Bank holidays, aren’t they just great? Waking up on a Sunday and realising you still have one more day off, a long weekend…pure bliss. After the last minute plans to go to Edinburgh on the previous bank holiday fell through, on a mate date to the cinema to see The Life of the Party, Sangeeta, Gillian, and I agreed we were all free and would most definitely head to Edinburgh on the next bank holiday, which just so happened to be on the 28th of May. With the most glorious weather continuing longer than usual, our trip to Edinburgh would involve a visit to Portobello beach. Yes, Edinburgh the capital of Scotland, has a beach and so many people I had told my plans to were quite oblivious to this fact. Even myself, Scottish born and bred wasn’t aware of this beach until a few years back, yet I still hadn’t visited it. We didn’t have set in stone plans other than brunch, a visit to the beach and some dinner, but I do love a touch of spontaneity and coming up with plans on the day, so on the train to the capital we added things in between these 3 concrete things on our to-do list which made for a fulfilling and busy day.
Knowing my bank holiday was going to be spent in Edinburgh was exciting, so much so, I was checking the weather on a daily basis (more than that actually) hoping for nothing but clear blue skies and rays of sunshine. I must have jinxed it as the very day before, Edinburgh was victim to rain and fog and the forecast for the next day on Met Office had went from sunshine and 20 odd degrees to 15 degrees and dark cloud. Damn it. On the train journey there (which flew in because time really does fly in when you’re having fun), we were surprised to find that in actual fact the weather forecast was wrong and my weather wishes had come true. Sunshine, and lots of it.
With Gillian being the absolute hardest of the hardcore Harry Potter fan that she is (I think you get it, she’s a BIG fan), we had to make the girl happy and accompany her on a little trip to Edinburgh’s latest Harry Potter shop, The Boy Wizard. I’m not going to pretend I absolutely obsess over Harry Potter because I’ve only watched the movies (I should be ashamed of myself I know) but Gillian’s excitement rubbed off on me and from the moment we all walked in we were suddenly persuading Gillian to buy half the shop. With a keyring and platform 9 and 3/4 clutch bag, we then headed to the next Harry Potter shop, Diagon House, which was definitely my favourite of the two. With an extra two floors to wander up to and explore, this really is what I would call traditional and full of lots of Harry Potter quirks. On the top floor you’re met with what looks like something out of the movie set with props such as wands, robes and scarves where you can transform into Hermione and snap some great pictures in character. We must have spent a good 20 minutes easily amused up here, I was in full Gryffindor attire and we hogged the top floor from all the other visitors who eagerly wanted in on the fun (I’m truly sorry). Asides from offering the Scottish edition of the Harry Potter books, you can get some of the goodies that are found on the Hogwarts Express food trolley such as chocolate frogs. Gillian opted for a packet of Bertie Botts, which made for a great spin the bottle game on the train home with some of us ending up with some not so nice flavours, fortunately I was one of the lucky ones with flavours like green apple being an absolutely treat for my tastebuds.
For lunch we had planned on going to The Elephant House, a cafe where JK Rowling actually wrote some of the Potter books over a good cup of coffee and slice of cake on the side. However, it turned out that a lot of people had the same idea as us and so badly wanted a bite to eat here, so with no tables and a queue that we were too inpatient to wait in, we headed next door to Patisserie Valerie.
One of my now favourite brunch dishes is Eggs Benedict since first trying it out in Dubai in March so that’s exactly what I got and I wasn’t disappointed, there’s just something about hollandaise sauce that keeps me coming back for more. With a coffee to wash it down we were fed, watered and ready to hit the beach. After struggling to find the correct bus stop, and getting on a bus to find out we were on the wrong side of the road, we eventually found ourselves heading in the right direction on our 20 minute journey to the seaside. With Edinburgh not being a place I visit very often and certainly with me never venturing anywhere outside of Edinburgh city centre, I couldn’t help but stare out of the window at all these new and beautiful surroundings, everything really does look so much nicer when it’s basking in the sunshine. After stepping off the bus we took the short walk and were met by one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen in Scotland, for a minute you actually forget where you are, with the heat and the postcard perfect scenery, I felt as though I had been whisked off somewhere abroad.
After playing around in the sea, doing a touch of sunbathing and falling in love with pretty much every passing dog, we wanted ice-cream. With Sangeeta and Gillian going for one scoop of mint chocolate chip (my usual go to), I was persuaded to have two scoops simply because I couldn’t choose between both the Irn Bru sorbet (it’s a famous fizzy juice here in Scotland for those who don’t know) and raspberry ripple flavoured ice-cream. With my cone in hand I was feeling the seaside vibes and couldn’t have been more grateful to have had a day away from the office with some great company and in such a great place too. If you’re ever in Edinburgh then I’d highly recommend taking a trip to this beach, it’s clean, family friendly and there’s nothing better than the feeling of warm sand in between your toes as you take a scroll alongside the water. After the beach was ticked off our to-do list, the final part of our day was to involve dinner, accompanied by a possible cocktail. We headed to Leith Walk, one of the longest streets in Edinburgh lined with restaurants, shops, bars, cafes, just you name it and it’s likely to be on this street. We had a booking at La Favorita, an award winning pizza restaurant, although there was definitely so much more than just pizza on the menu. A good old Pornstar Martini started my meal off whilst I analysed the menu, not quite sure what to go for (let me tell you, choosing between arancini and mozzarella sticks is the hardest decision ever). In the end I went for the arancini and I just want to give myself a pat on the back for such good decision making because this was one good starter. Not quite sure whether I could manage a full sized main course, I opted for a start portion of Casarecci Con Salmone Affumicato E Broccoli (I totally just had to google the menu again for this), this was a delicious creamy pasta with smoked salmon and broccoli. An unusual but good choice to say the least, and I was so glad to have went for the smaller portion because it was still enormous and I still struggled.
With no room left to even think about dessert we got the bus back to Edinburgh Waverley Station where I quickly grabbed a large caramel latte for the train journey home. A full day in Edinburgh with the best friends a girl could ask for is the best type of day, and with a combination of sun, walking (be warned, Edinburgh involves A LOT of walking, hills and stairs) and plenty of food, it’s safe to say I headed straight for the comfort of my bed when I got through the front door. I can only hope I have lots more bank holidays like this to come.