Visiting Edinburgh as a Vegan

Honestly, Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities to visit: it's steeped in history, it has that city thrill without the dreary cloyingness of London, and it's one of those places I instantly feel at home in (except when I have to drive in it; then it's a bloody nightmare). Making this her first trip as a vegan, my sister and I made the drive up for a client's book launch this week, which just so happened to coincide with my sister taking some holidays at work, and it was a great excuse to spend some time together and explore Edinburgh together.

The First Day

After a breakfast by the fire in our local Spoons we took an easy drive up, and even though we both visit Scotland at least once a year we'd never stopped at the border before -- so we pulled over and did selfies and did the tourist schtick. You have to snap the border crossing at least once, right?

Accommodation - Averon Guest House

We found our accommodation on, and to be honest, we got a bargain. There wasn't a twin available so I paid a little extra for a triple, and my sister was kind enough to let me have the double and to take the single for herself. We got free secure parking from first thing in the morning on the day of arrival until 11pm after we checked out, which was a major bonus for us, and it was close to all kinds of shops as well as being only a twenty- to thirty-minute walk to wherever we wanted to go. The caretaker who saw us in was friendly and welcoming, and the room was decent. No bath, but a good shower (although it was just cramped enough to make shaving difficult without getting your hair wet), and the beds were comfy. Our only real drawback was the down pillows. First of all, down is cruel to ducks: just like we wouldn't want to sleep on a pillow filled with fur, neither do we want to find some comfort in feathers ripped from birds. And secondly, down makes really uncomfortable pillows. It's outdated, it's unsupportive, and you need about a stack of about three of them to make a half-decent pillow. Luckily there were spare pillows (and a blanket) in the wardrobe, so we were able to use those.

Dinner/Lunch - Bar Burrito

A vegan burrito wrapped in foil from Bar Burrito

After unpacking our things we headed out for a wander. I try to avoid using chains while we're away, just so we can support more independent restaurants, but my sister really loves burritos. We don't have a Bar Burrito in Middlesbrough, so at least we were trying something that we couldn't get at home. We both got a mild burrito with sweet potato chilli and mushroom with some guacamole, and sat in (even though my sister said that the only way you can truly practice eating a burrito is to do so while walking) so we could watch the world go by and plan our trip. Also, I really the love the bowls they have there. They feel a bit flimsy, and I don't think they'd be suitable for hot food, but I'm hoping to find something similar in Asda or TK Maxx -- definitely drop me a message if you see them anywhere!

A girl's hand holds a vegan burrito from Bar Burrito


No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to Princes St. I got some new heels for going out after the launch (from New Look, which very rarely do leather shoes), but after a long drive we wanted to chill out in the room for a bit before getting ready.

Once we were suited and booted we headed out to Blackwell's Bookshop for the launch. Tabby Stirling has written a thrilling contemporary fiction, Bitter Leaves, which follows four women in Singapore and their experiences with the maid culture there. It was wonderful to meet some of the Edinburgh literary set, and I'll be writing up a blog post for Stirling Publishing about it.

Tea/Dinner - Holy Cow

My sister and I went off down the dark Edinburgh streets after the launch to find Holy Cow, an exclusively vegan café with an impressive menu. In fact, it reminded us a little of The Green Room back home in Middlesbrough.

I ordered the BBQ jackfruit burger, which was really good -- the jackfruit pieces were larger than the usual "shredded pork" style, and were a pleasant texture somewhere between "meaty" and mushroom, a bit like artichoke -- and my sister got a cheezeburger. Of course, we tried each other's: we often ask restaurants to cut our burgers so we can have half each. The cheeze was a little too bland for my taste, and while it was nice I would recommend the jackfruit over the cheezeburger. They also came with one of the most generous portion of home-cooked chips I've ever seen; I almost struggled to finish!