces of art, as well as swings and slides. There’s a cycle path surrounding it which is brilliant for a scoot to the local cafe too. The Royal Botanical Gardens are a must if you are visiting the city. They are completely free and such a stunning walk, 70 acres of beauty right in the middle of the city.
Long gone are my days of cocktails, I have a handful of friends that meet once a week for tea, we have breakfast together and catch up on everything and anything we can. Maybe we should make it a lunch date and add some wine? But if I do manage a sneaky night out Tigerlilly is always a good place to start. It’s less night club and a more upmarket bar, the restaurant is beautiful to look at and you can even book and stay the night if you fancy it.
But date night once a month with my husband is where it’s at, the grandparents take the kids for the night and we get to go out and relax for a few hours. I’m a beer girl and Cold Town House in the grass market is one of my favourite places. They do live music and have an in house brewery, not to mention their pizza and sea salt fries, it’s such a nice chilled space that we stay there most of night before we head home.
There’s a few here and they are all so good, The National Museum is one of our all time favourites. We have been so many times and still haven’t managed to get around the entire thing. They do new exhibitions every few months and during the holidays they always have brilliant activities on for kids. It’s our favourite place to visit on a rainy day. The Museum of Childhood is a lovely nostalgic walk through your childhood, it has the oldest toys in the world for you to see, interactive sections and my kids love giggling at what toys looked like ‘back in my day’.
GETTING OUT IN NATURE:
We spend out weekends outside, in all weathers. We’ve got both the National Trust and Historic Scotland passes that we get the kids each year for Christmas, so we are never short of a new castle or private garden to visit. But the beach is our favourite spot in the world. We take hot chocolate and enamel mugs with us and off we go. We usually wander the prom and visit the arcades and stop for hot chocolate on the way. Portobello beach is such a nostalgic spot for me and I love getting to watch my own kids play on the sand too.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT:
Every season here is stunning, I can’t even begin to tell you. Even the gloomiest day fills the place with so much atmosphere, Edinburgh is just always beautiful. Autumn though, is by far the most charming, when the blossoms are out, the leaves are turning and it’s crisp but not quite cold enough for a jacket. Thats my favourite. The Edinburgh Fringe arrives around August for 3 weeks, it’s the biggest performing arts festival in the world and is amazing to visit. I don’t think I could call any other place home.
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