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Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Kansas City
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Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Greetings all, from Kansas City.

My wife and I are visiting Edinburgh for 5 days in October. Way shorter than a proper holiday - hence my posting. We're planning on staying at Rick's and at the Bonham. I don't like switching but neither hotel was available for whole duration of stay.

I could use some tourist advice on four questions...

1. I like to visit interesting flea markets, second hand shops, antique shops, etc. Not especially interested in posh, high-end antiquities - more attuned to just interesting oddments and 'objets d'art'. Any recommendations?

2. I'm also into modern design - furniture, household items and such. If there's notable 'don't miss' places I'd love to hear about them.

3. Our's is a short trip but my wife would also like to see some countryside. Any suggestions? I won't have a car but could hire one if that's the best way to go. Any interesting seaside destinations within reach?

4. Always interested in bar / pub / nightlife suggestions. We're adults who enjoy hip places but mostly go to interact with local people - not dance or specifically go for music except as background to conversation. Sophisticated places or hole-in-the-wall joints are of equal interest. It's about the people.

As always - any other hip ideas are genuinely appreciated as well.

Hope some of you can help. The short duration of our trip makes for a more hectic pace than I prefer and I feel more anxiety than usual about pre-planning.

Thanks much!

George Danker


Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

1. I think the area around the Grassmarket has lots of interesting second hand shops, particularly the streets leading away from the Grassmarket like Victoria Street and the West Port. i diidn't know what that area was called and while googling for its name came across this website which has a lot of detail about the area.


2. Not really sure about modern design although I would guess our Parliament is a major new building my a modern architect. other than that the Dean gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art are both very good.

3. Portobello is Edinburghs "Seaside Resort" It would be easily reachable by bus and is lovely to walk along even in winter. If you want to maximise your time in Edinburgh then how about a walk in Holyrood park, All the tourists go up Arthurs seat so it can get a bit busy. Standing with Holyrood Palace behind you there is a central valley bit which you can walk up then turn right and walk along Salisbury crags. other than that there are lots of nice places in Scotland and hiring a car would probably be best.

4. I use The List a lot when deciding where to eat out


It will also have notices of any interesting events or concerts that are on. If you want to eat somewhere that is not touristy then I would say the further it is from Princes Street the better, there are loads of nice places near there but that works as a general rule of thumb. George Street is nice and a safe bet, very popular with after work people but some of the places can be a little pretentious and expensive, I prefer going to other places on Saturday night as it is very busy. Edinburgh is basically made up of lots of little villages so go to one of them, areas like the Shore down at Leith or Stockbridge or Morningside, you are probably most likely to find a "hole-in-the-wall joint" in Leith than the latter two.

Hope this is helpful

Kansas City
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2. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Thank you very much linze. Appreciate your insight and the additional website resources.

Of course we are 'tourists' but I just hate acting like them. Standard tourist attractions don't hold all that much interest to me. Though some are absolutely worthy - and I mean no disrespect to various castles and cathedrals and such - I rarely seek out 'attractions'. Tourist attractions tend to attract tourists don't you know.

I find everything interesting when I travel - just ordinary stuff - and getting off the pre-packaged tourist trail is my preference.

Normally what I like to do when overseas is just get out and wander on foot - but this trip is short and with my wife and she's oriented towards a bit more structure.

I welcome additional ideas especially specific bars, restuarants, shops or, heck, anything that is one of your personal favorites.

Thanks again!!!!!!



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3. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

With five days, you could see the countryside by hopping on the train to get out of Edinburgh for a day. Saves you the stress of dealing with a car and Edinburgh. Some options:

North Berwick - 30 minute train ride - worthwile if the weather is decent, as it has a scenic beach, the seabird centre and striking views of the sea/Firth of Forth.

Stirling - a bit farther, but great castle and a nice town with good places to eat and possibly some interesting shopping.

Roslin - 20-25 minutes by bus to see Rosslyn Chapel. The same bus also stops where you can get access to the Pentland Hills.

Remember that in October, the days are starting to get fairly short, so tourist sites won't be open as late and your outdoor days will be a bit limited. But that's just more time to spend in a cozy pub.

I happen to like the Jolly Judge, as it's cozy and warm, but it's small so can get crowded quickly. Best for an early drink or later on when the post-work crowds have departed.


Kansas City
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4. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Many thanks Kate!

While I rather enjoy the challenge and novelty of driving on the 'wrong' side of the road - and the liklihood of hiring a car not available in the US - I believe that in Edinburgh itself a car is a liability and the whole hassle, as you have mentioned, is better avoided.

The mechanics of renting a car is hardly a charming activity.

What I'd really like to do is hire some form of motorized scooter to expand my exploration range beyond walking without dealing with parking headaches. Do you or anyone out there know if this is possible?

And thanks, Kate, as well for the pub suggestion. For out-of-towners, the selection of a pub can be so overwhelmingly arbitrary that it's paralyzing.

I'm pleased to have received a couple responses from this forum already. You guys are all right! Thank you Edinburgh!

Additional suggestions cheerfully accepted!

- george


Bingley, United...
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5. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

<<< What I'd really like to do is hire some form of motorized scooter to expand my exploration range beyond walking without dealing with parking headaches. >>>

Have you thought of using the bus or train?




Russell, Kansas
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6. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

If you fancy crossing the firth of forth there is a cute tearoom in North Queensferry. It is run by a little older lady who makes scrummie scones and these little carrot cakes that are delish. She also, or at least used to, have a few antique dishes, cups and saucers, etc.. on display that she would sell. I wasn't able to stop there last time I was over, now I sure wish I did. I could go for one of her scones and a cuppa right now!

The shop is small and since her offerings are very simple it is not a tourist stop. But that is why it so appeals to me.

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7. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

I lived in Edinburgh 20 years ago but go back for a week every summer. Always go for a pint at the Canny Man's, a pub on the main road through Morningside which is not to be missed. Locals rather than tourists, lots of cosy corners, an amazing display of whisky bottles among lots of other memorabilia, including old cartoons, and you can get a good meal there too.

I would agree that the Grassmarket and roads off it are worth a wander and while you're there go up to the Bridges just round the corner and have a coffee in the Elephant House..doesn't look much from the front but go through the back full of old comfy shabby wooden furniture; you can sit with a newspaper or good book and chill out ..they say J K Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter there if that's of interest.

Leith has excellent sea food restaurants and is also home to the Royal yacht though that might not be your thing!

Perhaps more interesting would be a visit to the streets which were sealed up after the plague and lay untouched for centuries; I've never done the tour but intend to next year. Tourist Information should have all the info. Go a little further up the Royal Mile and you'll find the Camera Obscura with rooftop views over the city.

Sure you will have a great visit. Don't forget to dress warmly it will probably be dry but chilly!

Kansas City
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8. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Mundo thanks Alanrow, Kansasbeck, and Scottishmags !

I appreciate all your suggestions. I really like that I am assembling a lot of ideas to choose from.

Duh. I hadn't thought that the days would be short in October. My last Edinburgh trip was in mid-summer and I fondly remember the nearly endless days. Never did get truly dark as I recall - although such late-night recollection may be just a bit pub-fuzzy. The flip side of those long days of course makes sense. About what time does sunlight fail in mid-October?

I'm also an artsy-schvartsy guy and want to visit the best modern art museum(s) in the city. Post 1900 stuff interests me the most. Which museum is that? I know there is a more comprehensive, possibly more prestigious (?) museum in Edinburgh but when the art gets too old I simply can't identify with it. The Louvre, for example, except for a few pieces (Nike of Samothace!) doesn't move me.

Are there other venues featuring interesting modern art, craft, or Scottish design that I could visit? I'm especially keen on 'applied arts' - furniture, housewares, architectural elements, etc.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is absolutely terrific - as is the Tate. What do you folks suggest for fans of such genre?

Thanks again everyone for your kind assistance which is genuinely appreciated - and will be used!

- George

Edinburgh, Scotland
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9. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Right now it gets dark at about 7pm.

For modern art, the best option is the Modern Art Gallery (funnily enough ;-)) - see the website http://www.nationalgalleries.org/ It's easy to get to from the city centre.

U.S.A. ( the land...
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10. Re: Hi Edinburghians! Tourist info please

Dankman, please allow me this quick aside :

To all who live in Edinburgh : Aren't you "Edinburghers"?

Thanks, Dankman :-)