Travel Blog- Scottish City Breaks

While on a recent break in Scotland, Edinburgh won me over with its Old Town, quirky shops, Medieval castle and Victorian streets, while Glasgow wowed me with art,  universities and a very grand graveyard – the Necropolis!  I’d reservations about Scotland due to personal baggage, but this time the place won me over. My biggest regret is now not having gone to uni here. Who wouldn’t want to have studied at Hogwarts? (Check out the University of Glasgow building – below!)

Glasgow University spire

If you are interested in design you should definitely visit and take a tour of the Mackintosh House managed by the University of Glasgow, and sample Mackintosh’s designs in the real world at the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchie Hall Street. The Willow Tea Rooms- Mackintosh- Glasgow-Scotland Also affiliated with the university is the Hunterian art gallery where you’ll see stunning works by the likes of Whistler and the Scottish Colourists.

Scottish Colourist painting-lady in a blue hat The Kelvingrove museum and art gallery is also well worth a visit, and houses a mix of everything from natural history to decorative arts. I loved this bunny Samurai Helmet, and this collection of hand painted glassware. (You’ll also find more Scottish Colourist work collected here.)

Rabbit Samurai -kelvingrove museum glasgow

Walton Sisters Hand painted glasswear- glasgow-Kelvingrove

And these disembodied  floating heads  were pretty freaky!

The heads- Kelvingrove- glasgow

I was a little bit ‘museumed out’ by the time I got to Edinburgh so instead I enjoyed wandering the tiny steep streets, visiting indie book and clothing shops and loving all the gothic architecture. Believe it or not, I had no idea that this is where JK Rowling began writing the Harry Potter books, but it sure makes sense now doesn’t it?

Quirky Edinburgh Clock tower

I loved all the medieval and victorian stuff ,  there was even an escaped gothic London tour bus !

Edinburgh Gothic

The imposing Edinburgh Castle (and the view from the top) is pretty damned impressive too.  This is the view from the ramparts – you can see the seating going up for the Edinburgh tattoo!

Edinburgh Castle- setting up for the Tattoo


My favourite little corner of Edinburgh was the perfectly gothic Greyfriars kirkyard, a fabulous little gem of a graveyard- perhaps most famous for its doggy resident, the legendary Greyfriars Bobby. Do you remember the old black and white movie about him?  I watched that with my dad as a little kid.

Greyfriars bobby- Edinburgh

Yes, what can I say?   To this old goth at heart, the graveyards of major Scottish cities are amazing and they warrant a blog post all of their own. I’ll be sure and share my photos from the Greyfriars Kirkyard and the Glasgow Necropolis in their own blog post soon!

Have you ever visited Glasgow or Edinburgh? Do you have a favourite part? Or a recommendation for something I might have missed ? Tell me about it…..



  1. Clare · · Reply

    If you were around Greyfriars Bobby, I hope you got a chance to go down Candlemaker Row the street that leads down from his statue down to the Grassmarket. It has some of my favourite Edinburgh shops on it: Analogue graphic design bookshop, Deadhead Comics, my old regular, Transreal sci-fi and fantasy bookshop, and Venus Flytrap Tattoo, which is owned by a cool award winning lady who does art deco, japanese and mexican inspired tattoos. I just loved looking at her artwork.

    If you make it over to Bruntsfield (beyond the meadows and the university towards the south), there are two of Edinburgh’s best chocolate shops Coco of Bruntsfield and the Chocolate Tree. Coco have also opened another branch in the centre on Broughton Street which is a side road off near the top of Leith Walk not far from the John Lewis there.

    Oh,oh! I almost forgot Word Power bookshop, a radical left bookshop on West Nicolson Street near the university. Also, if you want to try the ghost tours Mercat are generally considered the best quality, but Mary King’s Close is the place to go if you want to see a really well preserved street underground beneath the build up streets of present day Edinburgh.

    One last thing, next time you’re up, the Auld Hoose on Leonard Street is the pub which provides a second home to most of Edinburgh’s goth and geek populations. It has good ales and whiskys, filling pub food and an alternative jukebox. Also, if you want to be freaked out, the millennium clock in the National Museum when it hits certain hours presents viewers with a macabre and totally depressing overview of the 20th century. There’s something about wood-carved figures that just make everything even more sinister.


    1. Hi Clare, thanks for your recommendations! Funny I did go down Candlemaker row, and into both Deadhead comics and Transreal Sci-fi & Fantasy bookshop (that’s where I bought my recent copies of Hi-Fructose magazine)! It amused me how absolutely 90’s the comic shop was I felt like I could have been visiting Edinburgh back when I was a student myself!
      Wish I’d known about the Auld House, that would have been perfect! Also those chocolate shops sound awesome. I did visit an amazing ice cream parlor – Mary’s Milk Bar on grassmarket st beneath the Castle.Totally worth trying if you’re a chocolate fan!
      Will definitely be keeping my eye out for your recommendations next time I’m over that way (whenever that might be). Thanks!


  2. […] if you like you can check out more Things I saw in Scotland here […]


  3. […] you liked this you might enjoy my recommendations from my previous Scotland trips  here. And if you like your visitor attractions spooky, I spotlighted some great Gothic places to visit […]


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