Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Tuesday 13/3: Edinburgh Castle + Whisky Tour + The Witchery for dinner
The day looked less ominous and much less windy this morning so we braved the elements and set out for an early walk around the historic old town cobbled streets.
We then headed up to Edinburgh Castle near to the 10am opening time and spent about 2 hrs wandering around this ancient place. St Margaret’s Chapel is considered to be the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh and was built in 1124 by King David 1 as a mark of respect and dedication to his mother. The highlight for me though was the viewing of the Scottish Crown Jewels; the crown, sceptre and sword used in the coronation of the 9 month old Mary Queen of Scots. Unlike the English Crown jewels, these were successfully hidden and survived being plundered and destroyed by the anti-monarchist, Oliver Cromwell. We also viewed the royal apartments where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only son, James VI.
On leaving the Castle we stopped in at the Whisky Experience Centre to book into the 5pm tour. We then headed down to the Grassmarket area and back to Mussels and Steak for lunch. They had a 5 GBP meal deal of a burger or mussels + wine or beer for lunch.
Our next stop after lunch was at the Library to print off our boarding passes for tomorrows flight as the local Internet cafe near our apartment had closed down. We then killed a couple of hours at the Museum of Scotland before heading back to take the Whisky Experience tour. We stopped off on the way to take some more photos and to have a drink at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. William Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. Brodie was a respected Councillor and cabinet maker by day but a thief, bigamist, gangster, and fraudster by night! He was eventually caught and, after having to design his own gallows, was sentenced to hang in 1788.
I actually got a nip of Whisky in early, before our official tour, with a Scotch Whisky coffee at Deacon Brodie’s whereas Mark, no surprises here, had a local beer.
Our 5pm Whisky tour lasted for about an hour and we heard all about how a single Malt Whisky is produced as opposed to the blended varieties. We chose the tour where we only sampled 1 Whisky but this was probably a wise choice given that I couldn’t even drink mine and had to give it to Mark. The tour finished off in the Whisky Bar where we had a further spectacular view of the George Heriot School, better known to me now though as ‘Hogwarts’.
We had booked the upmarket restaurant, The Witchery’ for dinner and this was conveniently located right next door to the Whisky Experience tour. So, after Mark sampled yet another Whisky, we made our way there for dinner.
The Witchery is a magnificent dining venue with its dark timber oak wall panelling throughout, plush velvet furnishings and red leather upholstered seating. It was a truly idyllic setting for our last meal in this ancient town.