The Importance of Staycations Part Two: Edinburgh and Canterbury

Part Two

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Duration of trip:
Two nights, which was a good amount of time to cover the main bases but nowhere near enough. Then again, I’m probably biased as I wish I could spend my entire summer in Edinburgh especially with the Fringe Festival occurring in August!!

Attractions:
Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace, The Scottish National Gallery and the Scott Monument. We also went on the Hop on Hop off bus (so cheesy, but I love to do this in every city just to get a feel for the layout and also because it provides you with free transportation around a place for 24-48 hours)

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Edinburgh Castle

Luckily, Faye lives right next to Carlton Hill, so on our second day we were able to have access to an amazing panoramic view over Edinburgh and observe Arthur’s Seat without having to physically climb it in our fragile and hungover state. It also contains the National Monument of Scotland, which makes it easy to see why Edinburgh is often dubbed the Athens of the North.

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Food & Drink:
We mostly ate at home, but we did have an amazing fondue at the Chocolate Lounge in Harvey Nicholls.

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We also had some delicious drinks at a cute underground cocktail bar called Bramble which had an intimate ambience and a great DJ.

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CANTERBURY, ENGLAND

Duration of trip:
We used my house in Kent as a base, and visited just for the day. For tourists, I’d say two nights is sufficient enough.

Attractions:
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, Eastbridge Hospital. If you have time, the historic river tour is charming, especially during the summer. Not only had I never visited the aforementioned attractions, despite living 20 minutes away, I’d barely noticed them at all. I’d walked past them on several occasions, blissfully ignorant and engrossed in shopping or on night out. Of course, I’d appreciate the architecture but never more than briefly acknowledging it in a blasé fashion before moving swiftly on. I had no idea that Canterbury was host to a UNESCO world heritage site.

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St Augustine’s Abbey
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Canterbury Cathedral
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My little history buff Alisa in her element

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There was an especially poignant sculpture in Canterbury Cathedral adeptly located hanging above the original crypt of Thomas Becket. ‘Transport’ by Antony Gormley takes the shape of an outline of a body and is made from iron nails that were taken from the repaired roof of the Cathedral itself.

“The body is less a thing than a place. A location where things happen. Thought, feeling, memory and anticipation filter through it sometimes sticking but mostly passing on, like us in this great Cathedral with its centuries of building, adaption, extension and all the thoughts, feeling and prayers that have had and transmitted here…We are all the temporary inhabitants of a body, it is our house, instrument and medium. Through it all come impressions of a wider world and all other bodies in space, palpable, perceivable and imaginable.” – Gormley

The comparison of the body to a location, and in particular a house, reminded me of part of Warsan Shire’s* poem, ‘The House’:

‘Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women,
kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.
Sometimes the men they come with keys,
and sometimes the men they come with hammers.’

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Transport by Antony Gormley. Image Credit: Gareth Fuller/PR Wire

Food & Drink:
We went to GBK for something quick and easy. Other restaurants that I’ve visited before that I’d definitely recommend include: Cafe de Amis, The Pound, Club Burrito and Cafe du Soleil. We didn’t have time for drinks, but good places to go out are The Cuban, Chemistry, The Ballroom and of course, the Spoons.

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Loving life in Spoons

*If you don’t know who Warsan Shire is, then you are missing out. It’s her poetry that is featured in Beyoncé’s Lemonade and she is quite simply a goddess. Look her up immediately. You’re welcome.

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