Edinburgh: a city that thrives in winter

As records prove, Edinburgh is not a warm city. Not even the most ardent festival fanatic will claim that the weather, as well as the laughs, are incredible in August.

So don’t deny or ignore the cold – embrace it.

Because Edinburgh is built for it, Edinburgh thrives in winter: It’s built for short days and long nights with many open fires and cavernous pubs. Options to escape the bite of the cold are not in their hundreds, but in their thousands.

The Scottish capital is not only one of the UK’s, or one of Europe’s great winter cities – it’s one of the world’s. Here are my top-5 things to do during the winter months.

Become a master of scotch

Scotland’s most famous export? Scotch whiskey. If you’re in the capital of Scotland and, like me, don’t really appreciate it, then all the more reason to educate yourself.

There are several whiskey-tasting options in the city. Anyone who’s enjoyed a wine-tasting session before will be familiar with the process…

Under the tutelage of the most adroit whiskey experts in town, you will be talked, nurtured and guided through a history of scotch whilst tasting the various different samples as you go.

Whatever you do, don’t glide through to the bar and order some elaborate whiskey cocktail afterwards. These guys are purists so the more you dilute the drink with mixers, exotic fruits and umbrellas, the more they’ll scorn.

Go for a sing song

One of the best things you can do in Edinburgh is head out for a night on the town. The locals are welcoming and always in good spirits and the atmosphere is enough to warm the soul, as well as your freezing-cold toes.

There are too many pubs and bars to mention here but a special nod goes to Fingers Piano Bar where the whole place jumps, rambles and sings the night through. It is a brilliant experience that I would recommend to anyone.

Another place for a hair-standing-up-on-you-arm kind of singalong is the home of Scottish rugby – Murrayfield. The rugby is fantastic but more importantly, the bagpipes-lead rendition of national anthem “Flower of Scotland” before the game is unbelievable.

Explore the collection of the National Library of Scotland

Both historical and modern literature has been shaped by the authors of Edinburgh with the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, JK Rowling and Irvine Welsh all hailing from the city.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter now isn’t it? Pay your respects and feel the magnitude of these great authors’ work at the National Library.

This collection is awe-inspiring with over seven million books, maps, letters, essays and other written-works covering the huge walls. It makes my little Ikea bookshelf in the corner of the living-room seem like a little Ikea bookshelf in the corner of my living-room.

Climb the Scott Monument

Scotland doesn’t only have literature in its genetics, it has literature in its bones and indeed it’s limbs. Namely, in the form of the Scott Monument which protrudes high above the melee of Princes Street.

Climb all 288 steps to the top of the monument for awesome 360 views that’ll make all your social media friends jealous.

Those with vertigo maybe shouldn’t bother as – to give you an idea of the size – the monument is closed on windy days. Those with claustrophobia should be equally weary as the spiral staircase narrows as you near the summit.

Catch a film at the Cameo

Cameo is a classic old cinema that is more geared towards purist fans of Hitchcock as opposed to Spielberg. In fact, it should be called a picturehouse – that evokes the style and feeling more accurately.

Famed for all-night horror-showings and nights showing famed works by a particular cult director – this is the definition of indie cinema. Rumour has it, it’s one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite places to watch films. High-praise from a modern master.

Rob Stross is Chief Marketing Officer at WeSwap.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Hanna says:

    I live in the south of UK and it’s freezing here at the moment! I love cold weather but I’m really not geared up for it. Would love to live in Edinburgh though, it’s so beautiful – reminds me a little of Bath. Not a great lover of whiskey but I do appreciate that it could warm you up on a cold day!

  2. Claire says:

    The national library looks very interesting. I’ve never been to Edinburgh but I really want to go. The cameo cinema looks like a nice place to go. If I went I’d like to Climb the Scott Monument as that looks very interesting.

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