I’m currently up in Edinburgh (or home, as I call it) for some time away from London and some festival fun. It has been wonderful to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and see some brilliant shows.
My recommendations are below. Even though I have friends in most of them, I am not just being biased. The shows are kick ass.
‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis’ 6.45pm St Stephens Church for a Scottish feel good musical.
‘USHERS: Front of House Musical’ 9.30pm St Stephens Church for a tongue-in-cheek stagey laugh and touching performances.
‘Bebe and Luna Present…The Cabaret Farce’ 10pm @ St Stephens Church for a sexy, faaaabulous burlesque cabaret.
‘Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens’ 11pm at the Caves for a filthy, camp, hysterical musical of debauchery and a good cock blast!
‘Goodstock‘ 2pm @ Pleasance Courtyard for a funny, moving play by a woman with the BRCA1 gene.
‘Trainspotting’ on at various evening times at Assembly George Square. I haven’t actually been lucky enough to see this one in Edinburgh as it’s selling out so well but I saw it at the Kings Head theatre in London and it was hard-hitting and immersive. Really special play.
I decided to have a wee trip down memory lane and Adam and I spent a day visiting the places we used to work, as a customer this time. We first had a little jaunt into Niddry Wynd with Auld Reekie Tours on their Original Underground Tour. It was the first tour of the day at 12pm and our guide Fiona (who was first a guide just before I left about 5/6 years ago and has returned for the summer) was welcoming, engaging and funny. Although the stories were sparse and a bit rushed, I did feel like we got quality time in the vaults to imagine what life may have been like for 50 people living in a single dark room with no windows. Pretty grim! As I’ve always felt, the script seemed to focus more on ghost stories and the supernatural with less actual history to back it up but I understand it is a ghost tour after all! Plenty of weird things happened on my tours and I was led to believe they continue to do so. Even as a complete skeptic, Adam felt a little bit uneasy at one point! I think a lot about energies and atmospheres and this place really has something in the air. We entered a vault which I never used to take tour groups into because I hated it so much and instantly my pulse quickened and I felt uncomfortable being there. It was really interesting to go back and it brought back lots of memories and stories to my mind.
We then battled up the royal mile – Adam using the ‘lanyard wanker’ technique to avoid the mass of flyerers – to the Scotch Whisky Experience at the top of the mile. Everything was looking swanky and refurbished and we jumped in a barrel, grabbed a Glencairn* and had a wonderful old time. I chose the Highland whisky on the tour (Glengoyne, which I know I like) and Adam chose to have a smoky Islay whisky (which is this case was the yummy Caol Ila 12). We were taken through a guided tasting and shown around the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky (over 3,400 bottles!). The tour concluded in the bar and of course it felt rude not to treat ourselves to another dram. I fancied a rich, sherry finished whisky and was recommended the cask strength Strathisla 19, a limited edition bottling. It was just gorgeous. Adam decided to try another smoky whisky and I wondered if he would enjoy Ardbeg. The knowledgable barmen and women recommended Ardbeg Corryvrecken which (at 57.1% proof) totally blew my head off but was very scrummy. Many thanks to the team at the SWE for a slick and personable experience. It really is a must-do whilst in Edinburgh**.
Feeling a little tipsy, we decided it best to head to Adam’s old workplace Ghillie Dhu. It’s a real hidden gem which is often ignored during the festival because it is a little away from the madness of the mile, being tucked away at the West End of Princes Street. We embraced our roots with a delicious starter to share of haggis, neeps*** and tatties**** in a whisky sauce. I then had a lovely main of salmon with a tomato crust, roasted vegetables and creamy mash, whilst Adam had a huge portion of the classic fish and chips. I also treated myself to a bottle of my favourite Edinburgh brew – Innis and Gunn, which is a must try if you are here! Finally, we split a warm chocolate brownie with Scottish tablet flavoured ice cream, which again was just delicious. I would thoroughly recommend Ghillie Dhu for reasonably priced, quality food in an intimate and characterful setting or for a unique spot for weekend drinks. They also do a great breakfast menu and most excitingly, a weekend ceilidh. If you’ve never been to a Scottish ceilidh before, I urge you to head to Ghillie Dhu on a Friday or Saturday night. You’ll have a cracking night of traditional Scottish music, group and partner dancing and the best laugh you will have had in a while!
So, there we have my big Edinburgh day out. It was so nice to take some time out of seeing shows and drinking all the gin to re-visit some old workplaces and feel like a tourist. I’d love to know your favourite places to go and things to do in Edinburgh, so do let me know!
Take a trip down memory lane and maybe make some new ones!
Slainte Mhath – To Your Good Health
…Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there
The meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will beginRead more: CATS – Memory Lyrics | MetroLyrics
*A fancy little curvaceous glass that is considered the best to drink whisky in.
**A much better idea than getting a deep fried mars bar. Honestly, it’s 1200 calories. Not worth it lads.
***Turnips, to you English folk. Not parsnips as my Welsh flatmate once presumed.
****Potatoes. See also –> tattie scone