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No place like home
Edinburgh in General
Member Name: JamesD22
Edinburgh in General
Date: 11/08/00, updated on 21/01/01 (350 review reads)
Advantages: Lot's to do
Disadvantages: The Weather
Glasgow has tried to claim that it should be the capital of Scotland for a few years now, but Edinburgh is 'Miles Better' an old Glaswegian slogan.
Princes Street itself has the glorious Scott Monument and the magnificent Edinburgh Castle in the backdrop a picture perfect postcard whatever time of day or night it is, no matter what season of the year it is! Although I must admit this year is the first year I have seen it covered in snow since I have lived here, and I can only say it is one of the most beautiful sights I have seen perfect Christmas card scene. There are numerous old buildings and monuments that have been there for years such as Jenner’s Department store, one of the oldest independent department stores in the UK. Princes Street Gardens are always open every day of the year, they are always busy at lunch times in the summer with workers and tourists alike, as the gardens are the perfect sun trap, and with the Castle in full view it is very relaxing and peaceful but watch out for those pigeons there are a few.
Shopping in Princes Street:
Shopping in Princes Street can be quite stressful as everything is on the one side and can get congested. What I tend to normally do when going for a good shop is to start at the St. James Centre, which is at the East End of Princes Street. It has most major retailers in there from Dixon’s to Safeway and also has the massive department store John Lewis which is only open Tuesday to Saturday, but the rest of the centre remains open. It has a two Cafe Bars and also a fai
rly large food court that has Wimpy, Spud U Like and a several other outlets from Chinese to sandwiches or traditional cafe style food and fish and chips.
Once you have finished in the centre you can move over the street to the Princes Mall (previously known as Waverley Centre), this centre is a bit more up market and the shops tend to be a little more expensive with the likes of Xile, Proudfoots (Sheepskin coat and rug specialist), USC designer clothes outlet and many, many more. There is also a massive food court here with the usual outlets Spud U Like etc, etc. There is also a traditional cafe at one of the main entrances and a Starbucks has also just arrived which is always very busy. You can easily access the Train station from the Princes Mall as it has a direct link to it from both main entrances, all main city bus routes are outside on Princes Street also, and so you do not have to struggle to far with the bags.
Once you have finished your rounds in the centre it is time to move over to main street for a shop of your life, all the major retailers are on the main street such as BHS, M&S at 3 locations, Jenner’s, Burton, Top Shop / Man, HMV and Virgin, Debenhams and Frasers the list goes on and on. You will find every shop you would normally shop in here, there are also many bargain bookshops along the way to that sell cheap books, postcards and memorabilia of Edinburgh itself. There are many places to eat either on the main street or on any of the adjoining side streets, this ranges from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday's the list is endless, did you know that there are more places to eat in Edinburgh than any other city in the UK (calculated per person in each city plus the size of the area). Once you have finished your shopping on the Princes Street you can travel up the side streets to find many other shops plus visit Rose Street where you will find loads of specialist shops from fine crystal to leather outlets even t
attoo shops and piercing shops and many more eateries. Then a stroll onto George Street where you will find all the exclusive shops such as French connection, Austin Reed, Jaeger you are sure to see a star if you spend a lot of time shopping here, I have seen a few whilst just popping to the bank.
Princes Street is also the centre stage for Edinburgh's famous Fringe Festival and Europe's biggest Hogmanay celebrations, and also the yearly end of Festival fireworks show, which attracts over 250,000 people every year. The festival itself runs for a total of 5 weeks through the month of August and attracts people from all over the world; one of the other highlights is the nightly show at the Castle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo an amazing show no matter how old you are. The Festival also attracts acts and major stars from all over the world and can often be the big break that some new acts are looking for.
Edinburgh has plenty of places to stay, the two most exclusive being The Balmoral at the East end of Princes Street, a personal favourite of Sean Connery and a many other big stars. Then onto the West End for what was one The Caledonian, which has now recently changed to The Hilton another haunt for big stars such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas. There are many other places to visit in Edinburgh for accommodation from B&B's to Exclusive hotels.
Things to do:
There is a load to do in Edinburgh with two football clubs, Rugby internationals, The Scottish Museum and The National Museum, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and much more. There is always a concert or stage show on at the Edinburgh Playhouse and there are many other theatres with things going on in them every day of the year. You can go swimming in the international Commonwealth Pool, training at numerous gyms and sports arenas. Cinemas are in abundance so you can catch a flick at any time, there is also a few
Internet Cafes Easy everything being the main one in Princes Street with over 500 PCs available so you have no excuse for not keeping in touch.
The transport in Edinburgh is second to none, you are never short of a bus they start to operate on various routes (most popular usually) at around 6 a.m. and as the day goes on the buses become more frequent, between 10 - 25 minutes apart depending on which route you are taking. Some routes have several different numbered buses going in the same direction which means you only have to wait a couple of minutes for the next one. The bus is very cheap if you are going to be travelling a lot! After 9:30 am you can by an Off Peak Day Saver for £1.50 this gets you on the bus all day without paying again, the average fair is normally 80p therefore if you travel more than twice you have saved loads of money, this is handy in Edinburgh as it is a very big place and to get from A - B you sometimes need to get 2 buses. The buses are well signed where they are going and the drivers although a little grumpy are usually more than helpful, beware at Festival and Christmas times the buses can be very busy as does rush hour.
The train network in Edinburgh is good but could be better, in fact there is an ongoing campaign at the moment to get a linked network around the city to make it easier for people to shop and also bring more people into the centre. There are two main train stations in Edinburgh Waverley which is the main one at the east end of Princes Street and Haymarket which is at the West End of Princes Street and you can get trains to all major destinations from both and most minor towns and surrounding areas of Edinburgh from both. You can get a train to Glasgow from Edinburgh every 15 minutes daily from 7 am to 7 pm this is handy for people travelling there for work or just shopping the journey normally takes an hour.
There are also many different taxi firms in Edinburgh the most popul
ar being Central Taxis and City Cabs between them they have over 500 black cabs on the roads, these are normally easy to flag down, but beware busy times of the year they can be quite scarce. This is when the private firms come in handy again the best of these being Festival cabs who provide you with a luxurious car every time ranging from Mercedes to Jaguars and they are very cheap, cheaper than our black cabs, they can also provide Espaces people carriers again at no extra cost. All the numbers for these companies and more are available in Yellow Pages or from any good Hotel reception.
Well that is Edinburgh in a nutshell I hope you will be able to decide if this is a good place to visit or not with this review but I highly recommend it.
##### UPDATE #####
I visited Princes Mall the other day for the first time in a few months and was dissapointed to find that the traditional Cafe that was once ther ehas closed down, probably due to the increased competition from Starbucks that landed on their doorstep. Yet another small business ruined by masive chain companies, the ironic thing now is Costa Coffee has also moved in as a rival neighbour!
### End Update ###