To Edinburgh & Back Again.
The Blairgowrie Series, Episode One.
Imagine Your Journey In Edinburgh.
Sometimes we have to leave the familiar places in our lives and head out into the world so we can come home again and see the place and people with a fresh new perspective.
When most folks think of Scotland, though, they’ll think of its major cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow, or they’ll imagine some fictional village tucked away in the highlands like those they’ve seen in the movies.
The vast majority of Scotland is a network of small, rural towns across a vast, open countryside.
But, perhaps we can start our journey somewhere more familiar, in Edinburgh?
In this episode, we explore the cultural heart of Scotland. After rambling through Edinburgh Castle, we experience the cities Royal Mile.
Then, we’ll savor a traditional, locally sourced breakfast, learn about Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, and admire Princes Street’s tranquil gardens.
Finally, we’ll be blown away by breathtaking views atop an extinct volcano.
Plan Your Local Accommodation In Edinburgh
Visit These Edinburgh Cafes For Locally Sourced Food
Be sure to check out this mix of markets/cafes/restaurants for locally sourced food.
Edinburgh’s Farmers Market
Castle Terrace, EH1 2EN
The country comes to the city every Saturday at Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, situated beneath the beautiful Edinburgh Castle on Castle Terrace. Dozens of specialist producers come from all over Scotland to sell everything from the freshest meat and seafood to seasonal fruit and veg, cheeses, baked goods and more.
Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB
Is known as a hidden gem and renowned for great breakfast and lunch, which are all made in house using locally sourced ingredients.
York Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EB
It is a small coffee shop but the service and quality of their products are still done to a high standard. They also have wide selection of food, with the products being delivered fresh from bakeries in the city each day.
The Gardeners Cottage
Royal Terrace Gardens, Hillside, EH7 5DX
Social dining and seasonal cooking which is so imaginative, interesting and delicious, you’ll never be bored or disappointed.
Edinburgh Food Studio
Dalkeith Road, Southside, EH16 5DX
Innovative space for cooking, eating, sharing; three dinner services a week plus a host of guests and events.
Contribute To Your Favourite Local Edinburgh Grassroots Or Non-Profit
At KylesLife, we are adventurers with heart. Wherever we travel, we always find a way to be of service to the local people and their community no matter how small.
We prefer a hands-on approach, where possible because many non-profits and grassroots organizations need more people to be active in the fight for sustainable, positive social change.
Donating some of our travel funds to our favorite non-profits is also a welcome contribution that will be greatly appreciated by those who receive it.
Here are 5 local Edinburgh non-profits/grassroots organizations that we think you might like to contribute to in your own way.
- Our Mission is to ‘help people make a home for themselves’.
- To enable people who have been homeless to resettle in their community
- To provide volunteering opportunities that offer practical and emotional support
- To help our clients develop life skills
- To involve the wider community in our work to end homelessness
- Helping people with HIV or Hepatitis C to live independently and have control over their lives.
- £2.50 provides Home Support materials for two families or households to keep their home clean.
- £6 allows a Study Buddies Mentor to collect a child or young person for their learning session, then drop them home.
- £12 gives two people transport to vital appointments for a month.
- £50 gives a child a Befriending session with their own Befriender. This covers all transport, entrance tickets, refreshments, and background costs.
- To advance equality between women and men, producing research, lobbying decision-makers, and empowering women to campaign for change.
- Focus on policy change
- Provide three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people.
- Help make positive things happen for people in Edinburgh facing extremely difficult circumstances.
- Enable a life off the streets, showing dignity and respect to everyone we meet.
Let’s Begin At Edinburgh Castle, The Cultural Heart Of Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle has stood high above the city since prehistory. Today, the iconic Scottish landmark shares in its fairytale with all who wander through its towering entrance.
Since the castle was first built during the 12th century by David I, It has been shrouded in fantastic myth and legend.
The castle has seen royal births to bloody sieges, today, it’s a complex of buildings linked by cobbled roads, which have been more recently used as a military garrison.
And the expansive views from the heights of this fortress are impressive, reaching as far as the eye can see into the surrounding countryside, lakes, and the Firth Of Forth.
Castle Rock Hostel On The Royal Mile.
The Royal Mile begins from the castle entrance and continues almost in a straight line ending at Holyrood Park.
And it’s actually recognized as one of Europes most beautiful city walks.
It’s perfect if you’re into sampling the local food found in the many cafes, bistros, pubs, and restaurants. Most cafes have outdoor seating areas for you to enjoy your meal and watch the world go by.
Castle Rock Hostel, overshadowed by Edinburgh Castle itself, is within a 2-minute walk on Johnston Terrace. Kyle made this place his home while filming in Edinburgh and quickly came to appreciate its central location, clean facilities, and the stunning long table in the living room!
But on the other hand, The Royal Mile was once not such a pleasant place to visit.
Back in the 18th century, Edinburgh was one of the most congested cities in all of Europe.
Buildings are crammed together, shoulder to shoulder, with little closes (tunnels) branching off the main street and taking us into the smaller, back streets.
Edinburgh’s poor lived together, often crammed into one room with 12-20 other people.
They couldn’t even afford candles and often spent their time in darkness.
It’s said they knew each other not by how they looked but by how they smelt.
Breakfast At The Edinburgh Larder.
The porridge with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey is our favorite.
You’ll find the Edinburgh Larder on Blackfriars Street.
They source their fresh produce from the nearby Scottish farms, which means you literally taste Edinburgh straight from the spoon.
An Afternoon At The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
How about magical street performances from lively musicians and magicians?
Maybe even a floating Yoda on the street corner or various artists sketching cartoon faces?
What about an extensive line up of stand up comedy in nearly every building?
We’re not joking, this is what you’ll find at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival.
And all of this is mostly free. There are around 700 free shows at the Fringe Festival so expect to pay about £10 in total on the festival itself. Not bad, right?
The Fringe takes place in August for 25 days and attracts around 3 million people generating a sweet £150 million for the local economy.
And it all started back in 1937 by a small group of artists who were refused entry into the main ‘Edinburgh Festival,’ and so they came up with an alternative plan.
They decided to take to the streets and put on a show for festival-goers to make the most of the influx of visitors to the city before they reached the Edinburgh Festival.
As it stands for 2020, the festival has been canceled due to the Coronavirus.
However, the organizers are bringing the live shows online to our living rooms in August 2020.
Relax In The Tranquil Gardens Of Princes Street.
Edinburgh has two distinct towns – its medieval old town and 18th-century new town – and it’s all split by Princes Street Gardens.
Wander off the Royal Mile just a little, and you’ll notice a tremendous big green space in the heart of the city that’s brimming with wildlife.
Here you’ll admire beautiful summer scenes of nature and stunning architecture such as the Scott Monument, which is dedicated to one of Scotlands famous writers, Sir Walter Scott.
However, before Edinburgh’s new town was built, Princes Street Gardens was nothing more than a freshwater lake.
For centuries, the townspeople referred to the lake as the Nor Loch.
The Nor Loch was initially a marsh at the foot of the Castle Rock and part of the Edinburgh Old Town’s natural defense from passing English armies.
The Nor Loch was also a popular spot for suicides, smuggling, and brutal punishment.
It is a popularly held myth that the Nor’ Loch was the site of ‘witch ducking’ in Edinburgh.
‘Witch ducking’ or ‘the swimming test’ was employed by witchcraft prosecutors in some areas of Europe to identify whether or not a suspect was guilty of witchcraft.
On one day in 1624, eleven women were drowned. Four years later, George Sinclair confessed to committing incest with his two sisters. All three were sentenced to death.
Sinclair and his older sister were placed in a large chest with holes drilled in it and thrown into the Loch to drown.
Two centuries later, in 1820, the chest was rediscovered by workmen digging a drain near the Wellhouse Tower of the Castle.
For several decades after the draining of the Loch began, townspeople continued to refer to the lake as Nor Loch.
Admire The View From Arthurs Seat.
At the end of The Royal Mile, you’ll be greeted with the Scottish Parliament.
Feel free to take a guided tour and visualize what it might be like to lead the country from the center podium.
If you’re into hiking and hill walking, then this is the place for you in Edinburgh.
Look around, and you’ll notice 640 acres of rolling green hills set amongst the wild highland landscape.
Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano and the highest point in Edinburgh, is at the center of the park, with the cliffs of Salisbury Crags to the west.
Arthur’s Seat is often mentioned as one of Camelot’s possible locations, the legendary castle, and the court of the Romano-British warrior-chief, King Arthur.
What is your favorite Edinburgh myth or legend?
To Edinburgh & Back Again – kyleslife Travel Guide
See Edinburgh for yourself In this episode. we explore the cultural heart of Scotland.
Our passion here at kyleslife is to help you to explore and travel locally and sustainably around Scotland’s towns and shires.
We also have a YouTube channel where we share various Scottish travel tips and travel guides from born & bred locals.