Style of the City’s Sanya Mahajan recently explored the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, and here she explains why you should too. 

Four days, one city and still it felt there was so much more to explore.

Standing at the station of Edinburgh Waverly, you get a glimpse of the magical city with so much history, that it keeps you second guessing on what actually went down there.

Scotland’s capital built on the shoulder of an extinct volcano is the most glorious place on earth if you excuse the weather. The dynamic city is enchanting with its night life, corner cafes and mysteries. Every cobbled path leading to a new and exciting discovery. The dark charcoal buildings scream history but when the sun does shine, there is nothing better than to sink in the view of the pink and orange buildings shining gloriously.

Auld Reekie became a common term used to describe Edinburgh in the early 18th Century due to the city’s large population and unhealthy living conditions. Though the city is renowned for its splendid architecture, serene surroundings and nature, the conditions were a bit different during the 17th Century. Being overcrowded and enclosed by the wall, the city of Edinburgh though protected itself from the great invasion, but the foul smell that arose from Nor’Loch, had the entire city covered in a reeking stench, which lead to the name- The Auld Reekie, which when translated is ‘Old Smokey’.

Like the many wonders in this city, another questionable mystery was the underground vaults. Right in the middle of Edinburgh’s royal mile, constructed under the monumental south bridge are a total of 120 vaults that were initially made for the purpose of storage spaces and small business hubs for Cobblers, taverns, cutlers and smelters. However, the bridge being prone to flooding caused people to take out their businesses and it soon became home for the very poorest and most disreputable sections of society. Many of the rooms housed families of more than ten people. With no fresh air and poor sanitary conditions, the damp, claustrophobic vaults were soon plagued with crime including robbery and murder.

With such great pains and indelible history, the city stands strong and rich with its culture and heritage. Being an inspiration for the famous Harry Potter series, The Elephant cafe in Old Town is where J.K Rowling brought her characters to life. The Victorian street hosts the perfect Harry Potter themed stores, giving the magical feels of Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley. Walking past the colourful stores on the Victoria street is like walking down a yellow brick road, where you know it’s all going to end well.

The Elephant Cafe

The cobblestones and hills are not the place to test those new high boots, the best way to roam around is to get the comfy gears on. Bustling with tourists almost the whole year round, the royal mile and the princess street hosts the perfect shopping avenue. 

Laid around the Castle and gardens, the city’s remarkable rectangular layout keeps everything within a walk able distance.

Decorated with the city’s charm, every pub has its own aesthetics, and a good old whiskey to try. Known all too well for the Scottish whiskey, the town is also famous for Gin. The Edinburgh Gin distillery in West end gives exotic flavours a new twist! Fancy a rose and pomegranate gin with a hint of Elderflower? Then that’s the place to try!

The national highlander dish made from mass of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onions, oatmeal and spices has a fearsome reputation.

However, some cafes do serve a basic Haggis, which savours the same flavours and is worth a shot.

Author – Sanya Mahajan

All images courtesy of Visit Scotland.

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