Granturismo Project visiting Edinburgh in January 2011

I’m excited to see that the Granturismo Project being undertaken by Lara Dunston and Terry Carter will culminate in the two globe-trotting travel writers spending two weeks in Edinburgh in January 2011. They’ve chosen a great property in Edinburgh’s historic New Town to base their stay.

Over the course of the last year, it’s been entertaining to dip in and out of their posts to see what their latest adventure or discovery has been as they make their way slowly around the Globe, staying in vacation rental homes in each of their destinations. Self-catering holiday property stays are favoured by more and more travellers who like the options to eat out or eat in, get up late, or get up early – in short to enjoy freedom to relax and enjoy slowing down and remembering to savour cultural and local highlights wherever they choose to spend their precious days away from normal routine.

I look forward to seeing what culinary discoveries they make when exploring Edinburgh – they’ll be able to buy a great range of Scotland’s best produce at the weekly Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, and I’m sure they’ll be sampling haggis, whisky and shortbread. A personal favourite would also be a trip to Clark’s Fishmongers in Musselburgh. Where else in Edinburgh do you think we should recommend they visit to source local delicacies?

Signboard from Clark's Fishmongers, Edinburgh

Clark's Musselburgh

Edinburgh – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Edinburgh St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral

When you stay at Craigwell Cottage you are staying in a building which is sited in the World Heritage Site – the former Craigwell Brewery at Nether Craigwell.

While you are on holiday here, I wonder how you will tell your friends about your travels and adventures? Times are certainly changing in the way that we communicate with our friends as we travel. If, like me, you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, you’re probably posting photographs and little snippets of information about your travels – texting or sending emails from your smartphone or using the Sodasnap app to send little virtual postcards to friends and family.

But back in the 1700’s when visitors came to Edinburgh, if they wanted to tell others about their travels they would send letters about their adventures, which would have taken weeks to arrive and been carried by a variety of means involving stage coaches and horses.

One such traveller was a gentleman named Edward Topham who came to Edinburgh in 1774 and wrote letters to his friends in London telling tales of what he found here. The Edinburgh World Heritage site has recently put together a series of small video clips about the Edinburgh Adventures of Edward Topham which are most entertaining. They’ve been filmed on location around Edinburgh and are an interesting insight into the world of the traveller to Edinburgh in those times.

How will you record your visit to Edinburgh? Do you think people of the future will be writing about your letters, diaries, blogs, photographs or video clips in 200 years time?

A walk round Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park from Craigwell Cottage

A walk round Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park from Craigwell Cottage

One of the popular activities for guests who stay at Craigwell Cottage is to take a walk round Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park.

views over St Margaret's loch to the forth

If you head for the Scottish Parliament at the end of the Royal Mile, then you can pick up the route from there no matter where you’re staying!

climbing Arthur's Seat

The route is just under 4 miles, and it is quite steep at the start, but you will want to take frequent stops to allow for taking photographs and maybe making little videos, so allow a couple of hours. There are no restrooms on the route, and no shops, so if it is a hot day it would be advisable to take a bottle of water with you and make sure you put on some sunscreen. A good stout pair of walking shoes or trainers (sneakers) should suffice, and after the first mile or so the route follows a tarmac pavement. The ‘off road’ part of the walk is along a rough track which is wide enough for 3 people to walk side by side, but do take care as the ground falls away very steeply beside the path, so don’t get too close to the edge.

To pick up the path in front of Salisbury Crags, keep the Scottish Parliament building to your right, but stay on that side of the road, crossing Queen’s Drive and turning left along the side of the cycle track on the south side of Queen’s Drive. You should see a short flight of steps leading up to the track – turn right there and start your climb. Follow the track until you descend to Queen’s Drive, then follow it round the south side of Arthur’s Seat, passing Duddingston Loch and Dunsapie Loch and then descending to pass St Margaret’s Loch and returning to your starting point near Holyrood Palace.

There are many opportunities for photography, and if you’ve timed your walk to finish in time for “elevenses” or afternoon tea, then we’d be happy to recommend a visit to Hemma Bar, Sugarhouse Sandwiches, Clarinda’s Tearoom or the Queen’s Gallery Cafe.

Local Shops for Self-Catering at Craigwell Cottage, Edinburgh

Local Shops for Self-Catering at Craigwell Cottage, Edinburgh

One of the first things that you will want to do on arrival at Craigwell Cottage is to make sure that you have arranged sufficient supplies to cater for your immediate needs. We do leave small supplies of tea, coffee, salt, pepper, sugar for you, but if you have a requirement for us to do some shopping ready for your arrival we’d be happy to provide this service for you. We will charge any groceries purchased at cost, with a small charge of £5 for the service. Please contact us by e-mail if you would like to discuss your requirements.

There are a couple of local convenience stores within walking distance of Craigwell Cottage which are useful for immediate needs such as bread and milk. You’ll find Canongate Stores by crossing Calton Road, going up Campbells Close opposite Nether Craigwell, and turning right when you reach the Royal Mile.  Crossing over the Royal Mile and taking one of the closes opposite will bring you to Holyrood Road where there is a small branch of Tesco Express, open long hours, for most everyday needs.

For wonderful Scottish speciality foods and treats to take home, pop in to see Beth and Fiona at Cranachan and Crowdie (pictured above) at their shop in the Canongate.  They’ll make you very welcome and may have samples to taste too.

For a traditional afternoon tea, pop in to Clarinda’s Tea Room (where Campbell’s Close meets the Royal Mile) – they open early in the morning for cooked breakfasts and you won’t be able to resist going back later in the day for reasonably priced lunches or delicious home baking and pots of tea.

The nearest Marks and Spencer Simply Food store is in Waverley Station, which is a short walk up Calton Road. You’ll find the entrance to Waverley Station on the left side of Calton Road and a footbridge takes you to Platform 2 where the Marks and Spencer Simply Food Store is located.

There is a large branch of Marks and Spencer at 54 Princes Street where you’ll find a food hall in the basement.

There is a Sainsbury’s Central situated on St Andrews Square, which you’ll find immediately behind Jenners the famous Princes Street Store.

The food hall in Jenners is worth a visit too – you’ll find speciality foods and whiskies there. The Edinburgh Evening News Article comparing up-market food shopping in Edinburgh gives a comparison between Jenners, Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose. Finding this reminded me that there is a food department in Harvey Nichols but to date I’ve not managed to add this particular store to my list of shopping experiences.

We’ve also explored the area around the top of Easter Road to find more local stores within a short walk from Craigwell Cottage. I’d definitely recommend the bakery and cafe called The Manna House which you can find at No 22-24 Easter Road. A wonderful patisserie and bakery shop with croissants, cakes, scones, speciality breads. Definitely worth a quick early-morning stroll there to find breakfast. If you read the Guardian Review of this local treasure, you will be drooling already! The locals rate it highly too – another rave review to read.

If you’ve come by car to stay at Craigwell Cottage there’s a large Sainsbury’s Store at the Meadowbank Retail Park if you want to do a supermarket shop to stock up.

For our weekend visitors, you’ll be delighted to know that there are several weekend markets around the city.  The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is at Castle Terrace every Saturday from 9 am till around 2 pm – graze on fine local foods or bring delicious flavours of Scotland back to prepare at Craigwell Cottage.  In Stockbridge on a Sunday, the Stockbridge Market is a lovely place to stock up with delights for your evening meal or even souvenirs to take back from your trip.  Wander along there after a trip to the Royal Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, or follow the Water of Leith Walkway from the Gallery of Modern Art One/Two for a Sunday treat.

Susan McNaughton
Updated March 2015

Wi-Fi arrives at Craigwell Cottage

It’s here! At last! Craigwell Cottage guests can now have the
advantages of our new O2 home network for the duration of their stay.
Free access to Wi-Fi for the duration of your stay.  If you are looking for somewhere to spend a few nights in
Edinburgh, and want to be able to use your own laptop computer while
travelling, then why not try a stay at Craigwell Cottage?
We’re close to the Scottish Parliament, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Council’s Headquarters, and with great transport links nearby, we’re
within easy reach of many parts of Edinburgh.

MY guests are the best!

What did our guests think about their stay with us at Craigwell Cottage? What did they see and do? How did they find the location?

Hi Susan

We had a lovely time staying at your cottage. We thought the accommodation was fantastic, very clean and had everything we needed. And what a fantastic location! We didn’t have to use the car at all!

Shame the weather wasn’t a bit better on Saturday / Sunday but we didn’t let it stop us. We were straight out on Saturday after we arrived exploring the Royal Mile and then over to the new town. We went in the National Gallery and did a bit of shopping and then out for a meal and few drinks – we even tried haggis for the first time, which we were surprised to find was actually very nice!!! Sunday we spent most of the day in the castle, then a bit more walking around admiring the stunning architecture. We found Greyfriar’s Bobby, and had a walk up to the ‘Parthenon’ to admire the fantastic view of Arthur’s Seat, which we spent the following day climbing!

Overall we had a great few days in Edinburgh, and are very grateful for your hospitality.

Thanks once again.