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  • Writer's picturesi newell

A long weekend in Edinburgh before Christmas

Almost too cold to urban sketch...


A quick trip to Edinburgh before Christmas - a stunning city, albeit a very cold one at this time of year! An early afternoon flight allowed us a quick wander around the city centre around the hotel in Fountainbridge.


I had a day of exploring - I had spent a short day in Edinburgh many years ago so this trip would give me a chance to see more. I started around the castle and Grassmarket attempting a couple of sketches but it was sooo cold!

It was very frustrating as I really wanted to sketch West Bow properly - I’ll just have to come back in the summer and try to do justice to this beautiful city!

I did manage to find a cafe for lunch in Princes Street with a wonderful view of the city’s skyline - warmth at last.


I woke up with a plan today - a long walk starting at Arthur’s Seat. I admit I did not have the best shoes to climb today but somehow managed to get to this dramatic vantage point. One feels so far removed from the city despite not being too far away.

Then the main treck to Leith - an interesting port district with a charismatic historic waterside - I’m not so sure the massive new developments are particularly great however. Sure they are providing a new market to regenerate the town but like so many Northern European large masterplans, I’m not convinced we are creating desirable new places that will be looked back upon as particularly great places to live.

I did manage to get a couple of sketches drawn of the nice older parts however before returning to Edinburgh and a look round the bustling nightlife of the Christmas markets.


We all met up the next morning partly taking a tourist bus around the city stopping off at character cafes for hot coffee and mulled wine with a couple of sketches possible in between rain.

Despite the weather, the charm of this magical city is obvious and I look forward to returning hopefully very soon.


The day started with a walk around the city on a sunny day stopping for a quick 10 minute sketch of W Bow before continuing along The Royal Mile and turning off towards the Old College, The University of Edinburgh.

Calton Park provides one of the best elevated panoramas of the city and was a very pleasant place to spend some time in the afternoon before returning to the the city centre - the castle had a dramatic light and music show playing as the sun set - the perfect way to end the weekend and our trip.

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