If you are in search of a vegetarian snack, Hendersons Of Edinburgh is split over two locations on Hanover Street as well as a bistro on Thistle Street in Edinburgh's New Town. The restaurant, bistro and deli offer a variety of vegetarian treats as well as other fair trade, organic nibbles. As a popular arts venue, in the evening you can sit back in the restaurant and enjoy musical performances or after your meal take a look upstairs around the contemporary art gallery.
Wonderful authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the centre of Edinburgh.
Though small, the food is superb and great value.
Run by a young woman from Saigon so you can be sure of its authenticity.
No drink licence yet but its BYOB with only £1.50 corkage fee.
The first thing you see as you enter Edinburgh’s Dean Gallery is Eduardo Paolozzi’s huge Vulcan, a seven metre high Roman fire god made of multi-faceted metal striding among the café tables. The gallery also has a recreation of Paolozzi’s studio: you can stand for hours spotting all the little toys and bits of junk he used for inspiration. There’s an excellent programme of temporary exhibitions too, and Scotland’s best brownie in the café.
I think this restaurant is new, this was my first visit. It is directly opposite the Zoo.
I went there early in the evening for what I hoped would be a quality steak.
Having eaten in most of Edinburgh's well known steakhouses I consider myself a good judge of quality. The Porterhouse didn't disappoint with a perfectly cooked sirloin in beautiful surroundings. The atmosphere was excellent and we recieved a complimentary bottle of red as we'd had to wait a few minutes for a table. Nice touch!
The Elephant House is a gourmet tea and coffee shop nestled on George IV Bridge in the heart of historical Edinburgh. Opening at 8am everyday of the week, treat yourself to every tea, coffee and hot milk blend imaginable from your regular Espresso to the exotic 'Banana Bounty'. Not only can you enjoy a unique tea and coffee experience but you can indulge yourself in the variety of cakes and bagels on offer. The cafe's central location makes it ideal to stop by for locals and travellers alike.
There's no better way to stretch your legs at Christmas than climbing the Sailsbury Crags and Arthur's Seat for spectacular views over Edinburgh and out to the Firth of Forth, before heading down past Duddingston Loch and its winter birdlife for a pint and a meal in front of the fire at the Sheep Heid in Duddingston - where you can have a peek at their historic skittles alley. The return, along Queen's Drive, is traffic-free on a Sunday, and deposits you back by the Scottish Parliament and the foot of the Royal Mile where you'll find plenty more pubs.
I was in Edinburgh for the festival, and oh boy was this place full of fun and all free. I stayed for two weeks and almost every night would end up there. They have live music and very delicious food ... but I think what made this place shine for me was the friendly staff. It is an Irish bar and you sense that throughout - be it the traditional design of the place, or Irish bar staff, or the fresh soda bread that you can have for lunch.
Edinburgh is world famous for it's New Year's Hogmanay celebrations with the wild street party, the electrifying concert in the gardens and the magical torch light procession but the christmas season in general in the city is one of the best winter experiences to be found in Europe. Princes Street Gardens are transformed in to a Winter Wonderland complete with a snowball arena and an ice rink, situated in between the the traditional German Market and the fairground. The German Market is open from November 26th until Christmas Eve and is perfect for present and souvenir shopping with mulled wine and international food stalls dotted around when you are in need of a rest. The fairground lights up the city centre and the helter skelter and flying chairs make it fun for all ages. With all of the action going on in the centre there are hotels to be found all along Princes Street and North Bridge.
Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, EH2 2AA
Google map: bit.ly/cLS90w
With its dark history, haunting Robert Louis Stephenson and Conan Doyle atmosphere, Edinburgh is the ultimate city for spooky Autumnul and Winter experiences. The narrow, winding closes, dark stone buildings and snow-bound, misty winter nights were the perfect settings for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Burke and Hare's sinister graveyard encounters. Many people have claimed to meet with spirits in the streets of Auld Reekie and they were not all in a reviving dram. Brave souls who seek ghostly experience have a wealth of streets to choose from,some of the creepiest and most haunted locations in all Europe. From moss-stained city centre cemeteries to the deep, damp vaults beneath South Bridge, these eerie sites are renowned even today for uncanny happenings. Easily one of the most terrifying places is Niddry Wynd, a once forgotten street running under the Royal Mile. This perilous underground plague passage is renowned for shocking paranormal activity, and each damp, vaulted chamber has a more disturbing story than the next. Niddry Wynd features a Wiccan temple, still used by a coven of witches today. It is also the home of a violent, misogynistic entity that has left visitors with otherwise inexplicable scratches and burns. Winter vistors can then warm themselves with a stiff dram in the Banshee Labyrinth next door, one of the most haunted old pubs in old Edinburgh. Another of Edinburgh’s infamous underground streets is Damnation Alley, supposedly affected by an ancient curse. However, the real highlight is atmospheric Greyfriars Cemetery, in particular a section known as the Covenanters’ Prison. This gloomy row of lichen stained tombs is famously haunted by the spirits of hundreds of Covenanters who were falsely imprisoned and hanged there during the 17th century. It is also the lair of the Mackenzie Poltergeist, whose violent attacks centre on a tomb called the Black Mausoleum. There have been over 450 documented attacks by this angry spirit over the last decade, with visitors reporting mysterious touches and tugs as well as bruises on their bodies. These incidents are taken so seriously The City of Edinburgh Council closed the area after the attacks began. Not least of the winter haunting sites is Mary King's close The adjoining buildings were once part of a densely populated section of Edinburgh covered over when what is now the City Chambers were built in the 18th century. It was rediscovered in the last decade, and now the perfectly preserved underground homes and shops can be seen with their original inhabitants dead but not quite gone. Visitors report violent chills, phantom touches, and shadowy figures where no living person should be. One room is famously haunted by the ghost of Annie, a lonely young girl whose family died in the plague and for whom visitors have built a shrine of toys and dolls. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most haunted places in Britain with well documented public encounters. Brave souls who seek their own ghostly experience have a wealth of sites to choose from, some of the creepiest and most haunted sites in the world. Edinburgh is renowned within Britain and abroad for its uncanny happenings. Book a November Break and shiver on the dark cobbles, if you dare.
Most people think Burke and Hare and follow in their footsteps when they go in search of Edinburgh's spooky side, or they head to the Real Mary Kings Close to visit the old – once plague infested - streets of Edinburgh which lie beneath the modern city. But if you want something really chilling go on a tour of the vaults beneath the South Bridge. Tours can be booked online or operators can be found on the Royal Mile. We went last winter with a group at around 4pm when it was getting dark. The entertaining guide led us down some stairs and closed the door behind us before regaling us with stories of the troubled spirits that are said to remain in the abandoned vaults. We were given electro magnetic field detectors and set off around the many cavernous rooms in search of the supernatural. I'm a sceptic, but have to admit that as the clicks increased (a sure sign of ghosts, apparently) even I felt a bit spooked. When the tour finished, we headed onto the cold dark streets and quickly retreated to the safety of the nearest pub to settle our nerves.
Not only are The Vaults under Edinburgh's South Bridge terrifying as you pass through a small stomach churning torture museum before you are lead in to the vaults themselves, but you are greeted by the cursed witches circle, said to cause fits and collapses upon entering. If The Vaults don't satisfy your quench for fear, the Greyfriar's Cemetery offers you a chance to walk in the footsteps of the infamous Burke and Hare body snatchers after dark which unveils Edinburgh's grim history. The graveyard also comes with it's very own 'Creepy Wee Shop in the Graveyard'.
If you feel in need of escaping the relentless tourist trail and tartan tat in the centre of Edinburgh, then head south to the wealthy suburb of Morningside. Here, beyond the villas and fur coats, you'll find a gem of a woodland walk: the Hermitage of Braid. Only a short bus ride from Princes Street, it combines peace and tranquility, a burbling stream, towering trees and autumn colours to make New England weep. Family-friendly, bike and dog-friendly.
After travelling to both Milan and Rome, two of the most influential cities of Europe fashion-wise and finding nothing but street after street of generic designer boutiques, I was ecstatic to find Edinburgh riddled with vintage clothes boutiques. Not only does South Bridge and Nicolson Street play host to several charity shops, often home to the most wonderfully unique pieces, but W. Armstrong & Son (founded in 1840) is the true heart of Edinburgh vintage. Found on The Grassmarket, room after room is filled with genuine World War II jackets and 1940's fancy dress; complete with trunk full’s of top hats, wigs and Venetian masks. Although W. Armstrong & Son is the crème de la crème of retro fashion, other vintage gems can also be found along Teviot Place and on Frederick Street.
Snax Café is a real find. In an increasingly gentrified Leith, it’s brilliant to find such an unpretentious cafe serving simple, fresh and well-prepared food at attractive prices. My (all-day) veggie breakfast - fried egg, hash browns, tattie scone, beans, fried tomato and a buttered roll, all for £2.70 – was delicious. For lunch recently, I had a tasty granary roll generously over-stuffed with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and grated cheddar. Everything was crisp and fresh, and it cost £1.70, which included a free can of soda or bottle of water. You can sit in (there are around 24 seats) or take your food away, and they’re open really early. The food is fresh and not greasy, and everyone working there is bright and friendly.
8 Portland Place, Edinburgh, EH6 6LA
Tel: 01315 542000
Three other branches in Edinburgh and Leith.
Google map: tinyurl.com/387c9wj
With the madness of the Edinburgh festival just about to start, I have a trip for anyone wishing to take a break from it and escape the city for a day.
The splendid Jupiter Artland, a contemporary sculpture garden in the grounds of Bonnington house, just outside the city.
An impressive selection of art work from some of Britain's biggest names - Andy Goldsworthy, Anthony Gormley, Anish Kapoor etc. When you need a break from exploring, treat yourself to tea and cake from the chrome vintage caravan cafe, and hang out with the peacock.
And if that's not enough to tempt you, did I mention the miniature donkeys?
Honest food at honest prices. "Real" beef or chicken or bacon burgers, traditionally with bun or healthily with salad, with thick shakes...or Fentimans Ginger beer, and on the Roral Mile,too. Rightly poular with families, locals and tourists.
217 High Street, Edinburgh
Google map: tinyurl.com/3y697ea
There are many pubs with great music in Edinburgh and the first I visited was the "Sandy Bell's" on Forest Rd: really nice atmosphere thanks to the good traditional music played by anyone who would an instrument! But the best thing about this pub is that you just need to cross the road to find the fantastic "Monster Mash" where you can enjoy traditional dishes like haggis, neeps and tatties, at least four different kinds of mash and much more. Large choice for vegetarian as well! All served in huge portions for a low price. If you want to treat yourself and you love fish, you really have to go to the "Fishers in the city": located in 58 Thistle Street, this restaurant is perfect to appreciate the fresh local fish served by friendly and polite staff. A bit pricy but worth it: main course, dessert and a bottle of wine for £60 (for 2people). I consider it my best experience at eating fish in the UK. At the Kalpna (2/3 St Patrick Square, 0131 6679890) you can enjoy a totally different taste of Indian food: believe me, nothing to do with what we are use to! The prices are reasonable but the place is always packed so I suggest you to book in advance. I went for lunch in a lovely canteen, “Susie’s Wholefood Diner”(51-53 West Nicolson Street), where you can have the best vegetarian food; perfect to feel better after a few days of greasy food! Most of the customers are students/teachers so I would suggest you to go a bit earlier to avoid a huge queue. At last the “Bow Bar”, 80 West Bow: this is what I consider a REAL pub. Very friendly staff (it was the only time I didn’t feel myself a tourist),good choice of real ales, well kept, and a selection of 150 Scotch whiskies.
Google map: tinyurl.com/37xex7j
Right smack in the middle of festival madness and 5 mins from The Pleasance to the East and the Udderbelly even closer to the West, lies Nile Valley, the only place in Edinburgh to get a decent falafel. Pop in on yr way between the two venues for a low-key fast food lunch, or enjoy the calm oasis of the downstairs, candle-lit caverns over dinner.
Just across the cobbles on Nicholson Street is the no fuss boozer and free festival venue "The Pear Tree". Free live music on the outdoor stage, a comedy and cabaret venue upstairs, reasonably priced beer and a burger shack for the falafel-ed out, it's the perfect place to plan the day ahead or to share your triumphs and rasperries with other punters after a hard day's festival going.
6 Chapel Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9AY
The Pear Tree House
34 West Nicolson Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9DD
Google map: tinyurl.com/3ypfxt9
As an unpaid and broke intern forlornly lurking around Edinburgh, every day for weeks I would pass Clarinda’s Tea Room. No flashy sign or outside seating, just a sitting-room sized window with lace curtains which I longed to look behind.
Visiting friends from London gave me the much-needed excuse to finally venture inside. Clarinda’s turned out to be a doilied heaven; cakes on display and a scent of baking in the air which reminded me of my native Norway’s old-time cafés and visiting my Grandmother’s house. The best Cream Tea north of the border made our experience complete.
Clarinda's Tea Room, 69 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BS
Google map: tinyurl.com/3588kqc
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