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!
Edinburgh Zoo: Giant Lanterns of China | until 17th February
Robert Blomfield: Edinburgh Street Photography | throughout January and February, City Art Centre
Message from the Skies | 1st-25th January
Robots | from 15th January, National Museum of Scotland
Burns and Beyond | 22nd-27th January, Various Locations
Les Miserables Edinburgh | from 22nd January, Festival Theatre
The Stand Burns Night Special | 23rd January, The Stand
Prestonfield Burns Night | 24th January, Prestonfield House
Six Nations Rugby | Throughout February, Murrayfield
Manipulate Festival | from 2nd February, Various Locations
Chinese New Year | from 5th February
Valentine’s Day | 14th February
Capital Sci-Fi Con | from 15th February, Edinburgh Corn Exchange
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 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!