TRAVEL// A Locals guide to Edinburgh

In 2008, a younger carefree version of myself packed all my possessions into my little VW Polo and headed up to Edinburgh. Intending on finding a job when I got there and flat sharing with some friends, I planned to stay for a year, have a huge amount of fun, meet lots of new people, and then move back south, probably to London where I would then have to get a 'proper' job. I ended up staying in Edinburgh for ten whole years!
I bought my first flat here (in Leith), built a career, met my now husband.....and well, generally became a fully functioning adult!
I love this city, more than I do cheese and wine, really! Standing in the city centre you are surrounded by incredible architecture, with mountains to one side and the sea to the other....there's even a volcano (extinct I might add) dominating the skyline...and of course, a rather famous castle.
It's not just the views though, Edinburgh has the ultimate mix of culture (the largest arts festival in the world runs here through August), a fascinating history, not one, but four universities, and is a foodies heaven with thousands of bars, cafes, restaurants and independent stores running alongside the larger chains you will find on Princes Street and George Street. 
This week I caught up with KK who I met a few times through work whilst still living up there to talk about all things Edinburgh. 
    KK, thank you so much for speaking with us, tell us about yourself, how long have you lived in Edinburgh and what do you love most about the city?
    Thank you so much for having me on the blog. I’ve moved around a fair bit in my life but have lived in Scotland for a quite long time overall – first in Glasgow for five years and now in Edinburgh for the last four/five. I much prefer Edinburgh overall for my lifestyle and what the city has to offer. There is always something to do but the pace is very relaxed. The size of the city is great too, walkable but doesn’t feel too small.
    Describe your perfect day wandering around the city – where do you go, what do you do?
    My perfect day would be waking up on a sunny morning and popping down to a local coffee shop for a morning brew and pastry, something like Twelve Triangles, Little Fitzroy or Century General Store. I would then wander over to Broughton Street or Stockbridge and pop into some independent shops. Afterwards, if it was a Sunday, I would head over to Stockbridge Market for some delicious gyozas and then have some wine at Good Brothers or Smith and Gertrude. I would end the evening with friends at The Pitt market in Leith as it suits so many different groups of people (and dogs).
    Where would you take visitors to show them the ‘real’ Edinburgh?
    I would definitely take them to Leith and Stockbridge, but wouldn’t leave out the classics like Arthur’s Seat and the Old Town. There’s such a mix of places and things to see in Edinburgh that makes the city a great place for tourists.


    Where’s your favourite area in the city and why?

    I would say Leith because I like how relaxed it is there with the coffee shops/restaurants that are opening up along with the art and design scene.

      What would you say is Edinburgh’s best kept secret?

      It’s definitely not a secret but I do love Dean Village. It’s such a little gem right in the heart of the city and I’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere.

      When you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre, where do you head to?

      Recently (before the pandemic) my friend and I drove to Tyninghame Beach and it was absolutely lovely- the beach itself was beautiful and there’s a path through the forest to get to it. A great place to calm the mind.

      When in need of a little retail therapy, where do you head to? 

      I absolutely adore Life Story (homeware and design) and it was one of the first shops I found when I moved to Edinburgh. They have the best gifts too. Otherwise, all the other small shops along Broughton Street are great, such as Curious and Curiouser  and Narcissus for flowers.

      Are there any hidden gems you can recommend?

        Places to eat: Grams for breakfast, Polentoni for brunch, Bodega for lunch, Dirty for takeaway burgers, Twelve Triangles for pastries/breads/coffees and The Lookout for dinner. Drink: a newish wine bar that’s recently opened is Spry Wines which have the absolute best wines and small plates of food. One of my new favourite spots in Edinburgh. Atmosphere: The Pitt, for sure! It also doubles as a music venue.

        What are your top 3 tips for visiting the city?

        1. If you want to avoid crowds come in September right after the Fringe. Prices for accommodation are better, too.

        2. If you love Christmas do not miss coming to Edinburgh when the Christmas markets are open! It’s honestly one of the biggest and best markets I’ve been to.

        3. Bring a good pair of shoes for walking in, especially if you want to hike up Arthur’s Seat. Also, don’t forget an umbrella because Scotland is a rainy place after all!

          When is your favourite time of year in the city and why?

          It’s a bit of a cliché but I do love Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival just because of the atmosphere and energy. Suddenly the city becomes so alive and there’s something new to do every single day and night.

          Edinburgh’s Best Bits;

          Where do you go for…

          Coffee: Fortitude

          Dinner: The Lookout or Timberyard

          Brunch: Polentoni

          Drinks: Spry or Good Brothers wine bar

          A little culture: Any museum!

          A pamper session: Method in Stockbridge

          Push the boat out luxury hotel: I’m not a huge “luxury” person but I would say Eden Locke since the design aspect is top notch

          Somewhere to stay which is a little more budget friendly: Cool Airbnbs in the New Town or Leith

          *Please check individual websites and social media for opening details and social distancing measures.

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