Taryn Rostovsky checks in from studying abroad to share one location (and many must-see spots) where COM students might choose to spend a spare weekend during their own London semesters.
For my first weekend getaway, I had 48 hours. I had two full days to travel with my three girlfriends, so I needed to decide on a place that was close, interesting, and of course, fun. The choice seemed clear: Edinburgh. Here is my itinerary. If you follow it, you won’t be disappointed.
When we arrived on Friday night, we dropped off our bags at our Airbnb and went straight to dinner. I have had a lot of Italian food in the UK, but I honestly think that Bar Napoli is my favorite so far. It’s a small, bustling, traditional trattoria with excellent food. I recommend the pizza margherita, pizza rusticana, penne all’arrabbiata, and calamari fritti.
Panda and Sons
After dinner, we wanted to see what Scotland’s nightlife had to offer. We had heard about Panda and Sons, a small, modern-day speakeasy. When we arrived, we walked into what seemed to be a barbershop–until we went downstairs and opened a library-like door into the hidden gem. They played great music, and the theme was very unique.
This one is a must-see. When in Edinburgh, go to the Castle. The Castle sits at the peak of the city, giving a panoramic view of its surroundings.
St. Giles’ Cathedral
When you exit the Castle, walk down the Royal Mile to St. Giles’ Cathedral. Both the interior and the exterior are spectacular, and the beautiful wooden sculptures and stain glass windows will take your breath away.
Craving a traditional Scottish meal? Tolbooth Tavern is the place to go. I personally was not interested in trying Haggis, but if you are, apparently this spot serves the best. The Warlock Pie is another great Scottish classic, and my mac and cheese and fish and chips were not disappointing.
Continue down to the end of the Royal Mile, and you’ll find Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Walk through the palace with an audio guide, and listen to the rich history of this site. I learned from the audio guide that the Queen herself spends one week in the summer every year at this palace.
Walk out of Holyrood Palace, and turn left. There you have it: the entrance to Arthur’s Seat. This trail is a fairly easy one, so don’t fret, but bring your heavy coat if you’re setting out during winter. Though beautiful, the trail gets windy and cold when the sun sets.
For dinner, check out Treacle. It has a trendy interior and a young crowd, and the food is great. To start, we shared the truffle fries, edamame beans, and lemongrass chicken skewers. For our mains, we got the Crispy Katsu Chicken and the Treacle Pho (the latter was one of the best phos I have ever tasted).
An Uber driver recommended we to go to the nightclub Atik, and it was an experience. It must have been a theme night because the nightclub was swarming with local college students dressed as if they were aliens from outer space. It was definitely something I will not forget.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
This tour was a crowd favorite. There are multiple options for tours, but we chose the most basic: the Silver Tour. That included a “roller coaster” whisky (spelled as such in the UK) barrel ride explaining the production of Scotch whisky, an introduction to the aromas, and a viewing of the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky. After the tour, we were given the souvenir of a crystal whisky-tasting glass. Even as a non-whisky drinker, I was intrigued by the tour.
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
Right outside of the Scotch Whisky Experience and across the small pebble road is the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions museum. As a graphic designer, I loved this place. It is full of interactive exhibits with optical illusions, holograms, a mirror maze, piano stairs, a vertigo tunnel, a rooftop show, and more.
If you need a quick pick-me-up coffee, walk down to The Milkman. It’s a small coffee shop, but it makes great drinks with delicious pastries.
Before you leave, have your last meal at the Tower Restaurant. The rooftop restaurant lives above the National Museum of Scotland and has amazing views of the city.
Taryn Rostovsky, Staff Writer
Taryn Rostovsky is third-year student at Boston University, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design and double minoring in communications and dance. She is currently studying and interning abroad in London, and is traveling and blogging around Europe. Eventually, Taryn hopes to fuse her appreciation for design and advertising to further a career in the field.