Christmas Eve dawned cold and grey (an ongoing theme of the trip…) so we took the opportunity to get a slow start before heading out to our first stop.
Every Saturday at 12pm you’ll find any number of Ian Rankin devotees making their way to The Royal Oak pub on Infirmary Street for the one and only Official Rebus Tour. Founded in 2000, this weekly two-hour tour takes you into the story world of Scotland’s most notorious detective and the cases that made him the legend he is. We got lucky and got the gregarious tour guide, Colin, all to ourselves. His gruff Scottish accent is brilliant (he would be amazing narrating audiobooks) and his wry humour will have you laughing until your sides hurt.
As a fan of the books (I finished the latest one just last week!) I loved every second, especially the moments where Colin jokingly (at least, I think he was kidding…) gave G a hard time because he hasn’t read them. Thankfully the tour also includes lots of interesting Edinburgh history meaning there really is something for everyone! I highly recommend the tour and you can find lots of info here.
After thanking Colin and grabbing a picture for the album (I couldn’t look happier about having done the tour, could I?) we headed towards Holyrood Palace to start our ascent up the Royal Mile. The sun even decided to make an appearance!
We didn’t get very far before we detoured towards A) warmth and B) delicious sugar at Mimi’s Bakehouse. It was – without a doubt – the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. We may have detoured to Mimi’s several times during the trip…
Feeling warmed inside and out we continued on, stopping in every shop along the way as I was on a hunt for Scottish cashmere. We eventually came to St Giles Cathedral and popped inside – you know how much I love stained glass and vaulted ceilings!
From there it was a hop, skip and a jump to Edinburgh Castle. As we’ve both explored it at length on past trips we decided to forego the Edinburgh staple this time around. Instead we browsed Edinburgh’s biggest tourist shop (because why not) and I got the Scottish scarf of my dreams.
By the time we were done shopping night had descended (well, it looked like night but was probably actually only 5pm). We had spotted the Christmas Market in Princes Street Garden so headed in that direction, passing the various closes off the Royal Mile which were beautifully decorated for the festive season.
The relative quiet of the Old Town disappeared as we rounded the Balmoral Hotel (pictured above) and entered the Christmas Market.
^ Told you.
We knew we would be coming back to the market on our last day and would have time to brose the stalls then so after a cursory glance around we made a beeline for the primary draw – the Christmas tree maze!
Though it was clearly designed for children you would be hard pressed to find two kids as excited as G and I. Christmas trees! Lights! A maze! We purposely took it slowly to try to drag out the experience for as long as possible. Because we’re cool like that.
Eventually we had to wave goodbye to the wonderful maze and make our way back to the hotel for our dinner reservation…but not before we made one more stop at one of my favourite holiday highlights – the Street of Lights – in the New Town.
Make sure you check back in tomorrow when I’ll be sharing our Christmas and Boxing Day adventures!