Stockbridge, much like nearby Dean Village, is a former suburb of Edinburgh that was long ago incorporated into the city. Though only a short walk from the city core, it maintains a distinctive vibe as an upscale neighbourhood filled with boutiques and cafes.
Edinburgh is home to a seemingly endless number of pubs. Most of them are nondescript neighbourhood corner spots serving mainly locals. Others are more touristy and claim long, elaborate histories. In every one we visited we found a warm welcome and unexpectedly good food.
It is true that the black stuff does taste better in Ireland, if only because frequent and rapid consumption by so many citizens ensures that every pint is fresh.
My search for a respectable pint of Guinness outside the Temple Bar district raised a few intriguing candidates, but The Confession Box was a five-minute walk from our hotel so it jumped to the top of the list.
On our final night in London, we made it out to Clerkenwell and The Eagle pub, which is one of the first pubs to begin what became known as the “gastropub” movement.
The phrase has become worn out in recent years, but originally, a gastropub was simply a pub that served very good food. The Eagle opened in 1991 and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
London is such a vast city that even a full week spent exploring as tourists meant we barely scraped the surface of a few neighbourhoods.
In between all the other major landmarks, museums, pubs and restaurants we visited and blogged about, we also came across other things that caught our interest. Here’s a random compilation.
May 20, 2016 is our 10th wedding anniversary. Josie had always wanted to see Oxford, having read many books and watched many dramas set in that town. This seemed like a perfect reason to take a train and get out of London for the day.
The trip from Paddington Station to Oxford took 56 minutes and cost us £25 (about $50 CAD) each, return. We enjoyed random views of the lush English countryside from the window of our train.
One of our first stops in Soho was the Algerian Coffee Stores on Old Compton Street, which has been around since 1887. The decor is a mix of Victorian and modern. They sell roughly 80 types of coffee beans, as well as tea and chocolate. There are no tables, but they’ll pull you a shot of espresso for £1 to drink while standing. I had one and it was delicious.
Ye Olde Mitre is a pub in the Holborn district of London, hidden at the end of an alley that extends from a gated laneway near the Chancery Lane tube stop. It’s closed on weekends.
One of the oldest in London, this pub dates to the time of Queen Elizabeth I. “Built in 1546 and extended in 1782” says the website. Rather than a single room, the pub is more like a warren of small cozy rooms, with two levels and a courtyard.
The other customers mostly seemed to be suited regulars on their lunch breaks.