Image credit to Scottish Rugby Website
1. Getting there and getting around
On a match day, you and 60,000 others might all be headed to the same place, so don’t get there late and make the journey easy. Driving in, might at first seem to be the answer, but be prepared for the inevitable traffic jams and queues for parking. Should you be thinking of off street parking, it’s not only a source of annoyance for the locals but many streets are coned off - official parking areas are available but limited, so planning ahead will be essential.
2. Taking the bus or the tram
Lothian Buses runs regular buses to Murrayfield and on fixture dates the service is increased to cope with the demand. An unusual (but maybe very Scottish?) quirk is that the buses operate on an exact fare system for cash fares. A single ticket is £1.70 and if the only change you have is two pound coins, the driver cannot give you change. You can spend the rest of your journey wondering just what they do with all those extra 30p’s!
There’s a downloadable map of bus stops from the Lothian bus website but there’s at least 10 routes from the city centre so if you miss one there’ll be nine along any minute.
Edinburgh trams run at least 1 every 10 minutes with a dedicated Murrayfield tram stop.
3. Two wheels good - and no need for lycra
If you forgot to pack your trusty Molton, Edinburgh’s first cycle hire scheme, Just Eat Cycles , launched in September 2018. There are docking stations available at several points around the city itself and two close to Murrayfield. This is a scheme scheduled for rapid expansion - 1,000 manual bikes will be available across the city by the end of 2018 with 100 electric models being introduced in 2019. In common with similar city centre schemes, bikes can be hired and returned to any cycle hire point at any time, with the closest available hire points shown on an essential, downloadable app.
Taking the comparatively quick cycle ride to Murrayfield (20 minutes) also affords you the pleasure of taking in the sights and delights of Princes Street through to Haymarket and Murrayfield, giving you ideas of where to visit later in the day or on your trip.
4. “and I would walk 500 miles”
Can’t promise you’ll see the Proclaimers, but walking is a great way to see the Murrayfield area. Edinburgh “toon” itself is a very compact area and the walk from the centre to the stadium is around 4 Kilometres. That’s about an hour at a reasonable pace or, make it easy on yourself and take the bus to Haymarket first. A very easy 20 minute stroll will get you to your destination. Having got there on foot, it’s a great way to explore around the area itself.
5. The Water of Leith Walkway
“A silver thread in a ribbon of green” is how the Water of Leith has been described. A beautiful river winds its way through the heart of the capital through Haymarket and passing through the Murrayfield area.
The river can be explored on foot or bike and is home to a wide diversity of plants and animals from wild garlic and orchids to brown trout, heron, kingfisher and otter. The Water of Leith Walkway could be an ideal way to enjoy the relaxing way back to our aparthotel.
6. Get your skates on!
Murrayfield Ice Rink is just an axel jump away from the stadium. With at least one public session every day, you can practice those moves, watch, or just head for the café and let the others look ridiculous! There’s a skating school for newbies and for those wanting to brush up on their skills too.
7. Animal Magic
Close to the stadium (bus, bike or car) is Edinburgh zoo. Fabulous to visit at any time of year, for 50 nights from 16 November 2018 Edinburgh Zoo will become home to hundreds of magical and mythical creatures this winter. Unicorns, faeries, kelpies and Nessie the Loch Ness Monster will feature in “The giant Lanterns of China” - 450 giant lanterns providing spectacular illuminations. The inaugural event attracted 83,000 visitors and the zoo is determined that this year’s event will be bigger and better still. Gigantic, handmade steel and silk sculptures will take visitors on a completely new nocturnal trail around the Zoo.
If you’re in a car take a drive around the Main Reserve and then investigate the walk-round area on foot. The Wildlife Park has a wide and diverse range of animals from endangered animals of the world to Scottish wildlife.
Image credit to Scottish Rugby Facebook Page
8. Mad about rugby?
Take a 90-minute guided tour of Murrayfield, the home of Scottish Rugby, and you’ll be taken inside areas of the stadium that you would never ordinarily get to see and will be regaled with stories from Scottish Rugby’s rich history - seeing what the stadium looks like day to day and learning about the preparations for international matches.
On your tour you will see some of Scottish Rugby’s memorabilia including the Calcutta Cup, step onto the set in the TV Studio and learn about the famous Voice of Rugby in the Bill McLaren Press Gallery. Rounding-up the tour by taking a thrilling walk through the famous and atmospheric tunnel and visiting Scotland changing room and finish by taking in the atmosphere pitch side.
There’s a tour every day except Sunday and they must be booked ahead on the e-ticket website.
9. Beer ‘n Rugby
With no shortage of pubs around the Murrayfield Stadium, you’ll be looking for the best - here’s some suggestions.
Stop off at Platform 5 - perfectly positioned on Clifton Terrace on your way to the Stadium from Holyrood ApartHotel. Aside from an excellent selection of draught ales and lagers, the menu of pub classics includes lots of love-local dishes like a signature Balmoral Burger (served with a jug of whisky sauce) and Haggis and Potato Pie (spicy haggis layered with neeps and tatties). All the big games can be enjoyed ‘live and loud’ at Platform 5.
If you’re feeling really patriotic (why wouldn’t you be?) you can get stuck into a plate of haggis, neeps and tatties for just £6.45, washed down with a pint of local beer at the
Murrayfield Bar and Kitchen is a ten-minute walk from the ground on Roseburn Terrace.
Situated a 15 minute walk from the stadium on Angle Park Terrace, the Caley Sample Room is the perfect spot to grab a few pre-match pints and a bite to eat. If you aren’t lucky enough to have tickets to a game at Murrayfield, you can set up base in front of the Caley Sample Room’s big screen and watch the action unfold.
A few doors down from the Caley Sample Room is the Athletic Arms (also known as Diggers). Located a short distance from the ground, Diggers is also equipped with a number of TV screens so you can watch the rugby from a comfortable distance. You can toast a Scottish victory after the game, with a dram of one of the hostelry’s 250 single malt whiskeys.
10. Retail therapy
If you prefer your shopping fix in one hit, then head a little west in Murrayfield to the Gyle Shopping Centre. It’s right next to Edinburgh Gateway station for that easy (if shopping laden) journey back to the aparthotel. The Gyle has everything you’d expect in a large mall, from food and drink to clothing etc. and all the major stores and brands have a presence here.
If you can make the time for it, a more adventurous and ultimately more satisfying shopping experience, walk from Haymarket back to the Hotel. The Royal Mile (which includes the off streets too) is simply jam-packed with shops and stores from tiny artisan gift shops to traditional , large department stores selling all things Scottish. Luxury brands, beautiful boutiques and quirky independents – they’re all here.
Image credit to Locanda de Gusti Faceboo Page
11. “Aw hallaw! Ye’ll have had yer tea?”
No excuses at all for getting “hangry” – restaurants of every description can be found in the Murrayfield area. Locanda De Gusti on Dairy Road is very highly rated Italian restaurant specialising in seafood. Cafe Presko on the Gorgie Road has been described as an “absolute gem”. You can pop in simply for a coffee and scrumptious cakes or for a meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu is extensive as it offers a Scottish menu as well as Filipino. Try their bubble waffles – they look too good to be true.
Also on Gorgie Road and definitely not to be missed is Gorgie Fish Bar. A great chippy is what makes match days really special and the regulars swear this is the best in Edinburgh. Haddock’s the Scots preferred fish choice to cod and don’t forget your can of Irn Bru too. If you must, you can even order a deep-fried Mars bar – not everyone’s favourite, but maybe worth it for the experience?
12. Join the Guides?
No, not them, a proper tour with local guides to really enhance your trip. Iconic Tours offers bespoke walking tours, driving tours and photography tours and Edinburgh from a local perspective, not just stories and history, but the best places to eat, get a whisky or have a beer. The dedicated founders of the business offer a real local insight into their beloved country.
Think of shopping in Scotland and you’ll maybe think of cashmere and kilts, of whiskey and woollen tweed, all accompanied by bagpipes? Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a stone’s throw from the Holyrood Aparthotel offers all this and so much more.
Getting to the Royal Mile
Guests staying at Holyrood Aparthotel in Edinburgh are a literal one minute walk from some of the best Royal Mile shopping. If that wasn’t incentive enough, the hotel’s location just off Bakehouse Close, means your close enough to enjoy the Mile, but not so close that the all-hours popularity of the Mile doesn’t ruin your sleep. On top of that, the apartments at Holyrood give you more freedom, more space and more of that at-home feeling.
Walk the Mile, And More
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile can truly be called unique. Can there be another street in the world that has a palace at one end and a castle at the other? There’s a myriad of off streets to explore too, but, be warned, you’ll want to linger, and a combination of cobblestones and shopping doesn’t make for comfy feet. So, ditch the swanky shoes and grab those favourite walking ones.
“It’s Christmas!” - Did Slade Have Edinburgh In Mind?
A recent survey voted Edinburgh as the best place to visit for its Christmas shopping experience, and they really do pull out all the stops. Locals will tell you that the two best things in the world are Scotland and Christmas - countless visitors will agree that they don’t need much of an excuse for a knees up. The official “kick-off” to a six week spectacular is November 18th – Light Night, when thousands throng to witness the illuminations being switched on, the mesmerising fireworks and to soak up the holiday vibe. Making the shopping experience complete are enumerable street entertainers and, should you begin to worry that closing time might cut short your enjoyment, most of the shops stay open until 8pm, with pubs and restaurants open much later still.
If you’re looking for an unapologetic Christmas shopping experience, then Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, just across the road from Holyrood Aparthotel should be your first stop. The shop might be ‘wee’ in size, but it’s packed with more Christmas kitsch you can shake a candy cane at.
On the Mile, But Off the Beaten Track
Unsurprisingly, the Royal Mile caters for tourists, but remember the more touristy the store, the more touristy the prices, so don’t neglect the alleys and the small lanes off the main streets. These are often enclaves of some of the very best contemporary independent retailers in the capital including artisans, vintage clothing and antiques. Take a walk off the beaten track and just a few minutes away you’ll find boutiques full of interesting brands and exclusive pieces you can’t get elsewhere. A good start is Paper Tiger in Stafford Street – a real gem of an Edinburgh destination for unique Scottish gifts and souvenirs as well as an inspiring collection of books, toys and jewellery. Top tip – don’t miss their delicious Paper Tiger Chocolate bars. If you really want the skinny on where to go, grab a cuppa and visit.
Food, Glorious Food.
Where to Go to Look Cool (And Keep Warm!)
For a modern take on knitwear and accessories, try the quirky Ness Clothing Co which offers fabulous range of ladies handbags designed in Edinburgh and inspired by Scotland. The Woollen Mill and Heritage of Scotland will get you looking fresh dipped in Scottish couture whilst Hawico stocks stacks of cashmere sweaters and scarves in a rainbow of desirable colours, and they can even make one especially for you!
If you want a real taste of the history of Scotland combined with a one-of-a-kind retail experience, skip the malls, head offline and head onto Edinburgh’s Royal Mile for a shopping experience second to none.
Attention whisky lovers and travellers to Edinburgh alike, discover five of the best distillery tours near Edinburgh not be missed.
Eden Mill Brewery & Distillery. Location: Eden Mill, Main Street Guardbridge, St Andrews KY16 0US.
Discover the different whisky distilling steps, and as a bonus get to see the process behind gin creation and beer brewing, and then finish with one of our favourite whisky tastings in Edinburgh. Open seven days from 10 am to 6 pm, you’ll receive a barrel aged beer on arrival, before touring the stills, production area and cask warehouse. Taste the delights of their three new spirits during the tasting session and go home with your very own Eden Mill Glencairn whisky glass as a keepsake. The Eden Mill Brewery and Distillery is ideally located in the heart of St Andrews so after your tour you can explore the impressive ruins of St Andrew’s Cathedral, or check out that patch of grass the Scots have been putting about on for some 600 years.
Lindores Abbey Distillery. Location: Abbey Rd, Newburgh, Fife, KY14 6HH.
Lindores Abbey was founded in 1191 by David Earl of Huntingdon and while Lindores Abbey Distillery is a new facility constructed on an old site, the original Abbey is considered the birthplace of Scotch Whisky. According to the earliest written reference to distilled spirits in Scotland Friar John Cor, a Lindores monk, received ‘eight bolls of malt’ with which he would make Aqua Vitae for King James IV. Today, the old Abbey farm stead has been lovingly converted and enlarged using original Abbey stone. The distillery uses barley grown on the Lindores Abbey farm, and the yeast used in fermentation includes a strain found at the site. Taste whisky history at Lindores Abbey Distillery.
Glenkinchie Distillery. Location: Pencaitland, Tranent EH34 5ET.
Open seven days a week, Glenkinchie Distillery has the tallest stills in Scotland, with a capacity of 32,000 litres (7,000 gallons) on the wash still - more than many distillery’s annual productions. At the entrance take a look at the intricate scale-model distillery exhibition, built in 1925 for the British Empire Exhibition. During the tour savour the taste of the Glenkinchie 12-year-old. For added convenience Glenkinchie Distillery runs a shuttle bus service to transport people from Edinburgh city centre directly to the distillery.
Glenturret Distillery. Location: The Hosh, Crieff PH7 4HA.
Enjoy the Famous Grouse Experience, open seven days a week with tours running hourly from 10:30am. The on-site restaurant/cafe, Wilde thyme is also a real treat and is open daily from 10am – 6pm. See for yourself one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, including Tullibardine’s old open-topped hand-stirred mash tun. The Famous Grouse Experience is a bit of a Disneyland for Whisky Lovers, receiving around 100,000 visitors a year, so it’s definitely worth booking ahead. The tour includes two tastings and take away bottles for at-home enjoyment for the designated driver.
Tullibardine Distillery. Location: Blackford, Perthshire PH4 1QG.
The Tullibardine site has been a brewery since the 1400s and acquired a Royal Charter in 1503 to provision King James IV with beer. As for the distillery, this was established much more recently, in 1949 by famous distillery designer William Delme-Evans - the first distillery built in Scotland since 1900. The Tullibardine we see today is a modern distillery owned by the Picard family (Picard Vins & Spiritueux). Book ahead as due to its convenient location, tours sell-out fast.
Post-Dram Dreaming. After a long day exploring and tasting some of the best whisky Edinburgh has to offer, you’re sure to be ready for bed. To make sure you get the best nights sleep in a great location, stay at Holyrood ApartHotel Edinburgh. Situated in the heart of the city, Holyrood ApartHotel, offers an ideal base and is designed for you to feel just like at home. Perfect for short and long stays, all apartments are well equipped with all the comforts a modern traveller requires, including a fitted kitchen, a washer/dryer, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen television with DVD player.
Discover the stunning capital of Scotland - Edinburgh. As one of the most lively cities in Europe, Edinburgh has plenty to offer in the way of things to see, explore and do, but how well do you know this incredible city? Take our quiz to find out the what’s actually inside haggis, what the city has more of than any other UK city, why their national animal might appeal to your 5-year-old daughter, and which animal you need to address as Sir when you visit the zoo.
You will find all the answers at the end.
1. If someone from Glasgow is a Glaswegian what do you call someone from Edinburgh?
2. Haggis is as synonymous with the Scottish cuisine as neeps and tatties, porridge and battered mars bars. But what’s inside the Scottish classic?
a) Chocolate covered oats
b) Sheep liver, lungs and heart
c) Aberdeen Angus beef
d) Whisky soaked breadcrumbs
3. With it’s famous hilltop fortress, cobbled streets and beautiful buildings around every corner, Edinburgh has been featured in many big-screen movies (including a key location in the Harry Potter franchise), but which 1930’s ground breaking classic did the skyline inspire?
a) King Kong
b) Gone with the wind
c) The Wizard of Oz
d) The 39 Steps
4. What Edinburgh Zoo resident received a knighthood and should be addressed as Sir?
a) Sir Nils Olav the penguin
b) Sir Geoffrey the giraffe
c) Sir Lionel the lion
d) Sir Mackenzie the lemur
5. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have a very important public service. But, what was it?
a) Ambulance drivers
b) Fire service
c) Rubbish collection
d) Street performers
6. With so many beautiful buildings and so much culture on offer, you might not think of Edinburgh as a green city. But that’s probably a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees. As the ‘greenest city in the UK’ Edinburgh has more trees per head of population than any city in the UK. It also is home to one of the largest number of parks in any city in the United Kingdom. But how many parks?
7. England’s national animal is a lion, the United States has the bald eagle (or more recently the bison), France has the Gallic rooster, but what animal is Scotland’s national beast?
Discover Edinburgh For Yourself
Ideally situated between the historic Royal Mile and Arthur Seat, in the heart of the city, the Holyrood ApartHOTEL Serviced Apartments Edinburgh offers an ideal base from which to explore the city, as well as a perfect location is to visit all of Edinburgh touristic sites. Whether you are travelling with friends or family, the serviced apartments are perfect for your short or long stay in the city, providing privacy, flexibility, and plenty of space to relax.
Answer 1: Depending on who you ask C and D are both correct. Dunediners comes from the city’s Scottish Gaelic name (Dùn Èideann) and Edinburghers is mostly used by non-residents. In reality, there might not be an official name and so using neither is the easiest way to avoid a potentially awkward conversation.
Answer 2: B. While the other options might sound more appealing, haggis is minced sheep’s liver, lungs and heart mixed with onion, oatmeal and prepared inside a sheep’s stomach. Aside from really living up to the mantra of ‘waste not want not’ it’s also surprisingly delicious.
Answer 3: C. One of the film’s set designers, George Gibson, is thought to have taken inspiration from his home city of Edinburgh. A childhood memory of the road that led to the castle was said to inspire one of the most famous settings in all of cinematic history, the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City.
Answer 4: A. Sir Nils Olav, in fact Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III, is a king penguin resident at the zoo and since the 1970’s (the first Nils Olav) has had a variety of titles leading up to a knighthood approved by King Harald V of Norway in 2008. Norway’s connection with Edinburgh Zoo extends back to polar explorer Roald Amundsen who presented the zoo with a King Penguin over 100 years ago.
Answer 5. B. While you will see plenty of street performers it probably doesn’t count as a public service. Edinburgh can though lay claim to the world’s first municipal fire service with a history of fire prevention dating back to 1426. The early 1400’s saw an Act that forbid carrying a naked flame. By the 1600’s fire wells were set up throughout the city and the first firemasters were appointed in the early 1700’s. The Edinburgh Fire Establishment set up with a force of 80 in October 1824.
Answer 6: D. 112, that’s a lot of choices for picnics or walking the dog! In the spring of 2016 satellite images compared the green spaces throughout all of the UK’s major cities, and Glasgow and Edinburgh came out on top.
Answer 7. B. Yep, the national animal of Scotland is a mythical creature, the unicorn. But with good reason. Legends say that the natural enemy of a lion is a unicorn and with the tumultuous history between the two countries, perhaps choosing a unicorn is no big surprise. Besides, the Welsh have a dragon, so really anything goes.
With more than 500 years of golfing history, the country practically invented the modern game of golf, designed, built the first courses and coined virtually every golfing term you can think of, from putt to tee and caddie to links. No matter how high your golf handicap is, teeing off in bonnie Scotland is a rite of passage for faiway lovers. With more than 500 courses throughout the country, there’s no shortage of challenging and beautiful courses to beat.
With more than 20 courses in Edinburgh, visitors to the city can choose a different course to play every day of their stay. Golf courses in Edinburgh include courses minutes from the city centre with views of the castle as well as coastal links just outside the city. Stunning views, incomparable history and unique course challenges makes Edinburgh one of the greatest cities in the world for golfers. Here’s our pick of Edinburgh golf courses for city visitors:
Bruntsfield Links – for prestigious pars
Just 3 miles from the city centre, Bruntsfield is one of the oldest courses in the world with a golf heritage dating back to 1761. Establishing the quality of the course, it was recently chosen as a Qualifying Venue for the Open Championship. A million-pound redevelopment last year has re-positioned and improved bunkers, added a signature 16th hole and brought the course back to a Par 71.
https://www.bruntsfieldlinks.co.uk – Official Site
Duddingston Golf Club – for beautiful parklands
10 minutes from Edinburgh Old Town with views across of Holyrood Park, Duddingston Golf Club is set next to the winding Braid Burn stream in gently undulating Scottish parklands. Look out for the course’s feature hole known as “Temple” because of the relics of a monument standing near the flag. If you have a poor game, blame the views, they’re that distracting.
http://www.duddingstongolfclub.co.uk/ - Official Site
Musselburgh Links – for a taste of history
Playing 9 holes at Musselburgh is to experience a piece of golfing history. Until recently, Musselburgh claimed the title of world’s oldest golf course with a storied past that includes games played by Mary, Queen of Scots in the 1500’s and the hosting of the ‘Open’ six times between 1874 and 1889. To truly embrace the history of the course, you can hire hickory clubs for an ‘authentic’ golfing experience.
http://www.musselburgholdlinks.co.uk – Official Site
Prestonfield Golf Club – for city central golfing
For a golf day in the city centre, Prestonfield is less than 2 miles from Edinburgh’s Old Town. Laid out at the foot of Arthur’s Seat hillside, the course is a relatively young 98 years old. The James Braid design navigates through pretty parkland with enough tricky tees to keep most skill levels challenged. St Leonard’s, the course’s 17th hole is one of the tougher shots for first time course visitors to be aware of.
http://www.prestonfieldgolf.co.uk/ - Official Site
2018 Scottish Open
From July 11-15 the stunning Gullane Golf Club is the home for the 36th staging of Scotland’s national open. The Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open sees four days of the world’s best golfers battle it out on some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging links. This Edinburgh golf experience has something on offer for the whole family, with live music, food and drink, and of course, golf. The club is 45-minute coastal drive from Edinburgh city centre.
Edinburgh Golf Accommodation
Ideally situated in the heart of the city is the Holyrood ApartHOTEL Edinburgh. Perfect for a weekend golf break in the city or for visitors to the Open. The hotel is less than 20 minutes’ drive from some of the world’s top rated and most historic courses and just 40 minutes’ drive from Gullane. The modern and fully equipped serviced apartments at Holyrood ApartHOTEL ensure more freedom than a traditional hotel experience, so you can enjoy tee-time when it suits you.
Explore the cobbled streets, taste whisky by the dram and discover a history of bagpipes and barons; Edinburgh has plenty of grown-up appeal. But even if Edinburgh’s rich history, architecture and food culture isn’t on the kids are-we-there-yet wish list, Edinburgh’s calendar of friendly events and must-see attractions promises a city stay that your wee bairns will love as much as you do. Take a look at our 2018 what’s on guide to see some of our favourite kid friendly events.
Family Friendly Stay
Ideally situated in the heart of the city is the Holyrood ApartHOTEL Edinburgh. Perfect for any length of stay and family friendly (not to mention budget-friendly), the Holyrood ApartHOTEL Edinburgh offers an ideal base for exploring the city, as well as being just moments from all the big family events of 2018, so after a long day with the kids, bedtime is never far away.