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4 days in Edinburgh- please help with the essentials!


Apr 4th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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4 days in Edinburgh- please help with the essentials!

In two weeks time I will visit a friend in Edinburgh.
Of course I already browsed a couple of guide books but so far have no real "plan" what I want to do and see apart from the following:

- National Gallery of Scotland
- Dinner at Harvey Nichols and a trip to the shop
- Edinburgh Castle
- Royal Museum
- National Museum of Scotland
- Georgian House

I would love to go to a good pub (not a gastro one, please) with decent food and I wonder how good the shops are up here.
How is Harvey Nicks? Is Pam Jenkins worth a visit and are there any fine stationary shops to visit? Where can I get really good knitwear? Which is the best bookshop?

As much as I like my shopping more important would be the "feel" of the city so I wonder what else would people consider a must: going to the sea? Visiting the Scottish Parliament? Is an underground walk a good idea?

I am the person who tends to put too many things into an itinerary so help would be very much appreciated!
HappyinLondon is offline  
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Apr 4th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Hi HappyinLondon,

I am not sure what is a "must," but when I get back this month I have two places I plan to re-visit: the People’s Story and Edinburgh Museum (http://www.cac.org.uk/ for info both). If you know the story of Greyfriar's Bobby, the Edinburgh Museum has a display.

Just a bit downhill from the Edinburgh Museum was a restaurant, I don’t remember the name, but I got the best hot chocolate of my trip from there!

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Apr 5th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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I am just an occasional visitor (I'm sure some of the locals can help you more) but we recently enjoyed the Real Mary King's Close tour. Very good guide, very interesting tour.
Harvey Nicks is great for shopping but I don't find the food that wonderful - there's one in the city where I work and last time the food was expensive and tiny portions too - we were all still hungry!Maybe the Edinburgh one is better?
I always make sure I spend some time in the Writers Museum - free entry.
We also walked past the HBOS museum, also free entry, and enjoyed that too.
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Apr 6th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Great suggestions, scotlib and Morgana. Thanks!
CAPH52 is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2009, 08:44 AM
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Hi CAPH52,

I did do most of the places that HappyinLondon mentions. They were all very nice, but after doing once, well, they do not call me back again, or at least not like the two museums I mention.

I did the Real Mary King's Close tour that Morgana mentions. Nice, though not again, probably. Do bring a flash light with you, and be ready for the impulse buys at the end of the tour. They take your group's picture by infrared and you can purchase a copy.

And actually all of my comments could change .. if I had family wanting to go with me sometime! By myself, I do not feel the repeat visit need for most. Cheers!
scotlib is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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Hi. When I was in Edinburgh, took a trip to Rosslyn Chapel and it was amazing. And you can go there on an all day local city bus pass - which is a really good deal - no need to take one of the organized (and more expensive) bus tours. I had a couple of good beers in the Barony Bar, and a really good meal at Fishers in Leith (again on the local bus pass)
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Apr 6th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Hi Scotlib, since it's our first time, we'll definitely be doing all the "must sees". But I'm always in the market for off the beaten path ideas just in case we have a little extra time our last day.

Sorry to highjack, Happy. But since you mentioned the Real Mary King's Close tour, Scotlib... We're going to be arriving in Edinburgh around 3:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. And, of course, will need to get settled into our B&B. So by the time we get back to the Royal Mile area, it'll be too late for the castle, etc. I'm seriously thinking about purchasing a ticket for that tour for around 7:00 (according to the web site they go until 9:00 that time of year). First of all, am I crazy to schedule something that soon after we arrive? And secondly, would we be able to find an inexpensive meal (pub, ethnic, etc.) afterwards? If eating after is not likely to be a problem, maybe I should book it for 8:00 rather than 7:00? I just don't know how long it's going to take us to get settled in and back to that area. Thanks for any advice you can offer!

bxb52, I like your ideas too. I'm not sure we'll have the time on this trip, but would really like to check out Rosslyn Chapel. I watched the DaVinci Code a couple of weeks ago. Specifically for the locations. Even in the movie Rosslyn Chapel looks amazing!

If you're still around, Morgana... You live in or near York, don't you? In the same vein as my question for Scotlib, would we have a problem finding something to eat after the 8:00 ghost walk in York that Tuesday night? Or would we be better off eating before the tour and then just popping into a pub for a pint after? Thanks!

And, again, Happy, my apologies for highjacking your thread!
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Apr 6th, 2009, 09:47 PM
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Hi CAPH52, I did my tour spur of the moment, walked in and got a spot. I really cannot offer advice for pre-booking for your first evening or not. I probably would not, but that is just me, lol. Perhaps a possible arrival day schedule could be to scout out a couple of "to do" options and then finalize upon arrival?

I do like bxb52's idea to bus to Rosslyn Chapel. For me it was a stop on a day tour, so only 1 hour to visit, and then off you go!

To not totally hijack from Happy, an FYI .. I stayed at the Castle from opening time to 2:30 p.m. Several guide books I have read give it a couple of hours, so I'm just mentioning that it is possible, too, to enjoy it enough to want to give it more time than that, as you set an itinerary.

A bit of itinerary info that I just remembered .. I think it is Thursday that some of the museums have later closing times. Yes, it is the National Gallery, is open until 7 p.m., http://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/summary/2:84:1/

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Apr 7th, 2009, 12:01 AM
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The Worlds End pub on the Royal mile is very good for food,but is small and gets busy ,you can't book a table but just go in an if no table is available they will ask you to wait at the bar till one is.in my opinion this is no hardship.
The Guildford Arms bar is a place I visit often,they have an excellent Gallery resturant (Pub /bistro style).It is a lovely place and just off the east end of Princes Street (about 2 minutes walk from Harvey Nicks).
I am organising a Trip Advisor meet there in a couple of weeks,if you are still around and want to come along let me know and I can give you details.
knitwear shop abound in the city your are bound to find several.
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Apr 7th, 2009, 12:13 AM
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kleeblatt is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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just to add to scotlib's post.The resturant I think is Clarinda's Tea room,a very nice place.Clarinda was a lover of Robert Burns look up their story it is both romatic and intriguing.
Both the Edinburgh Museum and the peoples story and great place and worth going in just to see the interior of these lovely building.2 years ago I was off work for several weeks after having an operation on my hand,i spent a lot of the time visiting all these wonderful museums in Edinburgh,and what is even better is that they are all free.
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Apr 18th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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Sorry not to have replied earlier. I was away.

All of your choices are good- I personally wouldn't eat at Harvey Nicks, but it's up to you.

There are too many pubs to mention. My favourites would include the Tron and Sandy Bell's, Café Royal, the Barony, Mathers, the Diggers (posh name the Athletic Arms), the Roseburn, Bert’s, and the Abbotsford

The shops are good, especially if you stay off Princes Street (only because that's where the chains are.

I don't know about Pam Jenkins and I've managed not to enter Harvey Nicks since it opened.

The shop I've go to for stationery is Waterstone's (not the bookshop) in George Street.

There's a very good knitwear shop in the Grassmarket. I can't remember the name, but it, and Victoria Street are good shopping streets to browse along.

Independednt bookshops are few and far between. Blackwell's on the Bridges or Waterstones in George Street would be my two to go to.

Arthur's Seat must be the best place to go to get a feel for the city, I think. And tea in Jenner's
sheila is offline  
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Apr 18th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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Scotlib, I somehow missed your post of 4/7. Thanks for the advice!
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Apr 18th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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I am glad that Sheila mentioned Arthur's Seat. We loved it up there and the views were amazing.

One place that noone else has mentioned, is the Scott Monument. Doesn't take long, but is definitely worthy of a visit.
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