For most of my travels, I've always thought bigger and further were better, hardly ever taking the opportunity to visit some of the beauties of the UK. I'd always spend ages saving up so I could take one big long trip somewhere super exotic and exciting.
And that has always served me well, but recently I've been thinking maybe it could be just as exciting to take in some small adventures. Adventures in my own back garden. Especially as I currently have no big plans for a backpacking trip.
With this new realisation in tow, Nikolai (the guy posing in the picture below) and I headed to Edinburgh to visit some of my family and have a little city break. We were lucky enough to get some extraordinarily good weather (not much of the famous dreary Scottish rain) and we took in a good amount of what Edinburgh has to offer.
Not being big fans of tourist hotspots we stayed clear of some of the more famous Edinburgh attractions but we'd love to go back one summer for the festival.
If you're thinking of taking a trip to Edinburgh here are some tips for what to do.
My favourite things to do in Edinburgh
- Charity shop trawling - Edinburgh has an absolute abundance of really great charity shops. It's almost a little bit ridiculous. In the 5 days we were there we must've popped into at least 25 different shops. The best spots we found were along Morningside Road or Leith Walk (especially the Salvation Army)
- Walking in the Pentland Hills - For Nikolai's birthday, we spent a marvellous day walking in the Pentland Hills that surround Edinburgh City. It's so easy and cheap to get there by public transport just a short bus ride from the centre (we caught the 101 from Toll Cross to Flotterstone). There are lots of different walking options depending on how long you want to walk our route started at the Flottersone Inn, took in the beautiful view from the top of Allemuir Hill, and ended out at Swanston for a nice pub lunch at The Steading pub where we could catch a local bus back into town.
- Drink loads of coffee - This is my personal favourite thing to do. Pretty much anywhere I go I'm seeking out the best barista in town. Edinburgh has a great deal to offer on the Coffee front our favourites were Wellington Coffee, Artisan Roast Bruntsfield and The Chocolate Tree (not technically coffee but damn good).
- The Royal Botanic Gardens and Stockbridge - The gardens are really beautiful and free to visit. It's a wonderful place to stroll around if the weather permits. We didn't have much time as it was our last afternoon but we popped through on the way back from lunch at my cousin's. We also walked through Stockbridge which was really quaint and quiet (once again full of brilliant charity shops!)
- Eat hot smoked salmon - Edinburgh is great for foodies with loads of lovely independent restaurants so we had a great time and I wish we had more time to eat our way through the city. One evening we were lucky enough to have a delicious home cooked meal of fresh lobster and hot smoked salmon. I've never had hot smoked salmon before, never even heard of it, but whatever you do if you're in Edinburgh please get your hands on some!
All in all, Edinburgh was definitely a great place to start my escapades into adventuring in my back garden.
I hope to fill the next year or so with little bits and pieces of travel like this. Escaping the city to discover some of the beauty that surrounds.
If you've got any great tips on places I should go please comment or let me know through the internets below.