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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Gourmet in Edinburgh

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5. Oddball Day


Hike with locals around the dormant volcano of Arthur's Seat.  

Grab a sturdy pair of wellies and get physical in Edinburgh’s mighty outdoors. Pick up a hearty breakfast at Edinburgh Larder, a West End bistro specializing in farm-fresh fare, like a local duck egg fried in rib-sticking black pudding ($10), then stock up on lunch provisions at Picnic Parlour, a new offshoot of the perennially popular Mimi’s Bakehouse (honeyed-ham-and-Kintyre-cheddar panini, $12). Next, head over to Holyrood Park, a 650-acre swath of lochs, glens, and fields surrounding Edinburgh’s iconic Arthur’s Seat, the 820-foot dormant volcano that you’re about to climb. Start near the medieval St. Margaret’s Well, by the Scottish Parliament building on the northwestern side of the park, and follow the well-marked trail signs for Volunteer’s Walk. As you traverse the rolling terrain, passing marshy Hunter’s Bog and the Instagram-worthy crest of Salisbury Crags, wave to the tweed-wearing neighborhood regulars taking their remarkably well-behaved Border collies for afternoon constitutionals. After just over an hour of scenic trekking, you’ll reach Arthur’s Seat. Enjoy your picnic panini at the peak while contemplating the city skyline and the glinting, cantilevered bridge over the straits of the River Forth in the distance. Descend the hill, exit the park, and get some context on your surroundings at Our Dynamic Earth, an oddly engaging science center with an exhibition hall devoted to the plate tectonics that created Arthur’s Seat (admission $19). Reconnect with nature over dinner at Field, a newly opened restaurant dedicated to seasonal produce and Scottish ingredients. Start with the local smoked duck served with house-made potato chips ($10.50), then try the panfried hake, which arrives at the table with crispy ham croquettes and celeriac purée ($23). Finish the day with the I.J. Mellis–sourced cheese plate with pickled grapes ($11), or go for broke with the dark-chocolate ice cream served over tart cherry mousse ($9.80) — hey, you’ve earned it.


Published on Mar 13, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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