Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Holiday in Northumberland – Day 4 (of 7): Edinburgh

I think it rained all night here! Looking at the forecast, it looks as though it’ll be dry in Edinburgh during our journey there by train – and then rain, rain and even more rain just as we arrive!

Welcome to Scotland!

Last time we were here was in August 2008 for The Fringe (it’s a long way for a haircut, but worth it!)
Confused smile
We set off late-morning for Alnmouth station, about 25 minutes’ drive away. We’d pre-booked the tickets (1st Class!), as Alnmouth was just an hour away into Edinburgh. What we hadn’t factored in was the ‘challenging’ car-parking situation. Although this is a tiny Station, it’s obviously very, very popular, and this meant that by 11.30, when we arrived, there were no parking spaces left at all. So, we did what every other local does around here - and just parked in a side street!

Just as we left the car, it started to rain even harder, so the only news we needed when we arrived on the platform was an on-time train. Bad luck there was a delay – and it was getting longer, bottoming out at just ten minutes behind schedule.

Finally, the train arrived, and semi-soaked after the short walk from the platform shelter to the carriage door, we headed for First Class. It was my first time in these posh Virgin train seats - and it was all good. Large comfy chairs and the offer of a bacon-butty soon after we settled sealed the deal!


We arrived in Waverley Street just before 12.15, with the rain getting there a few minutes before us! First stop was a short, walk up the Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle.




It was my first visit inside the Castle, and there was plenty to see. Not just the stunning views from the top, but the various exhibits inside




This had been a great experience. There was much more here than we’d imagined, and even if you’re only slightly into old castles, it’s worth the walk, to experience all that Edinburgh Castle has to offer.

As we left the Castle, guess what?, it was now raining even harder (if that were possible). We only walked about 400 metres and even with an umbrella, we were soaked. Time to seek refuge in an eatery, preferable one very close by. After ignoring a few because they were so busy, we settled for a tiny little Bistro called St Giles.


The food was delicious and sensibly priced too! The service was so quick, we almost didn’t have time to fully dry out!

Forty-five minutes later, both suitably stuffed, we ventured out, heading for the main shops - and luckily, the rain had stopped! A quick yomp around M&S topping-up my shirt collection (thanks Ann!), was followed by our fave shop here – Jenners, now owned by the mighty House of Fraser. We love this store, and even with the new(ish) owners, one always still feels like you’ve travelled back to the world of Grace Brothers on every visit!


With our retail fix, err, fixed, our final stop for the day was The National Gallery of Scotland.





It was just as we remembered it: full of great paintings in an unhurried display space. We only did a quick tour and then headed back with a little time to spare before out 17.00 departure. We found the Virgin First Class Lounge and grabbed a free coffee and a snack (biscuits or crisps – all a bit disappointing!). Still, this was more than made up for when we boarded the train. A substantial menu including a good range of drinks. I managed to resist, but Ann checked out the Brie Tartlette (and having nicked a mouthful or two, I can confirm it was delicious!!!)
Smile
We arrived back at Alnmouth Station. The rain had stopped, only to be replaced by a thick mist, which lasted most of the way back to Craggy.

Feet up for the rest of the evening!

It’s been a good great day in Edinburgh, spoilt only by the rain – and Edinburgh’s rain does seem to be wetter than anywhere else!
Confused smile
Tomorrow: A lazy wander round Alnwick followed by some spa treatments in the afternoon.