We started December by spending a long weekend in Edinburgh; it is a beautiful city to visit at this time of year with lots of festive activities and lights twinkling at every corner. It was my first visit to the city, in fact it was the furthest North I have ever been and it opened my eyes to a beautiful part of the world that I would love to explore more. Edinburgh is steeped in history and the architecture is breathtaking and well preserved, there was so much character but at the same time everything was so pristine. I can see how the beautiful city provided such inspiration for J.K. Rowling.
The castle is obviously one of the most iconic and striking sights, I love how it sits towering above the city making you look up at it in awe.
View from the top of the castle
Christmas well and truly takes over the city with the market and attractions covering a large area and attracting a huge amount of tourists. It's worth a wander through to soak up the festive atmosphere and warm up with a glass of Glühwein. All the hotels and shops go all out with lights and decorations- The Dome, The Balmoral and The Caledonian all had pretty light displays.
If the busy markets or tourist attractions aren't your thing then there's some lovely quieter streets to explore away from the crowds.
Stockbridge has a farmers market on Sundays and there are some cute shops and cafes in this area. Visit The Pantry for breakfast it’s yummy.
If you love beautiful streets and basically like ogling other people's houses then Circus Lane is a great street to take a slow walk down with your camera in hand.
From Stockbridge you can walk along the river to the pretty Dean Village, this is a popular spot for tourists or to be more precise - instagrammers taking selfies! It has beautiful architecture and is well worth a visit.
I just loved the buildings around this area.
There are so many great museums and attractions in Edinburgh you will be spoilt for choice! The National Museum of Scotland was a firm favourite with us- its a great all round museum so perfect for a family or group. There is also a roof garden that has great views of the city, it was empty and I think this is due to the fact it's pretty hard to find the stairway to get up to it, we were just about to give up when we found a helpful gentleman who pointed us in the right direction.
We visited Holyrood Palace which was beautifully decorated for Christmas and had the most stunning grounds and view of Arthurs Seat towering above. The National Portrait gallery is also worth a visit.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are worth a visit both in the day and at night when they have a Christmas light show.
As I mentioned before if you love peeping at other peoples houses then walking down Regent Terrace will appeal to you. The town houses are all very elegant and as we got there at dusk we spotted some pretty chandeliers and Christmas trees twinkling in the windows.
Edinburgh sure knows how to do pretty front doors.
For food there are so many places to eat and we had lots of great recommendations we never had time to try. We had a lovely meal at Dishoom and we found a simple but quaint French bistro called Chez Jules by chance while we were looking for somewhere away from the crowded streets. Some other restaurants that were recommended are Home, Kyloe, Chaophraya, Chop House and afternoon tea at The Dome.
As my husband and I are both coffee addicts we always look up coffee shops to visit before we look at anything else. Some recommendations are- Brew Lab, Cairngorm Coffee Co. (be sure to try one of their cakes), Wellington Coffee, Burr & Co, Urban Angel (we had a delicious breakfast here), Söderberg (great bakery), Baba Budan (for the donuts) and Waterstones café, simply for the view of the castle. If you prefer tea then head to eteaket.
Sometimes the best thing you can do when exploring a new city is to simply wander around and see where the streets take you. In the land of Harry Potter, anywhere is possible!