Saturday, 9 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely break. I did and from blogging. Only kidding. I have really missed this but I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. I’ve had a house move, been crazy-busy at work, writing and posting coffee breaks on the NR blog, and writing and commenting on Womag 2 Weekly. It’s all been hectic but I’ve somehow managed to keep the writing going so I am really pleased about this. Also in amongst all the madness me and boyf took a 3 day trip to Edinburgh over xmas. For anyone whose thinking of visiting or if you’d just like to hear about my trip allow me to share.
We got a 2 day Edinburgh Pass which cost £36 per adult. With the amount there is to do there this is a real bargain. We were going to do a bus tour as included in the EP is a £2 off ticket for the open top tours. The reasons we ended up passing on this is three-fold. Firstly it was way too cold, secondly we were short on time and thirdly we had already seen quite a lot.

Mercat Tours

Free of charge for those with an EP there are plenty of different tours to choose from here. The staff in the ticket office just off the Royal Mile were really friendly and we decided to go on the Historic Vaults Tour. Our very friendly tour guide took us and 6 others (they usually have groups of 30 but it was quiet this time of year) under the South Bridge and around the authentic 18th Century Vaults. There we learnt why they were created and who used them as well as hearing all about the notorious Body Snatchers. The guide also made me jump out of my skin on various occasions with her creepy stories.

The Stand Comedy Club
Holders of the EP get 25 % of tickets to comedy nights. We went on the Sunday night where we saw Tom Stade, Joe Heenan and Mark Nelson. We got in about an hour and a half before the show starts and the only seats left were at the front of the club. We were practically sat on the stage. The host was hilarious and had me crying with laughter even when she zoned in on us and ripped the absolute piss. Luckily I am good at laughing at myself.

The Writers Museum
This was the place I really wanted to see and was really surprised that it was free entry. I was convinced it was £10 entry. A very inspiring place and a few humourous things for writers in the gift shop.

The Shops
I live in London so there wasn’t really anything I hadn’t seen before. There were a few tourist shops that sold all things tartan.

Edinburgh Castle
We went up in the hope of seeing the one o’ clock gun go off although unfortunately we were queuing for about half an hour and missed it. We asked when we got through the ticket stalls why we hadn’t heard anything and it turns out the gun had frozen so hadn’t gone off. Plenty of different things to see from the Prisons of War Cells to great views of Edinburgh.

Camera Oscura
Again free for all EP holders this was probably the best place we went. A tough walk up but you get to have a little sit down when you get to the top and look at people walking around outside from a table in a dark room. You even get to pick those people up and squash them with a bit of card. The World of Illusion rooms are really interesting and a lot of fun and makes the long walk down a lot more bearable. I would actually do them on the way up if I went again. There’s no difference really – just easier on the legs.

Edinburgh Dungeon
I really didn’t want to go in here as I had visited the chambers in Madam Tussauds which has Live actors. This was just as terrifying with more of a story from each actor. They don’t just chase you round trying to nick your handbag (like those in MT). There were 2 rides included, one was the boat ride where water trickles on you from above and you are left sat in the dark in the middle of an indoor river for about 5 minutes. The other ride was called Extremis which is meant to simulate the Grassmarket noose. Luckily, due to my bad back, I was excused but I had to stand alone in the dark for what seemed like an age. I wouldn’t go again but if you like a good scare, you’ll love this. Tip: if you are easily frightened try not to appear so as the actors will zone in on this as I later learned.

Carlton Hill
Bit of a struggle this one as we had to walk up a steep icy hill. The top of the tower gives great views of the town. You need strong legs for this one!

3D Loch Ness
Does Nessie really exist? Watch this 3D video of eye witness accounts, photos and illusions and judge for yourself. We started off with this as it was snowing and only took up about 25 mins.

We weren’t too impressed with the service in the places we went to have food. We went to The Filling Station on the Royal Mile where we ordered a simple meal of burger and chips and it took nearly an hour and one reminder to get our food. Still the food was nice and the atmosphere was lovely.

I can't remember the name of the pub but the one right opposite the Hotel Ibis where we stayed served us our food within 5 minutes of ordering but was unfortunately a bit chewy. Clearly precooked hours before I wouldn’t recommend the food here. Still, this one was of few pubs that were showing the football.

I couldn’t visit Scotland without trying some good old Scottish Haggis, neeps and tatties. This was delicious, nothing too fancy although a bit too much pepper was used.

Airport Tranfer
We were given free airport transfer with our Edinburgh Pass which was a saving of £7.50 either way.

John Knox House at the Scottish Story Telling Centre.
We didn’t attend any story reading here as there was only one which we missed but we took a look around the museum. There wasn’t a whole lot to look at but interesting nonetheless.


  1. Your trip sounds packed full of exciting things. I've always fancied going to Edinburgh and must actually do so at some point.

  2. It all sounds really good - glad you had a wonderful time, and are still squeezing in some writing :o) Happy New Year!

  3. Ooh, I absolutely love Edinburgh - glad you had a wonderful time! :-)

  4. You were so close I could have waved - if I'd known you were there. I'm just across the Forth from Edinburgh. Glad you had a good time.

  5. Debs - It's definitely up there in my list of best places to visit. I might even go as far to say that it's number 2 after New York!

    Karen - thanks and Happy New Year to you also!

    Amanda - thank you. I loved it and would definitely go there again. So much more to do than time permitted.

    Suzanne - thanks. Oh really? you might have seen me trying and failing to walk gracefully up Carlton Hill :S