Though this is a slightly odd thing to review, particularly for those of us used to living in cities where popping in for a coffee on a cold day is a common and pleasant way to spend half an hour and two pounds, I decided, while compiling this idea of what to tell others about this city in the holiday season today--I found myself sitting at just such a coffee shop and realized that as a part of the city's festive experience, this ranks pretty high. So for those of you who realize a Costa coffee on a cold day is a pleasant experience, at least from this you get where in Edinburgh is a particularly nice place to stop. This city, in all seasons, has no small amount of coffee shops and great little cafes that sell wonderful coffees, to warm you in the almost never-ending cold of Edinburgh, and it's pleasant to sit outside with on those rare sunny days.
But even so (as I noticed so distinctly this evening on visiting one of my favourite on Princes Street), these visits take on a whole new level of enjoyment when the weather is crisp and cold and everyone enters the shops in sweaters and scarves and quickly discards them to sit comfortably in the big loungey chairs that these places are so well known for. While I was sitting in the Starbucks at the west end of Princes Street this afternoon waiting for my hot chocolate to arrive, it really struck me (as it often does still even after having lived in this city for nearly 5 years) what an amazing place it is, and how wonderful a place it is to soak in and simply see. I know of few cities that do Christmastime quite as well as Edinburgh, and this was amplified today as I sat with hot chocolate on a second-floor coffee shop, complete with a sweater and book, looking out over the amazing view of the castle with all the leaves outside changing in the clear fall weather.
I've rambled on a little bit with my enjoyment of these moments that Edinburgh has to offer, but to get more to the point, this is a wonderful part of the city to experience, especially at this time of year. The upstairs Starbucks at the west end of Princes Street as well as the one inside the West End Waterstone’s bookstore are wonderfully laid out and have a magnificent view of the castle in the afternoon sun.
The Costa Coffee, on the second floor on the corner of Hanover Street, is a great one to go to at night with a fantastic view of the Winter Wonderland in Princes Street Garden.
There is very little better to do on a day out Christmas shopping or wandering in the German market than stepping into one of these places and relaxing away from the bustle of the streets, enjoying the magnificent view that is Edinburgh.