For his twenty sixth birthday, I took my boyfriend to Scotland to explore Edinburgh with our friends. I have visited before and fell in love with the city then, so I couldn't wait to return together. We stayed in the city centre in a rented apartment via Airbnb, which we always use for our travelling accommodation. We spent our mornings wandering around the quaint shops in Stockbridge and finding somewhere delicious to have a late breakfast or cinnamon bun from the local bakery. Edinburgh is such a beautiful and historic city to leisurely explore, it has the goings on of London or Manchester, but with the quaintness and charm of York or Harrogate. The architechture of both Old and New town is what makes Edinburgh so picturesque. The period streets of Old Town are updated with modern and vibrant independent shops on every corner. Meanwhile, the Georgian townhouses and open green spaces within New Town offer a perfect escape, balancing city and suburban living has never looked so easy. A great place for a romantic U.K city break, especially in Autumn.
CAFES & RESTAURANTS
1 Melville Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7PR
Cairngorm Coffee is one of the best brunch cafes I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. A large, bright, open space that is brimming with workers come lunch time. There is a small, concise menu on offer, which works great for me as someone who often becomes overwhelmed by choice. At Cairngorm, it is not just your standard eggs and avocado with a few sides to choose from, the menu is seasonally orientated, using only autumnal produce. With that in mind, I opted for the roast butternut squash served with toast, feta, a pesto glaze and garnished with roast pumpkin seeds. It was the perfect autumn dish with such a great flavour combination. I would take the four hour train journey again just to eat this dish!
1 N W Circus Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
A firm favourite with the locals and featured on every go-to brunch guide, The Pantry serves up delicious hearty plates. A large menu means there is plenty to choose from and I spent the entire morning deciding what to eat - to go sweet or savoury? (luckily they have a great selection for both.) My friend and I opted to share half a plate of each - win! I had the waffles with blueberry compote and maple syrup, whilst my friend ordered a side of bacon. There was plenty of light, flavoursome salad and peppers to accompany our eggs and avo too. The guys opted for more sizeable plates and ordered the salmon which was fresh and cooked to perfection, as expected in Scotland!
HYDE & SON
127 George St, Edinburgh EH2 4JN
I have wanted to visit Hyde & Son for as long as I can remember. This bar come cafe is located inside The Eden Locke Hotel and upon arrival I was immediately taken by the interior. The eclectic furniture, tropical plants, floor cushions and the pale green walls give it a truly authentic Moroccan feel with a modern edge. The moveable seating and tables make the space feel welcoming and communal and although the interior is finished to a high specification, the atmosphere is still friendly and social. I ordered a mint green tea, which came as fresh mint leaves in boiling water - I love not having a tea bag plonked in a mug - and a donut which was baked fresh and locally, loaded with raspberry jam. The perfect spot for a drink and a catch up with friends, although equally as special of an evening to grab a cocktail or two.
45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
MILK is ran across five locations and aims to bring to the table food that is nutritional, seasonal and natural. Most of the menu is locally sourced too. We came across MILK cafe inside The Fruit Market Gallery whilst wandering through Old Town. I opted for my favourite breakfast food, porridge. It was made using coconut milk, pureed raspberries, chia seeds and a drop of honey. It was simple but delicious and it is one that I have took to making at home. The perfect comfort food for setting you up for the colder weather.
SODERBERG AT PETERS YARD
27 Simpson Loan, Edinburgh, EH3 9GG
If you follow my travel pages regularly then you will already know about my love affair with cinnamon buns, traditionally known as Kanelbullar. I am yet to find a bakery at home which makes cinnamon buns and although I have nailed the (cop out) puff pastry recipe, I am yet to master the traditional recipe, which involves making your own pastry and creating the classic knot. Not having this delicious treat weekly means that anytime I am in a new city with a Nordic style bakery, I visit every morning for a pastry fix and oh! was I in luck here in Edinburgh. Located in various spots across the city is Soderberg, an artisinal Swedish bakery serving up warm cardamon and cinnamon buns daily.
THE GARDENERS COTTAGE
1 Royal Terrace Gardens, Edinburgh, EH7 5DX
Ever since my visit to Lokal in Berlin, I have been looking for a restaurant in the U.K which lives up to my expectations of what a restaurant should be. I was yet to find one, until our visit to The Gardeners Cottage. An intimate restaurant, only seating two long communal tables of diners and offering some of the best sustainable Scottish produce. Walking the gravely path towards the entrance, you notice vegetable patches either side, this is where the restaurant grow and pick their ingredients. Upon entering, we were greeted by the most charming, friendly wait staff and were seated at the end of the long table next to the record player whirling classics from the past ten years and surrounded by candlelight. I love it when a restaurant isn't just about serving great food, but one which carries charm, ambience and makes you feel special even just being there. The Gardeners Cottage was definitely much more than just a restaurant, it was an experience. It was special. We ate a pescatarian five course tasting menu which included Scottish salmon, Scottish wild rice with herbs and vegetables grown on site. Each dish was light, delicate and refined and still bursting full of flavour. One of the best dining experiences I have ever had.
OTHER CAFES & RESTAURANTS TO VISIT
SCRAN AND SCALLIE
9 St Stephen St, Edinburgh EH3 5AN
There should be a The Method spa and store in every city. Here you can buy your time in thirty minute slots with a therapist and choose how you wish to spend the time unwinding. All treatments are individually tailored and the therapist's will combine, divide the time and decide upon products to use in accordance to your needs. The Method aim to soothe and heal your mind, body and soul and you can choose from a menu including, full body massage, facial, foot massage or ayuvedic appointment. Ayurveda prescribes daily health care practices encompassing diet, exercise, meditation, herbalism and massage as part of its healing regimen. All of the treatments sounded exactly like what I needed, but sadly they were fully booked during my stay. The treatment rooms are serene, candle lit and designed to perfection. I also love that at The Method their ethos and emphasis is centred around self-knowledge and development through holistic treatment. The prices are surprisingly reasonable too, with thirty minutes costing £35. If you can't fit in a treatment, why not simply pop in just for the amazing products in store. I treated myself to The Laboratory fragrance in Amber and they stock some other great grooming brands.
CENTURY GENERAL STORE
1-7 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5DJ
Century General Store offers everyday household products for people living in the local community or just visiting! There are plants, magazines, gifts and homeware on display, also on site is a cafe selling fresh breads and pastries and some excellent coffee. A pleasant place to stop for a hot chocolate with an engaging, community and family orientated feel.
35 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 6QQ
Epitome is now one of my favourite stores, and during our stay I returned twice in two days. A womenswear, footwear, gifts and accessories store which houses all of the best brands from A.P.C to L:A BRUKET to Citizens of Humanity. I initially called in to purchase the Amber candle by L:A BRUKET, however within minutes I had spotted my new winter boots. I have come across only a few stores which stock Danner products and I was amazed to see the black Mountain Boots on display with the most amazing khaki green and black striped laces. The only snag was I had no room in my luggage to take the boots home, the staff at Epitome kindly offered to ship the boots home free of charge and even include the exclusive Danner laces. They were beyond helpful and I hope to have as good service in every shop.
6 N W Circus Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
Would it be right to pick my favourite stores without mentioning my all time favourite? Aesop is situated in the leafy, popular area of Edinburgh, Stockbridge Village. I called in to pick up my Volumising Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner, two of my favourite products. One of the most interesting things about visiting the Aesop stores is seeing the varying interior design and how the architects design is reflective of the city. The Edinburgh store is stylish but remains rustic and unkempt. The dark wooden flooring and pale wooden units are contrasting, making it appear not too refined or polished. The space is open and minimal, but the soft furnishings, fire place and scattered books make it feel comforting and homely. A perfect reflection of this city.
6 N W Circus Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
My friends and I were delighted when we stumbled upon the worlds first liquid deli! Yes - a shop you can walk in to with a glass bottle and stopper and choose any of the alcohol to fill it with! Founded by local husband and wife, Demijohn houses a collection of predominantly British products such as liqueurs, whiskies, wines, spirits, olive oils and vinegars .All of the products highlight with a note where they originated from and we were told the makers range from retired PE Teachers to ex Bankers. You can take your bottle back again and again for a refill of your choice. A staff member will assist you in making the right choice, depending on your tastes and after filling your bottle we were asked if we would like a bespoke message handwritten on the bottles (hence our initials - we thought it was cute!)
3 N W Circus Pl, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
Dick's is a clothing store which sells menswear, womenswear and homeware for the modern lifestyle. Supporting smaller, independent brands, Dick's specialises in choosing products based on their need to adapt to a busy lifestyle. Therefore a lot of the clothing is originally designed and manufactured for labouring men and women. The selection is considered and offers the wearer longevity in their products, meaning it won't date, wear or be centred around fashion trends. The product selection is versatile and durable and they stock some great names such as Vetra and Maragret Howell.
53 London St, Edinburgh EH3 6EX
If like me, you love all things Scandinavia then this is the place for you and your homeware. Life Story is bursting full of trinkets and treasures from Scandi brands such as ferm LIVING, HAY, house doctor and the likes. I spent hours mulling over what to buy as there is something stylish and handmade packed in every corner. With most of the products being neutral in tones or natural wood, there is something that would work within any home.