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As one strangely named storm follows another battering the country, we naturally like to cheer ourselves up with wishful thoughts about leisurely walks in the sun when spring finally decides to appear.
As many visitors are naturally drawn to city centre attractions and the mysteries of the Old Town and the Castle, I want to talk about a surprisingly little-promoted attraction just a mile or so north from 28 York Place, namely Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.
There you can discover a natural history which now celebrating a 350 years anniversary, and walk around 70 acres of beautiful landscape in the heart of the city. The best time to visit the gardens is obviously in springtime, as nature comes to life. However, even now if we ever get a rare dry day, the trees may not be in leaf and you will get stunning views across the rooftops of the New Town and up to the Castle and the High Street.
Getting there is easy, and you can also enjoy a beautiful walk. Take a left when you leave 28 York Place and then take a leisurely stroll down bohemian Broughton Street, before crossing the imposing London Street. Keep to the left-hand side and sweep around the elegant curve of Bellevue Crescent, with the tower of Bellevue church at its heart. If you glance across the road you will see the local Drummond High School. This was actually the site of the city’s first zoo in the 1840’s.
Carry on down the hill and you come to Canonmills, crossing the bridge over the Water of Leith, before passing the architectural gem of Warriston Crescent (dating back to 1807) on your right then and stylish villas and terraces of Inverleith Row (dating from the 1820’s). This is all part of a wider conservation area that includes the ‘Botanics’ and the neighbouring Inverleith Park.
Entering the East gate at Inverleith Row, you can then enjoy walking through one of the world’s leading botanical gardens and all that it has to offer.
To get more details on the countless things to see and do at the ‘Botanics’ visit their website.
Once you have enjoyed your time you can then amble through Inverleith Park, down to the famous pond, the home of the Edinburgh Model Boat Club (established in 1920) then back through upwardly mobile Raeburn Place to Stockbridge, where if you are doing this walk on a Sunday, you can visit the weekly market.
Then to recharge and refresh, stop at the Bailie just across the road from the market, one of Edinburgh’s most renowned pubs. The site of a hostelry since 1870, the Bailie is little changed since its current incarnation in 1972, and it is the home to excellent cask ales, wines and freshly cooked meals.
Appetite satisfied, you can walk back through the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town; through Royal Circus, up Howe Street, along Great King Street to Drummond Place and then up Dublin Street until you finally reach the west end of York Place. This stroll is perfect in the spring sunshine, and you can then retire to our bar at 28 York Place and recount your journey with us.
Where to eat haggis is one of the questions our guests regularly ask us, so we're here to introduce you to Scotland's national dish.
What is haggis?
Haggis is basically like an oaty, spicy mince and each haggis maker will have a slightly different recipe. We source our haggis from our butcher Campbell's Meat. We've tried lots of varieties but it's our favourite.
The Campbells Meat haggis recipe dates back over 100 years when John Campbell created the original recipe. It is now made by the 4th generation of the family. It's the same traditional recipe, created using only the finest ingredients. Including fresh Scottish lamb, oats and our secret blend of seasoning. Campbell’s even cater to those who don’t eat meat with their Vegetarian Haggis.
It is the most common meal to have on the 25th of January, to celebrate the birthday of Scotland's National Bard: Robert Burns. It is a dish that is usually accompanied by neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes) and a wee dram of whisky.
Where can I see a wild Haggis?
Sadly, we have to disappoint you - you won't be able to find a wild haggis roaming the Scottish hills. A poll carried out by Hall's of Broxburn revealed 33% of US visitors believe the haggis to be an animal. Wild haggis is a fictional creature of Scottish folklore.
According to legend, the wild haggis' left and right legs are of different lengths, allowing it to run quickly around the steep mountains and hillsides which make up its natural habitat, but only in one direction. It is further claimed that there are two varieties of haggis, one with longer left legs and the other with longer right legs. The former variety can run clockwise around a mountain (as seen from above) while the latter can run anticlockwise. The two varieties coexist peacefully but are unable to interbreed in the wild because in order for the male of one variety to mate with a female of the other, he must turn to face in the same direction as his intended mate, causing him to lose his balance before he can mount her. As a result of this difficulty, differences in leg length among the haggis population are accentuated.
Where to eat haggis in Edinburgh?
During your stay you can enjoy Campbell's Scottish Haggis in our Full Scottish Breakfast. Alternatively, if you'd like to enjoy a traditional haggis, neeps and tatties here are some of our favourite spots to enjoy our national dish.
Where is your favourite place to eat haggis in Edinburgh?