We’ve fallen in love with Edinburgh. Home to one of our newest stores, Scotland’s capital city is a magical place for a weekend away, with a cinematic, story-book spirit which, in Britain, is rivalled only by our hometown of Cambridge.
Edinburgh is divided into two very distinct parts: the Old Town, all winding cobbled lanes and hidden gardens, and the New Town, with its wide streets and elegant Georgian buildings. Last week we gave ourselves two days to get to know the city and its hidden nooks and crannies; we decided to tackle one part of the city each day of our trip. Read on for the first instalment of our two-part guide on how to spend a very ‘CSC’ 48 hours in Edinburgh.
DAY ONE – OLD TOWN
OUR NEW HOME: THE CAMBRIDGE SATCHEL COMPANY
Earlier this year we opened the doors to our brand new home in the very heart of the Old Town. The store is situated on West Bow, just off Victoria Street, one of the prettiest parts of the city, which spirals down into the Grassmarket. A must visit for locals and tourists, fans of the company can find our complete collection; from traditional satchels and backpacks in classic colours to newer styles in bold, bright hues – we mean it when we say there’s something that everyone will love. In store you can also shop our exclusive tartan and tweed trunks as well as our Edinburgh exclusive Saddle Bag in Navy and Clay (but more on that later!). Our store manager Jen and her team would love to see you, so make sure you pop in and say hello. They also know the local area like the back of their hand, so if we were you, we’d take advantage of their expertise and recommendations.
CAKE LOVERS UNITE: LOVECRUMBS
It’s no secret that we’re big on sweet things. Whenever we visit a new city, we make it our mission to seek out the best tea and cake shop around and our Edinburgh venture was no different. In life, we’re very rarely lost for words…but the cake in local bakery Lovecrumbs left us speechless, at least until we’d finished our slice, anyway (and ordered another!). A stone’s throw from our store in the Grassmarket, you’ll find it sandwiched between the city’s best vintage shops and second hand book sellers. A business set up by two Edinburgh-born and bred cake enthusiasts, we love everything about this place – from the mismatched furniture to the ‘shoes-off please’ window seat (the perfect spot for people-watching). With a banana bundt that Mary and Paul would be proud of and a Violet & Kumquat cake that we can only describe as ‘heavenly’, your sweet tooth will thank you for this one.
A WHOLE LOT OF HISTORY: EDINBURGH CASTLE
The most famous of all the Scottish Castles, the oldest part of Edinburgh Castle (St Margaret’s Chapel) dates from the 12th Century. Outside is pretty magnificent but inside, you can find the Honours of Scotland (the Crown Jewels), the Stone of Destiny, the National War Museum of Scotland and more. It’s the most visited of all Scottish tourist attractions and whether you’re in Edinburgh for the first or fortieth time, nothing quite encapsulates the spirit of the city more than wandering around its halls and corridors.
SHOPPING TIME: VICTORIA STREET & THE GRASSMARKET
A colourful, vibrant hub of independent retailers and traders, you could easily spend hours getting lost in the wonders of the Grassmarket. Lining the cobbled streets you’ll find the quaint Old Town Bookshop, The Isle of Skype Candle Company, Museum Context (packed full of quirky gifts) and the famous Mellis Cheese shop. We’ve already declared our love for Mary’s Milk Bar in our Weekend Bucket List post, but the ice-cream really is other-wordly, so make sure you stop by and see what all the fuss is about.
GET ARTY: THE RED DOOR GALLERY
A toast to local illustrators and artists, the Red Door Gallery celebrates the eccentric, creative spirit of Edinburgh. Displaying designs from over 100 local emerging artists, visitors can expect to take home something completely unique. We had to stop ourselves from buying everything in there (thank goodness for luggage restrictions on our return flight!) but the staff informed us that all the prints are available to buy online too so everyone can get a little taste of the gallery, wherever they are in the world.
VISIT A LEGEND: GREYFRIARS BOBBY
A story that would melt even the coldest of hearts, Greyfriars Bobby is a Skye Terrier who is rumoured to have sat by his master’s grave for 14 years after his death. Deemed ‘the most devoted dog in the history of Scotland’, after Bobby himself died in 1872, a statue was erected in 1876 just metres from the gravesite where his master was buried. Today, there’s even a pub named after him and the statue makes a tranquil spot for tourists and locals to visit and remember the story of the dog who remained loyal to his master against all odds.