Vagabond Traveler: Five experiences in Edinburgh (Summer Edition).

Winter has us firmly in it’s grasp here in Australia so I’d like to take some time and go through some of the great experiences you can find in Edinburgh during the summertime. It’s currently high season in the UK and Europe and also a great time to visit so here are some of the unique experiences I found while living in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock

Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock

So, here are some of my favorite things to do in Edinburgh during the summer months.

Picnic on Arthur’s Seat

Summertime is the best time to scale the mighty Arthur’s Seat which is located at the bottom of the Royal Mile which leads down hill from Edinburgh Castle. Arthur’s Seat is a natural hilly outcrop which tourists might call a small mountain (The locals think of it as just a hill but that doesn’t really give the right impression if you aren’t from a country with proper highlands).

The view close to the top.

The view close to the top.

My favorite memory here though was stopping at Sainsbury’s on the way to pick up a portable and disposable coal BBQ and some meat and vegetables. Climbing up here and firing up a BBQ is a great way to spend a summer and also to make the other hikers jealous. A fairly cheap and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon and you’ll be treated with a view of all of the Edinburgh Old Town.

Farmer’s Market below Castle Rock

Particularly good for those who may not head north to the highlands or beyond, the Edinburgh Grassmarket Farmer’s Markets feature a wide selection of local cuisines and farm fresh food. Held every Saturday morning just off the Grassmarket proper it’s a good place to go get a coffee and some local wine or cheese. The produce is seasonal as well but there is always something tasty to look at. Also, being close to the rest of Old Town it is a good place to start the day and wander up through to the Royal Mile and the various Closes that twist through the old city. Pairing this up with a visit to Mary King’s Close or a visit to the Edinburgh Whisky Experience would fill up a good part of your day.

Hog roast roll at Oink

On the topic of the farmer’s markets, a regular appearance is made by the people from Oink. If the markets aren’t on, don’t fret however as Oink has a storefront on Victoria Street which shoots off the Grassmarket. These guys do one thing and they do it well.

Roast pig rolls.

Every day they present one large roasted pig and sell it by the roll with apple sauce, thyme and some napkins. The store opens in the morning and closes when the pig in the window is no more. A must visit for anyone in Edinburgh.

Sadly they do not have a vegetarian option.

North Berwick seaside trip

What UK trip would be complete without a trip to a quaint seaside village? North Berwick is an hour out of Edinburgh by train and trades the relatively sprawling, capital for a charming small seaside town. There is a fish and chip shop which is famous locally for its fish and chips and a lovely wall to sit on and eat some ice cream and fudge.

Also a great place for some woodland walks where you can see some ruins of the earliest dwellings in the area. Sadly I have lost my photos from this lovely little village. North Berwick is a full day at the least and accessible by train.

Drink a pint at The Sheep Heid, Scotland’s oldest pub.

Technically a year round activity but consumption of a pint or a shot of whiskey in mandatory any time of year. With a pub on virtually every corner it can be challenging to decide which one to drop into, but if you drop into The Sheep Heid then you will at least have the pleasure of drinking at the oldest pub in Scotland. It is a very charming place with moderate prices (It’s no Weatherspoons, which is essentially a pub chain with lots of cheap drinks specials and meals). Fairly small and with a pretty good menu of some traditional food it is worth going a little out of the way as you’ll also see some of the older Edinburgh houses in the area.  if you are there in summer then it might make for a nice walk after you imbibe some of the amber fluids within.

So there are some of the great things to do in Edinburgh. Sorry I didn’t have to many pictures to go with it but at some point I lost my digital library of my time overseas. Here’s a photo of the Edinburgh down town.

The Royal Mile

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