Monday, 23 April 2012

ragamuffin loves...the royal mile!

We have had a shop on the Royal Mile for so long we sometimes take it for granted what a special place it is, full of history, interesting shops, things to do and places to eat & drink. We thought it would be fun to suggest ways to spend a day on the Mile - whether you're a local or a visitor...

1. Leave the car at home! There is a great bus service here and the number 35 stops on the Royal mile - running right through the city from the airport to Leith. Several buses stop on the North Bridge from all corners of the city, then it's only a hop and a skip to the High Street! Best of all, when you are here, there is no sign of the tram chaos blighting the rest of the city centre.

2. For a leisurely breakfast we'd suggest the Story Telling Centre on the High Street - a varied menu, excellent quality local ingredients, lovely service and super tasty food...yum!

3. Time for shopping - ignore the ubiquitous touristy places and you will find a variety of cute, individual little shops to explore. As well as the Mile itself, there are also interesting places on the cross streets - St. Mary's Street, Jeffrey Street & Cockburn Street. Some of our favourites include:

Rene Walrus and Present on St. Mary's Street
Corniche on Jeffrey Street
The Old Childrens' Bookshelf and Cadenheads on the Canongate
Barnetts & Palenque on the High Street
The Camera Obscura museum shop at the Lawn Market

There are also a couple of great charity shops on the High Street - the PDSA and Oxfam. We've had some great bargains from them over the years - you never know quite what treasures they'll turn up!

4. After all that shopping lunch might be an idea and where better than the Edinburgh Larder - a gorgeous, licensed deli cafe, who use local produce and serve "good mood food". They feature such delights as parsnip & almond or ham & potato soups of the day with fresh bread - yes please!

5. Once you're fortified, a trip to ragamuffin is an essential (of course!). You'll find a dazzling array of clothes, knits and accessories to tempt, along with lots of inspirational ideas for putting together colours and layers. We love a challenge so feel free to bring in clothes from home and we'll match them up with new things for an instant wardrobe transformation!

6. After all that shopping how about some culture? St. Giles Cathedral and Canongate Kirk often host daytime classical concerts - sometimes free! The Story Telling Centre has a full programme of events and there are interesting talks and readings at the Poetry Library just off the Canongate.

7. We are lucky in Edinburgh to have to have so many open spaces in the city and the Royal Mile has its fair share. For the energetic a hike up Arthur's Seat is always exhilarating! For a more lesuirely stroll there are some hidden garden gems to be found - ideal for a takeaway coffee and a stroll.

8. Well, by now you might be in need of a drink and whether it's soft or the hard stuff, the Mile doesn't disappoint for pubs! We prefer the bars away from the main tourist trail - try Montieths just off the High Street for a sophisticated cocktail, the White Horse on the Canongate for shabby chic and friendly service or the Waverly on St. Mary's street for old-school Edinburgh charm and a free bag of crisps (it's like stepping back in time!)

9. Dinner time! If you want to splurge, possibly the Mile's most famous restaurant is The Witchery at the Lawn Market. It is a magical resturaunt in an amazing location - until you see the gates to Edinburgh castle you forget just how majestic it is! Try and get a table in the secret garden! At the other end of the scale but equally fun is Fish & Chips from Bene's in the Canongate. Eat them out of the paper sitting on the bench in front of the Canongate Kirk - on a sunny evening it's divine!

10. Tell all your friends what a great day you've had - spread the love!

We'll be listing some Royal Mile "top fives" this week - tell us about your favourite Royal Mile places!

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