My beau is a big whisky lover so Scotland in general felt like the place to go, of course!
Where whisky lives but where, Glasgow? Edinburgh? Spey Side? or the Highlands up in Inverness .. it was a tough choice.
I contacted a couple of friends who live in Scotland or had partners that lived there to ask for the spot to pick and it was a unanimous vote for Edinburgh and what a great pick indeed, it literally had everything you could want in a city.
The city itself was beautiful, we stayed in Dean Village so everything was a short walk away no more than 30 minutes and you had everything you could hope for. Amazing bars and restaurants, so many attractions from the Castle to the Zoo.
Below you'll find my itinerary I'd drawn up for us and booked most attractions ahead of time to spread the cost
(bus airline 100 from airport to Haymarket)
Arrive at apartment: 16:00
Ghost Walk: 20:00 till 22:00
Lucky 13 Tattoo Parlour
Drinks and Lunch
The Scotch whisky Tour - Taste of Scotland Tour
Dinner at the Voodoo Rooms
Here's a little run down from what we did of what you should do and what we'd recommend you could skip!
Must See and Do:
Panda & Sons
A quirky, secret cocktail bar in the hear of Edinburgh. the frontage of a barber shop, you wander through and down some stairs. At the bottom you're presented with a large book case, you open the book case and there it is a secret underground speakeasy.
The décor is incredible, quirky, fun and of course lots of Panda's.
We had two cocktails here each which were delicious, I had one that was lemon curd and came with some Scottish shortbread on the side served in a cup on a book with a doily for the shortbread - utter perfection.
My second cocktail was served in a Chinese take away carton with two straws to look like chopsticks! I seriously couldn't get enough of this place
(huge thank you to Sartorial Matters Vintage for the tip)
Bryant & Mack
Again just off side street and very hard to find is Bryant and Mack. Like the above this one is disguised as a detective agencies office. It was a tricky one to find but we did in the end and oh boy am I glad we did. It's a tiny little cocktail bar but chock full of character I couldn't stop looking around when I was in there, there are so many quirky touches and things to see.
The cocktails were delicious and so carefully handcrafted it was an utter delight.
When you enter your seated and given a glass of water, you are then presented with two plain brown envelopes with 'confidential' on the cover. Inside is your secret mission .... well actually a lovely list of the current cocktails.
The atmosphere was marvelous and I can't wait to go back again.
This one is a bit sweet and sour really it belong on both lists. The décor and atmosphere is incredible, so simply for your surroundings you need to give this place a try. If your going to check this place out I'd opt just for drinks, the cocktails were great the food however was not - well in our experience anyway. But less about the negative and more about the positive this is a nifty little spot for a nice drink, so if your in Edinburgh be sure to go along.
Lucky 13 Tattoo Parlour
So we did a walk in appointment due to the fact we'd emailed a few time running up to our holiday and had no reply. We chanced our luck on the Wednesday and turned up at the studio, one of the artists had had a cancellation for an all day appointment so we asked for two small pieces.
I went for a bumble bee in colour on my leg about 1.5 / 2" big - which came to £80 which I didn't mind too much however my partner had a simple THM wrote on his finger and I mean just lines and they charged £60 for what essentially was 10 minutes work if that. I was dumbfounded by that, I mean maybe £30 maximum but £60 I'm still shocked we paid it but we'd waited an hour to have my bee drawn up, an hour for my bee to be tattooed and then a further 15 minutes to set up for his tattoo which is when we found out the price.
The art work there is lovely but I wouldn't pay that sort of money for something so tiny and simple. My bee however was a reasonable price and I adore it.
The staff were as Tattoo staff always are, quiet, distant and a bit too cool for school.
This was another excursion I'd booked ahead of us going to Edinburgh and it was well worth it. Fast tracked in to the park so no waiting and you can pre book a Panda slot to see them (Typical they were asleep during our time slot but I'm sure if they're awake it's worth it)
The park itself was great, so much to see and do. so many animals and when your a little bit hungry lots of choices to stop and eat. We had a light bite at a café because I had a taster menu booked later but well worth it for everyone.
We did this on a whim because I hadn't planned the last day, knowing we'd have to fly back so probably wouldn't have a lot of time. Luckily it was brilliant, the same price as the Castle (roughly £18 each) but a million times better. It's right by the train station and major public transport links so easy to get back to the airport right after to head home.
Everyone there was brilliant, all the actors had me fully engaged and scared out of my skin. I got called up and announced as a witch (would be me wouldn't it?) and we bought the key ring and print at the end that was shot at the beginning. That was roughly £12 for the package deal - quite pricey but a nifty memento of a great time!
The Scotch Whisky Tour
I'd booked this as the special gift package at Christmas for my partner, for the two of us with the platinum package and taste of Scotland tour. This meant we had the tour after hours and then had a wonderful 7 course taster menu with a dram of whisky at the end with desert.
This was well worth it, it was roughly £150 and the tour consisted of 5 tasters too - not being a whisky fan this all went to my partner but the tour was well worth it. I won't say too much as I'm sure you'd like to check it out for yourself.
I simply can not rate this tour company highly enough, after searching relentlessly around Christmas for a Ghost Tour this was the one to beat! I chose the late night tour of the city which started at 8pm and finished at 10 with a dram of whisky in a candle lit cellar. Our Tour guide was dramatic and simply brilliant and we even got a tour of the vaults under the city.
If your going to Edinburgh this Ghost tour company is a must!
Do Not Bother
It's almost £18 each per person, there wasn't much to see and I think I expected a whole lot more. the dungeons were the same price and probably 100x better. They had so much to see and do compared to the castle, which was a long way up and full of empty rooms. The views were spectacular but not worth the money if you're on a budget.
There was so much more we could have done and seen but we didn't have the time sadly. I also know there are so many more quirky bars I wish we'd got the chance to go to but be sure Scotland we will be back, we had the most incredible time.
Overall Edinburgh was amazing and we can't wait to go back one day, there are so many more things to see and do and of course many many more gorgeous cocktail bars to try out!