A Love Letter To Edinburgh
Written by Simon Glazin
As we celebrate our love for cities around the globe in our "My City, My Story" series, journalist and stylist Simon Glazin takes us around his personal fave – the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Nestled in the impressive Scottish hillside, it’s easy to see why Simon loves it so much and just has to visit it every year.
Being married to an actor, it was just a matter of time until the Edinburgh Festival Fringe would become a part of our annual vacation plans. It just so happens that I love the theater too, so it really was a no-brainer!
Five years later, I still get that excited, butterfly feeling - the one you get as a kid on your way to the airport. But we get the train now to avoid the lines, mad crush and having to check a bag. Yes, I do take a suitcase. It might just be four days, and we might just sit in theater after theater, but I still need to look good! So lots of clothes options are a must.
The city has a wonderful buzz when the Fringe Festival is on. Streets packed with eager theater fans, actors selling their shows to anyone who’ll listen, street performers and some locals (I guess lots of people leave the city in August!).
We always use Airbnb when we go to Edinburgh. It’s just so easy! We’ve been really lucky so far. The first couple of years we stayed in a gorgeous penthouse at the top of the hill, with views of the Tattoo: the incredible parade of bagpipe bands. This year was a cute basement apartment near St Andrew Square, in what I consider the "posh" side of town.
Although our time is spent running from one show to the next, now I make sure to leave a couple of longer gaps in between to take in the amazing sights and architecture. From almost anywhere in the city you can catch a glimpse of Edinburgh Castle, in all its Harry Potter-like glory, and wander down any street to see the almost regal 18th Century architecture - shops, cafes and houses, too.
One of my favorite roads is the Grassmarket, which snakes down from side of town to the other, right below the castle. There are restaurants, cafes, a few cashmere shops and even some Fringe venues. The colors are amazing!
Not far from here are a few of my favorite restaurants. The Witchery - again, very Harry Potter - is steeped in history. Broadway producer Andrew Lloyd Webber once described it as the prettiest restaurant ever. The walls are heavy oak, and it has deep red leather chairs and a grand, round staircase. It’s decadent dining at its best!
A new fave, and a more relaxed atmosphere than the Witchery, is Ting Thai Caravan on Teviot Place. This small but busy restaurant serves some of the best Thai street food I’ve ever had. Shared tables, food served in boxes, and very reasonable. It’s a must!
If you do visit during the Fringe, make sure you check out the food markets at each venue: they not only serve good food, but some vendors turn up in brilliant vehicles!
Hotel Tigerlily is worth a visit, too. It’s a 15 minute walk from Waverly station (Edinburgh’s main train station) and is located in a grand townhouse. The interior is incredible, with lots of quirks: printed wallpaper, a faux garden wall and lots of hanging bird cages in all different colors.
I can’t leave Edinburgh without visiting Greyfriars Bobby: it's a statue of a Skye Terrier who, they say, spent 14 years patrolling his owner's grave until his own death in January 1872. I’m a dog person, what can I say!