Comment

Meet Aeneas O'Hara, founder of Away from the Ordinary!

Aeneas O'Hara, founder of Away from the Ordinary

Aeneas O'Hara, founder of Away from the Ordinary

This month, we have a special treat in store for you! We’re thrilled to have Aeneas O’Hara, founder of Away From The Ordinary, here to have a chat about his wonderful business and all things Scotland. Without giving too much away, Away From The Ordinary does a brilliant job of designing luxurious tailor-made Scottish holidays. We’ve been working with Aeneas for a few years but the best way for you to learn a bit more about his business is to let Aeneas take over.

Meet Aeneas O'Hara, founder of Away from the Ordinary

1. For readers who haven’t heard of Away from the Ordinary, what is it that you do?

In its simplest form we offer our clients tailor-made luxury travel to Scotland. However, this doesn’t really cover the level of detail we got into. Every trip we do for a client is unique because every client is unique and we focus entirely on that individual client’s likes. We have built up a little black book of unique and exclusive experiences for our clients, like visiting castles that are closed to the public, having delicious dinners cooked on remote beaches and opening up stately homes or museums for candlelit tours. First and foremost we listen to our clients and then plan their escape around what they have told us and match it to our insider knowledge and our contacts. We choose hotels, lodges, restaurants, guides, private chefs, experiences and exclusive adventures tailored to each individual client’s personality.

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

2. What was the inspiration behind Away from the Ordinary and how did it all get started?

Being from the Highlands of Scotland and having always given people hints and tips of what to see and do, I wanted to set up Away From The Ordinary to showcase the best that Scotland has to offer. We will show you some of the main sites but also lesser-known places where you will be a visitor and a guest rather than a tourist. Having travelled extensively around the world myself, I wanted to set up my dream company that could showcase the best of Scotland in an authentic way.

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

3. What do you love most about what you do?

I love the fact that I get to travel around the most beautiful country in the world, meet amazing people (like Rowan & Andy!) and call it work. I also love the variety of it. Scotland is an amazing country that is very evocative in people’s imaginations even if they have never visited. However, as each client’s dream vacation is different, it means that every trip we create is different, so it keeps my job very varied.

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

4. We’re thrilled to have you as a partner of Mini Mack Tours, would you mind sharing with our readers how that came about?

We are equally thrilled to have Mini Mack as a partner. I am obviously always looking for Away From The Ordinary experiences to share with my clients. So when I was researching tours with a bit of a difference in Edinburgh I found Mini Mack. My wife and I did a tour with Rowan and loved it. They had a real passion not just for Edinburgh but for Scotland as a whole and we shared the same ethos of what makes an amazing client experience.

Away from the Ordinary 5 (2).jpg

5. Do you have any interesting stories about experiences or itineraries you have created for your clients?

We had a client from San Francisco who owns an e-type Jaguar and is a huge petrol head. So unbeknownst to him, we arranged for his driver to take him to the opening of the Jim Clark museum where our client got to meet and get his photo taken with Sir Jackie Stewart. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our client’s trip.

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

6. What are your plans for Away from the Ordinary in the future?

We are committed to giving back and continue to contribute to various charities in different ways. So far in 2019, we have raised over £2,500 for 2 different charities. In 2020, we will contribute to one of the charities that is replanting native species of trees in Scotland to help offset our client’s carbon footprint. Eventually, the plan is to buy our own plot of land in Scotland and plant trees there.

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

7. Lastly, if you could design a dream itinerary for yourself, what are a few items you would include?

We could be here for quite a while as I am such a huge fan of my country and there are so many incredible things to do!

  • In Edinburgh, I would obviously take a Mini Mack tour and afterwards I would go to the Scottish National Portrait gallery and ogle at their frieze of Scottish Kings and Queens on the 1st floor.

  • In Culross, I would make sure I had a personal appointment to visit Lord Bruce for a private tour of historic Broomhall House, where the history covers not just Scotland but the whole world.

  • In the Cairngorms National Park, I would visit in January for crisp snowy walks while staying somewhere sumptuous with a roaring log fire.

  • On Speyside, I would do a private whisky tasting and spend time with the people that make the water of life. There is nothing quite like tasting whisky straight from the cask!

  • Around Inverness, I would get up early and visit the 4,000 year old Clava Cairns before anyone else and then have a private tour of Cawdor Castle.

  • On the west coast, I would go kayaking or get a private boat trip and explore the stunning coastline. Then I would join a local chef for a sumptuous meal and make new friends at their supper club.

  • On the islands, I would watch the most amazing sunsets on a beach with a champagne or whisky picnic and then see the most amazing stars light up the sky.

  • On the Mull of Kintyre, I would tee off at Macrihanish and see how the wild elements tested my game.

  • And everywhere absolutely everywhere I would eat like a kin, as the food scene in Scotland is just incredible.

  • And that is just scratching the surface! Did I mention I’d also go fishing?

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

Photo via @AwayfromtheOrdinary (Instagram)

We’d just like to thank Aeneas for taking the time to have a chat with us and we hope you enjoyed our first interview-style blog! If you’d like to experience Away From The Ordinary’s bespoke tours for yourself, click here to check out their website. We also offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Two of our Mini Mack guests on top of Calton Hill (Instagram: @minimactours)

Two of our Mini Mack guests on top of Calton Hill (Instagram: @minimactours)

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: November 2019

MM Blog post.jpg

November is here and with various festive themed events coming up this month combined with the fact that the Dome is already decked out in its iconic festive finery, we finally feel it's okay to bring up the topic of Christmas! This month sees the arrival of Edinburgh's Christmas Markets, Light Night, Christmas Foodies Festival, and Christmas at the Botanics. However, before we get carried away with festive excitement, there are plenty noteworthy events such as Bonfire Night, St. Andrews Day, and Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds to look forward to in November. Keep scrolling to discover Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: November 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this November?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this November.

• Bonfire Night | 5th November, Various Locations

Edinburgh Gaelic Festival | 8th-16th November, Various Locations

Castle of Light | from 14th November, Edinburgh Castle

Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds | from 15th November, Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Christmas | from 16th November, Various Locations

Beneath the Surface Art Exhibition | from 16th November, City Art Centre

Leonardo Da Vinci Art Exhibition | from 19th November, Queen’s Gallery

Christmas Foodies Festival | 22nd,23rd, and 25th November, EICC

Christmas at the Botanics | from 22nd November, Royal Botanic Gardens

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical | from 26th November, Festival Theatre

• St Andrew’s Day | 30th November, Various Locations

Photo Credit: Castle of Light

Photo Credit: Castle of Light

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: November 2019

1. Where to Eat…

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

Cheese Fest at the Pitt (23rd & 24th November, 125 Pitt Street)

The Pitt is a well-loved street food market which is based in an industrial yard in Leith and is open every weekend. At the end of this month, the Pitt has arranged a cheese-lovers paradise “Cheese Fest” on the 23rd and 24th of November which promises amazing cheesy dishes from the best Scottish street food traders such as cheesy pasta, pizza, steak with blue cheese sauce and plenty of vegan cheeze. There’ll also plenty of drink options as well as live music all weekend long.

Union of Genius (8 Forrest Road)

There’s been a noticeable chill in the air recently, reminding us that winter is well and truly on the way! If you’re out exploring the streets of Edinburgh’s old town and are in need of a bit of warming up, Union of Genius is a lovely spot to stop for lunch. For those of you who haven’t heard of Union of Genius, it’s Scotland’s first soup cafe and makes six different home-made soups daily with matching choices of breads.

Ransacked Black Oven (27-29 Marshall Street)

Tucked away just off Nicholson Street, Ransacked Black Oven is inspired by Persian street food and serves up an eclectic selection of homemade sourdough flat breads served from our wood burning black oven., marinated meats, falafel, salads and more! They also cater for a range of dietary requirements.

Photo Credit: Ransacked Black Oven

Photo Credit: Ransacked Black Oven

2. Must-See Event… Christmas at the Botanics (from 22 November to 29 December)

The hugely popular Christmas at the Botanics will soon return for its third year from 22 November, reminding us that Christmas is just around the corner! For those who haven’t been before, you can expect a twinkling feast for your eyes. From newer additions such as the Laser Garden where light playfully bounces across trees and a Festive Flotilla where hundreds of glowing boats gently bob on the shimmering water to crowd favourites such as the towering Tunnel of Light and the mesmerising Scented Fire Garden, it’s a magical evening for friends and families.

Photo Credit: Christmas at the Botanics

Photo Credit: Christmas at the Botanics

3. Spotlight on… New Town

Edinburgh is a city of contrasts and nowhere is that seen better than in Old and New Town. Where Old Town is known for its charmingly chaotic architecture and narrow, mysterious closes, New Town consists of uniformly elegant Georgian buildings with wide streets. In fact, it’s so grand an example of Georgian town planning that it’s known as the world’s most complete and unspoilt example of Georgian architecture. For this very reason, New Town is a lovely area for a walk and you might even catch the occasional glimpse through the railings into one of its splendid private gardens. As you walk around, don’t forget to visit Princes Street Gardens and if you’re feeling energetic, climb the 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument for a bird’s eye view of the city. There are also two wonderful national galleries to visit nearby, the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery - both are an especially great option if you aren’t blessed with great weather!

For those who enjoy a spot of shopping, Princes Street and George Street are known for their range of high street and high-end boutique stores. However, we would also recommend visiting some of New Town’s wonderful independent stores which dotted around the neighbourhood. Broughton Street is a great place to start as it’s known as a haven for independent shops ranging from Scandi-inspired lifestyle store Lifestory and quirky gift shop Curiouser and Curiouser to Rosevear Tea and Narcissus Flowers.

When it comes time to looking for somewhere to eat, you’ll be spoilt by a wide range of restaurants and cafes. There are a few streets like George Street, Broughton Street, Thistle Street, Rose Street, and Andrews Square, to name a few, which are a hub for various eateries! Click here for a taster of what you can expect.

Stockbridge Edinburgh.jpg

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

c700x420.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: October 2019

MM Blog post(8)(1).jpg

October has arrived and with it comes a noticeable chill in the air and the fiery colours of autumn, not to mention a month of drinks festivals and great shows here in Edinburgh! From Edinburgh Cocktail Week and Oktoberfest to Licence to Thrill: The Music of Bond and the King and I, there’s plenty on for both theatre-goers and foodies alike. The month is then brought to a dramatic close by the annual Samhuinn Fire Festival signalling that winter is truly on its way. Keep scrolling to discover Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: October 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this October?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this October.

Burke & Hare: The Business of Murder | throughout October, The Edinburgh Dungeons

The Luxury of Time | from 4th October, National Museum of Scotland

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons by Candlelight | 11th October, St Giles’ Cathedral

Edinburgh Cocktail Week | 14th-20th October, Various Locations

The King and I | 17th-26th October, Edinburgh Playhouse

Scottish International Storytelling Festival | 18th-31st October, Various Locations

Licence to Thrill: The Music of Bond | 19th October, Usher Hall

Edinburgh Short Film Festival | from 24th October, The Filmhouse

National Gallery Highlights Tour | 26th October, Scottish National Gallery

Oktoberfest | from 30th October, West Princes Street Gardens

Samhuinn Fire Festival | 31st October, Calton Hill

Photo Credit: Samhuinn Fire Festival

Photo Credit: Samhuinn Fire Festival

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: October 2019

1. Where to Eat…

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

Roseleaf Bar (23-24 Sandport Place)

You’ll find the Roseleaf Bar hidden away near the Shore in Leith. From its exterior, the Roseleaf looks like a well-maintained traditional pub but as soon as you walk through its doors you’ll get a sense of its quirky character. From its National Geographic menus and quirky decor to its unique offerings such as Pot-Tails (cocktails in teapots), the Roseleaf goes above and beyond simply offering delicious food and drink but a truly unique experience.

In fact, if you join us on one of our Edinburgh tours we’ll treat you to lunch at the Roseleaf Bar.

Timberyard (10 Lady Lawson Street)

Over the years, the family-run business Timberyard has become extremely popular among locals. The restaurant believes in using ingredients supplied by small local suppliers, and as a result, their food is of great quality. Another reason why it’s so charming is the fact that it’s located in an authentic brick warehouse which has been thoughtfully and stylishly renovated creating a beautiful space to enjoy your meal.

Forage & Chatter (1A Alva Street)

Tucked away in Edinburgh's West End, Forage & Chatter specialises in locally sourced Scottish cuisine. As their name suggests, the restaurant uses locally foraged items from Edinburgh as well as local meats and fish to create delicious dishes.

Photo Credit: TImberyard

Photo Credit: TImberyard

2. Must-See Event… Edinburgh Cocktail Week (14th-20th October)

Edinburgh’s hugely popular Cocktail Week is set to return to Festival Square with several new additions such as an enchanted Cocktail Forest themed extension, 19 pop-up bars, live music and a cosy covered outdoor street food area! If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Edinburgh Cocktail Week has expanded to include a second pop-up in the form of ‘Cocktail Domes’ which will sit on the rooftop garden of The Glasshouse Hotel boasting fantastic views of Calton Hill!

Edinburgh Cocktail Week

Edinburgh Cocktail Week

3. Spotlight on… Bruntsfield

Edinburgh is far from being one uniform city, and Bruntsfield is just another one of the city’s unique areas. The village-like neighbourhood is only a short walk from the city centre yet it’s often overlooked by visitors, which means you’ll have the opportunity to experience the village-style suburb as a local. As you enter Bruntsfield you’ll be greeted by a large open stretch of grass known as Bruntsfield Links which is popular with families, dog walkers, and the occasional golfer putting away on the short-hole free public golf course.

Where to shop

One of the great things about shopping in Bruntsfield is most of the shops are concentrated on its high street allowing you to easily pop in and out of shops - especially convenient if the weather isn’t great! For those of you looking to pick up a souvenir or gift, there are several wonderful options like Curiouser, Halibut & Herring, and Rosevear Tea. For the book lovers, we recommend heading along to The Edinburgh Bookshop, who was crowned the Scottish Independent Bookshop of the Year 2014! If you’re looking to pick up a new outfit, there are several options such as Biscuit Clothing and C'est Si Bon.

Where to eat

Bruntsfield is blessed with a terrific selection of great eateries, artisan coffee shops, cocktail bars, and traditional pubs, so no matter what time of day you visit you’ll be well taken care of. If you’re starting your day off in Bruntsfield, head along to Artisan Roast (who roast their coffee twice a week in Edinburgh) or Project Coffee for a dose of caffeine. Then why not nip into La Barantine for indulgent breakfast pastry. As for lunch and dinner, you’ll be spoilt rotten for choice as the neighbourhood is famed for its foodie scene. Local favourites include Chophouse, Montpeliers, and Three Birds.

What to do

Bruntsfield is by no means the largest village-size neighbourhood in Edinburgh however it’s still a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. Once you’ve finished browsing through its independent stores and enjoying what local eateries have to offer, we’d recommend heading along to the aforementioned Bruntsfield links, a wonderful patch of greenery with views of Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat in the distance, for a stroll and perhaps even a game of short-hole golf?

Photo Credit: Kim Traynor

Photo Credit: Kim Traynor

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

c700x420.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: September 2019

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Riding of the Marches

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Riding of the Marches

The arrival of September means the fun and mayhem of August is over for another year. Whether you’re sighing with relief or missing the buzz, Edinburgh never fails to deliver and there are still plenty of things to look forward to in the month of September. If you’re in Edinburgh on the 15th September, don’t forget to head to the Royal Mile to experience the Riding of the Marches. The Colony of Artists will also return this month with a whopping 66 artists taking part in 40 venues in Abbeyhill. Lastly, finish the month with a peek behind doors which are normally closed to the public during Doors Open Days! Keep scrolling to discover Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: September 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this September?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this September.

Castle Street Autumn Fair | 2nd-8th September, Castle Street

Sing-A-Long The Greatest Showman | 6th September, Edinburgh Playhouse

Jupiter at Dusk | 12th September, Jupiter Artland

Ocean Film Festival | 14th September, Festival Theatre

Collective Play | 14th-16th September, Calton Hill

Celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival | 14th September, St Cecilia's Hall

Edinburgh Riding of the Marches | 15th September, Royal Mile

Colony of Artists | 21st-22nd September, Abbeyhill Colonies

Doors Open Days | 28th-29th September, Various Locations

Photo Credit: Jupiter Artland

Photo Credit: Jupiter Artland

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: September 2019

1. Where to Eat…

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

Victor Hugo Delicatessen (104 George Street)

Many Edinburgh locals will be familiar with the Marchmont institution Victor Hugo Deli. After 50 years, Victor Hugo Deli has expanded to Edinburgh’s New Town but is still serving up their French café classics and brewing their own speciality roast. A great place to nip into for a coffee or lunch.

Noto (47a Thistle Street)

Noto is the latest addition to Edinburgh’s thriving foodie scene. The restaurant is the second venture of the award-winning chef behind the popular restaurant Aizle. Noto is inspired by chef-owner, Stuart’s, time working in New York and has a focus on Asian cuisine with local Scottish produce at its heart. 

The Haggis Box

If you’re visiting Scotland for the first time, you’ll most likely be eager and intrigued to try haggis! If you’re looking for a restaurant, Howies is a great, central location to try haggis but if you’re out exploring the city and in need of a quick bite, head to the Haggis Box. The takeaway offers classic haggis (as well as veggie alternatives), neeps and tatties. For most of the year, you’ll find the Haggis Box at the police box at the bottom of Victoria Street, however, for the summer months they’ve popped up at the Old Tolbooth Market (179A Canongate). We’d recommend checking their Facebook page to keep up to date.

Photo Credit: Noto, Edinburgh

Photo Credit: Noto, Edinburgh

2. Must-See Event… Doors Open Days (28th-29th September)

Doors Open Days is back! For those of you who haven’t heard of Doors Open Days, it’s Scotland’s largest free festival which celebrates heritage and the built environment. In other words, it allows the public a chance to peek inside over a thousand venues across the country throughout September, many of which remain closed to the public for the rest of the year. There are plenty of participating Edinburgh venues to choose from but be quick as all the venues are free, yet some are ticketed (with limited numbers). We’ve chosen a few of our top picks to share with you, including the Burns Monument, Princess Street Gardens Gardeners’ Cottage, Dean Private Gardens, Drumsheugh Baths Club, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, and John Knox House.

Dean Gardens

Dean Gardens

3. Spotlight on… Stockbridge

Stockbridge is a firm favourite amongst many locals and visitors. The village-like neighbourhood is only a short walk from Princess Street yet has managed to foster many endearing qualities reminiscent of a countryside village. From local speciality stores such as a fishmonger, cheesemonger, and florists, to community events such as the Stockbridge weekly market and the annual Stockbridge Duck Race, Stockbridge has a wonderful community spirit.

Where to shop

One of the first streets you’ll come across when walking from Princess Street to Stockbridge is St Stephen Street. This unsuspecting street is a haven for independent stores and the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to treat yourself or in search of a present. Be sure to check out Golden Hare Books, The Method, and Space at Seventeen (a brilliant pop-up space). Next, Raeburn Place is Stockbridge’s main street, and you’ll find a wonderful range of stores, from foodie favourites like IJ Mellis the Cheesemonger and Herbie of Edinburgh to unique gift shops like Caoba and An Independent Zebra. Not to mention numerous charity shops, if you enjoy second-hand shopping.

Where to eat

When we say you’ll be spoilt for choice in Stockbridge, we’re not exaggerating. The neighbourhood is bursting full of excellent places to enjoy coffee, lunch, or dinner. To name a few, Smith & Gertrude are famed for their wines, cheeses and charcuteries; Cowan & Sons is a popular spot to enjoy a casual lunch; Nok’s Kitchen has glowing reviews for their Thai food; and the Scran and Scallie is the popular venture by Michelin Star chef Tom Kitchin. For those with a sweet tooth, head to the Pastry Section, La Barantine, or Soderberg.  

What to do

One of the loveliest things you can do in Stockbridge is to simply explore it on foot. As well as streets lined with elegant Georgian homes and the extremely picturesque Circus Lane, the Water of Leith also flows through the charming neighbourhood and makes for a lovely walk along to either Dean Village or Canonmills and the Royal Botanic Gardens. As previously mentioned, the Stockbridge Market is popular amongst locals and is well-worth a visit if you happen to be in Stockbridge on a Sunday.

IJ Mellis & Circus Lane

IJ Mellis & Circus Lane

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

BackroadsScotland-WEBRES-0109.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: August 2019

Edinburgh Festival Fringe.jpg

August has arrived and that means the biggest art festival in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is here! With thousands of shows, exhibitions, and performances to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for entertainment during your visit to Edinburgh. As well as the Edinburgh Festival, the city’s reputation as the City of Festivals comes into its own and you can look forward to the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Foodies Festival, and Edinburgh International Book Festival. If that wasn’t enough the fantastic Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo is back, and the month of August comes to an exciting close with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert! So, continue scrolling to discover Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: August 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this August?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this August.

Edinburgh Art Festival | throughout August, Various Locations

Edinburgh Festival Fringe | throughout August, Various Locations

Edinburgh International Festival | throughout August, Various Locations

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo | throughout August, Edinburgh Castle

Aberdeen Standard Investments Festival Opening Event | 3rd August, Festival Square

Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens | from 7th August, Princes Street Gardens

Forth On The Fringe | from 9th-10th August, Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh International Book Festival | 10th-26th August, Charlotte Square

Fair & Ethical Trade on the Fringe | 12th-18th August, Castle Street

Edinburgh TV Festival | 21st – 23rd August, EICC

Virgin Money Festival Fireworks Concert | 26th August, West Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: August 2019

1. Where to Eat…

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

Edinburgh Foodies Festival (2nd-4th August, Inverleith Park)

Here’s one for the foodies! The popular Edinburgh Foodies Festival is back, where you can watch top chefs cooking live on stage, enjoy live music, try delicious street food from around the world, and much more. The Foodies Festival is on for three days in Inverleith Park, click here for more info.

Festival Pop-ups (Various Locations)

As you walk about the city during August, you’ll notice in certain areas, like George Square and Bristo Square, a small cluster of street food pop-ups have arrived to ensure you don’t go hungry between festival shows. From the Pizza Geeks’ legendary pizzas to the ShrimpWreck’s tasty seafood, there’s plenty to try out!

The Free Company (Cockdurno Farmhouse, Balerno)

Established in 2017, The Free Company are based at Cockdurno Farm and believe in the reinvigoration of forgotten rural communities and spaces. For a few months of the year, the Free Company fling their doors open for their hugely popular seasonal series. Tickets are currently available to their 'Summer Series', where you can expect a four-course meal based on the bounties of the Scottish Summer, using locally grown produce.

Photo Credit: The Free Company

Photo Credit: The Free Company

2. Must-See Event… Edinburgh International book festival (10th-26th august)

Set up in 1983, the Edinburgh International Book Festival started as a relatively small affair and has grown to become one of the key events in August’s festival season. Based in Charlotte Square, the event has over 900 exciting events lined up. Visitors can expect various ‘Meet the Author’ events, the Baillie Gifford Children's Programme, and lively debates. Click here for the full programme.

The Book Festival Village / Photo Credit: Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Book Festival Village / Photo Credit: Edinburgh International Book Festival

3. Spotlight on… The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2nd-26th August)

Normally, we take a moment to shine a light on one of Edinburgh’s fabulous areas, but with the Festival season upon us, we thought it only right to dedicate this month’s spotlight to the Fringe Festival. In just a few days, the world’s largest arts festival will descend on the Scottish capital, bringing with it a plethora of comedians, actors, and heaps of creativity. There are so many ways to take part, from booking a ticket to see a must-see show or spontaneously attending the Free Fringe, to waking down the Royal Mile and watching various street performers. There isn’t a dull moment during the Festival! However, the sheer scale of events can make it overwhelming for both newcomers and experienced fans. To help you navigate the Fringe Festival, we’ve selected a few must-see shows to give you a taste of what’s on offer.

Family Shows

Comedy Shows

Theatre Shows

Lastly, don’t forget about the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event (3rd August, free) which marks the start of the Edinburgh Festival and the Virgin Money Festival Fireworks Concert which brings the Festival to an exciting close (26th August, from £15).

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

Mini+Mack+Tours.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: July 2019

Edinburgh Festival Fringe.jpg

We can hardly believe that we’re halfway through 2019 and before we know it the Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival will be upon us! But, before we get carried away, there are so many fun events to look forward to in July such as the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Luna Outdoor Kids Cinema, and the Edinburgh Food Festival. Moreover, the Edinburgh Art Festival is back and is sure to bring July to an exciting close. So, continue scrolling to discover Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: July 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this July?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this July.

Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage | throughout July, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two)

A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex exhibition | throughout July, Holyrood Palace

Edinburgh Summer Fiesta | from 5th-7th July, Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh Climate Festival 2019 | from 6th July, The Meadows

Ross Fountain Celebrations | from 9th July, West Princes Street Gardens

Luna Outdoor Kids Cinema | from 10th-14th July, The Meadows

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival | 12th-21st July, Various Locations

The Festival Carnival Parade | 14th July, Princess Street Gardens

Edinburgh Food Festival | from 19th-28th July, George Square

Edinburgh Art Festival | from 25th July, Various Locations

Photo Credit: Darcie Tanner

Photo Credit: Darcie Tanner

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: July 2019

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

Bross Bagels (186 High Street, Portobello; 105 Leith Walk; 19 Queensferry Street)

In 2017, Edinburgh’s first traditional bagel cafe opened its doors in Portobello and quickly won over the hearts of locals. Two years down the line and the Montreal-style bagel café has opened a further two shops in the city, making it easier to indulge in their famous bagels no matter where you are. Keep an eye out for their location-specific bagels like the ‘Porty’, Leither’, and the ‘Westie’ bagels.

The Ox (49-51 London Street)

Looking for somewhere to enjoy Sunday roast with all the trimmings? The Ox at the bottom of Broughton Street is the place to head. As well as a fantastic Sunday roast, the cosy gastropub also serves up dishes like seatrout, roast BBQ glazed pork belly, and 6oz Handmade “The Ox” Burger or "The Ox" Veggie Burger (two for £15 on Tuesdays!).  

Locanda de Gusti (102 Dalry Road)

Arguably one of Edinburgh’s best Italian restaurants, Locanda de Gusti is a local favourite. A short walk from Haymarket will bring you to this little pocket of Naples. The restaurant has found a winning combination by using artisan products from Italy and the best of Scottish meat, fish and seafood.

Photo Credit: Bross Bagel

Photo Credit: Bross Bagel

2. Must-See Event… Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (12th-21st July)

Set up in 1978, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays host to the finest jazz and blues talent from all corners of the globe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned Jazz fan or just dipping your toe into the genre, there’s something for everyone. Click here for the full programme.

Also, don’t forget to look out for the free open-air Mardi Gras (13th July) and Edinburgh Festival Carnival (14th July) events.

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

3. Spotlight on… Leith Walk and the Shore

Edinburgh is far from being one uniform city, and Leith is just another one of the city’s unique village-like areas. There’s a wealth of fabulous places to eat dotted along Leith Walk. To name a few, Twelve Triangles specialises in sourdough bread, pastries, and doughnuts; Embo Deli is a lovely café serving up Scottish and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and The Walnut is a local favourite British bistro serving up the best Scottish and British! Book lovers will also have a field day exploring Scotland’s oldest second-hand and antiquarian bookshop, McNaughtan's; the ever-so-quirky Typewronger Books who also sells vintage typewriters; and the Leith institution Elvis Shakespeare. Also, don’t miss out on Leith’s fun mural walk, which guides you around various wonderful street art. Click here to check out the mural map. A short walk from Leith Walk will bring you to the Shore – one of the most photogenic areas of Leith. The banks of the Shore are lined with a range of places to eat, from Martin Wishart’s Michelin Star restaurant to local favourites such as the Roseleaf Bar and Mimi’s Bakehouse.

(Don’t have enough time to explore Leith? Join our two- or three-hour private tour of Edinburgh, where we’ll show you the stunning Shore and visit the Roseleaf bar and restaurant.)

Location: The Shore

Location: The Shore

Location: The Leith Aquatic Mural, 2013 - Halmyre Street

Location: The Leith Aquatic Mural, 2013 - Halmyre Street

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

mini mack.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: June 2019

MM Blog post.jpg

As we leave spring behind and enter summer, it’s wonderful to enjoy the longer days and pops of colour as the roses and rhododendrons burst into bloom. It’s a lovely reminder that winter is well and truly behind us - hopefully, the Scottish weather realises that soon too! There are several wonderful events taking place in Edinburgh this month, so continue scrolling to discover what’s on and Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: June 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this June?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this June. A few highlights to watch out for is the Leith Festival, Jupiter Artland’s reopening, and Edinburgh’s International Film Festival which brings the month of June to a close.

Jupiter Artland Reopens | from 18th May

Leith Festival | 8th-16th June, Various Locations

A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex | from 14th June, Holyrood Palace

West End Classic Vehicle Show | 15th June, Edinburgh’s West End

Edinburgh Canal Festival and Raft Race | 15th June, Edinburgh Quay, Fountainbridge

Film Fest in the City | 14th-16th June, St Andrews Square

The Stockbridge Summer Solstice | 23rd June, Stockbridge

Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland | 26th June, National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh International Film Festival | 19th-30th June, Various Locations

Photo Credit: West End Classic Vehicle Show

Photo Credit: West End Classic Vehicle Show

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: June 2019

1. Where to Eat…

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out, here are just a few of our recommendations for this month.

  • Tupiniquim (Green Police Box, Lauriston Place)

    With summer almost here, it’s the perfect time to make the most of the (hopefully) fairer and warmer weather by enjoying a Brazilian crepe at Tupiniquim. Grab one of their sweet or savoury (gluten-free) crepes, then head to the Meadows to enjoy it.

  • El Cartel (64 Thistle Street)

    Serving up authentic homemade Mexican street food, El Cartel has made quite the name for themselves in Edinburgh. Their original Thistle Street restaurant received so many glowing reviews that they have now opened a second branch at 15-16 Teviot Place.

  • Smith & Gertrude (26 Hamilton Place)

    Tucked away down Hamilton Place in Stockbridge, Smith & Gertrude is a delightful wine and cheese bar. They’ve won over the hearts of locals by offering a great wine selection, various cheeses and nibbles, in an extremely laid-back and cosy atmosphere.

Photo Credit: Smith & Gertrude

Photo Credit: Smith & Gertrude

2. Must-See Event… Film Fest in the City

It’s back! The much loved outdoor cinema, Film Fest in the City, will return to St Andrews Square from the 14th-16th June. This year, the three-day free event will show classics like When Harry Met Sally, feel-good musicals like Mama Mia, and more recent sensations like The Greatest Showman. There’s something for everyone and perhaps it’s a perfect activity for Father’s Day! Click here to check out the programme.

Photo Credit: Essential Edinburgh

Photo Credit: Essential Edinburgh

3. Spotlight on… Edinburgh’s West End

Edinburgh is not just one uniform city. The city is made up of various village-like areas, each with their own unique identity, which are often overlooked. This month, we wanted to shine a light on the West End. There’s a wealth of fabulous places to eat dotted along bustling Queensferry Street. To name a few, @pizza prides themselves on delicious 90-second customisable pizzas, Vesta is a lovely restaurant linked to the brilliant social enterprise Social Bite, and Forage & Chatter largely use ingredients they have foraged themselves! Also, don’t miss out on the utterly charming and quaint William Street, home to an excellent selection of independent stores and cafes. A few to look out for are Strumpets cafe, Frontiers Woman & Man, and The Voyage of Buck. The jewel in the area’s crown has to be the ever-so-picturesque Dean Village - don’t forget to bring your phone or a camera to capture its beauty!

(Don’t have enough time to explore the West End? Join our two or three hour private tour of Edinburgh, where we’ll show you the stunning Dean Village.)

Dean Village

Dean Village

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a month! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

MM Blog post(5).jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: March & April 2019

Royal Botanic Gardens 2.jpg

The first months of spring are officially here and it’s wonderful to see the days getting longer and pops of colour emerging as the crocuses and daffodils start to bloom. It’s a lovely reminder that winter will soon be behind us! There are several wonderful events taking place in Edinburgh this month, so continue scrolling to discover what’s on and Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: March & April 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh this March & April?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what is taking place in Edinburgh this March and April. A few highlights include Edinburgh’s West End Gin Festival, The Goonies Film with Live Orchestra, Edinburgh International Science Festival, and the Beltane Fire Festival which will bring the month of April to an exciting close.

Edinburgh’s Festival of Ireland | from 15th March, Various Locations

The Fourth Cordis Prize for Tapestry | from 16th March, Royal Botanic Gardens

Edinburgh's West End Gin Festival | 22nd -31st March, Edinburgh’s West End

Broughton Street Celebration | 30th-31st March, Shops Along Broughton Street

Matilda the Musical | 2nd-27th April, Edinburgh Playhouse

An Evening with the Hairy Bikers | 5th April, Queens Hall

Edinburgh International Science Festival | 6th–21st April, Various Locations

The Greatest Showman Sing-a-long | 17th April, Festival Theatre

The Goonies Film with Live Orchestra | 27th April, Usher Hall

Beltane Fire Festival | 30th April

Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi | until 2nd June, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Fourth Cordis Prize for Tapestry (Photo Credit: Royal Botanic Garden)

The Fourth Cordis Prize for Tapestry (Photo Credit: Royal Botanic Garden)

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: March & April 2019

1. Where to Eat

Edinburgh is blessed with so many fantastic places to dine out. From cafes serving up fresh Scottish produce to brilliant Gastropubs to fine dining, there’s something for everyone! If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are a few of our current favourites.

  • The Walnut (9 Croall Place)

    Located on Leith Walk, the Walnut may be small in size, but it has garnered quite a big name for itself in the Edinburgh food community. The homely British bistro serves up the best Scottish and British produce at affordable prices!

  • Dishoom (3a St Andrews Square)

    Dishoom’s first Scottish branch caused quite a stir in the Capital when it arrived in town and we can see why! The restaurant pays homage to the old Irani cafés of Bombay and offers authentic, moreish Indian dishes.

  • Stocks (24-26 St Giles Street)

    Situated just off Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, Stocks specialises in amazing seafood and steak dishes. They pride themselves on serving the best of Scottish produce, sourced from artisan suppliers and producers across the country!

  • MILK at The Fruitmarket Gallery (45 Market Street)

    Despite its central location, the Fruitmarket Gallery’s café is still quite a hidden gem. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy brunch, lunch, or even just a coffee. The great thing is if you’re looking for vegan and gluten-free options there are plenty!

Photo Credit: Fraser Suites

Photo Credit: Fraser Suites

2. Where to go this Spring

As spring arrives, there’s no lovelier place to be than the Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens reawaken after winter with their annual Snowdrop Festival, soon followed by an explosion of flowers of all colours and sizes, including rhododendrons, crocuses, and daffodils. Due to the size of the gardens, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon wandering about the grounds and if the weather suddenly changes, there’s the option to visit their beautiful glasshouses, one of their cafes, or Inverleith House. Speaking of Inverleith House, their new exhibition “The Fourth Cordis Prize for Tapestry” featuring the selected finalists of the biggest international award for tapestry has just opened.

3. Treat your Mum

Before we continue, we just have to give a shout out to all the fantastic mums out there! If you’re looking to treat your mother but you’re stuck for an idea, we’ve come up with a few to help you out. There are various events around Edinburgh such as Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at The Stables at Prestonfield which will be transformed into a magical Spring Garden, The Restoration Yard’s Mother’s Day Spring Wreath Making Workshop or Edinburgh’s West End Gin Festival.

If you’re looking for gift ideas, why not take a stroll along St Stephen Street or Broughton Street, both streets are a haven for independent shops and you can find everything from bookshops to tea shops to lifestyle shops!

Photo Credit: The Restoration Yard

Photo Credit: The Restoration Yard

4. A Must-Visit Event

Edinburgh’s annual International Science Festival is back from the 6th–21st April with a fantastic programme aimed at all ages! This year’s theme “Frontiers” is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings and takes place in various locations all over the city. If you’re in Edinburgh with your little ones don’t forget to bring them along to the City Art Centre for five floors of fun, hands-on science (a day pass allows access to all the events in the building). Another highlight, is the hugely popular GastroFest, a mini-festival of the science of food and drink, with events ranging from Cheeseology to Spice of Life!

Even if you don’t have time to visit a specific venue or event, you’re sure to spot dazzling science demonstrations as you walk around the city as their “Street Science” team pop-up around the city.

Photo Credit: Edinburgh International Science Festival

Photo Credit: Edinburgh International Science Festival

5. Where to find Edinburgh’s Best Easter Eggs

Chocolate lovers rejoice! There are so many great places to find artisan chocolate in Edinburgh and with Easter quickly approaching, Easter Eggs will soon be appearing on shelves across the city. A few places you’ll find handmade, beautiful Easter Eggs in Edinburgh include Edward & Irwyn, the Pastry Section, Coco Chocolatier, Mary’s Milk Bar, and The Chocolate Tree!

Photo Credit: 1. Edward & Irwyn 2. The Pastry Section 3. Coco Chocolatier

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a start to spring! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

Mini Mack Tours.jpg

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: January & February 2019

Edinburgh.jpg

From all of us here at Mini Mack Tours, we just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year! What better way to start the New Year than with a new blog series, which will focus on our Edinburgh recommendations, must-see events, and shine a light on Edinburgh’s fantastic independent businesses. So, without further ado, let’s look at Mini Mack’s Edinburgh Top Tips: January & February 2019!

What’s on in Edinburgh during January & February?

Before we delve into our top tips for the month, let’s have a look at what exciting events are taking place in Edinburgh!

Mini Mack’s Top 10 Edinburgh Tips: January & February 2019

1. Head outdoors for a refreshing walk

Despite January and February being a few of the coldest months of the year, there’s nothing quite so refreshing and beautiful as a frosty morning walk. Located in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, Holyrood Park is a great option to enjoy a walk. There are many different routes to choose from so to help you decide, here are two of our favourites. If you’re looking for something a little more strenuous with rewarding views over the city, we’d recommend a brisk hike up – one of Edinburgh’s extinct volcanoes - Arthur’s Seat. Click here to see the various routes available. Another option is to walk around Arthur’s Seat, which still affords marvellous views of Edinburgh, via a road called Queen’s Drive. This road will bring you to various landmarks, including St Anthony’s Chapel, Dunsapie Loch, and beautiful views over Duddingston Loch.

arthurs seat (2).jpg

2. Enjoy lunch at Gannet & Guga

New Year, new resolutions – but the January detox doesn’t mean having to compromise on taste! Located in one of the beautifully restored Edinburgh Arches, Gannet and Guga (3 East Market Street Arches) is an independent gourmet sandwich and salad bar who use fresh ingredients to create healthy yet scrumptious food. There’s limited seating but it’s a great place to grab lunch on the go.

gannet and guga.jpg

3. Don’t miss out on a fun & free event

Message from the Skies is back, starting on 1st January and finishing on 25th January! This year a selection of internationally celebrated writers have composed love letters to Europe which will then be projected in six locations - Custom House, Calton Hill, TechCube, Bongo Club, Tron Kirk, and Leith Library. If you’re looking for a slightly different way to spend your evening, this might be perfect!

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Festival City

Photo Credit: Edinburgh Festival City

4. Start the New Year with a New Read

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more often, you’re in luck as Edinburgh has a wonderful selection of both new and second-hand bookshops. With regards to second-hand bookshops, a few of our top picks are Armchair Books, Till’s Bookshop, and Edinburgh Books. Prefer to buy new? Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh Bookshop, and Typewronger Books are fantastic!

armchair books.jpg

5. Explore the Royal Mile’s Hidden Gems

At the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town lies the impressive Royal Mile (the length of a Scottish Mile - just over a mile as we know today). As you walk along the Royal Mile, you’ll notice narrow closes (a Scottish term for a narrow lane) branching off and within these are hidden gems which are often overlooked. A few of our favourites are White Horse Close, Dunbar’s Close, Chessel Court, Advocates Close, and Lady Stairs Close. A visit to Dunbar’s Close is particularly appropriate as Burns Night is fast approaching. The 17th-century style garden was once home to Mrs. Love's oyster cellar, which Robert Burns was known to have visited to enjoy the wine, women and song! If you do visit, don’t forget to look up toward Calton Hill, where you’ll spot Burns’ monument.

Chessels Court

Chessels Court

6. Join the celebrations by attending a Burns Night Supper

What better way to end the month than by celebrating Scotland’s National Bard by attending a Burn’s Supper? There are plenty to choose from including the Ghillie Dhu’s Burns Supper where you can expect the traditional address to the haggis and a Ceilidh to finish the evening!

Photo Credit: Ghillie Dhu

Photo Credit: Ghillie Dhu

7. Enjoy romantic drinks in one of Edinburgh’s best hidden bars

Looking for somewhere romantic to enjoy drinks with your better half? We highly recommend Panda & Sons - an eccentric bar fusing the classic Prohibition style Speakeasy and a nod to the Vintage style Barbershop. Half of the fun is finding the bar! Enter through the barbershop front and past the Speakeasy door to find your way in, where you’ll find some of the best cocktails in Edinburgh.

Photo Credit: Panda & Sons

Photo Credit: Panda & Sons

8. Support Scotland at Murrayfield Stadium

This year’s Six Nations is set to be another exciting event for Scotland as several rounds will be hosted at BT Murrayfield Stadium (a short distance from the city centre). Be sure to book your tickets soon so as not to be disappointed!

Photo Credit: DTB sports

Photo Credit: DTB sports

9. Be a part of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in Scotland

For the first time ever there will be a programme of special events taking place in Scotland’s capital to celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig. Cultural highlights include a Chinese New Year Gala concert at the Usher Hall, a special Chinese music concert at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, the National Museums of Scotland will open its brand-new East Asia Galleries on 8th February, and local businesses in the city will welcome visitors with everything from traditional red envelopes to special cocktails. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Edinburgh Zoo.jpg

10. Treat yourself to a luxurious meal at Angels with Bagpipes

Last but not least, Angels with Bagpipes is located on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile and has gained a glowing reputation for using the best produce and ingredients to create delightful seasonal dishes. The restaurant has a cosy yet modern feel to it, perfect for a dinner date for two. In case you were wondering if there’s a story behind the name, there is indeed! The restaurant sits opposite St Giles Cathedral which houses the world’s only wooden carved angel playing bagpipes!

Angels with Bagpipes.jpg

It sounds like it’s going to be quite a start to 2019! If you’d like to discover Edinburgh with our local lads, Rowan & Andy, we have a range of fantastic private mini car tours.

Mini Mack Tours

Mini Mack tours offer a range of private Mini car tours in and around the heart of Edinburgh. It’s a great way to pack a lot into one day and see sights that most visitors (and even locals) have never seen. From private city tours to Whisky n’ Cheese tours to a day trip to St Andrews, there’s something for everyone!

Click here to find out more - we can’t wait to meet you!

Comment

Comment

Edinburgh's garden of Eden

It's now commonly known that the Mini Mack experience isn't just about visiting the hotspots of Edinburgh, but rather the hidden gems which even the locals don't know about.  Dr Neil's Garden based down in Duddingston Village is the epitome of this ideal.  A microcosm that has no right to survive in our cities climate, but actually thrives as one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas Edinburgh.  

I'm not going to give you the history of the garden as you can find it here www.drneilsgarden.co.uk or simply come on tour with us.  If you ever do venture down to Old Church Lane I can tell what you can expect.  A collection of plants and trees collated from around the world protected by Arthurs Seat from the coastal off the Firth of Forth.  A gang of geese, mallards, ducks and other water based birds which have their very own wildlife park connected beside the garden.  Looking onto Duddingston loch you can imagine hundreds, even thousands of ice skaters and curlers using the loch during the very late 18th century when we had the coldest of winters.  Look out for 'Stan the man' the cockiest of pheasants with the best coat in town looking after his harem of four hens.  Perhaps most importantly, say hello to the Head Gardner of 14 years, Claudia, with her tribe of volunteers and trusty dog 'Bear'. Claudia is the next level creator, maintainer and protector of this wonderful ecosystem who at the drop of a hat will give you the common and latin name for any shrub, plant, tree or blade of grass found on her patch.

I've only touched on a few things of what to see and do in Edinburgh's best kept secret, so to find out more you will have to venture down to see for yourself.  Already I have bumped into local friends who have headed to the garden for a wee cup of tea (great tea room by the way) and piece of cake.  Just don't tell too many people about this garden of Eden and let's keep this a secret between us :)

Comment

Comment

smallcarBIGCITY meets BIGGERCARsmallercity

The great thing about the tourism industry, especially within a niche market is the level of enthusiasm and general openness we have received within the industry since starting the Mini Mack Tours.  smallcarBIGCITY (a classic car hire and tour company based in London) certainly falls into that bracket and warmly welcomed when they reached out to us to say they would be in Edinburgh for the weekend.  When I say they, it was Tony Grant (Head Gasket of smallcar) and his lovely wife Julia who made the trip up North to check us Edinburgers out.  

Taking a slight detour from the normal route, we started off with a wee walk along Portobello promenade which is based in the East of Edinburgh, right on the Firth of Forth.  True to a typical early March day, it was fricking freezing, but nice for our new friends to see something new and to my mind the beach is an under used asset for visitors of Edinburgh as a whole. From there we ventured off to our first 3 stops on the regular tour showcasing the hidden delights of our beautiful city.   Since we have only been running our tours for 10 months it was great to hear from another fellow professional, their thoughts and opinions as to the locations and experience our tour offers, as well as get a few pointers and tips for future tours.    

If you are ever in London, you need to check these guys out  www.smallcarbigcity.com   With a fleet of beautiful classic minis, their tours will take you on experiences based on the Beatles, the Italian Job, treasure hunts, team building events as well as quick private tours around the parts of the city most people don't get to see - a bit like us :)   Meeting your so called 'competitors' has been a pleasure as well as an education in making sure our customers have the best time while visiting their chosen city. After all, this is the reason why we do it!

 

 

Comment