After that rather expensive "window shopping" accident, we decided it was time to step away from Princes Street! We cut through Makars' Court, reading the flagstone quotes along the way...
Back on the Royal Mile we made our way up to the castle.
Primark jacket & shoes // Warehouse dress // Prada bag
Edinburgh Castle is an impressive building, steeped in history, which overlooks the city and offers equally impressive panoramic views. It houses everything from war memorials to crown jewels to a dog cemetery (!) and we spent a good couple of hours strolling around the grounds, learning about the history of the castle and it's former inhabitants, such as Mary Queen of Scots. I'd definitely recommend a visit if you're ever in the capital.
The Grassmarket is another must do in Edinburgh. It's home to many independent boutiques and bars and is quite pretty with it's rainbow of shop fronts. Often it plays host to live music events and they have a weekly market too so it's well worth a stroll down. There was a dance festival on while we were there, the sun was shining and the whole place just had a real happy buzz to it.
Warehouse dress // Primark shoes
It was nearing dinner time by now so we headed back to our hotel to freshen up and have a couple of drinks before we ate. The bar at the G&V Hotel was probably my favourite part - it's bright and funky but manages to still be smart and sophisticated. Even the toilets were beautiful! A classy bar where the bartenders probably prefer to be called mixologists and know their menu inside out. They were able to make suggestions based on my preferred spirits and flavours and hit the spot with each one. The frozen daquiri was perfection! Even if you're not staying at the hotel I'd recommend a trip to Bar G&V - you can even enjoy an afternoon tea here if that's your thing!
With the rum going straight to my head we thought we'd better head off in search of food. Luckily we didn't have far to go as Bar Kohl was on the same street as our hotel. You'll find big juicy meaty burgers available in every combination you could possibly imagine. I took a cheeseburger with pulled pork and sweet potato fries, which was wonderfully succulent! My cocktail was a "Heart Shaped Box" - picked mostly because of its NYC bar origin. Gordon went for the "ultimate burger". This monster of a burger contains not one but two beef patties, cheese, bacon, salad and onion rings! If you like burgers, expertly crafted drinks and good music (think the Libertines, Vampire Weekend etc) then you'll love Bar Kohl. It's relatively inexpensive for Edinburgh and it's laidback urban vibe makes it the perfect place to chill out with friends.
Next in my little pink book (a real thing btw) was Candy. This wasn't my favourite place to be honest but it was fairly cheap and Gordon enjoyed his Long Island Iced Tea in a pint glass! I'd head further down the road to try out Tigerlilly next time.
Our last stop for the night was round the corner to Panda & Sons. A classic speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase in a barbers shop with an extensive "spectrum" of cocktails - each one with a story to tell. This place had an excellent atmospere and so much potential but their whiskey heavy list did nothing for me. The bartender recommended the "Twelve Mile Limit" when I told him I enjoyed sweet, fruity cocktails but the cognac flavour was far too overpowering for me and I couldn't drink it. Really I should of just stuck to what I know and asked for a plain old cosmo! We left feeling disappointed but if you like your drink strong this is the place for you.
We'd had so many recommendations for bars and restaurants in Edinburgh that we couldn't possibly fit them all into one night. It was time to head back through the streets of the Old Town to our big comfy hotel bed.
Surprisingly we felt quite fresh the following morning - I even made it to the hotel gym! Breakfast was our top priority though (most important meal of the day!) so we headed over to The Edinburgh Larder on Blackfriars Street*. Gordon enjoyed the full works - sausage, bacon, black pudding,egg, toast, beans and mushrooms - with his coffee, while I stuck to my trusty old porridge and green tea. Both were spot on and I'd recommend the Edinburgh Larder if you're looking for breakfast in the city. It looks like they'd do a good scone too!
There's so much we didn't manage to squeeze into our time in Edinburgh but we had a fab time and will probably head back again soon!
Have you ever been to Scotland's capital?
* If you're staying at the G&V Hotel they'll charge you £35 for 24 hours parking. We found a car park on Blackfriars Street (same street as The Edinburgh Larder, which was handy!) that charged £19 instead, so it's worth researching!