Living in a tourist hot spot, I often have friends come through and stay a few days. I let them go do the usual tourist stuff by themselves; Castle, Arthurs Seat, Whiskey Experience.. yahdy yadhy yah. But I always enjoy taking them to the places that most don’t know about/leave out of their ‘top 10’. I don’t get bored of them myself, and they’d have never have seen them otherwise..
The Secret Herb Garden
About 20 minutes from the city centre, 7.5 acres of luscious green herb gardens to explore and relax in. Take some time out to nosey around their large conservatory, the perfect place to chill out and enjoy some of their vegan cake and a fresh herbal tea, whilst watching little old ladies paint their favourite spots on large canvases.
The garden runs ‘Fairy hunts’ for kids, and has loads of tucked away spots for you to pitch up whilst making your way around. One of my favourite parts is the mint garden; did you know you can buy mint that tastes like mint choc chip!!? Perfect for mojitos!!
Whilst you’re out at the Secret herb garden, take yourself a mile or so down the road to the Castle. Right next to the famous Rosslyn Chapel, I always feel that the castle is overlooked in favour of the more visited tourist spot. I’m a little cheeky and never pay to go into the Chapel, choosing instead to walk around it’s outside (to get a good glimpse of the beaut views featured in ‘the DaVinci code Movie’), before moving down past the grave yards to the castle. Get exploring, follow the little trodden down paths for loads of little hideaways around the grounds.. my favourite being the huge old tree at the back with its little nature made courtyard.
Wild West Village
A quick little quirky place, that most of the city folk couldn’t point you in the direction of. If you’re in the Morningside area, duck behind the library to find this worn down little street, set up to look just like the backdrop for a Wild West movie. Now left to wear down, it was originally built as part of the ambience of the sales area for a furniture business. Grab your bootcut jeans and swing on down for premium Insta shots!
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t visit these gardens until after 7 years of living in this city. An easy walk from the city centre, they’re best visited on a sunny day. Free entry, panoramic views of the city, and free daily walking tours from April – October, means that you can easily flutter away a day here. Try not to miss the blue poppy garden… they were beautiful and 100% worthy of an Insta snap.
No city stop is complete without good grub. Hendersons, smack bang in the middle of the new town, has an upstairs bistro or a downstairs restaurant. Choose the bistro; it’s full vegan menu will delight even the fussiest of meat eaters, and the atmosphere is generally a little warmer than its downstairs counterpart. A lot more relaxed and casual than some of the main Edinburgh vegan/vegetarian spots; all of the tofu dishes are unreal!
The ‘Innocent’ railway tunnel
So tucked away, that most of the locals don’t even know about it. Good for a little walk (and a bit of history), this tunnel starts in a housing estate hidden away right next to Arthur’s seat and heads up to Brunstane in the east of the city. The tunnel gets it’s name due to it’s safety record: it carried 300 to 400 thousand passengers a year without fatalities (a mean feat for the 1800’s), where steam engines had a reputation for being dangerous.
Send me your Edinburgh faves… 🙂