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    Five Great Things to do Whilst in Edinburgh, Scotland

    Edinburgh is architecturally unique, steeped in history and buzzing with people out and about drinking, eating and sightseeing.

    But, where to start? Here are five great things to see and do whilst in the Scottish capital:

    Five Great Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh Dungeons - My Culture Craving

    Edinburgh Dungeons

    Edinburgh Dungeons was an unplanned activity, which ended up being one of the main highlights of our trip!

    After a few glasses of vino, we headed towards the dark dungeons, eagerly awaiting what we had in store. Once we’d paid the rather steep £16.50 entry fee, we were led into the first ‘scene’ of our frightening dungeon experience – the Judge and Courtroom.

    We then huddled together and retreated into the darkness, through a series of thrilling, fun and educational scenes – including a spooky boat trip, a creepy tour of a torture chamber, a humorous mirror maze and an exciting drop ride, which provided us with some invaluable photos at the end.

    Although admission to the dungeons may seem rather expensive if you are travelling on a budget, it is definitely worth the dent in your pocket!

    With over an hour of laughter, screaming, history and special effects, Edinburgh Dungeons is a great day out and a fun way to learn about the city’s gory past.

    Five Great Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland - Whisky - My Culture Craving

    Whisky Tasting

    I’m not a fan of good ol’ whisky. However, as I was travelling with a couple of people who love this potent drink, I bit the bullet and gave a bit of whisky tasting a go… I’m sorry to say, that it didn’t change my opinion on this classic Scottish drink…

    Throughout Edinburgh, there are a number of options of how/where you can do whisky tasting.

    If you are keen to learn about the in-depth history of whisky and how it is made, then the Scotch Whisky Experience is probably your best option. Situated next to the castle, it guides you through a replica distillery, whilst educating you on the processes involved in making whisky… and, of course, you are provided with samples along the way.

    Ticket prices range from £14 – £60 (depending on what tour you book on to). Check out their website to find out more about the different tours they have on offer.

    As we were on a budget, we decided to create our own whisky tasting experience in a traditional, beamed pub in Edinburgh’s old town. We all chose a couple of different whiskys each, took a sip or two (depending on how horrible they were) and passed them on.

    With a vast choice of over 50 different whiskys in most of the pubs in Edinburgh, you won’t go short on finding a new tipple to try.

    After tasting the whisky, which was described as ‘sea salty’ and smelt and tasted a little like TCP, we admitted defeat and ordered a bottle of wine… but at least we gave it a good go…

    Five Great Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland - Castle - My Culture Craving

    Edinburgh Castle

    Situated on top of a rock overlooking Edinburgh, you can almost envision the battles and sieges, which once took place at this iconic castle. Seeped in generations of regal history and with the best views in the city, this is a must see whilst in Edinburgh.

    However, with the entry fee priced at an eye-watering £16 per person, I’d advise putting aside a whole day to wander around and discover the stories behind this fascinating building.

    Five Great Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland - Tartan - My Culture Craving

    Tartan Weaving Mill

    As an avid tartan lover, this is something, which I wish I could have done whilst in Edinburgh. However unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to fit it in.

    Situated next to Edinburgh castle and spread over five floors, the Tartan Weaving Mill shows visitors the vast processes involved in…dum dum dummmm, the production of tartan. From the shearing of sheep to the making of kilts, you are bound to learn everything there is to know about this intricate process.

    And unless you get lured in by the numerous shops, entry is free, making it a great and educational afternoon out without any need to worry about your budget!

    Favourite Moments of Travel - Edinburgh -My Culture Craving

    Take a Wander

    I always find that I get the most out of a new city when I go out, walk in any direction and see where I end up. On this occasion, I headed in the direction of Edinburgh’s old town. Atop a steep hill, I stumbled across the city’s charming cobbled streets, charismatic, dark stone buildings, tartan strewn shops, cute traditional cafes and restaurants, outstanding castle and snug pubs.

    Get walking, admire Edinburgh’s allure and ensure to look up – the building’s historic charm is something not to be missed.

    If you have ever been to Edinburgh, what would you add to this list? Please comment, Tweet or Facebook me to let me know :)! 

    Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!!

    Too Many Pies, Too Many Many Pies…

    During my recent trip to Edinburgh my friends and I stumbled upon the perfect hangover cure… A TRADITIONAL PIE SHOP.

    Looking a little rough around the edges from the outside, The Pie Maker could be mistaken for a dodgy diner. However, like a lot of traditional eateries, once we took the plunge inside, it was a gem.

    It was everything you could ever want from a pie shop.

    Traditional, wholesome, cheap (£1.50 pies!) and delicious. I went up to the counter at least three times to try as many of their heavenly pastries as possible.

    Pie Maker, Edinburgh - Shop - My Culture Craving

    Pie Maker, Edinburgh - Food - My Culture Craving

    From freshly baked steak and ale and chicken and mushroom pies to Scottish haggis, turnip and mash pies, mac n’ cheese pies and tatty dogs – a yummy marriage of hot dog and fried potato – here, you can be as adventurous or traditional as you please (check out their menu here).

    After admiring their wide choice of succulent pies, slices and sausage rolls as well as their mouth-watering sweet pastries, we chose our pies and perched on the stools, which lined the room. I went for the haggis, turnip and mash pie (£1.60), which was scrumptious and, a great way to sample some of Scotland’s traditional delicacies!

    Pie Maker, Edinburgh - My Culture Craving

    Pie Maker, Edinburgh - Haggis Pie - My Culture Craving

    I then delved into the ever so unhealthy yet, ever so irresistible mac n’ cheese pie…

    Pie Maker, Edinburgh - Mac n' Cheese Pie - My Culture Craving

    After sampling everyone else’s pies and tatty dogs, we decided that it was time to stop eating, waddle our way to the nearest pub and wash all of the food down with a warming glass of red.

    If you are heading to Edinburgh anytime soon, make sure you check out The Pie Maker! It is cheap, cheerful and yumtastic!

    Keep an eye out on the blog for more posts on my trip to Edinburgh.

    I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and have a Happy, Sloshy New Year!  

    Touch Down in Edinburgh, Scotland

    After a stressful trip to the airport (7am flights are not the one when you’re tired and your alarm decides not to go off) and a flight journey, which took less time than it takes for me to choose what to wear each morning, I have touched down in the picturesque capital of Scotland, Edinburgh.

    With a few days packed full to the brim with exploration, festivities, sightseeing and whisky tasting (I don’t like whisky but, as my friend validly pointed out… It’s a great blogging opportunity) I’m hoping to get as much out of my time in this enchanting city.

    Keep an eye out for updates and photos on my Twitter page @Graduate2892.

    Edinburgh. Is. Beautiful.

    My Top Travel Destinations of 2014

    For me, 2014 has been a year of change. I have graduated from University, moved back home, found a job at a magazine, started this blog and, I’ve even been lucky enough to visit some incredible destinations and have a hell of a lot of fun along the way!!

    It has been hard to choose my favourite countries/cities of the year however, I have managed to whittle them down.

    So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my top four travel destinations of 2014. Plus, the destination I have voted as my number one country/city of the year:

    Kerala, India - My Culture Craving

    Kerala, India

    I started the year of 2014 indulging in a luxurious Indian banquet, drinking a lot of wine (it would have been rude not to take advantage of the free bar) and dancing the night away thinking I looked like the main star in a Bollywood movie- all in a 5* hotel in Agra… it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

    However, my great discovery of India this time around (this was my second chance to travel around this unbelievable country) was Kerala in the South of India.

    On my last trip I travelled Rajasthan extensively however, the sandy beaches, endearing house boats and tranquil backwaters of Kerala remained a mystery. Therefore, I assigned the last week of my most recent trip to relaxing, becoming a beach bum and soaking up the calming side of this hectic country in Cochin.

    Kerala is exotic, picturesque and a lot more peaceful than Rajasthan however, it also has a lot of things to see and do! Check out my post on things to get up to off the beaten track in Cochin, Kerala here.

    A week was no where near long enough in this easygoing state (I think a month would even be pushing it) therefore, I will definitely be going back during gap year #2!!

    Canterbury, UK - My Culture Craving

    Canterbury, England

    Despite having to wave goodbye to my life as a student in Kent this July, Canterbury will always be my home away from home.

    If you are a student in Kent or just happen to be in the area, make sure you take time to check out Canterbury’s cute, cobbled side streets, charming cafes and outstanding Cathedral.

    I still rush back here at every chance I get. Find a few posts I have written about good ol’ Canters here, here, here, here and here (you can take the student out of Uni, but you can’t take the student out of the girl… does that even make sense??..)

    Favourite Moments of Travel - Ibiza - My Culture Craving

    Ibiza, Spain

    After years of testing the water on the notorious party islands of Malia and Ayia Napa, my girlfriends and I decided that this year, we were ready… we were ready to experience the party capital of the world, IBIZAAAA!!

    Beautiful beaches, huge performances, 24/7 partying and quality time with the gals… it was everything I had always imagined it to be.

    Although we were on a standard 18-30s holiday, it surprised me at how classy and beautiful the different areas of the island were. I would love to go back and experience the luxurious side of this eccentric island… maybe when my budget isn’t so tight!

    Discovering Montreux, Switzerland - Market - My Culture Craving

    Montreux, Switzerland

    As you may already know from my last couple of posts, I discovered the picturesque municipality of Montreux, Switzerland a couple of weekends ago.

    With its magnificent mountains, unique, wooden houses and mounds of cheese and fondue, Montreux was the perfect place to get a real taste of Switzerland.

    I had a great day unearthing a side to Switzerland I had never seen before and can’t wait to adventure further into the Swiss countryside at a later date!

    And number 1 is… drum roll please…

    Hvar, Croatia - History - My Culture Craving

    Hvar, Croatia

    I went to Hvar in Croatia for an end of University blow out with my Uni gals… and boy did it deliver!!

    Known for its crystal clear waters, pebbled beaches, marble-esque buildings, backpacker nightlife and luxurious yachts, we knew that Hvar was going to offer us both culture and crazy, drunken fun, all on one island.

    When we first arrived I was taken aback by the immaculate beauty of the island as well as the steep prices. However, we soon found that excessive pre-drinking (not that I’m condoning binge drinking in any way…) and befriending their more… wealthy visitors, played in our budgets favour!

    This island is stunning by day, soooo so much fun by night and has still not been ruined by us binge-drinking Brits. So get there while you can… it is my favourite destination of 2014.

    What have been your favourite destinations of 2014? Please comment, Tweet or Facebook me to let me know :)! 

    The UKC Bucket List – Part Two

    After a wonderful/heavy weekend back in Canterbury, it is safe to say that it has been a struggle to survive my 9-5 life this week (hence, the delay in part two of this post). However, I made it through, and here are my final seven things I think all UKC students should do before graduating (if you haven’t read part one of this post, have a read of it here before continuing to read this one):

    University of Kent Bucket List - River - My Culture Craving

    Have a picnic by the river

    In the summer, Canterbury’s riverside blooms with bright and beautiful flowers. Therefore, with the view of colourful, manicured gardens and charming, traditional houses and the relaxing sound of punters gliding down the river and cute ducklings bobbing along the water, what better way to soak up these sights than with a cheeky glass on vino and a picnic on the grass?

    Stock up on some sausage rolls, sandwiches, scotch eggs (those are for you Lauren aka. The Student Travels) and sangria and enjoy a lazy day by the river – the perfect remedy to unwind after a stressful week in the library!

    University of Kent Bucket List - My Culture Craving

    Go punting down the river/float down the river on airbeds

    Once you have appreciated the river on-land, it’s time to get on or in it (depending on how brave you are) off-land…

    I spent the majority of my second and third year of university trying to force someone to come punting with me – I was unsuccessful. However, I did get to float down the river on airbeds, which, in my opinion, is way cooler!

    Although we got papped most of the way down and angered a few of the punters who had to skillfully punt around us (we had no steering device), it was hilarious! Accompanied by a few alcoholic beverages and Morrison’s £1 snacks, we threw ourselves belly first onto the airbeds (literally) and enjoyed the sights of Canterbury from a squishier and wetter angle.

    SO, head to the Wilko’s, buy a couple of airbeds and get floating!

    University of Kent Bucket List - Marlowe Theatre - My Culture Craving

    Watch a performance at the Gulbenkian and/or Marlowe theatre

    Unfortunately I never made it to the Marlowe theatre however, I did get the opportunity to watch a great rendition of The Great Gatsby (one of my favourite books) at the Gulbenkian.

    Even if you’re not an avid theatre-lover, it is definitely worth making the most of having a cinema/theatre in such easy reach and at such reasonable prices (£5 for students).

    Not many universities have the luxury of a cinema on campus and I wish I had made more of an effort to make the most of it while I was there! Therefore, you’re just going to have to make the most of it for me…

    Check out the upcoming performances and films that you can watch, here.

    University of Kent Bucket List - Restaurants - My Culture Craving

    Cafes, cafes, restaurants, restaurants, cafes

    There are so many great restaurants and cafes in Canterbury (have a read of my post on my favourite cafes in Canterbury here) therefore, it makes sense to go to as many of them as you can!

    From Mexican and Moroccan to British, British, British, there is a restaurant to tantalize anyone’s taste buds.

    Some of my favourite restaurants are: Cafe des Amis, Cafe Mauresque, The Olive Grove, The Old Buttermarket, Tacos Locas, The Shakespeare, Club Burrito and La Trappiste.

    As you can probably tell, I’m quite the foodie so, instead of making my way around the men of Canterbury, I made my way around the restaurants. A wise decision I’d say, although perhaps not for my waistline…

    University of Kent Bucket List - Crab and Winkle - My Culture Craving

    Go for a walk/picnic/run on the Crab and Winkle walkway

    The Crab and Winkle way was a railway, which opened in 1830 and ran between Canterbury and Whitstable. Since closing in 1953 due to flooding, the walkway has transformed into a picturesque stretch of countryside, ideal for a walk, picnic or run.

    As well as the impressive scenery, there is also an enchanting, little church, a rustic, man-made swing and a field of bluebells (if you catch it at the right time of year) to admire on the way. All, also great excuses to stop for a breather if you’re dying on a run…

    Situated behind Parkwood (first year accommodation), Crab and Winkle used to be my go-to route to walk or run along to de-stress before an exam.

    Go and check out its relaxing beauty for yourselves!

    University of Kent Bucket List - Ballroom - My Culture Craving (2)

    Go to Bramley’s and The Ballroom 

    With their quirky decor, scrumptious cocktails and 1920s jazz atmosphere, Bramley’s and The Ballroom are two ‘exclusive’ cocktail bars you must go to whilst in Canterbury.

    The cocktails here don’t come cheap (approximately £7 a drink) however, the grand, sparkling chandeliers, vintage bath tubs turn tables, classic sewing machine centre pieces, rustic candles and cocktails served in cute, ornate teacups, all make stretching your budget more than worth while. These bars transport you into a scene from The Great Gatsby – and who wouldn’t want that?

    Holding jazz, folk and open mic nights, student club nights and 2-4-1 cocktails on selected evenings, there is something to entertain everyone at these bars. And if you choose your night right, it can even be done on a budget  – bonus!

    The prickly pear and rose petal martini are two of my favourite, so, if its 2-4-1, you may as well make the most of it and try one of each…

    Both bars are located on Orange Street in the same building – Bramley’s downstairs and The Ballroom upstairs. Therefore, making the transition between the two a lot easier after a couple of potent cocktails may have impaired your eyesight/stability.

    University of Kent Bucket List - Broadstairs - My Culture Craving

    Visit the coastal areas close to Canterbury (Whitstable, Herne Bay, Broadstairs etc.)

    I’m like a kid at Christmas when it comes to going to the seaside. As I live near Oxford (apparently one of the furthest cities from the sea in England), it is no surprise that when I hear the trill of seagulls, the chime of an ice-cream van and smell salt in the air, I get overly excited.

    It took me a good term to realise that Canterbury is so close to the coast (I know, bad from me). But once I discovered this important piece of information, I took every day of sunshine as an opportunity to head to the beach, sink a few ciders, scoff some fish and chips and, when the parents were visiting, to try out some of the seafood restaurants (which weren’t so student budget friendly) on the seafront.

    Whitstable is fab for oysters, sailing and trundling around the harbor, Herne Bay aka. the coastal graveyard is worth going to, to admire the rainbow coloured beach huts and Broadstairs has the best beach around, offering real sandy sand (the others are stone beaches)!

    I had the BEST time whilst living in Canterbury and urge you to branch out from the four walls of the Venue and explore as much of this beautiful city and surrounding area as you can.

    Get drunk, party and tick off as much of this UKC bucket list as possible and you are guaranteed to have the best three years of your life!

    Enjoy! From the crazy girl who floated down Canterbury river on an airbed with some her fellow crazy friends…