Finding Music, Eye-balls and Harry Potter in Edinburgh

Finding Music, Eye-balls and Harry Potter in Edinburgh

Before I had even arrived in England and long before we planned our Ultimate British Road Trip, Edinburgh was a pin prick on the map. In actual fact, our whole month in Scotland was based around it.

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At some point last year I was looking for gigs in the UK for Becks birthday and saw The Naked & Famous would be around. A perfect pressie for Becks because she can barely shower without belting out ‘Higher’ in the oh so forgiving acoustics of the bathroom. One of their gigs was in Edinburgh and the thought of flying up to Scotland for a long weekend (over Valentines day no less) seemed very European… So of course I wrapped the tickets in a box and wished Becks happy Birthday.

 

Fast forward a few months and my housesitting road trip began to unfold. I applied for my first sit in Lochinver in Scotland’s wild west and was accepted… and just like that there were two pin pricks on the map… One. Month. Apart. And we were destined to fill the gap.

 

Scottish Road Trip - Edinburgh

 

Oh we filled that gap well… 2 house sits, a zip around the North Coast 500, a road trip in the Isle of Skye and an adventure in the Trossachs and finally our little blue Civic was hitting peak hour traffic below Edinburgh Castle. An hour after that we were sitting on our double bed surrounded by The Dandy comics, our room in Grassmarket was tiny but certainly colourful. Plus right outside is the place where Edinburgh performed its public hangings, the cities oldest pub and the street which inspired JK Rowlings Diagon Alley. Our first introduction into Edinburgh’s history was spellbinding and yet we knew we were only at the tip of the iceberg.

 

Edinburgh - Grassmarket hotel
Gig ready & The Dandy

 

Like everyone before us we felt overwhelmed at where to start. People come to Edinburgh for its food, music scene, museums, history, architecture, scenic walks, castle and pubs but what about us, why were we here. Our gig was the very first night so we dressed our best and were led into one of Edinburgh’s iconic underground venues. After this we decided to find live music every night, not only for the harmonies but for the venues and the solitary walk around the city by lamplight which was lucky because we wound up in some very unusual places.

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During our first day we let our feet do the guiding, opting to walk via the most crooked alleyways and creepiest graveyards but we noticed something was missing. Despite being beautiful the walls weren’t talking, without a guide we’d never hear Edinburgh’s gossip. Thankfully Sandemans (we have no affiliation with them their tours are FREE) offer a heavenly introduction to anyone who wants to know Edinburgh’s good, bad and ugly stories, with most of them being very ugly indeed. At the tours finale we tipped our guide and moved on feeling smug with our newfound knowledge.

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We paid a visit to the National Museum, racing around in its closing hours to find Dolly the cloned sheep, a preserved ‘guillotine’ and dinosaur skeletons. On our final day we even stumbled upon the Surgeons’ Hall Museums (£6.50pp) and learned about the role Edinburgh has in the advances of surgery. It even documents the occupational separation of barbers and surgeons. With rows of pickled jars depicting every part of the human body this is a fascinating place. Famous surgeons such as Robert Knox and Charles Bell have offered their their specimens to the museum. A dried uterus, skeleton with rickets, lungs with pneumonia, severed limbs, removed abscesses and eyeballs with glaucoma. There’s even a pocketbook made from William Burke’s skin. And… if you can stomach it,  real-life examples of the instruments Surgeons have used throughout time. It’s as fascinating as it is horrifying and we were immersed for hours.

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Edinburgh surgeons museum

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But on a lighter note we also made time for Harry Potter to enter our lives. Eating croissants where JK Rowling wrote about her beloved character and seeking out tombstones with names startlingly similar to his enemies.

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It might sound strange but Edinburgh reminded us of Rome. It’s one of those iconic places that you will only get to know in your own way. For example, we spent money on music, dark beers, museums and tours but saved money by blending our own shakes for breakfast (using outside to keep our goods refrigerated) and walking rather than taking a bus tour. It’s very likely that you would do it differently. But one things for certain, we all come out loving what we’ve made of Edinburgh, it’s just too hard not to.

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The Naked and Famous at the Liquid Lounge on The Grassmarket

Edinburgh -The Naked and Famous
Alisa – The Naked and Famous

 

A grumpy accordion player in a dodgy underground bar Becks found

Edinburgh live music
Grumpy Accordion Player at some grunge bar

 

Our free walking tour around Old Town.

Edinburgh - free city tour
Straight On Tour….. ?? Oh that’s bad!

 

Walking around Edinburgh castle at night and by streetlight

Edinburgh by night
Edinburgh by night – The Royal Mile
Edinburgh by night
Will you be my Valentines?

 

The Elephant cafe where JK Rowling wrote the first pages of Harry Potter

Edinburgh - Harry Potter, the Elephant House
Harry Potter Fandom

 

Edinburgh - Harry Potter, the Elephant House
Following JK Rowling’s footsteps – Geeky-licous

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Peter Pettigrew is in this graveyard

Finding Peter Pettigrew in the Grave Yard, Edinburgh

 

Getting rained on (authentically Edinbrugh-ish)

Grassmarket, Edinburgh

 

The first maiden (a guillotine with a flat blade) in the National Museum

Scotland National Museum - Original Maiden, Edinburgh

 

Trying out our breakdown cover for the first time… in a long term car park (No expense spared).

Edinburgh, straight detour breakdown

 

Soaking in the ancient skyline from hidden alleyways and nooks

Street photography, Edinburgh

Street photography, Edinburgh

Street photography, Edinburgh

Street photography, Edinburgh

Street photography, Edinburgh

Street photography, Edinburgh

 

 


 

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Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-six year old Aussie who for the past five years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of Asia. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the Americas where she writes about her adventures. Her travel ideals are simple: Plans are not made, visa are not obtained and routes are not sketched out, but wherever she ends up you can be sure she’ll be writing about it.

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.
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