Waking up to bright blue Scottish skies we started the day with full Scottish breakfasts then took a look inside ScotlandsPeople near Waverley Station on Princes Street. This beautiful building is the official Scottish government resource for genealogical research and despite not having any Scottish ancestors ourselves it’s still an interesting place to visit in the city centre to admire its stunning interior and courtyard garden.
Leaving here, we caught a bus to nearby Portobello (3 miles east of the centre) for a bracing walk along the seafront. Our bus (No.26) took around 20 minutes and after a brief walk along the High Street, we walked off our large breakfasts along Portobello’s promenade. Apart from an amusement arcade and a couple of cafes, there’s not a great deal happening here in winter but there were plenty of people about, like us, enjoying a Friday morning stroll with views across the Firth of Forth.
Our exercise complete, we returned to the city centre by bus and after spending a little time window shopping along elegant Princes Street with its shops on one side of the road and gardens with stunning views of the castle on the other, we decided to visit Georgian House a Scottish National Trust property located on the north side of Charlotte Square. I’ve visited Edinburgh many times but had never visited this Georgian home before so it was a treat to look round especially as the house had already been decorated for Christmas.
Edinburgh New Town was Robert Adam’s masterpiece of urban architecture, designed as the paradigm of the Georgian ideal. Sweeping crescents, broad avenues and elegant squares offering wealthy citizens of Edinburgh in the late 18th century a means to escape from the overcrowded Old Town.
Tours of Georgian House are self guided with Scottish National Trust volunteers on hand in most of the rooms to answer questions and point out items of interest. The house has been magnificently restored to depict a typical Edinburgh New Town house of the late 18th century. It contains a fine collection of period furniture, porcelain, silver and glass reflecting the lifestyle of the era. It was restored in the early 1970’s to return the property to its former glory and it’s certainly worth a visit. Admission is free to National Trust members, both Scottish and English.
Later, we caught a bus from Lothian Road to the attractive suburb of Morningside, a district I’ve often visited that’s filled with interesting small shops and one that has a prosperous feel. After browsing numerous shops for Christmas gift ideas, we strolled along to Bruntsfield which merges into Morningside and then caught another bus back to the city centre. Those of you who enjoy reading Alexander McCall Smith novels will be familiar with these parts of Edinburgh as his 44 Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie books are set here. McCall Smith is one of my favourite authors and if you haven’t read any of his books you might perhaps like to try one. If you do, please let me know what you think!
After an early evening meal in The Standing Order pub on George Street we enjoyed an evening stroll through the Old Town walking first up to the castle then through the vibrant district of Grassmarket with its wide, cobbled street lined with bars and restaurants spilling out onto pavements just below the castle.