Edinburgh May 2012

It had been six years since we had last been to the capital city of Scotland, and last time we were a little younger and spent most of the time in pubs and clubs, so this pre play off final weekend away was a more cultured experience and i have to say turned out highly enjoyable.

We travelled from Kent to Edinburgh in style, by rail, using the fast track from Ebbsfleet, and then a first class seat from Kings X to Edinburgh. This was quicker and definitely less stressful than fannying around to Gatwick and hanging out in airports for delayed budget flights to Scotland !

The seats in East Coast FC were great (shame about the passengers opposite, but you cannot have everything). Once we got to Edinburgh, it was a short trip to the Hilton Grovesnor in the heart of the West End. The room was an old high ceilinged affair as befits the city, but modern amenities meant it was more than fit for purpose for two days.

Room in the Hilton

We dropped our bags and headed off to the main event for Friday, the Pandas in Edinburgh Zoo. Being a weekday and a wet one, it was a perfect time to visit the Zoo, as we nearly had the whole place to ourselves.

The Pandas do not disappoint, so if you are in area, do pop in and say hello (just remember to book !). The small monkey enclosure with Squirrel monkeys and the like was another highlight.

Sweetie resting
Sunshine comes in for some grub
Sunshine outside with some more grub !
Squirrel Monkey finds its Mum !

That evening we went to a restaurant we found online after perusing some reviews, called Chop Chop. This place was a chinese cafe type affair, but the dim sum was to die for. I also tried some fried beef, which i had to fight for after the other half tasted it. We met the manager, who was a lovely lady, who tells me they have a factory making and exporting the dumplings, and i dont doubt her for a minute. This place is a must for any fan of Chinese food in the area.

Next day was spend doing a little bit of shopping, and then onto the bus out to Ocean Terminal. Last time i was here, there were 3 porta cabins, and an ISDN line. Things have moved on since then, into a mid sized shopping centre, fancy flats and the The Royal Yacht Britannia. Leith has certainly moved on !

The Yacht was amazing, and different to how i imagined. Smaller for one, and elegantly furnished rather elegant than elaborate. You can see attention to detail everywhere, especially the engine room, which sparkles like new, and has done since day one.

All Aboard !
Nifty parking your Highness
Ding Dong
A Hottie with a Yottie

Thar She Blows

Back the hotel for a rest and onto another highlight, dinner at the Witchery. This place gets the ravest reviews and does not disappoint. A starter of asparagus, main course of double sirloin (500 g !), was amazing. The cheese i have to say was a bit of a let down, too much on the unusual, and not enough on the cheese in my opinion. Service was fantastic and so was the Chilean White we had to go with the meal.

The Witchery

The next morning pre our train back south, was a breakfast affair with friends in a great bar / day cafe in the Mercat bar on Waitland Street.

The train back takes a little longer as its a Sunday with more stops, but those big chairs make up for it !