An October 2001 trip
to Edinburgh by thedrifter
Quote: Edinburgh is a city worthy of mulitple visits. A mix of the modern and historical, this city has something for everyone. Edinburgh has been voted the most "livable" city in the UK and, indeed, I found myself feeling at home. Attractions are plentiful and the people quite hospitable.
These days it seems like many bed and breakfasts concentrate more on the bed rather than the breakfast. Not so at the Maple Leaf. The full Scottish breakfast, included in the price of accommodations, was a hearty start to the day. I found it to be not unlike the starch and pork heavy breakfasts that are the mainstay of traditional Southern U.S. breakfasts. I would have gladly paid several pounds for the same offering in a restaurant.
The rooms of this three-story row house were spacious and comfortable and my suite even had its own bathroom. There were only two of us, but the room could have comfortably accommodated up to five guests. The complimentary tea and coffee in the room were also a welcome amenity.
The proprietors of The Maple Leaf were gracious hosts and very willing to lend advice, directions or other information when asked. This B&B is well kept, nonsmoking and reasonably priced. While there were several nearly adjacent properties to choose from, I can't imagine any being much more inviting than The Maple Leaf.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 3, 2004
The Maple Leaf
While the mainstays of this walking tour are the tales of ghosts and supernatural events, it is quite heavy on historical anecdotes about the capital city.
The highlight of the tour, for me, was descending into the underground vaults and caverns that lie beneath the city. These subterranean spaces have quite a gruesome and sordid history, including having been the involuntary home of plague victims. Supernatural phenomenon are said to be quite common in these areas, which of course, is played heavily on during the tour. There is also a functioning pagan "temple" in one of the vaults, used by various groups.
All in all, the Auld Reekie tour is worth the small fee and only takes a bit more than an hour to complete. You're certain to get a good value on entertainment and education for minimal cost and effort.
Auld Reekie Tours
45 Niddry Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1LG
+44 131 557 4700
Attraction | "The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre"
At this museum/bar/distillery/pseudo-amusement park, you'll learn all you ever wanted to know and more about Scotland's most famous beverage. . . Scotch whisky.
You can learn about the history and ins and outs of Scotch by taking a trip on the Whisky Barrel Ride (billed as fun for the family!), watching a film or at the Centre's model distillery. Like I said, you'll learn plenty about whisky.
Once you've learned all you need to about this tasty beverage, you'll probably have worked up a thirst. Not to worry. You can choose from some two hundred odd varieties of Scotch on the premises, at the Whisky Bond Bar and Bistro. Food is served in the bar and it is open to the public, as well. So, you can drop in to have a bit and a nip even if you don't choose to participate in the crash course in whisky history.
Don't forget to drop by the gift shop before you swerve your way on to the next destination. You may feel like you've had Scotch overload by that point, but it'll wear off. When you get back home, you may be glad you had the foresight to stock up on some of the wide selection of Scotch whisky offered in their shop.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 4, 2004
Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2NE
+44 131 220 0441
As its name suggests, the relatively small one room establishment leans a little toward the nationalist side. Above the bar, there was a rather strongly worded anti-English slogan that escapes me now, but was rather humorous at the time. Made more so by the fact I was visiting the pub with a buddy of mine from England. The clientele, except for my friend and I, were a rough and tumble cluster of locals lads. After verbally testing the mettle of my English cohort and grilling me on my own Scottish heritage, our fellow patrons warmed right up to us. There was certainly nothing that sharing a few drafts couldn't put into proper perspective.
The walls of the Scotsman's Lounge are adorned with various replicas of various historical documents and pictures of bagpipers and other musicians. This pub takes the history and culture of Scotland rather seriously, or as seriously as a drinking establishment can, I suppose. Though we were the only "outsiders" around on this occasion, the pub evidently draws a fair number of tourists, particularly when there is live music on tap.
On the subject of music, the Scotsman's Lounge serves it up live most nights. Typically, Scottish folk music is the offering and the pub serves as a hangout for elements of this music community.
This rustic little pub was a great setting for mingling casually with the "average Joe" of Edinburgh. We made a few good drinking buddies while there and had such a fine time that everyone was disappointed when we had to go our separate ways. Maybe I'll catch up with them again next time I'm in town, because I'll certainly be heading back to the Scotsman's Lounge for a pint and some tunes. Maybe I'll see you there, too.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 5, 2004
73 Cockburn Street, Midlothian
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1BU
0044 131 225 7726