After a wonderful few days in Ireland, my next stop was Scotland! Staying in a cool hub hotel near the Royal Mile of Edinburgh, the beautiful medieval city was easy to fall in love with. It reminded me of a couple of my favorite cities like Bruges and Prague. It was like being in a Harry Potter novel, which is no surprise because areas of the city inspired JK Rowling and the cafe where she wrote the famous Potter books is located in the Old Town of Edinburgh.
My first stop was Arcade Bar, Haggis & Whisky House for smoked salmon bites and their famous haggis. The last time I had haggis, it was served straight out of a sheep’s stomach. This was a much nicer and tastier version. I then explored Mary King’s Close – a historic 17th century street hidden underneath the city. For dinner, it was haddock and chips with mushy peas.
The next day I had a tour with The Hair Coo and the best tour guide ever, Brian. I got to sit in the front seat of the bus and our stops included the Kelpies, Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, Aberfoyle for lunch, Doune Castle, and a tour and tasting at Deanston Whisky Distillery. We even had a chance to meet and feed a couple Hairy Coos (Highland cattle).
For dinner it was a creative, modern tasting menu at Timberyard.
After dinner, I had to try a couple retro cocktails in a Stranger Things-themed bar at The Pop Up Geeks.
My third day in Edinburgh started off with lovely afternoon tea inside the Signet Library, followed by a great Craft Beer Tour with ScotBeer.
I enjoyed a bowl of local fish chowder called cullen skink before having dinner at the Mussel and Steak Bar for delicious surf & turf.
My final day began with a yummy breakfast of creamy eggs with smoked salmon and a housemade scone with jam and clotted cream at The Edinburgh Larder before checking out the National Museum of Scotland.
It was a nice day to swing by Edinburgh Castle.
I enjoyed a distillery tour and tasting with Pickering’s Gin. Then I had some fabulous local Oysters and a Crab Scotch Egg. I even went back to Arcade Bar for cranachan – a Scottish dessert made with raspberries, whipped cream, oatmeal, and whiskey. Oh and an Irn-Bru, a carbonated soft drink that’s considered “Scotland’s other national drink”.
I had a fantastic dinner at Edinburgh Food Studio. With only one dinner seating, a seat at the counter, and quality ingredients used for their seven-course menu, it was an intimate and delicious meal.
I enjoyed a couple more local brews and live music at a couple bars before calling it a night. The next morning I had a quick breakfast before catching my flight for a Dublin layover where I enjoyed a couple Guinness with a local traveler before boarding my flight to JFK.
Scotland was incredible and I absolutely loved Edinburgh! What a trip!