Travel

What to do in Edinburgh

A weekend in (Haymarket) Edinburgh | The complete guide for what to do in Edinburgh! 

I have to be honest usually I am a Glasgow kind of gal myself but as it was a special occasion. So, I decided to arrange an overnight in Edinburgh for my mum’s 40th birthday. I thought I would review everything from the travel to the hotel to the food and of course pricing! I planned the full thing myself with a group of 8 people, which isn’t easy! But it was a successful overnight I would say. 

We got the 16:22 train from Carstairs straight to Haymarket which was great. I love how accessible Edinburgh is from Carstairs. The train was really quiet, which I put down to COVID. We were also able to drink on the train as no one was around us and there were no ticket stewards – but sadly a ticket barrier at the station.

The train was around forty minutes but two bottles of prosecco down it felt like ten minutes. The train costs 8.50 for a single, which doesn’t seem too bad for going to Edinburgh, but I can’t imagine working there and paying more than that every day? Daylight robbery! 

What to do in Edinburgh - before leaving for the train

The Leonardo Royal – The Hotel 

I got pretty lucky with the hotel if I am honest. I managed to get 3 rooms for 240, for 8 people that’s only 30 pounds! A bargain. I was half expecting the hotel to be a shambles for paying that price but it was beautiful. It took quite a while to check in because they had lost my booking – can you imagine my stress levels? But after confirming a million emails they finally found our rooms. We got top floor rooms which were great – or so we thought – sadly there was only one lift in operation but due to COVID, no one wanted to share a lift with strangers, so it was a bit of a wait. 

I had got my make-up done beforehand, as did most of the girls and I am so glad we did. After the train and getting checked in, we only had less than forty minutes before we had to leave for dinner. I managed to add a quick curl to my hair, which of course fell out the minute I hit the fresh air, but it was still beautiful. 

What to do in Edinburgh - The Leonardo hotel

The hotel was really central and was no more than a 7-minute walk to the station, bar or restaurant which I think is amazing! Messing around getting taxis and transport can be difficult in larger groups so this was a must for me. We didn’t use the bar or restaurant in the hotel. I bought 3 cans of cola to use as mixers for vodka that I had brought and it was 7 pounds – 2.50 a can – which is very pricey considering I can pay around 70p a can in a shop. 

The room itself was pretty small but then again, I really can’t moan for the price. We had a twin room with a pullout bed. The rooms were clean, comfy, and exactly what we needed, somewhere to pass out when we were too drunk. I would stay here again.

Mia’s Restaurant – Italian  

This was probably my favorite thing about the whole trip! First of all, it was one of the only places who would take a booking of 8 people so I was thankful for that. When we got there we were greeted and sat at our table. It was fancy enough but not too fancy where we felt out of place – hope that makes sense. 

We then ordered some drinks. I and a few of the other girls ordered a bottle of rose wine for the table and it was only 16 pounds, which I think is a great price for nice rose wine. For my starter, I had the lentil soup with bread. I didn’t take any pictures because I was too quick to eat but you can take my word for it, it was the best lentil soup I’ve ever had. 

 

What to do in Edinburgh - Me and Samantha as Mia Restaurant

For my main I had the penne arrabiata as I was in the mood for something a little spicy. It also had roasted tomatoes through it with garlic and chilli oil. Unbelievable. I shared a portion of chunky chips with Gemma as my side. I ate the full thing within minutes. 

For 2 courses and we split two bottles of wine. I was only 26 pounds (33 as we split my mum’s meal, of course) I would love to go back as the service, food and drink was all ten out of ten. 

The Jolly Botanist – Bar 

Again, this was one of the only places that would take a group of 8 people like a lot of the places was 6 max. I was really lucky to get this booking. If you’re a fan of gin, this is the place to go in Edinburgh. My mum loves gin so I thought it was only fair to book a gin bar for her birthday. We got there just before 9 pm and our table was ready. I didn’t enjoy sitting on the high chairs, but I understand this was all they had available. As it was table service we decided to order two drinks each as we didn’t want to be waiting around for drinks. Getting used to the new COVID rules is difficult but I guess that’s the new norm. I got a Tanqueray gin with lemonade and a passion fruit gin mojito which was amazing! All in for 8 people for 2 drinks each we were 80 pounds, which is reasonably cheap when you’re buying cocktails. 

Due to the new rules, they couldn’t play any music or have any entertainment on, which I didn’t think would bother me, but who doesn’t love a dance? We met some friends and decided to go down the street as they could take more of us at one table. 

What to do in Edinburgh - Me and my mum at the jolly botanist

Platform 5 – Bar 

This place felt more like normality, you could still order at the bar along with table service, although they didn’t have any music. A few of us decided to do rounds of prosecco, which was only 18 pounds a bottle. Whenever I have been out previously, it’s almost impossible to get a bottle of prosecco for less than 40 pounds so we were ecstatic. 

We also ordered a round of shots of sourz along with some sambucas. As you can imagine this was a hangover waiting to happen. The shots were 3.25 each which isn’t too bad but can be expensive when in large groups. The bar was a lot quieter and sadly shut at 11 pm. We ended up going back to the hotel, ordering a domino’s, and hitting the hay. 

Overall the night was a success but I have to be honest, I much prefer a night out in Glasgow. Hope this has given you a guide on what to do in Edinburgh. 

 

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